HDQRS. FIFTH MIL. DIST., DEPT., MISS. AND E. La.,
Grenada, July 16, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL, Assistant Adjutant-GENERAL:
COLONEL: Having removed all the Government property from Panola, I removed my headquarters and all my Confederate cavalry to this place on yesterday, leaving General George, with the State cavalry, to occupy Panola and the country north of it.
I had ordered the officers here to turn out with their clerks and employees, and impress wagons to remove the stores from this place, but, on my arrival here, I found that nothing had been accomplished by any of them except by Major J. S. Mellon, assistant commissary of subsistence, who, I take pleasure in saying, is one of the most efficient officers in his department.
I have to-day sent out detachments in every direction to impress wagons. The wagons which transported the stores from Panola were ordered to return to this place as soon as possible, and I hope in the course of a few days to have all the ordnance stores and the most valuable of the commissary stores removed. We have collected about 1,200 head of beef-cattle, which will be forwarded as directed.
Yazoo City was reported taken before I received your order extending my command over it. Rumor says that garrison has been captured, but I have received no reliable information from either, excepting a dispatch from Colonel Creasman, informing me that he was about to evacuate the place.
I have ordered the steamboats and all the Government property at Greenwood which cannot be removed to be destroyed, and the troops now there to fall back to this place, bringing with them all the cattle they can collect, and have ordered the rolling-stock of the different railroads to be concentrated at the most convenient places, and arranged so as to be destroyed on the shortest notice.
I send down a sergeant and 4 men to establish a line of couriers from the telegraph office at Vaughan's or Goodman Station to your headquarters, and will endeavor to keep up a line of communication with you.
I would be glad if you would notify me when you think it necessary to destroy the railroad property, as my judgment may be at fault from the lack of information.
I am, colonel, &c., your obedient servant,
JAMES R. CHALMERS.
P. S. - Since writing the above, I have learned that Colonel Creasman and his command are at Goodman.
NEAR GRANT'S FERRY, July 16, 1863.
Brigadier-General COSBY, Commanding Cavalry:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of this date is just received, and your orders will be obeyed. Captain [William A.] Rogers had fallen back to a bridge 2 miles from Grant's Ferry, which he had destroyed. He reports the enemy gone back from the ferry, after burning the boats, or rather one of his lieutenants does, he himself being now on a scout to the ferry. The lieutenant reports a large force as having been at the ferry. I will dispatch again as soon as scout returns.
F. A. MONTGOMERY.,
64 R R-VOL. XXVI, PT. III