HEADQUARTERS FIFTH MILITARY DISTRICT,
Grenada, July 25, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
Asst. Adjt. General DEPT. of the West, Brandon, MISS.:
COLONEL: My last information from below is that the enemy have evacuated Jackson, and returned toward Vicksburg. It is reported that a part of their force has been sent to Memphis, and it is supposed that the greater part of the remainder will be sent either up or down the river, leaving only a garrison at that place. If this is true, will it not be possible to repair the railroad bridges over Big Black and Pearl Rivers, and the other injuries to the roads, so as to allow the trains now collected near this place to be removed to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad?
It is impossible, with the information I now have, to estimate correctly the amount of damage done the roads, but it is confidently thought by the railroad authorities here that with the aid of the Government in impressing hands, &c., the road between this place and Jackson can be put in working order within two weeks. Of the condition of the road beyond Jackson, and especially of the bridge over Pearl River, nothing is known. I have, however, sent Messrs. [E. D.] Frost and [T. S.] Williams, the superintendents of the Mississippi Central and New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroads, both of whom have much experience in such matters, to pass over the road to the other side of Pearl River, and estimate the length of time requisite to put it in such condition as to allow the passage of trains. One of these gentlemen will report the result of their examination directly to you, and you may rely entirely upon any statements they may make.
If the enemy have left Jackson, and the road at that place can be protected against them, the greatest difficulty will be in repairing the bridge over Pearl River. I am satisfied that the road between this and Jackson can be repaired in the time specified by impressing negroes, and if the report is favorable as to the Pearl River Bridge, Ihe or at once.
The value of the rolling-stock of the different roads now near here is not less than $4,000,000, and its usefulness to the Confederacy, if it can be saved, will be incalculable. At present they are exposed to danger both from the north and south, and it will require a large part of my small command to guard them, if I am able to do so at all.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES R. CHALMERS.
HDQRS. FIFTH MIL. DIST., DEPT. MISS., AND E. La.,
Grenada, July 25, 1863.
Colonel J. McGUIRK, Commanding THIRD Brigade:
COLONEL: Information having been received that the enemy had been at Buck Snort and Chulahoma, the brigadier-general commanding directs that you return to Panola with your command. The necessity for your coming here no longer exists. Supposing that you would be at Tuscahoma to-night, a similar order had been sent to you there before your dispatch was received. Send in a field return of your command.
Your obedient servant,
W. A. GOODMAN,