Reports from Pensacola received day before yesterday in the evening, and yesterday again, are of a similar nature, stating that rebel troops are returning from Chattanooga in considerable numbers, advancing from Pollard on the Pensacola Railroad, about 14 miles from Pensacola, and throwing up there extensive fortifications.
I am inclined to consider this movement more a defensive than offensive one, preparatory to an anticipated combined attack of the Union forces upon Mobile, and especially my advance upon the Mobile and Montgomery Railroad.
I made, however, proper preparations for a warm reception, and have secured the co-operation of the navy; but you are well aware, general, how very limited my force are, and I respectfully request, in connection with my report of November 23 (Numbers 42), a speedy increase of my forces adequate to the present exigency, enabling me, not only to repulse an attack successfully, but assume the offensive before the new line of rebel fortifications is completed for the defense of Mobile, Pollard, Montgomery and Alabama Railroad, of so vital importance for the Confederacy.
In regard to the Bonsecour Bay, I beg to state that it does not communicate with the Perdid Bay, and that the troops advancing byway of Bonsecour Bay would have to disembark on Bear Creek and make over 2 miles by land to Bay La Launch, communicating with Perdido Bay.
If my request for two small steamers is granted, as I confidently hope, the Perdido Bay will soon by cleared, and any approach of a larger rebel force in that direction made impossible.
Rebel cavalry visited Pensacola day before yesterday with a flag of truce, and the night after some scouts were approaching our pickets from the Perdido.
My cavalry was out yesterday in that direction 5 miles beyond our pickets, discovering nothing.
I beg to inclose copy of general and special orders issued yesterday.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF PENSACOLA,
Barrancas, Fla., November 24, 1863.
Commanders of brigades and forts will report on the advantages as well as weak points of their respective positions, and give their suggestions as to improvements, with proper topographical illustrations. they will state how far the strength and organization of their forces are adequate to their present requirements, or what re-enforcements they need to make them so. They will also continually gather reliable information of the enemy's whereabouts, strength, movements, and, if possible, his intentions and plans, and keep the general commanding advised promptly, to enable him to meet every emergency in time.
In order to avoid alarms from unfounded rumors, and consequent fatigue for the troops, commanding officers of brigades and forts, as well as the district provost-marshal, will report daily, in writing, at noon, until further-orders, whether all is quiet.
By order of Brigadier-General Asboth:
E. T. SPRAGUE,
Lieutenant Eighth Wisconsin, and Actg. Assistant Adjutant-General.