press negroes coming through to Texas, and the balance I have engaged in cutting wood.
A small detachment has also been sent to the Big Woods settlement to impress negroes; there are very few there; however, may be enabled to get in addition of 5 more hands.
I received a note from Captain Nolan, of date the 28th; he was on the Calcasie River, and had sent detachments to the Mermenton. He saw nothing of the enemy, but says travelers report them at or near Camp Pratt. Reports are very conflicting and have nothing reliable. Captain Nolan will proceed with his detachment until he can learn something definitely.
Passengers in yesterday, leaving Opelousas Sunday, report the enemy at or near Franklin; General Mouton's force at Moundville, above Opelousas; Colonel Major's brigade, with Second Louisiana Cavalry, had left Opelousas en route to Franklin.
The above is as I received it; as before stated, every one that comes through brings different stories.
I shall, when I receive any reliable intelligence, immediately forward the same to the major-general commanding.
The clothing that has been here for the past five months belonging to Sibley's brigade, has been by me forwarded to Beaumont.
Lieutenant Aikens, immediately after his return from the scout on the Shoe Pigne Bayou, proceeded on to join his command that had gone to the Mermenton River.
Government cotton arriving slowly; this steamer takes all that is now here.
Very respectfully, &c.,
J. C. STAFFORD,
P. S. - Since this was written, I am in receipt of a dispatch from Captain Nolan, which I inclose to the major-general commanding.
CALCASIEU, CLENDENING'S FERRY,
October 1, 1863.
SIR: I arrived at this place on Sunday evening, September 28, and could not learn anything in regard to the movements of the enemy, excepting what I heard at Niblett's Bluff. I immediately started a small detachment for the Mermenton of Vermillionville, and instructed the commander not to return until he found the enemy.
I have not heard from them or the enemy since they left. Yesterday morning I sent a sergeant with another detachment to the Mermenton to overtake the first detachment, and to carry out the same instructions. This evening I have started Lieutenant Aikens with another detachment, to proceed, if possible, to New Iberia; so if there are any Yankees east of this place some of my men will find them.
It has been raining here for something near forty hours, and the roads are nearly impassable for horses, so it will be about three days before i will hear from any of my men.
I have seen two travelers who live at Lake Charles. they say that they left Vermillionville on Sunday, the 28th of September, and there was no enemy at that place, and that there was none this side of Franklin, and only a few cavalry at that point; that the enemy was embarkating, supposed for Texas.