the plantations from Lake Providence to Milliken's Bend. The Marine Brigade was sent up, and the gunboat Louisville requested to drop down from Skipwith's Landing to assist, if necessary.
It turned out to be a false alarm, and nothing definite has been heard since. I am having the new line of fortifications pushed forward and the guns mounted as rapidly as possible. A week's work, with all the force I can put on, will complete them, except some finishing up and constructing magazines. Winslow is hard at work reorganizing and drilling his cavalry, and I am in hopes he will succeed in infusing a little more spirit of enterprise and dash into them. I have drawn in the line somewhat from Oak Ridge and Young's, but still have the cavalry picket and patrol to the Big Black.
The main cavalry camp is on Clear Creek, not very far from Hebron's. Since our return the enemy's cavalry have not shown themselves on this side of the Big Black, nor troubled our pickets. Crocker's division is still at Natchez, and I will soon let him send a brigade out to Woodville for a few days. When I get these new works completed, so that a force of 5,000 men can make a good, stout defense, I amy be able to make some offensive demonstrations in the interior, but really with the force at my command, distributed as it must necessarily be over such a long line to keep open the navigation of the river, I do not see anything before me but to act on the defensive, and try to hold what we have got. I am of course ready and willing to do anything which may be required, but I would rather command a division in an active campaign than to have the position I hold now.
Lieutenant Dunn tells me there is some prospect of your having a battle in the vicinity of Tuscumbia.
Excuse this rambling, semi-official letter. I did not intend to make it so long when I commenced.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee.
Itinerary of the Third Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, commanded by Brigadier General James M. Tuttle, U. S. Army, for the month of October, 1863.*
The division remained in camp near Black River until October 15, when, in company with the Third Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, both under command of Major-General McPherson, it began its march, crossing the Black River at Messinger's Ferry toward Canton, Miss., where the enemy was concentrating, having encamped at Brownsville, Miss., distant from the Black River some 18 miles.
October 16, resumed march and encountered the enemy's pickets; skirmished all day, and encamped on the road.
October 17, advanced against the enemy, strongly posted on the heights 1 mile beyond Bogue Chitto Creek; drove them from their
*From monthly return.