The authority for sending them was based on circulars from the Governors of Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin, sent to the commanding officers of respective regiments.
I did not wait for orders from the War Department, for the reason we have received no general orders for several weeks, but took it for granted, on seeing the circulars, that orders had been issued and sent the recruiting parties accordingly.
Particular instructions were given to select for the details officers and men in the line of promotion, especially those who have received commissions, but who could not be mustered in consequence of their commands being below the minimum.
These men have gone to recruit, with the determination to fil up their companies and regiments in order that they may receive the promotion to which they feel themselves entitled.
Already news of good success in recruiting in the several States where it has been authorized has been received. Since the date of my last letter nothing material has transpired.
Two brigades of Crocker's division are still at Natchez. One brigade here with Leggett's (late Logan's) and McArthur's divisions. Osband is at Skipwith's Landing, and Hawkins at Goodrich's, with three regiments of colored troops at that point and one at Milliken's Bend. Two colored regiments are here and two at Natchez.
The day after the arrival of Colonel Hall's brigade, Crocker's division, at this place, information was received through scouts that a large force of rebel cavalry, consisting of Logan's and a part of Cosby's brigades, were running south, possibly with a view of making a raid on Natchez and destroying the property of loyal men in Wilkinson and adjoining counties, of whom it is reported there are a great many.
Until the movements and plans of the enemy could be ascertained, I directed General Crocker to remain at Natchez with the two brigades, and to exercise his discretion about moving out to attack the enemy if they make their appearance in his vicinity.
He has since reported that indications point to a gathering of considerable force at Tunica Bend, below the mouth of Red River, for the purpose of obstructing the navigation of the river, the force on the east bank to consist of cavalry drawn from this section, and that on the west bank of infantry, artillery, and cavalry from Kirby Smith and Taylor. There is nothing definite in regard to it yet, and the point named is in the Department of the Gulf.
The latest news from New Orleans is that Banks is in possession of Point Isabel and Brownsville (this is authentic), and that the Thirteenth Army Corps has returned, and is embarking at Algiers to join Banks, while the Nineteenth remains to hold Teche country. As I am not officially advised, I cannot state whether the above is correct or not.
General Hawkins has had an alarm one a week, regularly, at Goodrich's Landing, and the last on the 16th stated that 16,000 were marching to attack him.
I felt satisfied that his information was incorrect, and that if any was really coming to attack him, it was very much smaller than the number above stated, and that he could, with the aid of a portion of the Marine Brigade and two gun-boats which were there, maintain his position until re-enforcements could reach him if they should be needed.
Some recent information has convinced me that the reports were