War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0309 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Vicksburg, December 2, 1863.

Major General W. AT. SHERMAN,

Comdg. Department and Army of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: Crocker's division is all up here, and is in camp on a line running from a point not far from Milldale to Hebron on Clear Creek, with Winslow's cavalry brigade near Hebron and a brigade of Leggett's division at the railroad bridge across Big Black. Osband is still at Skipwith's Landing and is doing good service, keeping the country west of the Sunflower clear of guerrillas. The Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Illinois are at Natchez, Colonel A. K. Johnson in command. He has over 1,000 white troops, besides the pioneer corps of the Fourth Division, one battery of light artillery and two regiments of negroes.

There has been for some days past a movement of rebel cavalry down in that direction, going in squads of from 15 to 40, though their object has not developed itself fully. It is reported that they are going to get into the river and fire upon boats, and that they have two batteries, and if they consider themselves strong enough, they will make a raid on Natchez.

Johnson has been cautioned to guard against a surprise, and with the force at his disposal, I do not fear but what he can hold out until re-enforcements reach him, should they be needed.

The guerrillas are becoming quite active along the river, especially in the vicinity of Waterproof and below the mouth of Red River. They have been driven away from the former place twice and some 20 captured by Brigadier-General Gresham, on his way up with his brigade.

If they continue to annoy boats, I shall have to send a little expedition down to try and clear them out.

I have ordered the Marine Brigade, now at Goodrich's Landing, to go down to that point.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. B. McPHERSON,

Major-General.

HAEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Vicksburg, Miss., December 2, 1863.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Comdg. Department and Army of the Tennessee:

DEAR GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of November 18, inclosing a petition of certain citizens of Tensas Parish to organize a police force to protect themselves against the excesses of the negroes.

These citizens live in the vinicity of Lake Saint Joseph, and the petition was drawn up by a man by the name of Arrone, a lawyer, foreigner, and rebel, who is on his parole, having been paroled at New Orleans, I think.

A delegation of these same citizens came up to see me over two months ago in relation to the same thing, and I asked them if they were willing to take the oath of allegiance, and if needs be take up their guns and fight for the Federal Government and the flag and aid in putting down the rebellion, and they said "Not at present."