October 24, 1863.
Colonel JAMES H. RIVES,
SIR: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 23rd instant.
Being under the impression that the transfer of certain State troops and the conditions of the transfer had been agreed upon by their Excellencies the President and the Governor of this State, I sent Colonel Harvie to carry out that arrangement on the part of the Confederate States. No propositions were submitted by me, but in relation to the troops to be received, Colonel Harvie was instructed that their organization must conform to Confederate law. That to accomplish this, as little change as possible should be made in existing organizations; that the existing regiments should be completed by forming in each as many companies as the men could fill and adding unattached companies if necessary, regiments to be formed of the remaining unattached companies.
Colonel Harvie tells me that he attempted to explain this to his Excellency the Governor, and that his Excellency entirely misunderstood him, in supposing that he proposed on my part a distribution of "all the men in the unattached companies and battalions among the companies and regiments immediately under the command of Brigadier-General Chalmers." My instructions to Colonel Harvie were given on the supposition that the troops in question would be presented for transfer as now organized.
As to the proposition in the second paragraph, I should prefer it very much. The organization of the troops by the State authorities would be much preferable to its being left for Confederate officers to make.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
Meridian, Miss., October 24, 1863.
Brigadier General WILLIAM H. JACKSON,
Commanding, &c., Livingston, Miss.:
GENERAL: The following dispatch has been received:
BROOKHAVEN, October 24, 1863.
Major W. H. DAMERON,
Chief Commissary, Meridian, Miss.:
Commandant of post here has information that enemy at Natchez ar preparing for raid to destroy sugar here. Every effort is being made to procure transportation to remove it, but am apprehensive if force is not sent immediately to prevent rail it will be lost.
JAS. A. CAMPBELL,
Captain, Acting Commissary of Subsistence.
To prevent this movement by the enemy, General Johnston directs that you send cavalry to the west of Brookhaven, you judging of the force necessary for the purpose.
General Johnston further directs that you advance your command