informed both General Ferguson and myself that we were expected to exercise the same authority over all companies, &c., in our vicinity that we had done or would do if we were commanding districts as formerly, and he informed me approvingly of an instance in which General Ferguson had surrendered an independent company to muster them into the Confederate service. Some time since I ordered Colonel Duff to report to me, and he sent me a written statement, which I forwarded to you, that he had been instructed verbally by General Lee that he did wrong in reporting to me, and therefore did not obey my order. In the mean time General Johnston had ordered me to attack the enemy on the railroad, and fearing they would attempt to cut me off from the Tallahatchie [as they did attempt to do], and in order to guard the ferries and crossings behind me, I ordered Colonel Duff to move up at once with his command, and he did so. I did this for the reason above assigned and for the further reason that the order of General Lee placing me in command of all the cavalry in North Mississippi was subsequent to his conversation with Colonel Duff, and his battalion was in North Mississippi. I have been thus explicit in explaining my reasons to Major-General Lee because I was an entire stranger to him when he assumed command, and I know I have made many enemies by attempting to enforce military discipline here, who I fear have represented me to him in an unfavorable light. This made it more unpleasant for me to receive through the hands of my inferior officer an expression of disapprobation from my superior and commanding officer.
I am, major, your obedient servant,
JAS. R. CHALMERS,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY IN NORTH MISSISSIPPI, Oxford, Miss., November 17, 1863.
Maj. G. W. HOLT,
MAJOR: A few days since, having been informed that the enemy were evacuating La Grange, I ordered Colonel Richardson, commanding brigade near Pontotoc, to send up scouts to ascertain the truth of the information, and if it was found to be true, to move up at once with his West Tennessee troops and occupy La Grange without waiting for further orders.
While my communication was on its way to him I received one from him, asking permission to move against the road. I had not replied to it, when last night, too late to stop him, I received a note from Colonel Richardson, saying that he would start this morning for some point near La Grange with the remnant of his Tennessee troops. He evidently construed my letter as giving him permission to move at his discretion, but such was not my intention. My order was to move on a contingency, which has not occurred, the garrison at La Grange having been strengthened. As, however, a great part of Richardson's Tennessee troops have deserted and returned to their homes, he may, perhaps, be able to collect some of them, and little or no harm may result from his movement.
JAS. R. CHALMERS,