transporting it to Tupelo. General Ferguson's officers immediately took possession of the corn without consultation either with myself or officers, thus depriving me of the necessary forage for my command and compelling me to fall back farther south.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lowry proceeded, with the Second Mississippi State Cavalry, to the vicinity of Richmond, in the county of Itawamba. The next day I, with a portion of my staff, was proceeding to the same point, and when near Verona I was arrested by an officer of General Ferguson's command, who stated that he had positive orders from General Ferguson to permit no one belonging to the State troops to pass the lines of his brigade. I was sent under guard to General Ferguson's headquarters, where I, of course, supposed he was, but upon reaching there I was informed that he was at Okolona. An officer at his quarters furnished me with a pass for myself and staff through his lines. This very remarkable proceeding produced a good deal of excitement and ill-feeling with my command. This order of General Ferguson's greatly surprised me, and led me to believe that his object was to embarrass me in the management of my command. I can conceive of no good reason for his extraordinary course, and the persistent efforts which he is making improperly to interfere with the State troops. Some time last summer a company of State troops, commanded by Captain Wallis, left improperly, and under circumstances of peculiar aggravation, the State service, carrying off property belonging to the State. This company was received by General Ferguson and mustered into the Confederate service, which has produced no little vexation and annoyance, but as the question in relation the true status of that company has been finally and authoritatively settled, I hope that no further irritation will arise on that score. I am informed that General Ferguson, about the 17th instant, sent a battalion of Confederate cavalry to the neighborhood of Baldwyn and arrested a party of scouts, including the officer commanding them, who had been sent there by my order. Lieutenant Wood, who had been sent with 8 men, near Kelly's Mill, in Tippah County, and Sergeant Stocks, who had been sent with 10 men to the neighborhood of Baldwyn, were arrested and brought back to General Ferguson's headquarters.
Such conduct as this, general, you will at once perceive is very well calculated to precipitate a collision between the two forces, and I hope that you will furnish General Ferguson with such explicit orders from his future government as may in your judgment be right and proper. It will be, as it ever has been, my object studiously to promote perfect harmony between the two commands, but I cannot and will not longer submit to unauthorized and ill-advised aggressions upon the rights of myself, officers, and men.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. J. GHOLSON,
Major-General, Comdg. Mississippi State Troops.
Brandon, Miss., December 24, 1863.
* * * * * *
V. Maj. Gen. S. D. Lee will take immediate command of
Brigadier-Generals Chalmers' and Ferguson's brigades and move without delay