in the department in it. The whole outfit is miserably bad. From Sunflower, with the exception of 4 miles,the road is said to be very good to the Mississippi. I will leave my train at the ferry on Sunflower, and reach the river as soon as possible.
The news of my expedition preceded me three days, and my scouts report the enemy busily engaged fortifying at Skipwith's Landing, five transports and three gunboats being there. Osborne, the officer commanding, has gone to Greenville with 500 cavalry to meet me. It was my intention to leave my train and artillery and move rapidly on Skipwith's Landing, and by swimming Steele's Bayou, which partially encircles the place, surprise and capture the force there, but the bayou is impassable, being very high, and the roads leading to it cannot be traveled. I find the Yankess keep well posted through negroes and citizens who run as couriers to them, taking by-paths through the swamp. I have kept the only roads known to me guarded some 25 miles in advance of me all the time,and I have allowed no one to pass. I have sent men forward to communicate with the forces on the opposite side of the Mississippi River, and anticipate but little trouble in getting the arms safely across. I have directed Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan, in charge of the train, to impress fresh mules and other wagons, if necessary, to facilitate his movements. He is encamped with me.
Have the Sunflower and Bogue Phalia to ferry. Deer Creek is bridged, but I fear the enemy will destroy it. Find many mules and horses through the camp, and will try to get them removed from the vicinity of the enemy.
The boats reported to be in Sunflower were not found. There is a boat in Quaver River. An assistant quartermaster, with authority from Major Quaite, is preparing to run it into the Yazoo. I have directed the officer commanding squadron sent to capture it to assist the quartermaster in starting it down at once. I have a courier-line to Vaiden.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. S. ROSS,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, Richmond, December 29, 1863.
Lieutenant Gen. L. POLK,
Commanding,&c., Meridian, Miss.:
GENERAL: A dispatch from General J. E. Johnston states that Colonel F. P. Powers, Fourteenth Arkansas Volunteers, having been thrown out of commission by the consolidation of regiments,&c., had been ordered to organize troops in East Louisiana,and had reported an aggregate of 635 men, 10 captains, and 27 lieutenants.
General Johnston has to-day been informed that if the regiment thus organized by Colonel Powers was raised of men not liable to conscription, by reason of being within the enemy's lines, or for other cause, it may be received. He has also been advised that you would be written to to this effect.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Adjutant and Inspector General.