Sherman at Vicksburg the subject of my going to Natchez was mentioned, but that had been provided for, and I was assigned to General Hurlbut and to Cairo. Now I am, though not relieved, superseded.
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
Lieutenant Colonel R. M. SAWYER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO,
Cairo, Ill., May 2, 1864.
SIR: I beg leave, respectfully, to report operations within this district during the period of my command:
On March 16, being then at Memphis, I was assigned by Special Orders, Numbers 61, headquarters Sixteenth Army Corps, to the District of Cairo, relieving Brigadier General Hugh T. Reid.
Arriving at 3 a. m. of the 19th, I entered upon duty at 11 the same morning, headquarters being at Cairo.
My command comprised the rivers from the mouth of the Tennessee to Island 10, 160 miles, with interior territory in Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
Occupied place, with the force, at each, were as follows Paducah, Colonel s. G. Hicks, 408 men; Cairo, Colonel J. I. Rinaker, 231 men; columbus, Colonel William H. Lawrence, 998 men; Hickman, Captain J. W. Cogswell, 51 men; Island 10, Captain R. M. Ekings, 162 men; Union City, Colonel I. R. Hawkings, 479 men; aggregate, 2,329 men. About three-fourths of these men were colored-a portion of them, say 500-not yet mustered into service, and commanded by officers temporarily assigned awaiting commission. Of the white troops at river posts, one-half were on detached local duty, as guards, &c.
The fortifications were in a broken condition, unfinished and neglected. Guns were dismounted and otherwise unfit for service. Ammunition was deficient and defective. A body of cavalry at Paducah were not mounted and only part of those at Union City.
Mounted City, attached to the post of Cairo, 8 miles above, on the Ohio, was guarded by some 50 invalids; that was the naval station and depot of the Mississippi Squadron, where gun-boats received their repairs, armaments, and supplies. Public property averaging $5,000,000 in value was constantly that point. Captain A. M. Pennock was in charge. At Cairo, also, in addition to a naval wharf boat and other floating depositaries of arms, munitions, and naval supplies for the Western Navy, amounting to many millions in value, were transports and shipping laden with army supplies. In a word, the operations of the army and navy of the Mississippi and its dependencies on either side depended upon the safety of the public property at the two points named.
The river towns and those portions of Kentucky and Tennessee not in possessio or under the shadow of our arms, were under in- surrectionary control. Between those rebels who had taken the oat and remained within our lines and their bothers who were in arms without, full fraternity and correspondence existed. I found the interior portions of the district, therefore, infested armed bands of guerrillas, engaged in murder and pillage, and supplies by their.