road, probably with a view to cut the railroad between Cleveland and the Hiwassee or capture a train.
The major-general commanding desires to know whether a portion of the cavalry force might not be brought down from the Little Tennessee and be posted at Benton for the purpose of preventing such operations of the enemy. Colonel Long will be directed to send a small force of cavalry upon the same errand for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of the statement.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE POST AND DEFENSES,
Vicksburg, Miss., February 14, 1864.
Brigadier General J. P. HAWKINS,
Commanding First Division, African Descent:
SIR: You are directed by the general commanding to send an expedition of three regiments from your command at Haynes' Bluff toward Mechanicsburg and the ferry over Black River near Vernon, destroying in ferry at that place, should there be one; ascertaining whether any of the enemy's cavalry are in that vicinity, and any other facts connected with retreat from Yazoo City. If the commanding officer encounters the enemy during this expedition he will cautiously feel him, and if not found too strong for his force, he will attack him and demoralize him as much as possible. This expedition will be supplied with five days' rations, and 100 rounds of ammunition per man. Upon their return the commanding officer will immediately forward a complete report of his expedition.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. F. RANDALL,
CALLAHAN'S MILLS, MISS.,
February 14, 1864-12 m.
SIR: As it is now raining hard, and the roads in the Tippah Bottom are already very bad, it will be out of the question for your brigade to follow and overtake us. The rain will, on the other hand, raise the Tallahatchie so as to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the enemy to throw a sufficient force over to endanger you within the next two or three days. If you can still threaten them for that length of time-say at the railroad crossing-you will continue that much longer the valuable assistance you have already rendered; and if in the mean time we can completely dislodge the enemy from the Tallahatchie, we can throw your brigade over and let it join us at or near Oxford. Whether you can remain or not I consider now a question of rations. You can take everything you can find in the country. There are, as I have been told, 30 bushels of meal at old man Lumpkin's, 2 miles from the mill, that was prematurely burned by out troops. I, of course, do not wish to sacrifice your command for