driven back almost to Jackson. One of my squadrons about 3 miles from the city. The forces of the enemy are encamped in the vicinity of Jackson. Ross reports at 4 p. m. yesterday evening from Yazoo City that he still prevents enemy from landing there and had severely crippled a gun-boat. The enemy are concentrating a large negro force at Snyder's. He thinks the enemy are landing a force below him (Yazoo City). Ross' scouts speak of three corps leaving Vicksburg (Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth), each corps averaging about 15,000 men, and that their intention is to go to Meridian. Have directed Ross to protect the railroad as long as practicable, and when he finds it unavailing to cover road he has discretionary orders to join me. I have directed him not to burn bridges, and have telegraphed Forrest to hold the rolling-stock, and that Ross can only be assisted by him. I have scouts across Pearl to notify me of enemy's crossing. Please duplicate my reports to General Polk, as I send him no reports.
S. D. LEE,
P. S. - Have established a courier-line to Morton from Smith's Ferry.
S. D. L.
SEVEN MILES FROM MORTON, ON FANNIN ROAD,
February 6, 1864 - 8.30 p. m.
Commanding, & c.:
GENERAL: Started for Morton late this evening, but was compelled to stop. My division is near Melton's place, 7 miles back of this. I will be in Morton early to-morrow morning. Division will arrive a few hours later. A dispatch from General Lee places his command near Cullum's Ferry, on other side of Pearl River. Enemy reported as advancing on road leading to Canton. Lee proposes to protect as far as he can the country about Canton and the railroad. Firing heard in the direction of the Yazoo, but no report from Ross. Have not yet heard of enemy advancing from Jackson on the Brandon road.
Very respectfully, & c.,
W. W. LORING,
MERIDIAN, February 6, 1864.
I am in receipt of your dispatch informing me of your desire to go or to send into West Tennessee some competent officer to bring out men. I dare say you could bring out more than any other officer, but the state of things now in my front is such as to make it inexpedient for you to leave your command. I authorize you to send some competent officer in to bring out those men, while you remain in command of your troops. I would not send any more men into Tennessee than are necessary to accomplish the business of bringing