prisoners from the Fifteenth. I do not, however, think that their force is more than two corps (Sixteenth and Seventeenth), numbering at least 30,000 men.
I am, general, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
CLINTON, February 7, 1864 - 9 o'clock.
GENERAL: I have been busy getting all the information I can. I have just seen a Mr. Campbell, whom the enemy took with them to Jackson. He came out this morning. He says they have a large force - he thinks three times as large as the force that General Johnston had at Big Black last summer. He says their wagon train is very large. He estimates their number at over 30,000. They do not try to conceal that their destination is Meridian, to cut our communication with Mobile. He says they were moving toward the river yesterday evening and he thinks were crossing last night. A Yankee officer, who passed to-day with some of our prisoners, said they were crossing. They told Campbell they would move rapidly. They told him there was a force from North Mississippi to co-operate with this force. From Mrs. Banks I learned that the force on the Bolton Depot road consisted of two divisions of McPherson's corps, commanded by Leggett and Crocker, with seventeen pieces of artillery, large number of wagons - could not learn how many. Said they had twenty days' rations. General McPherson in command. General Hurlbut's corps came on Messinger's Ferry [road]. General Hurlbut in command of this corps. Sherman in command of whole. Told her they were going to Meridian, and that a force was coming from Port Hudson to assist them to cross Pearl River lower down. The last of Hurlbut's command reached Jackson this morning. No re-enforcements have passed here, nor hear of any on road below. There are 34 wounded men in hospital at this place. No infantry came on Raymond road; only one brigade of cavalry. All the infantry were on Bolton Depot and Messinger's Ferry roads. Leggett's division had five brigades. Dr. Hamilton estimates the force on the Bolton Depot road at 7,000 or 8,000, but I think it probably larger. I will go on Messinger's Ferry road and learn all I can and report as soon as possible. Please keep my scouts with you as they come in; I want to get them together. My horse is very lame, and I will come in soon.
A. J. LAWSON,
MERIDIAN, February 7, 1864.
GENERAL: In reflecting on the state of affairs I have deemed it advisable to place a body of cavalry, amounting to 200 men, at the disposal of Colonel Dillon for the purpose of scouting along the east of the line occupied by the enemy in East Louisiana, for the purpose of watching the enemy in case he should think of making a