War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0034 KY.,SW.,VA.,TENN.,MISS.,ALA.,AND N.GA. Chapter XLIV.

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of 1862, tied his hands behind him, and taking him to the middle of the river deliberately drowned him, He had taken the oath of allegiance at Columbus, Ohio, once before and went at once ot the rebel army. They belonged to Morgan's command and were undoubtedly spies. Again, may I very respectfully inquire, if it be regular, if it be right, for prisoners of war captured in actual battle to be released and returned to the rebel army? I am on an outpost; the enemy had attempted to surprise my pickets, and would have surprised my camp long since if they could. Wide-awake, prompt, vigorous, determined action is expected of me. If notorious rebels are given more privileges in my camp long since if they could. Wide-awake, prompt, vigorous, determined action is expected of me. If notorious rebels are given more privileges in my camp than my own officers have (the most desperate characters of the enemy return to them when captured) possible disaster may come to my command, and I very respectfully forward this letter that my superior officers may know the difficulties I labor under.

Your most respectfully and obedient servant,

SMITH D. ATKINS,

Colonel Ninety-second Illinois Volunteers.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,

Vicksburg, Miss., March 7, 1864.

Major-General McPHERSON,

Commanding District of Vicksburg:

GENERAL: I think it important I should hasten somewhat to my command at Huntsville, Ala. I am therefore compelled again to leave you to the exercise of this most important command, but assure you I do so with absolute confidence. You may rely on my cordial support at all times. You know the plans and purposes of your superiors for some months to come, but to be more certain I will repeat the leading points. The river Mississippi must be held sacred, and any attempt of the enemy to make a lodgment anywhere on its banks must be prevented by any and all means; also its peaceful navigation must be assured. Any firing on boats or molestation of them when engaged in a legitimate and licensed traffic should be punished with terrible severity. I believe that our expedition, in which we destroyed absolutely the Southern Railroad and the Mobile and Ohio at and around Meridian, will prevent the enemy approaching the river with any infantry or heavy artillery, but he will of course reoccupy Mississippi with his marauding cavalry. That can in nowise influence the course of the grand war. I would heed this cavalry but little. Still it may unite and threaten Memphis, in which event I want you to act promptly by embarking as heavy a force as you can spare to ascend the Yazoo as far as Greenwood or Sidon, and strike at Grenada. This would take Forrest in the rear and compel him to fall back on Pontotoc. I cannot believe cavalry will ever trouble you at or near Vicksburg, but may attempt to reach the river at some point above or below. An expedition up the Yazoo is the remedy for the river above, and if we could garrison Harrisonburg and operate up Washite and Tensas it would have a similar effect on that side. But this is not in our command, and we have not the force to spare.

Encourage by all means the packet and through trade on the river as auxiliary to its defense, and also encourage trade with the interior not contraband of war. Such trade will keep the people dependent