relative to affairs in my neighborhood, received from refugees and deserters:
The larger portion of the troops that were stationed at Pollard started suddenly on railroad for Dalton, leaving only 3,000 at Pollard. There are 700 infantry and 300 cavalry at Milton and 700 cavalry at Canoe Station, on the Mobile Railroad, 16 miles from Pollard, guarding the railroad. The fortifications at the terminus of the Mobile and Montgomery Railroad at the Tensaw River are of very little strength.
The iron ram Tennessee is not yet over the bar, but ready to run the blockade, and considered a perfect success. There are several other smaller rams and a few wooden gun-boats at Mobile. the fortifications around the city are completed. The garrison at Mobile is not over 3,000 besides the militia.
Relative to the strength of the enemy from Pollard down to Pensacola I have not been able to get any additional information. The work on the railroad was discontinued, but the telegraph is operation to Cooper Station, 20 miles above Pensacola. Approaching rebel parties were repeatedly fired upon by our pickets and twice shelled by the navy guard-ships off the mouth of the Bayou Grand. I expect this evening the return of one of my scouts with minute information.
Very few recruits can reach our lines at present, as all West Florida is swarming with rebel cavalry hunting refugees and deserters. In Walton County 7 citizens were hung last week for entertaining Union sentiments, and a woman, refusing to give information about her husband's whereabouts, was killed in a shocking manner, and two of her children caught and torn to pieces by bloodhounds.
A small steamer, long since applied for, would enable me to ascend to Washington Point, Washington County, at the head of Choctawhatchee Bay, and mouth of the Choctawhatchee River, and collect many of those unfortunate victims of the rebellion.
At East Pass I have to provide for 200 refugees, women and children, who arrived there in a most destitute condition. Here I have sheltered with condemned tents 609 destitute women and children, a majority of them suffering more or less from various diseases in consequence of their privations and hardships.
I am, very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
CULPEPER, VA., April 23, 1864-5 p. m.
(Received 8.30 p. m.)
Chief of Staff:
Confidential letters of Admiral Dahlgren and Secretary of the Navy just received.* With the reduced state of the command at Charleston, I do not know what can be done in the direction recommended by the admiral; but I will send the letters by special messenger to General Gillmore, at Fort Monroe, and ascertain from him the exact situation and give directions accordingly.
U. S. GRANT,
*See p. 67.