the enemy raised and saluted. General Page reports that he visited Fort Gaines and used every proper means to prevent its surrender. he could not with propriety assume command at Fort Gaines and remain absent from his more important command at Fort Morgan. He ordered Colonel Anderson to be relieved from command, and fordable any surrender unless the Federals should return with Colonel Anderson to the fort. Nothing more is known of this unfortunate affair. It enabled the enemy at once to concentrate all his efforts upon Fort Morgan, which was invested and besieged. In the course of a few days all communication was cut off with that fortress, and we could only infer anything of its fate from the distant sound of the cannon and the uncertain reports of our scouts along the bay shore.
After sustaining a very heavy attack by the army and the fleet General Page surrendered his fort and garrison on the 23rd instant. From the statements of the enemy we learn that their batteries had crowned the glacis. The citadel had been repeatedly set on fire, and the flag of the fort was not lowered until the work was no longer tenable. General Page is also reported to have desg in the fort which could be of service to the enemy before surrendering. From all that is known of the conduct of this officer and the garrison under his orders, it is believed that they nobly strove to redeem the disgrace upon our arms inflicted by the hasty and unsoldier like surrender of Forts Powell and Gaines.
While these events were transpiring in the southern part of the department a column reported at 18,000 infantry, 7,000 cavalry, and thirty-eight guns, with Generals Washburn, A. J. Smith, and Grierson in command, moved out from Memphis, occupied Holly Springs, and advanced slowly down the MISSISSIPPI Central road as far as Oxford. They announce their objects to be to lay waste the country and to march to the siege of Mobile. General Forrest, with about 6,000 men, was the only obstacle to their rapid and successful progress. I confidently instructed to him the defeat of this army. After several times engaging the advanced forces of the enemy, with his accustomed success, this daring man marched with a detachment on Memphis, where on the 21st instant he inflicted an important loss and created such a panic as to cause the whole army to retreat rapidly and evacuate North Mississippi. The Governor of MISSISSIPPI has now placed in the field a force of militia so large as will liberate General Forrest and his corps for action in another field. Every arrangement had been made to facilitate the passage of the troops from beyond the MISSISSIPPI River. The night of the 20th was fixed for the crossing. No doubt seems to have been entertained of its success, but the troops themselves are understood to be so averse to the movement that for the present, at least, it has been suspended. General Roddey, with 1,400 men, marched on the-instant to break up the communications of General Sherman's army. Several smaller bodies of cavalry have been sent out from North Alabama by General Daniel W. Adams with the same object.
On the 26th instant the railroad between Montgomery and Opelika was again in running order. The early completion of this important work is due to the energy and skill of Major George Whitfield, of the quartermaster's department.
I am greatly indebted to General J. M. Withers for his cordial assistance in organizing the State reserves of Alabama for the defense of the District of the Gulf, and for his earnest effort to do all in his power to aid me in the responsible position in which I had been placed. These reserves constituted the chief force for defense of Mobile.