light. Captain How and assistants are superintending the embarkation. Pilot says cannot move before light as he cannot pass through vessels lying at City Point.
JOHN B. HOWARD,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
OFFICE OF PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
July 27, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Two deserters from the Twelfth Mississippi, Harris' brigade, anderson's division, Hill's corps, came into our lines at 8 o'clock last night. They left the trenches about dark. They corroborate our latest information regarding the position of their division. They state that Heth's division is on their right, but not in line; that it has not been in the trenches for some time; that they are encamped just to the rear of their works along the Weldon railroad and in the vicinity of the lead-works; that they are always in readiness to go into the trenches, if necessary, but that there is nothing in front of them. One of informants was in Petersburg on Monday last to visit a friend in Barksdale's old brigade, of McLaws' division. This brigade was encamped near the reservoir, and was under marching orders, but has not yet moved, to informant's knowledge. He did not learn where the rest of the division was, but understood that it was somewhere in the vicinity, and that the entire division was under marching orders. Barksdale's brigade was separated from the rest of the division in order to get a better camping-ground. Same informant has lately (some time last week) been to visit Jenkins' (South Carolina) brigade, of Field's division, which lay to the left of Anderson's division. this brigade was building a fort on the extreme right of Longstreet's corps. One of Informants received a letter from Jackson, Miss., dated the 12th instant. At that time a portion of Kirby Smith's command was marching through the town. It had crossed the Mississippi below Vicksburg, and was said to be on the way to-enforce Johnston. Neither of informants can account for Wilcox's division. Two contrabands came from Petersburg last evening. They left about midnight; came out of town on the Vaughan road as far as the lead-works, then took the stage road to within a mile of Reams' Station, where they crossed the railroad and came into our lines. They report no infantry below the lead-works, except several companies at the Six-Mile House, sent out there from the lead-works on picket. The cavalry patrol the stage road and picket on this side the railroad. They think it is the Hampton Legion. They have been in Petersburg for some time; have seen no movement of troops lately, except about the middle of last week a brigade (unknown) passed over on the Chesterfield side, and about the same time another brigade came from the Chesterfield side to this. They have not been permitted to go about the enemy's lines, and can give information of their position, and they are not informed of any important movement of late. A contraband came into our lines night before last from Reams' Station. He states that he was a servant of an officer in the Twentieth Georgia Cavalry [Battalion]. He is unintelligent and can give no important information. We can learn, however, from his story that Young's bri-