in some 200 negroes, as the officers report, and I have directed the pickets to allow them to enter the lines. Had I not better send out two regiments to look after matter?
W. J. LANDRAM,
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Natchez, Miss., August 16, 1864.
Major C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Mil. Div. of West Miss., New Orleans, La.:
SIR: I have the acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 9th with slip from a newspaper. I have procured and herewith furnish copies of reports* from my subordinate officers, which I trust will be found full and satisfactory. It is seldom that newspaper paragraphs can be relied on. I will in future make report as suggested of each movement, whether involving important consequences or not, so that the major-general commanding may be adequately advised. On assuming command I found much confusion and want of system at headquarters and in the camps. I am correcting this. Want of sufficient working force delays me yet somewhat. The enemy are on each side of me in numbers superior to mine. While I cannot meet them on their ground, I can repel their advances, and drive in any parties they send forward; this, and to cover forage trains, is the object of the little expeditions that are being made. I have advices of intended attacks upon this place and Vidalia on the opposite side. I think both will be approached at once. I am satisfied that the leased plantations will be devastated. My present force will not cover them. I find a small force of black troops, say 250, at Bullitt's Bayou, seven miles above on the Louisiana side, ostensibly to protect plantations. If seriously attacked these troops cannot defend themselves. I desire to withdraw them. The pledges of military protection made in various ways to lessees create embarrassment. I will communicate with the commanding officer at Vicksburg on this point.
HDQRS. FOURTH ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Natchez, Miss., August 6, 1864.
Lieutenant T. A. RALSTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
Agreeable to verbal instructions received from the colonel commanding, I crossed the Mississippi River at this place with 190 men and 9 commissioned officers and 2 field and staff officers of my command, at 7 p. m., August 4 instant. After crossing the river,by the colonel's order, the command was divided; ninety men and two commissioned officers and one field and staff [officer], under Captain J. F. Wallace, C Company, Fourth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, were ordered by the colonel commanding to report to Lieutenant-Colonel McCaleb. Before this last detachment got over the river Captain G. L. Collins, B Com-
*For Farrar's report, see Vol. XXXIX, Part I, p. 459.