War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0726 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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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?




HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Natchez, Miss., August 16, 1864.


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.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.



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.