HEADQUARTERS SPECIAL SCOUTS,
Natchez, Miss., August 27, 1864.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Mil. Div. of West Mississippi:
SIR: I have the honor to report that the person sent by me to try and reach the headquarters of the Submarine Corps, who are engaged in placing torpedoes in the river, has returned without fully accomplishing the desired object, having been arrested at Woodville, Miss., by order of Colonel John S. Scott, who had received a dispatch in cipher from Thomas Hart, of Natchez, that such a person had been sent out for information. But the name in the dispatch was spelled wrong, and my informant, after having been kept a week, was released and a pass given to return to Natchez. No general organization for setting torpedoes was discovered there further tan the report of a soldier that he had assisted to place one at Jackson's Point and that two others were sent to be mouth of Red River. That was all he knew of. The Confederate force at Woodville consists of Colonel Scott's command of 500, Powers', 300, and a battery of 250 men and seven guns, small, probably 6-pounders, commanded by Captain McKowen. They do not stay at Woodville, but have their general headquarters there. There are no fortifications. This person, while at Woodville, saw two wagon-loads of flour come in, which they said came from Bayou Sara. They were sending cotton to Bayou Sara, and boasted that they could get anything they wished there. The persons I sent down the river to investigate the matter of laying those torpedoes below Red River have not returned, and I have not heard from them since they passed the mouth of Red River. They also reported quite a force near Bayou Sara, but my informant could not learn how many.
I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
I. N. EARL,
First Lieutenant, Commanding Special Scouts.
U. S. STEAMER CHILLICOTHE,
Off Fort Adams, Miss., August 27, 1864.
Commanding Department of the Southwest, New Orleans, La.:
SIR: I have the honor to state that a refugee came on board on the 26th instant, by the name of Charles W. Wheeler, claiming to have been imprisoned at Shreveport because he would not enlist in the rebel service. He informs me that he escaped about the 1st of August, and that he saw troops on his way from the lower country, on their way to Black River. He also saw three steamers loaded with small skiffs fifteen miles below Natchitoches and two steamers loaded with troops and provisions a few miles below Alexandria. He heard a general say while he was in jail that small boats were being sent up Black River to carry troops the Mississippi and for that reason he supposed the skiffs he saw on the steamers were for the same purpose. The skiffs were not large enough to cross horses. He heard the general say that the men were to be dismounted, and that no cavalry was to be crossed. He heard conversations to the effect that the rebels intended to abandon Louisiana; to attack Natchez when they had crossed the Mississippi; to re-enforce Johnston at Atlanta, and to send a small force to Franklin,