I am instructed to request that you will use every possible means at your disposal to obtain information of the movements of the enemy, with special reference to the renewed attempts which will doubtless be made by him to cross a large force from the west side of the river, and communicate the same to the nearest gun-boats, and to Major-General Reynolds, at the mouth of the White River, sending duplicates of dispatches to these headquarters.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
(To each commanding officer of posts on the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and Memphis.)
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF WEST MISSISSIPPI, Numbers 161.
New Orleans, La., October 18, 1864.
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3. Under the instructions contained in General Orders, Numbers 251, dated War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, August 31, 1864, the military posts of Vicksburg and Natchez and the District of Vicksburg are hereby designated as "separate brigades."
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By order of Major General E. R. S. Canby:
B. F. MOREY,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ENGINEER, DEPT. OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, October 18, 1864.
Major GEORGE B. DRAKE,
MAJOR: In regard to the new organization of the troops belonging to the Corps d'Afrique do not regard it meddlesome if I make a suggestion. The regiments that were raised in the first place as engineer regiments, and since styled such in general orders from headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, are by the new arrangement scattered through different brigades. Many of the best officers of these regiments are not willing to remain in them unless they retain their original organization. Would it not be advisable to form these five regiments (Eighty-first, Ninety-sixth, Ninety-seventh, Ninety-eighth, and Ninety-ninth U. S. Colored Infantry) into a brigade of itself, and let them be called--as in general orders, Military Division of West Mississippi--U. S. Colored Infantry (engineer troops)? Colonel Cobb, who commands the Ninety-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry, being senior officer of these regiments of engineer troops, would command the brigade. He commands a brigade under the new organization. I know this arrangement would give greater satisfaction to the officers, and if it would not be detrimental to the arrangements already made I would most earnestly request that this be done. These troops have already performed considerable service