War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0215 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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General E. K. Smith, ordering, certain bodies of troops to cross to the east side of the Mississippi River, recommending that the crossing should take place at some point above that part of the river which is patrolled by the larger gun-boats. The enemy must not be allowed to cross the river. Officers commanding will develop their utmost vigilance and activity, and take every possible precaution to prevent such a movement. Vessels must be kept in motion, night and day. Should it be necessary to move the iron-clads to not hesitate to avail yourself of the services of any steamer or steamers to tow them with rapidity to the point where the crossing may be prevented.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. M. PENNOCK,

Captain, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,

New Orleans, La., October 24, 1864.

Major General J. J. REYNOLDS,

Commanding, &c., Mouth of White River:

Captain Moffitt, just exchanges, reports that Magruder's forces, after falling back, are again moving up for the purpose of attacking Steele. I think this has been given out by the rebels for the purpose of covering the attempt to cross the river. Advise Steele.

E. R. S. CANBY,

Major-General, Commanding.

MORGANZA, October 24, 1864.

(Received 6.45 p. m.)

Lieutenant-Colonel CHRISTENSEN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

Captain Moffitt, of the One hundred and twentieth Ohio Volunteers, an exchanged prisoner, reports he learned in Alexandria from conversation with rebel officers that the enemy had fallen back in Arkansas to the Ouachita River, but had lately again advanced, as they had to drive Steele out of the State. Captain Moffitt reports but a comparatively small force south of the Red River, the bulk of their army having gone to Arkansas.

M. K. LAWLER,

Brigadier-General.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, U. S. COLORED TROOPS,

Morganza, La., October 24, 1864.

Major GEORGE B. DRAKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

MAJOR: I have the honor to state that the present system of recruiting for colored troops has proved a failure, and does not meet the wants of the service, and I take the liberty to suggest that experience has demonstrated there are but two ways to get soldiers: First, that partially adopted by the Government at the commencement of the war in accepting by regiments, and then holding the officers responsible for