advised of the presence of some 800 rebel cavalry, with four pieces of artillery within twenty miles of me, southeasterly, on the Homochitto. In aid General Dana's plans, I am drawing them as near and keeping them as confident as possible. Please to understand that in asking for cavalry here it was to enable me to make offensive movements and to secure supplies, not that I consider Natchez in present danger. A small force is sufficient for defense. I am desirous of something more when proper to act.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY EXPEDITION, Black River Bridge, November 23, 1864-1.30 p. m.
Lieutenant Colonel T. H. HARRIS,
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I have arrived here; 2,200 cavalry and eight pieces artillery. Train has arrived on railroad, and the process of laying the bridges will commence immediately. Large fires, caused by the burning grass, have made immense volumes of smoke, which can plainly be seen ten to fifteen miles. Our project of going to Jackson has been fully announced two days since. I regret to report two hours' delay with pontoon train-one hour and a half from non-arrival of the lieutenant in charge and one-half hour from bad roads. Everything promises well. We have [met] no enemy.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. OSBAND,
Colonel Third U. S. Colonel Cav., Commanding Cav. Forces, Dist. of Vicksburg.
It is reported that the lieutenant in charge of the pontoon train communicated to a citizen named George the news that the troops were going to Jackson, and that he had been ordered to have his train ready. Order the chief engineer to place him in arrest for this and for his dilatoriness in marching, and let him make a written explanation. The engineer will have his place filled.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, On board steamer Albert Pearce, Saint Louis, Mo., November 23, 1864.
Colonel S. G. HILL,
Commanding Third Brigade, First Division:
SIR: The general commanding directs that you cause the transports on which your command is embarked to be in readiness to proceed to Cairo, Ill., to-morrow morning at daybreak. Upon arriving at that point the boats will take on coal for four days. Immediately after coaling the boats will swing into the steam and await further orders from these headquarters. The exact time for starting will be indicated by an officer from these headquarters.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. F. RANDALL,
42 R R-VOL XLI, PT IV