War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0761 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION.

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commanding Military Division of West Mississippi. Since being assigned to the command at this point I have frequently sent a small boat containing a detail of my provost guards across the Mississippi River for the purpose of answering flags of truce, and for no other purpose. Those details have brought from the Mississippi side several deserters from the rebel army and a few refugees, white and black. Until the 3rd instant those details we not interrupted in any manner by the navy, and no objection was made on the part of the navy to their crossing. On the 3rd instant a detail sent over by my order to answer a flag of truce was fired upon by order of the commanding officer of the U. S. steamer Tyler- a blank shot was first fired and then a ball or shell. My boat landed, however, and took aboard the wife and child of a former captain in the rebel service, who deserted from the enemy and came in to this place on the 18th ultimo and was sent by my order to Cairo, Ill. Upon the return of my boat it was met and fired upon by an armed boat from the Tyler (several of the shot striking very close) and required to report tot he Tyler. Believing that the correspondence explains itself I deem it unnecessary to say more. Will you please inform me what right, if any, the army have on the Mississippi River! Also if there are any orders in existence giving the navy supreme control and command of the river! I am desirous of avoiding trouble and misunderstanding with the navy, and would not presume to interfere with their affairs, and do not propose to submit to their interference with me in the execution of what I consider to be my legitimate duties. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

[First indorsement.]


New orleans, La., December 8, 1864.

Respectfully referred to Major General J. J. Reynolds for remark.

By order of Major General E. R. S . Canby:


Lieutenant-Colonel nd Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Second indorsement.]


New Orleans, December 9, 1864.

Respectfully returned to headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi.

Brigadier-General McGinnis, commanding forces at mouth of White River, has the undoubted right to send a boat and guard across the river and is responsible for any result consequent. The commanding officer of the naval forces has the same right, and incurs the same responsibility. Neither commander is answerable to the other in matters or movements of no greater magnitude then such as elicited this correspondences. The misunderstanding is a source of regret, and an observance of proper courtesy,it seems, would have prevented it. No orders are deemed necessary in the premises.