I would suggest that a competent ordnance officer be sent to inspect thoroughly the entire Fort Pickering armament, with a view to taking the necessary measures for rendering it serviceable without delay.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. D. McALESTER,
Captain of Engineer, Chief Engineer.
HEADQUARTERS SPECIAL SCOUTS,
Natchez, Miss., December 14, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Mil. Div. of West Mississippi:
SIR: I have the honor to report that, according to the best information I can get, the enemy in this vicinity are concentrating the most of their available force on or near the river, below this place. Such measures have heretofore indicated or proved to have been an initiatory measure taken by them when preparing to cross men or valuable material across the river above.
I therefore respectfully request that you will, if possible, furnish me with the use of a boat immediately, to enable me to investigate this matter, as it will most likely be too late before the steamer Colonel Cowles can received the necessary repairs. I have positive information that there are some 500 or 600 in the vicinity of Palestine and Cold Springs. They have just arrived from above and are moving toward the river. I know of nothing for them to make a demonstration upon in that direction, and consider that it must be to cover some other move.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
W. P. KNOWLES,
First Lieutenant, Commanding Special Scouts.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 447.
Washington, December 14, 1864.
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12. The leave of absence granted Major General F. J. Herron, U. S. Volunteers, in Special Orders, Numbers 267, October 3, 1864, from headquarters Department of the Gulf, is hereby extended ten days.
* * *
By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, Numbers 175.
New Orleans, December 14, 1864.
In pursuance of General Orders, Numbers 80, headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, the following regulations are published for the information and guidance of all parties concerned:
1. All permits heretofore granted by Mr. O. N. Cutler, purchasing agent, will be returned to the officer hereinafter appointed for registry and military permit, under section 9 of General Orders, Numbers 80, above referred to. Any person attempting the lines or bring in