try gradually declines until we reach Ultima Thule and Murfreesborough, when the country becomes level or slightly undulating. The soil becomes darker in color and the country better cultivated. Below this line, joining Murfreesborough and Ultima Thule, our troops have never been. The citizens have remained at home and cultivated their farms, except a few of the large planters, who have carried their negroes across Red River for safety. I think that there is no doubt about subsistence and forage in sufficient quantities being found in this section of country and on the Red River. Cross-roads abound and in dry weather are practicable for any movements of the army. In wet weather these black lands are difficulties on our way only so far as mud is concerned. Supposing our column at Paraclifta, and wishing to move across Red River, there are several points which may be selected: We can go to Fulton, where the rebels had a pontoon bridge, which is about thirteen miles from Washington and twenty-nine from Paraclifta; or, crossing Little River, which is given a breadth of between 400 and 500 feet, at Layne's Ferry, four miles from Paraclifta, we can moved toward the Red River and cross at Hooper's or Thompson's Ferries; or, keeping upon the old Clarksville stage road, cross at Laynesport, or just above at Mill Creek Ferry. The Red River is reported to me to be about 700 feet wide at these points, whenever it is necessary to bridge it. My idea is to cross the Red River as high up as possible, so as to it. My idea is to cross the Red River as high up as possible, so as to cross the Sulphur Fork or Red and Big Cypress high up, these streams both having a bad reputation for bad bottom lands and for overflowing their banks down near their junction with Red River.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. WHEELER,
Captain of Engineers, Chief Engineer of Department, &c.
SEAMER CITY OF CAIRO,
Cairo, April 29, 1865 - 6. 30 p. m. (Received 30th.)
Major General JOHN POPE:
At 9 a. m. on the morning of the 23rd instant the rebel ram Webb ran out of Red River, passing all our gun-boats and iron-clads at the mouth; passed down the Mississippi at great speed. Lieutenant-Commander Foster, on gun-boat Lafayette, started in pursuit, followed by the ram Vindicator. The Webb came near Destroying the steamer Saratoga. The object is to destroy all boats south of Red River and then escape to the Gulf. She is very fast, built in New York, and is a sea-going vessel. The telegraph was destroyed below Baton Rouge, so that she would arrive at New Orleans without notification. I left Helena on morning of 28th. No boat from New Orleans for two days. The Sultana was last boat. I will be in Saint Louis to-morrow evening.
A. McD. McCook,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS, Numbers 103.
Little Rock, Ark., April 29, 1865.
* * * * *
7. The following order is republished for the information and guidance of troops in this department: *
8. Brigadier General A. N. Duffie, U. S. Volunteers, having reported to these headquarters in obedience to orders from headquarters Military
* See Special Orders, Numbers 40, Military Division of the Missouri, April 22, p. 158.