WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 195.
Washington, April 30, 1865.
3. Bvt. Brigadier General William Hoffman, colonel Third U. s. Infantry, will proceed without delay to Memphis, Tenn., and such other points in the vicinity as may be necessary, to investigate and report upon the circumstances connected with the destruction of the steamer Sultana and the loss of life among the paroled prisoners of war consequent thereto, in accordance with verbal instructions of the Secretary of War. Upon completing this duty he will return to this city. *
By order of the Secretary of War:
W. A. NICHOLS,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF LA FOURCHE, OFFICE OF ACTING ASSISTANT INSPECTOR-GENERAL,
Thibodeaux, La., April 30, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel W. D. SMITH,
Actg. Asst. Insp. General, Southern Division of Louisiana:
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following tri-monthly report for this date: Since my arrival at these headquarters on the 28th instant no movements of troops have taken place, so far as I am informed. The records in the adjutant-general's office show that on the 21st instant Major J. M. Hildreth, with Companies B and K of his regiment (Sixteenth Indiana Mounted Infantry), went on a scout to Bayou Goula for the purpose of capturing or dispersing Captain Brown's company of guerrillas. Five of them were discovered, of whom three were captured, the others escaping in the swamps, with the loss of their horses. Four horses, 3 prisoners, 1 Burnside carbine, and 3 pistols were brought in. The expedition reached camp 12 m. on the 22nd instant. On Monday, the 25th instant, Brigadier-General Cameron moved his headquarters temporarily to Brashear City. None of the staff officers were moved except the adjutant-general's office. There have been no changes of station among the troops since the 20th instant. Since my arrival I have been able to visit but two of the provost-marshals' offices in the district, viz, that at Brashear City and that at Thibodeaux. The records at both appear to be well kept. The guard-house at Brashear was neat and clean. The prisoners are confined in the attic, but the provost-marshal (First Lieutenant S. e. Shepard, Eleventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry) informed me that it was intended to add another (second) story to his guard-house. The parish jail at Thibodeaux is dark and damp. The floors are washed nearly every day, but it takes all day for them to dry. There are a large number of prisoners here awaiting trial or publication of sentence. None of them appear unreasonable detailed. While at Brashear City yesterday I took occasion to observe the drill of the Ninety-eighth U. S. Colored Infantry and of Battery A, Second Illinois Light Artillery (doing duty as heavy artillery). Many companies of the former were drilled by sergeants, and in a manner more than useless, confirming the men in irregularities. Some of the officers were grossly unmilitary, and exhibited ignorance of primary principles. Swearing at the men seemed to be an approved mode of imparting instructions. A sergeant was drilling the battery above named as infantry, while men in the ranks
* For report, see Part I, p. 213.