HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER,
New Orleans, La., February 2, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Military Division of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit to your consideration the following report of information received at this office this 2nd day of February, 1865: Mr. Ross, late a lieutenant of engineers at Mobile, left that city January 15, 1865. States that there are three lines of fortifications around the city. The outer line will not be defended. The second line is a substantial, strong, and scientific work, extending from a point near Fort Buchanan, on the day, in a semicircle, to Three-Mile Marsh, near the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The redoubts, lunettes, and works of the inner line cover the second. As an engineer, Mr. Ross pronounces Mobile almost impregnable to an assault. Next below the city on the bay shore is a small work mounting no guns; then Missouri Battery, mounting six guns; then Mortar Battery, mounting three mortars; then Battery Buchanan, mounting three guns; thence in succession down the Shell road, five earth-works mounting no guns. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad is in fair running order. The rails are considerably worn, with good supply of rolling-stock. Forces in and about the city were militia, 2,500; remnant of Thomas' brigade at Hall's Mills, 500; Fifteenth Confederate Cavalry, Colonel Maury, 1,000. The militia and Thomas' command are little to be relied on. The rumor of evacuation arises from the transfer of ammunition and ordnance to points intended to be fortified on the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers. Guns are being remounted on the dismantled works at Choctaw Bluff. Informant knows nothing of the amount of supplies in the city. The middle and poorer classes are discontented and eager for the approach of the Union forces. General Maury, commanding, is described as a timid, irresolute, and excitable officer. Informant represents the gun-boats, especially the Nashville, as less powerful and effective than the earlier refugees have asserted. A powerful demonstration by 12,000 or 15,000 troops from Pascagonia against the west side of the city would, he thinks, compel its evacuation. If General Thomas be threatening Hood no re-enforcements could be drawn from that source for its defense.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. M. EATON,
Captain and Chief Signal Officer, Mil. Div. of West Mississippi.
[FEBRUARY 3, 1865. - For Grant to Stanton, suggesting transfer of West Kentucky and West Tennessee to Department of the Cumberland, see Vol. XLVIII, Part I, p. 727.]
CITY POINT, VA., February 3, 1865.
(Received 4 p. m.)
General Thomas' dispatch of the 1st received. I do not think it will be safe to deplete his army of five divisions of cavalry. Three or four thousand will be sufficient for Canby, and will leave Thomas with