HDQRS. ARMY AND DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
Deer Park, Ala., March 25, 1865.
SIR: You will please send order to the mouth of Fish River for the steamer lying there laden with subsistence stores to proceed at once to Howard's Wharf; also direct that this steamer tow the pontoon equipage, which was taken to the mouth of the river this morning, to the same wharf. If this cannot be done, you are ordered to request the naval officer commanding there to have the pontoon towed up by a tin-clad. Our troops will be at Howard's Wharf early in the morning.
By command of Major General E. R. S. Canby:
P. JOS. OSTERHAUS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, March 25, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Army and Div. of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that Bvt. Major C. S. McEntee, chief quartermaster of Major-General Steele's command, arrived here yesterday morning with dispatches from General Steele desiring me to forward him at once five days' rations for his entire command via Escambia River. Both of my small steamers were away at the time of the major's arrival - the Planter under repairs at the navy-yard, and the Matamoras for logs up the bay - and I was unable to get one of them here until last night, when the Matamoras was loaded and started early this morning with five days' rations up the Escambia River to Cotton Ferry, six miles above Pine Barren bridge. She was provided with a guard of 100 well armed men, of the Second Maine Cavalry, and a good pilot familiar with the Escambia River. I also furnished Major McEntee with all the information collected last year regarding the obstructions in that river, and confidently hope that, if successful in passing over the Escambia Bar, fifteen miles above Pensacola, he will have no further difficulty to contend with, at the present high water, than the overhanging branches of trees from the banks of the river at the Narrows, ten miles above the mouth of the river. From all information received, I do not think that Major-General Steele's command is this day more than ten miles beyond the Pine Barren bridge. The cavalry force, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Spurling, ascending east of the Conecuh River toward Greenville, will hardly be retarded by bad roads or any other embarrassments.. I beg to inclose extracts* from my book of statements and memoranda in regard to the most practicable roads for an advance from here, and the possibility of approaching Mobile City by water in rear of all the rebel works. Copies of this information and all statements relative to rebel forces and movements in this vicinity, collected by myself, were forwarded from time to time to headquarters of Major-General Granger and to the chief signal officer, headquarters Army and Division of West Mississippi. They were also communicated to Major-General Steele while here. Private Cobb, First Florida Cavalry, sent out by me as a scout, is just in from the
* Not found.