War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0142 KY.,S. W. VA.,TENN.,N. & C. GA.,MISS.,ALA., & W. FLA.

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NEW ORLEANS, March 30, 1865.

Major-General HURLBUT:

DEAR SIR: Having had the honor to be sent through the military lines at Pescagoula upon special duty, I desire to report that after having accomplished all that had been desired of me, was just upon the point of returning when I was arrested, carried to Meridian, Miss., and there closely confined until a few days since, when I purchased my release and was conduced through the lines to Memphis, Tenn. I was required by Colonel Robinson (your provost-marshal-general at the time) to get information in regard to the means of transportation upon the rivers and railroads coming into Mobile, as well as to know the destination of the then scattered Hood's army. In a few days I learned that there were in all about twenty-three steamers in running order upon the rivers. My information even extended so far as to enable me to get a complete list of their names, ownership, and the amount of their tonnage, together it their class and description. There were upon the Montgomery and West Railroad seven locomotives and fifty cars of all kinds. Upon the Mobile and Ohio Railroad ten locomotives and some sixty or seventy freight and passenger cars. I learned at that time the true destination of the remnant of Hood's army, which is now no information. I also learned that there were not to exceed 15,000 or 18,000 troops in and around Mobile. I have reason to believe that this force has not been greatly augmented since that time. After being arrested, the roads were in such a state that it was possible to send forward those who were under arrest and in prison at Meridian with myself. The Selma road from that point to Meridian was almost entirely destroyed. The Montgomery road, from Pollard to Blakely, was also in an impassable condition, and there were no troops on the river to be sent to Mobile. Forrest, in Northern Mississippi, was said to have from 4,000 to 6,000 cavalry at West Point, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. I subsequently learned at Grenada, in passing through that place, that he had crossed the Yalobusha River, going northward to meet a raid, consisting of what was there reported some 22,000 men. In passing through Jackson, Miss., I met an old gentleman by the name of Bowen, whom I knew-he has a son, lieutenant in the C. S. Navy. Upon his making some inquiries of a naval officer about his son, he told me that the officer had revealed to him that his name was Captain Read (you will remember he was famous in 1863 for having destroyed so many vessels upon the fishery coast), and that he was then destined for Shreveport, La., for the purpose of bringing certain rams out of Red River to attack the Mississippi Squadron. This was impaired to me in great privacy. On my route down the river I gave this information to Lieutenant Commander James P. Foster, in command of U. S. gun-boat Lafayette, at the mouth of Red River. The nature of the order by which I was sent out precludes the possibility of my again appearing upon Confederate domains. I regret, sir, that so much time has expired before I could get the desired information to you, but hoping that it may yet prove of service, although it is only from memory (having had to destroy all my notes, which were accurate), I still hold myself ready to report at any time you may desire upon any points not herein made plain.