HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,
Selma, Ala., April 28, 1865.
Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Military Division of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: The water in the Alabama River is falling very rapidly, and it is the opinion of the navy officers of the expedition and river men generally that the gun-boat Cincinnati and some of our heavy-draft transports could not go to Montgomery with the prospect of being able to return on this rise. There is a small rebel force and also a guerrilla band in this vicinity, and it is probable that if we should leave this place unoccupied they would establish themselves here and perhaps interrupt navigation. Taylor's forces are at Meridian and on the road between here and there. He is repairing the railroad and has commenced to rebuild the bridge across the Cahawba. I have ordered the work on the bridge to be suspended until the result of the negotiations now going on shall be known. If the negotiations should be unsuccessful, he might make it necessary for us to retake the place. For these reasons I have ordered General Andrews' two brigades, except one regiment, to disembark here with ten days' rations and occupy the place until further orders. The three heaviest draft transports are to be unloaded and return to Mobile, with two of Hawkins' regiments as guards, and to load with cotton on the way down. The Cincinnati will convoy them. As soon as these arrangements can be perfected, I shall proceed to Montgomery with two tin-clads and the rest of the transports, leaving one for General Andrews to ferry his command, in case he should be ordered to Montgomery by land or have occasion to send dispatches. His troops could march to Montgomery in two days and a half. General Taylor says he is negotiating with General Canby with reference to peace; and as Sherman has sent dispatches on the same subject, it seems probable that a final settlement may soon be arrived at. I will make any alterations in the fortifications at Montgomery with reference to permanent occupation which may be deemed advisable, but do not see that there will be much else for me to do until further instructions may be received from the general commanding. I believe General Wilson has touched every point mentioned in my instructions. I do not know whether General Grierson has heard about the negotiations, or whether he would pay any attention to them if he had. I shall render him any assistance he may need.
Very respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. 1ST DIV., U. S. COLORED TROOPS, No. 50. Selma, Ala., April 28, 1865.
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II. In accordance with instructions from Major-General Steele, commanding expeditionary forces, Brigadier General William A. Pile will proceed to Mobile, Ala., in command of the escort, Forty-seventh and Seventy-thrid Regiments, ordered for the steamers Iberville, Thomas, and Laurel Hill.
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By order of Brigadier General J. P. Hawkins:
SAML. B. FERGUSON,