MERIDIAN, May 3, 1865.
Major General F. STEELE:
The following telegram has just been received.*
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, NORTHERN ALABAMA,
Montgomery, May 4, 1865.
Respectfully furnished Major-General Grierson, for his information. This dispatch will be his guide until furhter orders.
By order of Major General F. Steele:
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
HDQRS. ARMY AND DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
Mobile, Ala., May 3, 1865.
Major General A. J. SMITH,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The general-in-chief directs that you at once relieve all troops of General Steele's immediate command on the line from Montgomery and Selma, in order to enable them to return to this point. You will at the same time assume command of all the infantry and cavalry remaining after the departure of General Steele's column. General Grierson will be ordered to report to you as soon as practicable. Lieutenant-General Taylor, C. S. Army, having assented to surrender his command under conditions offered by the general-in-chief, and the agreement to be consummated at an interview of the generals arranged for to-morrow (4th), you will at once desist from all aggressive operations, unless attacked or threatened yourself by the enemy. You will dispose your troops in such a way as to occupy all important military points from Selma to Montgomery, and farther to the right to Opelika, making connection with the troops of Major-General Wilson, on the Chattahoochee. All points in rear of the above line which it will appear prudent to hold you of course garrison also. It will be very important to impress on the commanding officers of all posts so established to keep their troops well in hand, and at all times be fully prepared for any immediate emergency. No relaxation in vigilance must be indulged in, and the very strictest discipline must be enforced. You will please order all pints occupied to be entrenched and made secure against any surprise. The general-in-chief further directs that you send a suitable officer and a sufficient cavalry force along the Alabama and Great Northern Railroad all the way from Montgomery to Stockton. The officer will investigate the condition of the road and its rolling-stock and report to these headquarters fully, so as to provide for everything necessary to put the road in running order again. If there is any of the directory at Montgomery, or within your reach, they ought to be sent to these headquarters to confer with the general in regard to the road.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. JOS. OSTERHAUS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
P. S.-Your dispatch of the 25th was received in due course.
C. T. C.
*See Canby to Taylor, May 2, p. 575.