War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0708 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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be delivered to the officers and soldiers of the Ohio National Guard who recently saved in the military force of the United States as volunteers for 100 days.


CAIRO, ILL., September 11, 1864.


Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I respectfully present this may report of my inspections and observations on the Mississippi river since I left Louisville, 1st of August. In descending the river I made few stops, being desirous of seeing Major-General Canby. At this time the enemy were in force in Louisiana, and, besides the force necessary to hold the position at Morganza, General Canby had at that place a large force to watch the movements of the rebels. Arriving at New Orleans I found that fort Gaines, on the eastern point of Dauphin Island, had been captured, and that the work protecting Grant's Pass had been abandoned, whereby secure entrance to Mobile Bay was attained, and the inland navigation of New Orleans from the sea to the same bay was opened. Fort Morgan was then invested. With the then available force at General Canby's command I did not think that he would be able to move Mobile itself, even after Fort Morgan should have fallen. I inspected Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, garrisoned by colored troops, and was much pleased by their appearance. Their drill with heavy ordnance was highly satisfactory. The colored troops at Morganza were also in excellent condition and drill.

I modified the instructions to General Canby in reference to the consolidation of the colored regiments, retaining all regiments having the minimum of strength, and such as he believed would soon be brought up to that standard. Having a foothold on the mainland of Southern Alabama, I felt satisfied that the negroes would steadily come into our lines, and such as might be received General Canby would cause to be assigned to the old regiments to bring them up to a proper standard without making any new organizations.

At Natchez, and Vidalia, opposite thereto, owing to the presence of the enemy, especially on the right bank of the Mississippi, the lines had been drawn in. Since the departure of the rebel troops to Missouri there is no longer any apprehension at those points, and the number of our troops is deemed sufficient. The colored troops here are in excellent condition, but one regiment is very weak. It is intended to make expeditions into the interior, and I hope that negroes sufficient will be collected to fill up these four regiments.

On Palmyr Bend, there is a large home farm where the negroes are cultivating on their own account, and, I understand, are doing very well. This settlement is guarded by eight companies of a regiment (colored), sufficient for the purpose, as the neck of the bend is quite narrow. This colony containing many of the indigent, will, I understand, be self- supporting.

At Vicksburg the lines have been very much contracted, but the force is amply sufficient for its protection. Here there are several above Vicksburg, two points are held by colored troops which give protection to the line of settlements on the river- Goodrich's Landing and Milliken's Bend. The works thrown up at these points can readily ge defended by the troops against ordinary attacks.