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[501] him to endorse fully and freely his own opinion upon it. Colonel Bartlett, with about nine hundred men, was ordered to march on Lake Providence, with instructions to break up the camps of negroes in that vicinity, who were being organized and drilled by the enemy, and thence push his cavalry down to Milliken's Bend, breaking up the plantations in cultivation by agents or contractors of the United States Government. On the 5th he was at Floyd, building a bridge across the Macon, distant about twenty-five miles from Lake Providence; since that date I have received no report from him. If he succeeds in the operations entrusted to him the west bank of the Mississippi river, from the mouth of Red river to the Arkansas line, will be free from the presence of the enemy. I shall use every exertion, by placing an adequate force of cavalry and light artillery on the bank of the river, to annoy and interfere with the navigation of the stream by transports, upon which Grant is dependent for his supplies by way of the Yazoo river.

As soon as Tappan's brigade can reach Richmond, I shall withdraw Walker's division to operate south of Red river.

An additional cavalry force is needed in this section, and I have the honor to request that Captain Nutt's company of mounted men may be immediately ordered to report to Colonel Harrison, in accordance with the understanding which I have with the Lieutenant-General Commanding on this subject. I regret exceedingly that I am unable to report results commensurate with the force employed on this expedition; much greater loss ought to have been inflicted upon the enemy, and the stores which he burned ought to have been captured for our use.

I beg the Lieutenant-General Commanding to believe that I used every personal exertion in order to insure success. Myself and staff acted as pioneers, bridge builders, scouts, quartermasters and commissaries. General Walker's division was suddenly and secretly thrown within six or eight miles of the enemy's line of camps on the Mississippi river; information of the most reliable character furnished to it of the enemy's strength and position, which in every instance was fully verified. Nothing was wanted but vigorous action in the execution of the plans which had been carefully laid out for it, to insure such successes as the condition of affairs would admit. Besides, the division commander had weeks before expressed to the Lieutenant-General Commanding his ardent desire to undertake this or a similar expedition. Unfortunately, I discovered too late that the officers and men of the division were possessed of a dread of gunboats, such as pervaded our people at the commencement of the war. To this circumstance, and to want of mobility in these troops, are to be attributed the meagre results of the expedition. I leave this evening for Monroe and Alexandria, to look after affairs in the southern portion of the State, which are every day increasing in interest.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. Taylor, Major-General Commanding.

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