War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0154 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

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there is no prospect of whipping in a fight. If your movements can be kept secret, you succeed; but I think this is almost impossible in an army of gentlemen. It may be necessary for me to fall back on Bloomfield if attacked too strongly; but if they come after me, you will succeed in your enterprise; and if they suspect you, they cannot spare men to hunt me in these swamps, for they know that I will kill all that come. If you could noisily charter all the small steamboats for a trip up White River, it might make the people believe you were going to Hardee. Give me the ammunition and what guns you have not men for, and I will protect all this country, and, if necessary, stop the navigation of the Mississippi. As you will have no field work, can you let me have Captain Bankhead's company?

M. JEFF. THOMPSON,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General GEDEON J. PILLOW, C. S. A., New Madrid, Mo.

HDQRS. FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. S. G.,

Camp Hunter, Mo., September 2, 1861-1 p. m.

DEAR GENERAL: I am getting in very close quarters, but will try to remain here until your plans or the plans of the enemy are further developed to the public. If the post at Sikeston was maintained, I am in the best point in the country; but, when the enemy find that it is abandoned (if they can spare forces from Bird's Point), I will be in danger of being cut off. Four thousand men have just reached Cape Girardeau from Ironton, having marched across, with 150 wagons. I am, having them carefully watched, and will be prepared to retreat to Bloomfield at a moment's warning. Forces from all directions are pouring into Cairo. My spies report 8,000 there on Saturday night. Having been absent when your letter came (about the prisoner's exchange), I have not been able to send mine to you. I will try to send them to Charleston.

Yours, respectfully,

M. JEFF. THOMPSON,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General GEDEON J. PILLOW, New Madrid, Mo.

HDQRS. FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. S. G.,

Camp Hunter, Scott County, Mo., September 3, 1861-7 p. m.

DEAR GENERAL: Your of this day is at hand.* I will fall back as far as Sikeston to-morrow, and continue southward, if necessary, but believe my proper position to be on the White or Little Rivers, at Wagner's or Carpenter's Ford. Seven thousand men, now at Jackson, are to start down to Bloomfield and to the west end of the plank road to-morrow to cut off me and your retreat in that direction. These are under General Prentiss. My man from Cairo reports this morning 6,000 in Cairo, 5,000 at Bird's Point, 1,000 at Thebes, and 1,000 went down the river yesterday. These are the ones who landed opposite Columbus. This whole force is either to occupy Columbus or move on you, to drive you back in the country from New Madrid, while General Prentiss appears at the plank road to bag you. The object is to be consummated next Saturday night. This is the information gathered from a gentleman

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*Not found.

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