CAMP JOHNSTON, MO., November 7, 1861-6.30 a.m.
SIR: I moved down to this point yesterday afternoon, and I will move to Camp Prairie this morning and to Camp Watkins this afternoon, if necessary. One column of the enemy encamped at Castor Bridge and one at Carpenter's Ferry. We are safe from any, unless a column should press on down to New Madrid, which I have every reason to believe they have not, as my vedettes left Sikeston as late as 2 o'clock yesterday. If the coast is clear I will cross over to New Madrid; if it is not, I will remain at the end of the plank road until driven away. I will send all of Lewis' cavalry over to the east side of the swamp as soon as possible. Luke Byrne's cavalry will cross the Blanton road to-day to picket the country on that side. Send me any news you have by a courier, on a fresh horse, to-day, over the plank road and up until he meets me.
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
Colonel J. A. WALKER, New Madrid, Mo.
HDQRS. FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT MO. S. G., New Madrid, Mo., November 10, 1861-10 p.m.
DEAR SIR: Yours of the 5th,* per Lieutenant Owens, was received night before last, while on my way to Columbus, from which place I have just returned. I took your letter with me to General Pol, and he will write to you at his earliest opportunity; but, as I can give you the information you desire [as it is possible he has his hands full for several days], I will write and let your courier return.
There was a general movement of the Federals on the 1st of this month. Those from Ironton started first and first attracted my attention. I sent my scouts out in the neighborhood of Greenville, and became satisfied that their cavalry had gotten too much in advance of their infantry, and, had not already turned back, that I could cut it off. I was making arrangements to carry out my plans, when I received notice that a simultaneous march of several large columns was being made upon Bloomfield. I immediately commenced preparing to retreat, and barely had my baggage safe, when 7,000 of the enemy closed in their net, but found me missing. They probably would have pursued me southward at once, but the descent of the Mississippi having been so signally defeated at Columbus on the 8th, that all the columns have been halted, and probably ordered to return, to plan anew. It seems that the largest force, which was to have marched from Paducah to attack Columbus on the land side, did not come to time, so that the force which landed on the Missouri side, to second the gunboats, was defeated most signally, and the boats forced to return. I understand to-night that Bloomfield has been evacuated, so that probably we may have quiet for a few days, unless the column from Ironton passed down the Black River [beyond my information], and advanced too far to receive orders promptly enough to retreat in time.
The battle at Columbus was a hotly-contested and bloody affair, and if the Paducah forced had arrived in time, the fate of Columbus might have been sealed. You will see detached accounts in the newspapers, but I will simply state that not less than 300,000 rounds of musketry