HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. S. G.,
Bloomfield, Mo., August 5, 1861.
Major General GIDEON J. PILLOW,
Commanding Army of Liberation, New Madrid, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: I reached my quarters at 7 o'clock, and found positive orders from General Hardee, dated last Friday, to move to his assistance at once to Greenville or some point northward. Hardee's command was at Greenville Saturday night, and probably at this time is at Pilot Knob or Ironton. My men made no move, as they were entirely unable to do so when I was away. I sent 250 dragoons to a point a few miles west of Lakeville at daybreak, and will send 500 infantry to support them, and then await further orders, as I have forwarded your letter, with one from myself, to General Hardee, by Colonel Hoy, with an escort of 5 men, and he will get your letter by 10 o'clock to-morrow. The news that I find from Cape Girardeau in very contradictory. Some say that all the forces have left the Cape, and others deny it. The boats certainly went below, with the men on boards, but whether they returned on Saturday night, or landed at Commerce, remains to be seen. I expect reliable information in the morning, but, after this, will leave. I will be on the qui vive, although Hardee says I must immediately come to him, and, if I do not receive another dispatch to-morrow, I will go to see him to-morrow night. The position my men will have will place them towards Benton.
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
P. S.-Another order from General Hardee has just arrived. He commands my support, and I will march with all my support in the morning, on the line between Ironton and Cape Girardeau. I will leave a guard here to bring up my cannon.
NEW MADRID, August 6, 1861.
GENERAL: Governor Jackson returns to Memphis to see you. Hardee is in Greenville with 3,000 men; he has ordered Thompson from Boomfield to his support, and he has gone. These facts we learn from a dispatch just received from General Thompson. This leaves me here in an exposed position, without any support from any quarter. There is intelligence from above of the movements of the enemy which we do not understand. If our information is reliable as to his movements (and they came through different channels), it would seen that a movement on this place, in two columns of about 4,000 each by land and a movement by the river, assailing my position in front and rear, are within his plans. My position in the rear does not admit of any defense in the rear, the whole country being an open plain. You must either support me and promptly, or you must order me back. The true policy is to give me the necessary support. While I am supported here the enemy cannot pass down the river. He will not attempt a movement down the river below your batteries without a stronger force than he has, but he can reach my position here in a few hours. If you think, however, that he may make the move down the river, it only increases the necessity of your giving such force here as will enable [me] to meet him at this place or to promptly order the force back; otherwise it would appear that my