therefore there would be no object accomplished by a fight in that direction. The party from Charleston has returned, and reports 13,000 men at Bird's Point, getting ready to move here, to cut us off from an approach to the Mississippi River north of them, and they will probably make the attempt within 48 hours. If they do, we will need all our force east of here; but, should enough troops reach here to-morrow to hold Bird's Poin in check, I will send all my dragoons to aid you in taking the points named above. I will send you a 12-pounder early in the morning. If your pickets want to smell powder, let them have a chance. Lieutenant-Colonel Akers will accede to any of your suggestions.
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
CAMP SIKESTON, MO., August 14, 1861.
Brigadier General GIDEON J. PILLOW, C. S. A., New Madrid, Mo.:
DEAR GENERAL: The enemy, before retiring into Benton, burned Parrott's Mill, which has been our main reliance, and there is no mill of consequence now in Scott County, except a splendid mill in Commerce. There are high bluffs at Commerce, the river is narrow, and the channel runs near our shore. If we had only guns sufficient to old it, it should be taken, by all means, before the enemy estimates its value or prepares to hold it. Cape Girardeau will then rely only on Saint Louis for support, and probably can also be taken before Saturday night. The enemy has no idea of our strength, and we should act while he is in doubt. They knew not what re-enforcements you brought back with you or how many men I have; so, if the men's legs will only carry them fast enough and far enough, we can take everything by storm. I must either threaten the Cape or send a battalion to guard the road from there to Bloomfield.
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
Mississippi River, August 15, 1861.
GENERAL: I have been informed since I left New Madrid that it is the purpose of the enemy to send down to attack your position 10,000 men, of which 5,000 came to-day and 5,000 are to come to-morrow. The 5,000 of to-day will probably stop at Island Numbers 10, with the view of seizing and occupying it, and making it a base of operations for the whole 10,000 when concentrated. This I think more than probable. In that case I am clearly of the opinion that your duty is to cross the river into Tennessee with your whole command at once. To enable you to do this I send you three steamers, the Falls City, the Kentucky, and the Cheeny, which, together with the Grampus and Equality, should enable you to cross promptly. By this movement you may send forward McCown's brigade to attack the enemy on the island from the Tennessee side, and if the movement is prompt, he may cut off the retreat [to] his boats, and you will at all events be able to fight him as well from the Tennessee as