Cape Girardeau without firing a gun by marching these moonlight nights and taking them by surprise. Every one gives me the credit of having at least 7,000 men, and I have frightened nearly to death. If you will allow the move, let me know it by one of my couriers to-night, so that I can make my first march in the morning, and appear before the Cape at daybreak on Sunday. If I cannot make them capitulate I will retire to Jackson, where the troops at Fredericktown will be a reserve for me.
Yours, most respectfully,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
FORT PILLOW, August 17, 1861.
GENERAL: In my dispatch of yesterday I gave you instructions to order Colonel McCown's brigade forward to occupy and fortify Island Numbers 10 and the main shore on the Tennessee side; and informed you that I had ordered the reconnaissance to be made by Captain Gray, under whose supervision the works would be constructed. The order I hope you executed promptly; if so, they will be prepared for the relief I am now sending them, and the work of seizure which I have deemed of such great importance to the security of my Department will have been effected, and the armament be more or less in place by the time this reaches you. I have ordered Walker's regiment forward to their post, and shall to-day send forward Neely's regiment, with the three artillery companies from Randolph, under Major Stewart, to relieve Colonel McCown at Island Numbers 10. Colonel McCown, in the order given Colonel Neely to relieve him, is ordered to report immediately to you for duty. I feel myself able to relieve Colonel McCown from the duty to which he was assigned thus early, because of intelligence I have received from headquarters at Memphis that a liberal response is being made to my call for troops from below, and this notwithstanding the withdrawal of the two Mississippi regiments for service in East Tennessee.
I have ordered Captain Hamilton Jackson to proceed on the Alonzo Child to you will his company and to report for orders. I have also sent forward on the Child the freight brought up the Hill, of which I wrote you yesterday. You will find 50 wagons, with mules, on the Ingomar. The wagon-master who put the mules ashore from the Hill will report what he has.
You may now proceed with your movement into Missouri as soon as you are ready, and I hope you will proceed cautiously, while you proceed firmly, in making your way out from the swamps into the open country of Missouri. I send forward all the subsistence stores that were on the Hill, which, together with the quartermaster and other stores on the Ingomar and the Child, I hope are all that you need. If you want more, let me know. As to ordnance stores, I take it for granted you have order what you require, and that they too may be on the boats going up or are being sent forward from Memphis.
Hoping you may have a prosperous campaign, I remain, respectfully,
your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Second Department.
P. S.-I inclose you the last dispatches* which have reached us through
*Inclosure not found.
42 R R-VOL III