vast importance to us, and the one alluded to in one of my previous letters. I believe myself they will immediately leave. If they do not I will take a small crack at them, to cover our movements. I continue to fire my morning and evening gun, as if the whole brigade was here. If you wish a legal excuse to advance, withdraw your control over me for a few hours, and then come to my rescue. We must not lose this will, if necessary, wait patiently your order, but may move my headquarters to Watkins' farm to-morrow.
Yours, most respectfully,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
NEW MADRID, August 18, 1861.
GENERAL: Your dispatch of yesterday is acknowledged. Your order in regard to fortifying Island Numbers 10 and the adjacent banks on the Tennessee side, to be constructed under directions of Captain Gray, are being carried out. Captain Gray does not want Neely's regiment, and proposed that I should furnish him with four good companies of Americans, under command of a competent officer. I have at his request made the exchange, and placed the battalion under command of Major hamilton, a fine officer.
I have driven the enemy from every position he occupied to Cape Girardeau, and I now occupy all those places from which he has ben expelled. I advance a brigade forward to-day with field battery. I now see my way clear to Ironton, where I will unite with Hardee. We will then have a column of about 14,000 men, and well equipped in every arm.
It will be proper [for] you to advance one of the field batteries from Union City to the position occupied by Captain Gray. He will fortify the east bank first; he and McCown concur in opinion, after a thorough reconnaissance, that the battery on that bank at the present stage of water commands the entire channel and island; that order should be given for the field batteries to advance at once. Captain Gray says he will have 300 negroes at work to-morrow. I have wheelbarrows enough here, but he will need more spades; there are plenty at Randolph and Fort Pillow. Some of them should be ordered to him by [the] Fairchild, on her return.
I will render you a good account of my command. We will set Missouri upon her feet in less sixty days.
Fremont is fortifying Saint Louis, showing he gives up the country, but wants to hold the city of mechanics, shops, and money, from which all the railroads, telegraph lines, and river communications diverge over the country. I will try to keep a line of communication by post. I send back the Fairchild for some more harness. Order them to meat once. I expect my whole column will be in motion by Wednesday morning. I need fifty more wagons badly. Peters writes me ha has them. Send them with harness.
GID. J. PILLOW,