asking me to immediately strengthen their force. Before orders could reach Neely's regiment, I think it will have arrived at Sikeston. To order it back now would greatly endanger the force already at Benton. My transportation is so short hat I cannot before to-morrow start any other force, unless I were to leave my subsistence and ordnance stores here, which I cannot do. I must therefore move these with the rear of the command. Under these circumstances, I can hardly suppose you would have ordered that regiment back, and I have declined doing so. In my former dispatch I informed you that the exchange of Neely's regiment for the battalion under command of Major Hamilton was made at the instance and request of your engineer, Captain Gray, to whom you had intrusted the work of fortifying the island and adjacent bank of the river. This I now repeat was the case. The battalion of Major Stewart is not diverted from that work. The three companies your ordered up are all there with him besides the battalion of infantry, and the work is progressing as your ordered it. But for the fact stated, the condition of my advance at Benton, of Neely's position, and my shortness of transportation to push up other supporting force, I would have ordered Neely back, but as it is I cannot. To do so might and probably would cost the sacrifice of one-third the force under my command.
GID. J. PILLOW,
I send down the Fallow City with requisition to supply the wants of the command at the island works. I do not know what they are. They have not made their wants known to me. They report the work as progressing well.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. S. G.,
Camp Sikeston, Mo., August 20, 1861-3 p. m.
Commanding Brigade, C. S. Army, Camp Watkins, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: Not having heard anything more from Sikeston, I presume the alarm there this morning was false, and some of my militia ran away from a picket of the enemy. We are apparently perfectly safe here, as the navigation of the Mississippi has been effectually closed. I have a detachment now at Commerce, bringing away the balance of the corn. It will be well to leave your force at Watkins until we are prepared to advance to Abys, as there is no water between the two places sufficient for your uses. I hope you will come up to-morrow, and we can talk over the plans. The copy of instructions you alluded to I have never yet seen.
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF LIBERATION,
New Madrid, Mo., August 21, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WLAKER,
Secretary of War of the Confederate States:
I acknowledge the reception of your dispatch of the 12th instant. In compliance with your directions I inclose a list of the officers of my personal