cross the river, it will be attempted, and in view of the possibility of it, I deem these steps on your part prudent and precautionary, without waiting until information could reach you and then orders be sent to Clark.
If I can take Cairo and hold it it will pu and end to the idea of a descent on the river, and of course there will be no use of force at Union City.
Your obedient servant,
GID. J. PILLOW,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. S. G.,
Camp Benton, Mo., August 24, 1861-7 a. m.
Brigadier General B. F. CHEATHAM, C. S. A.,
Commanding Troops, New Madrid, Mo.:
DEAR GENERAL: Yours of yesterday was received at midnight.* I am satisfied that the information which has caused the trouble is false, but I am also satisfied that if we are delayed much longer we might as well "give up the ship," for the hordes of the North will soon be poured into Missouri, and the spirit of liberty, that has been enlivened by our successes, will be crushed out by overwhelming masses, and the morale and prestige which we now have over them will be lost. I know that the first duty of a soldier is to obey orders, but I will be very loth to turn back again, and, if we have to be deserted by our Southern friends, I will remain and fight them, if it needs be, solitary and alone. Every hour that has been lost, occasioned by the retreat ordered by General Polk, will cost us a hundred lives. I could have taken Cape Girardeau and closed the navigation of the Mississippi four days ago without losing a man. Now it is doubtful if we can take it at all, as they have found out our strength, or rather my weakness. The position I now have I cannot hold much longer. I must either make a demonstration which will make the enemy wait for me or I must get farther out of danger. I hope to hear fully from you by return courier.
Yours, most respectfully,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF LIBERATION,
New Madrid, August 25, 1861.
GENERAL: I will order Captain Stewart with his subordinates to report to you at Memphis, as directed. He is on duty with his brother, Major Stewart, at the works at Island Numbers 10, and not with me.
After leaving you at Fort Pillow I had much conversation with Colonel Borland in regard to Hardee's position and ability to advance and joined me. He is of opinion that Hardee cannot do so, and that the attempt to do so will endanger the command, and he says that such is Hardee's opinion. Hardee is an old officer, of large experience, and I have thought that with this positive expression of opinion by him, knowing, as he must, his exact position and resources, it is perhaps