borough, leaving the battery and one company on the bluff. With the remaining five companies I proceeded to Waitsborough, but saw no rebels. I found at the river three ferry-boats, which I rendered unseaworthy before leaving my old camp, but not so much so, however, but that they can be repaired in a few hours, which I should have had attended [to] to-day, but hearing the cannonading at Fishing Creek, I hastened back to camp in anticipation of marching orders.
If it be true, as reported, that there is a rebel force of only two regiments at Mill Springs, and that their whole transportation train is at that point, would it not be well to move three regiments with one of the batteries across the river upon them at Mill Springs, while the remaining force could annoy them in front?
Should we gain possession of Mill Springs, I have no doubt we could shell their fortifications on this side the river, while the loss of their army stores, artillery, and transportation train at Mill Springs, consisting of several hundred wagons, would be a blow from which this division of their army could not recover.
I learn there is also, a small boat at a point just, above the shoals and one other at Steigall's, making in all five boats, in which the artillery and infantry (without baggage train) could be crossed in a few hours, and make the march to Mill Springs in four or five hours.
I hope you will pardon me for thus obtruding my suggestions upon you.
W. A. HOSKINS,
Colonel Twelfth Kentucky Regiment.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI,
Cairo, December 18, 1861.
Captain J. C. KELTON,
Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
CAPTAIN: A man sent by me to Columbus, Ky., and who spent several days there, and also a man who deserted this morning from the steamer Grampus, have been in-one this afternoon, the other this evening. They both confirm the report that three of the gunboats have left for the south, and that a great many of the troops are gone. Three regiments, however, have gone but 8 miles to Camp Burnett, on the Clinton road. Three more have gone to re-enforce Bowen at Feliciana. One reports that the heard that the Federals had taken Fort Jackson. I am not aware this story probable, but give it for what it is worth. It confirms news reported by me a few days since.
The army is reported to be composed of boys, badly disciplined and drilled and badly off for shoes. Clothing is coming in from the country, particularly from Arkansas. Many articles of a soldier's rations are becoming scarce, but corn meal and beef are yet abundant. If salt can be kept out, however, they will have some difficulty in saving their bacon.
There are seven companies of the Forty-Fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteers at Camp Douglas, with improved arms for 1,000 men and clothing for the same, who are anxious to come here. If they could consistently be sent before being mustered into the service of the United States I would be much pleased. This application is made because the desire to come has been expressed by the senior officers of this regiment.
I am, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,