the great and masterly work you have so propitiously initiated. I take responsibilities to any extent, and have assumed here command of Army and Navy.
Flag-Officer Foote ordered two more gunboats to the Cumberland, which I have countermanded. I have made the best possible arrangements for defense. I have to-night three serviceable gunboats below Fort Holt, and a fourht without power of locomotion, but serving as a battery.
I have given detailed verbal orders to General Steele to have everything ready to repulse the enemy at Bird's Point and to be on the alert. He has five regiments of infantry, one and a half of cavalry, two field batteries, and his heavy guns. At Cairo we have four regiments of infantry, two batteries of field artillery, and the fort well armed. On the Kentucky shore we have but sixteen field pieces, with 200 artillerists, 150 cavalry,a nd two heavy guns in Fort Holt. With these preparations I think we will give the little Frenchman a warm reception. Last night my spy, who goes to report ot you at Saint Louis, was in Columbus. He says they have 30,000 men, but dejected by the loss of Fort Donelson; that there are nineteen steamers and gunboats in the river; that Jeff. Thompson is there, with all the garrison of New Madrid (probably not all); that they talk of receiving re-enforcements form Bowling Green; and that on the arrival of a train in the night there was much cheering. His opinion is, though not entitled to much credit, that the boats are there to evacuate the place, and that Polk has no thought of attacking this place. I have not been able to communicate with Sherman ot-day, who has had no accession of force since I last wrote. A scout went to Blandville and Lovelaceville; reports all quiet and nothing to be seen of an enemy. I ordered General Hamilton to go to-day ot Commerce with a steamer having a squadron of cavalry and, I think, three companies of infantry, but on receiving your telegrams countermanded the order. I have not seen him since; so that possibly he may have got off before receiving my note.
My spy came in this afternoon from Commerce. He reports camping ground dry and sandy; wood near; plenty of water; vacant houses for two regiments; stables and cooper-shop for 75 horses; road good to Benton for the reason; rebel cavalry, 40 men; scouts about, having Lemly two days ago within 1 1\2 miles of the place, and that 20 horses bushels of corn 3 to 8 miles below town, along the river bottom, and few horses or cattle, nearly all having been stolen. Has not been to New Madrid for some time, but says the road from Benton to New Madrid, though sandy woods and Sikeston, is good, except possibly 2 miles of embankment over swamps near New Madrid. A better road leads from a point 6 miles from New Madrid to Hatcher's house, abut 1 1\2 miles from the town.
Fort Thompson, he says, is now garrisoned with two small Arkansas infantry regiments, in all about 1,000 men, and 400 cavalry, commanded by Major Saul Kitchen, and that the armament is five columbiads, commanding the approach by the river from above, and a battery of six field pieces, sweeping the roads leading from the northwest. We have provided for all the sick and wounded thus far without sending any to cincinnati, for which we have no steamer to spare. There are 1,400 at Paducah and 1,200 at Mound City, and but few here. Volunteer surgeons and nurses have supplied all my wants, and many more are constantly offering. Hordes of brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, cousins,