soon as they arrived within short range of it they were to cast out their anchors, so as to hold the barges firmly, and open fire upon the enemy's batteries. I think that these batteries would have accomplished their purpose, and my whole force volunteered to man them. They were well provided with small boats, to be kept out of danger, and even if the worst happened, and the batteries were sunk by the enemy's fire, the men would meet with no worse fate than capture.
On the 5th April the steamers and barges were brought near to the mouth of the bayou which discharges into the Mississippi at New Madrid, but were kept carefully out of sight of the river whilst our floating batteries were being completed. The enemy, as we afterwards learned, had received positive advices of the construction of the canal, but were unable to believe that such a work was practicable. The first assurance they had of its completion was the appearance of the four steamers loaded with troops on the morning of the 7th April.
On the 4th Commodore Foote allowed one of the gunboats to run the batteries at Island Numbers 10, and Captain Walke, U. S. Navy, who had volunteered (as appears from the commodore's order to him), came through that night with the gunboat Carondelet. Although many shots were fired at him as he passed the batteries, his boat was not once struck. He informed me of his arrival early on the 5th.
On the morning of the 6th I sent General Granger, Colonel Smith, of the Forty-third Ohio, and Captain L. H. Marshall, of my staff, to make a reconnaissance of the river below, and requested Captain Walke to take them on board the Carondelet and run down the river, to ascertain precisely the character of the banks and the position and number of the enemy's batteries. The whole day was spent in this reconnaissance, the Carondelet steaming down the river in the midst of a heavy fire from the enemy's batteries along the shore. The whole day was spent in this reconnaissance, the Carondelet steaming down the river in the midst of a heavy fire from the enemy's batteries along the shore. The whole bank for 15 miles was lined with heavy guns at intervals, in no case exceeding 1 mile. Intrenchments for infantry were also thrown up along the shore between the batteries. On his return up the river Captain Walke silenced the enemy's batteries opposite Point Pleasant, and a small infantry force, under Captain L. H. Marshall, landed and spiked the guns.
On the night of the 6th, at my urgent request, Commodore Foote ordered the Pittsburgh also to run down to New Madrid. She arrived at daylight, having, like the Carondelet, come through untouched. I directed Captain Walke to proceed down the river at daylight on the 7th with two gunboats, and if possible silence the batteries near Watson's Landing, the point which had been selected to land the troops, and at the same time I brought the four steamers into the river, and embarked Paine's division, which consisted of the Tenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-second, and Fifty-first Illinois Regiments, with Houghtaling's battery of artillery.
The land batteries of 32-pounders, under Captain Williams, First United States Infantry, which I had established some days before, opposite the point where the troops were to land, were ordered to open their fire upon the enemy's batteries opposite as soon as it was possible to see them.
A heavy storm commenced on the night of the 6th, and continued with short intermission for several days. The morning of the 7th was very dark, and the rain fell heavily until midday. As soon as it was fairly light our heavy batteries on the land opened their fire vigorously upon the batteries of the enemy, and the two gunboats ran down the river and joined in the action.