Numbers 15. Report of Brigadier General E. A. Paine, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH DIVISION, Army of the Mississippi, April 16, 1862.
SIR: The operations of this division in the attack on New Madrid, Mo., consisted only in driving the rebel pickets and skirmisher into their intrenchments on the day before the evacuation of the place by the rebels. On the morning of the 7th of April instant this division was embarked on steamboats, with intrenching tools, with a view to make a lodgment on the Kentucky shore near Watson's Landing. During that day the gunboat Carondelet had dismantled a small fort at the landing, and under cover of the gunboats my division crossed, each regiment landing in succession, amid the cheers of the men, and rejoicing in the success of Major-General Pope's plans for the reduction of Island Numbers 10. The intrenching tools were piled quickly on the rebel breastworks, it being apparent that success in capturing the flying rebels depended entirely upon rapid marching and not upon field works.
The First Brigade, commanded by Colonel James D. Morgan, consisting of the Tenth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Tillson, and the Sixteenth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Colonel R. F. Smith, were ordered to take the advance. The Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel G. W. Cumming, consisted of the Twenty-second Illinois Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hart, and the Fifty-first Illinois Regiemtn, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bradley, followed, with orders to send small parties upon the road leading from our line of march and report the position of the rebels if found. We had advanced but a short distance before our advance guard and flankers commenced sending in prisoners. They were ordered to the rear, and our march continued as rapidly as it could safely be done. One of the parties sent out by Colonel Cumming came suddenly upon Island Numbers 10, the enemy's gunboats and transports, and would have captured the whole by 2 o'clock p. m. of that day but for my orders to Colonel Cumming to keep as near the First Brigade as possible, in order to support me if I became engaged with the rebels.
We had advanced but a few miles before a small force of the rebel cavalry was observed, but they fled on our approach. After marching about 9 miles we discovered the rebels, well posted and in force, consisting of 2,500 infantry, 150 cavalry, supported by five pieces of excellent field guns. I ordered Colonel Morgan to form a line for an attack, which was promptly and well done. The Tenth Regiment formed in line, and the Sixteenth formed in column of divisions to support the line could reach the rebels they fled. Again they formed, and stood until our skirmishers fired once, killing 1 of their men and wounding another, and then fled. The third time they formed, and on our approach fled directed, a distance of 14 miles from our landing. The brigade was well encamped in tents left by the flying rebels. A mile and a half in our rear Colonel Cumming's command was lying upon their arms. To our left and nearly in front of Colonel Cumming the rebels were encamped. During the night the pickets of the First Brigade took 359 prisoners.