Owing to the character of the country I did not deem it prudent the cavalry should continue the pursuit. I inclose herewith Major Rawalt's report of the affair.*
Since the establishment of the battery of siege guns below, the gunboats have not troubled us.
I would remark, in conclusion, that all the troops of this division who have been under fire have behaved well, and that I am much indebted to Captain Godley, of the Second Michigan Cavalry, for the untiring energy with which he reconnoitered the country around this point, and also to Captain Flad, Engineer officer, and Lieutenant Gaw, of General Hamilton's staff, who superintended the establishment of the guns and the construction of the rifle pits.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. PLUMMER,
Major SPEED BUTLER,
A. A. G., Hdqrs. Dist. of the Miss., Camp near New Madrid, Mo.
Numbers 19. Reports of Colonel Napoleon B. Buford, Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES, Opposite Island Numbers 10, March 17, 1862-8 p. m.
SIR: Flag-Officer Foote's flotilla, with my command, arrived here on the morning of the 15th. No serious demonstration was made until yesterday morning. I have reconnoitered in person the Missouri shore each day opposite the whole line of the enemy's defenses. Late yesterday afternoon I planted one 6-pounder opposite the floating battery of the enemy, mounting nine heavy guns in rows, and below two earthworks, mounting four and five heavy guns in rows, and below two earthworks, mounting four and five guns, on Island Numbers 10, and opened fire. My 6-pounder fell short each of the seven shots fired. The enemy threw shells over me a quarter of a mile.
To-day I have observed the shore and have twice been under fire. The country is so overflowed that my troops can find no ground to march on except the margin of the river and the fields filled with sloughs, which are from 2 to 5 feet deep, and ponds. the clearings entered about one-quarter of a mile back, and the forests are impassable.
Lieutenant Lyford arrived this afternoon, with four siege guns (24-pounders) with him, and Captain Maynadier and I have again reconnoitered for a position to place them, and can only do so under fire. We shall try to erect earthworks to-night. To get ot the place the guns must be drawn across a slough 4 feet deep. He has no artillerists. I have the Twenty-seventh and Forty-second Illinois Volunteers, the Fifteenth Wisconsin, and the Fourteenth Missouri, one company of the Second Illinois Artillery, which is new, with four 6-pounders, and one company of cavalry. If we do not get a footing on the other side of the river this force is enough, except artillerists. My transports are landed next to an overflowed bank, so that I cannot communicate with them apparently into the enemy's camp, and the tents on Island Numbers 10 have been removed. I have seen the Grampus and four transports.
*See expedition to Little River, March 23, post.