To-day the cannonading has been sublime, but at night the enemy continued to return fire with one gun from his upper battery, which is very low. I doubt not the noble efforts of the flotilla, conducted as they are with courage, skill, and judgment, will be successful; but if the enemy holds out as he has done to-day it will take time and perseverance.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
N. B. BUFORD,
Colonel, Commanding U. S. Forces.
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES OPPOSITE ISLAND Numbers 10, MO., March 31, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that since I have been in command of the forces at this place, having left but a small number of troops at Columbus and a smaller number at Hickman, Ky., I have learned of daily reconnaissances of rebel cavalry in this vicinity of the latter place, and that two regiments, one of infantry and one of cavalry, were at Union City, who were in railroad and telegraphic communication with Humboldt, where there was a large force.
On the 29th instant I received letters from the commanders both at Columbus and Hickman, each expressing the desire for re-enforcements, the latter, Lieutenant-Colonel Hogg, proposing that on the arrival of cavalry re-enforcements he must go south of Union City and destroy a trestle bridge and cut the telegraph wire. on the same day I received dispatches from General Strong, at Cairo, who intimated that I should act in the premises on my own judgment. On the same day also I exhibited all my dispatches to Flag-Officer Foote, and suggested to him that if my forces were not required here in aid of his operations for two days I would take a part of them and march on Union City. He heartily concurred.
On the 30th, at 10 o'clock a. m., I embarked the Twenty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Harrington, and the Fifteenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, under command of Colonel Heg, and arrived at Hickman at 12 m., when I summoned Lieutenant-Colonel Hogg to join me immediately with his two companies of the Second Illinois Cavalry, and Captain Hutchens' company of cavalry, attached by General McClernand to the Twenty-seventh Regiment; also Captain Sarrestrom's battery of four 6-pounders. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Foster, of the Twenty-second Regiment Missouri Volunteers, with his four companies, to remain as a reserve. I also conferred with Captain Dove, of the U. S. Navy, commanding the gunboat Louisville, and communicated to him my plans. Except the commanders above named no one knew my plans.
I gave out to the citizens of Hickman that on the hill in rear of the town I would review all the troops. The people from the country remained to see the review. At 2.30 o'clock p. m. the column got under way with a light train and one day's rations in their haversacks. The march was without a halt for 6 miles on a dusty road, the thermometer at 80 degrees, and we got in advance of the persons whom I thought would be likely to carry the intelligence of our march to Union City. The obstacle we encountered was at Reelfoot River; the rail-