night Colonel Travis' Tennessee regiment. I will try and maintain this work. I have sent no more troops to New Madrid, for the reason that more troops would mask the fire of the gunboats. The country being perfectly level, I can re-enforce from this place in one hour.
What I fear most is that the enemy's gunboats may pass this place unless they give me a few days to prepare for them. The guns and ammunition arrived here in the greatest condition. I shall mount guns and throw up breastworks afterwards. If the gunboats pas and defeat Hollins, New Madrid must fall. If New Madrid fall, I can be perfectly besieged by their occupation of Tipton. I have here under my command ten regiments and three small battalions, in all about 5,000 infantry. I have not half force enough to fight in any other way than behind my trenches on the river shore with any certainly of success. I have two batteries, one opposite Numbers 10 and the other at Madrid. If forces could be massed at Madrid, that force could be destroyed, but should their gunboats pass, the force would be cut off from Tennessee. I will fight the gunboats as long as they desire, but I fear they may succeed. However, I hope after they pass that I may turn them over to Commodore Hollins has five gunboats, four at New Madrid and one here.
I wish the general was here.
J. P. McCOWN,
N. B.-Colonel Carroll, Fifteenth Tennessee Regiment, has a company in his regiment from this place. I need them much. Please send it to me.
J. P. McC.
N. B.-Everything, guns, ammunition, and men, have been sent here in utter confusion. I informed General Polk that every day was of importance, even if we lost some guns in holding it (Columbus).
J. P. McC.
HEADQUARTERS, Madrid Bend, March 31, 1862.
COLONEL: At midnight on the night of February 25 I was directed by Major-General Polk to proceed to this point. I arrived here early on the morning of February 26 and proceeded to examine the position, including New Madrid and Island Numbers 10.
I found no guns or works on the island. On the main-land, opposite the island, Batteries Nos 1 and 5 were constructed and partially armed. No magazine constructed for Numbers 5, and the one for Numbers 1 was overflowed.*
New Madrid was defended by Fort Thompson, a small work, and well armed with cannons . This work was garrisoned by the Eleventh and Twelfth Arkansas Regiments and Captains Stewart's and Upton's companies of artillery, under the command of Colonel E. W. Gantt, of the Twelfth Arkansas.
*See maps following Blake's and Gray's reports, NOs. 27, 29, pp. 137, 146, 147.