If any reports have been sent direct to your office will you send me the reports or copies?
I regret the sad news I hear from Island 10. The poor fellows worked and fought without murmur as long as I was with them. I parted with them with regret. It is a matter of mortification to me to find myself situated as I now am-accused of drunkenness, &c. Nothing but an investigation of all my acts will now satisfy me.
J. P. McCOWN.
Numbers 26. Reports of Brigadier General William W. Mackall, C. S. Army, commanding at Madrid Bend, with letter from General Beauregard.*
MACON, GA., August 21,1 862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of my late command of Madrid Bend:
In obedience to the order of General Beauregard, given at Corinth, I proceeded to Madrid Bend by the first opportunity, and reached the headquarters of Major-General McCown on the morning of March 31, and assumed command on the afternoon of the same day. On that day Major-General McCown, General Trudeau, chief of artillery, an officer in the service of the State of Virginia, the chief quartermaster, and chief commissary left the command, an every record of the post was carried away with General McCown, except six or seven letter from the headquarters of Generals Beauregard and Polk and two partial returns of troops of different dates. The information given to me by General McCown was to the effect that the gunboats could do no injury; that the enemy had 30,000 troops opposite to me, and that their batteries extended on the opposite side of the river from New Madrid to a point several miles below our lowest battery, which was planted immediately above Tiptonville; that they were endeavoring to cut a canal across the opposite peninsula for the passage of transports, in order to land below the bend; that they would fail, and that the position was safe until the river fell and no longer.
The concurring testimony of the commanders of regiments was to the effect that their men were broken down by hard labor, dispirited by two recent evacuations, and impressed with the idea that the post was untenable and its defense hopeless. Examination by Captain Sheliba, my engineer, on April 2, showed that the works of defense consisted of a naval floating battery, and of water batteries mounting about fifty guns of far less range than those of the enemy. Satisfied that the post was only tenable so long as the forces of the enemy could not cross, and that with the troops at my disposal I could not secure the batteries from a land force, I devoted myself to increasing my batteries and establishing order among the troops and system in the staff department.
On the night of April 1 the enemy stormed our upper batteries, defended by a guard of the First Alabama Regiment, and spiked the guns.
*See also Mackall's dispatches, March 31-April 10, in "Correspondence, etc., " post.