Batteries Nos. 4 and 5 where the four 24-pounder siege guns and four 8-inch siege howitzers or mortars were placed. These cannon are to-day in position at Tiptonville and along the western side of Madrid Bend Peninsula, for preventing the enemy's landing from the opposite or Missouri side of the Mississippi. No guns have replaced the siege cannon on the island, but the naval floating battery New Orleans, carrying eight 8-inch columbiads and one 32-pounder rifled gun, is located there, so as to command the north channel.
Several batteries are now ready, facing the batteries of the enemy below New Madrid, and two heavy guns (8-inch columbiads and 32-pounders) will be in position on each side of the peninsula to open upon the enemy, as well as to prevent the passing up or down of any boat which may possibly force itself through canal being cut into John's Bayou.
I have located the batteries as near the end of the peninsula as the overflow will admit of, say one and a half miles from Fort Thompson on the west side, and about the same distance from the mouth of John's Bayou on the east side.
The canal being cut by the enemy is nearly opposite Island Numbers 8, below the mouth of the James Bayou, and is, probably, 1 mile long from the Mississippi into a small lake which connects with the John's Bayou. Tugs and flat-boats or barges may possibly get through such a canal, provided the river remains up at its present high stage. It is now on a stand and may fall. A very rapid fall of the water through it might prevent the use of John's Bayou, and may prove fatal to our defenses by leaving our right flank unprotected. It is not to be expected that the river can go down sufficient to enable the enemy to move with artillery through the bottoms in front and to the right of the cremaillere line of the redan battery; but it does subside very rapidly at times, and the utmost attention and vigilance will be required to watch and repair our right-flank works and build new ones. As long as the water remains up we are secure in this direction, and our chief attention should be given to the present left flank, which is below Island Numbers 10, and on the west side of the peninsula.
A proper distribution of 3,000 or 4,000 men, with the guns and ammunition at hand, might enable Island Numbers 10 to hold itself as it now is against the overwhelming force threatening it; but it will require every resource of mind and the physical as well as mental energies of every man now in this bend. Any misjudgment or mistakes made now, such as have been witnessed from the planking of the streets of Memphis to the sad errors of Columbus, in the last eight months, will cost the Confederacy an irreparable injury.
If a gunboat were placed a mile below Tiptonville, she would effectually prevent any landing by the enemy if he should strike across from Point Pleasant or Riddle's Point. The only landing that could be made by the enemy to effect anything below Point Pleasant must be had in this distance of 4 miles.
Between Point Pleasant and Andy Riddle's (the lowest battery of the enemy a gunboat can lay without molestation from the enemy's batteries, nor could they place a gun between Riddle's Point and their battery at Andy Riddle's. The same may be said of the section between the enemy's battery at Dr. Martin's and his battery at Point Pleasant. A gunboat could lay on our side entirely out of the reach of the enemy's guns, and by keeping up a little steam nights only could be ready to destroy any expedition attempted by the enemy across the