develop elements of power that to another might seem objects of weakness.
The work I am constructing is the advanced position on the left bank of the river, 1 1/2 miles above the head of Island Numbers 10.
It was necessary to occupy this site during the season of low water and until the highest spring rise, to prevent the enemy's landing and flanking the island as well as the main-land batteries. It is also our strongest point of defense, should the descent of the river be attempted by the enemy in the next eight or nine months and a heavy force be landed for a flank movement.
The high water now effectually prevents the enemy's landing. The high water for the month past has been unusually early for the spring rise.
The distance from this point (the redan) to the bayou, which is said to have 5 feet permanent water in it and increasing to the lake, 2 miles farther, is only 1,100 yards.
The bayou, with comparatively little labor, can be rendered impassable to an enemy. Upon the highest rise of the river next spring or summer nature will accomplish for us what we are artificially endeavoring to do, that of forming a barrier over which the enemy cannot pass, for the Mississippi and the lake will then be united, and if a landing is attempted, it must be within short range of our other batteries.
By cutting down the timber on the off side, erecting an abatis and damming up a few feet of the bayou only.
The Mississippi and the lake are now united by impassable swamps and high water.
Reelfoot Lake, as it is called, is some 40 miles long, lying nearly north and south, and, making a junction with the Mississippi at high water above us and below us by way of the Obion branch, renders our position here, with comparatively little trouble, evidently a very formidable one. The lake in many places is very deep, and the dead cypress timber scattered about it makes it difficult to navigate.
It was not intended to occupy the redan battery at extreme high water, as high water is proven to have accomplished our object. For nine months in the year it could be used very effectually.
Even if boats could be had and a crossing effected by an enemy, a small body of our troops could prevent a landing. It is said to be 11 miles wide in places at overflow and filled with fine fish and wild game.
Only at one or two points could the enemy land, and one section of light battery with a few infantry would destroy him. It is only 5 or 6 miles wide at ordinary stages of water.
We have now only four 32-pounders at this point. We had six pieces in position, but you are aware that the two 24-pounder siege guns were taken to Columbus. Ten heavy pieces could be put in position at once in the redan if we had them.
At present there are three 8-inch columbiads and three smooth bore 32-pounder cannon in this work called the redan.
The redan commands the channel of the river 500 to 1,000 yards off. It is our left flank of the line of intrenchments connecting the river and Reelfoot Lake, and two or three of the barbette guns can be made to rake the entire front of our line to the bayou.
The channel is on the redan side of the river, the sand spit on the other side being bare one thousand yards off at low water.
Our parapet in the redan is much weakened by embrasures, made necessary by the 32-pounders being mounted upon naval carriages or trucks. I would recommend mount-
The plan of intrenchments is a cremaillere line to connect with the bayou, reversed