ing these guns upon siege carriages similar to the 24-pounders, the weight of the guns being about the same.
Our intrenchments are not completed at this point, and unless we have the assistance I have asked for, and which I suppose could be easily supplied from Memphis or Fort Pillow, I fear this all-important work will not be accomplished in time to be of use. In a very short time now it will be necessary to gather in the crops, and our farmers in the bend must need their hands. We have not had over eighty negroes at work, and no similar force and facilities at my command could have done more than they have done. So you will readily perceive the impossibility of finishing the fortifications at an early day, unless I could have for ten or fifteen days some 500 hands from Fort Pillow, where I learned 2,000 are at work. I have no boat either, which is essential to a rapid construction of the batteries at Island Numbers 10. The Mohawk, placed under my orders for topographical service, was taken off some time ago for other duty by orders from your department.
half way; and rifle pits and redans on west side of the bayou to the delta, through which it empties into the lake. The parapet was never finished as intended, as the guns to be placed in it were not known, and Island Numbers 10 virtually, as regards the regular defenses, abandoned.
This force would have completed the work to the lake and the batteries at Island Numbers 10. After the river falls now it will take longer, as the soft bottoms and drift-wood about the tree and works will be against us.
Since I have seen Columbus I have not lessened my opinion, previously given to the commanding general, of its strong natural facilities for defense; but further examinations have strengthened my belief in the great importance of Island Numbers 10, in connection with a line of defense including New Madrid and Union City, as a powerful base of operations against the enemy.
I have been put to serious inconvenience by an order causing suddenly my assistant, Mr. Rowley, and my clerk, Mr. Miller, who had charge of my commissary stores and papers, to be taken away from this point. The commanding general must have been misled by a misapprehension of facts in some way. Mr. Miller was civilian, appointed by me as a clerk to attend to my commissary matters, and he was in no way an army officer. I had attentively taught Lieutenant Rowley and Mr. Miller to assist me in systematically conducting the important duties confided to me, and their sudden withdrawal, without an hour's notice, has not only inconvenienced me, but been really detrimental to the service.
The commanding general had been misinformed, and ordered this to be corrected immediately.
Lieutenant Snowden is sick and cannot be exposed to the labors of an assistant probably for some time. He is to-day wholly disabled by fever. I feel sure had the general known of the circumstances I have related he would not have ordered them away at so necessary a period in the progress of this work unless on some imperative occasion.
I will send you, captain, in a day or two a sketch of this section of country, exhibiting the situation of our works, if I can possibly secure time from my other labors.
Before an opportunity the next day to send this letter a map was made and inclosed.
In the mean time, if you can lay before the commanding general the necessity, in my opinion, of more speedy movement in the works here I shall be better satisfied. I shall be better satisfied that we will be upon a much safer basis to meet the enemy under any circumstances that may arise. If he will give me an order for 500 negroes from Fort Pillow and send me a small steamer, with authority to get