could do so no longer to spike the guns and escape with the command, if possible, by way of Reelfoot Lake.
On the same night, during a violent storm, one of the enemy's gunboats passed the batteries, notwithstanding all the guns opened a heavy fire immediately after the alarm from Battery Numbers 1; but owing to the extreme darkness the fire was without effect, as nothing could be seen of the boat, and only a slight noise heard on the water occasionally by some of the cannoneers.
On the morning of April 7 I learned from our couriers and stragglers that the enemy were landing large bodies of troops opposite Point Pleasant and below New Madrid and that our forces were retreating before them.
About 4 o'clock in the afternoon Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, in command of Island Numbers 10, came over to the main shore, and informed me that he had it from a reliable source that the enemy were advancing on the post unobstructed and unopposed by our forces, and also had succeeded in getting between General Mackall's immediate command and the post, and that he thought it advisable to evacuate the island, and I understood him to say that he had given the order to do so, and at that time he supposed Captain Humes, in command of heavy artillery on the island, was then spiking his guns and preparing to leave.
A few minutes after this Lieutenant Averett, commanding the floating battery, informed me that the enemy had taken the battery and had captured some of his men; but that before leaving it he had opened the valves, and shortly after it went down in deep water, with all the ordnance stores and guns on board. I then learned that the enemy were quite near the steamboats, lying about 2 miles below, and gave the order to have them scuttled.
A few minutes after this-not being able to get any communication or instructions from General Mackall, though a messenger had been dispatched, and knowing the enemy to be in the immediate vicinity and advancing towards us, and would probably be at the post in half an hour, and having no means of resistance, as the artillery are armed only with short sabers and only two guns, and they in Battery Numbers 5, which could be brought to bear upon any point in the rear of the batteries-I gave the order to spike, double-load the guns, and wedge the shot in, and for each captain to conduct his company to Reelfoot Lake, in the rear of the post, and to follow it down to Stone's Ferry, and there we would probably find the means of crossing.
Accordingly the command left the post at about 6.30 p. m., and after traveling 20 miles through woods and swamps we arrived, almost worn-out with fatigue, with the greater portion of the command, at the ferry the next day about noon, and after much labor, difficulty, and danger we landed safely on the opposite shore of the lake about sunset on the 8th instant. We proceeded thence to Dyersburg, where the citizens received us very hospitably.
We left the next day, after the stragglers had come up, for Bell's Station, on the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, and arrived there on the 11th instant, where we remained two days for stragglers to come up and for orders.
Having in the man time sent a dispatch to Humboldt, to be forwarded to the commanding officer at Corinth, but not hearing from it, and fining it difficult for so large a number of men to be accommodated at so small a place, I on the 14th instant proceeded to Memphis, and arrived here with the following companies: Company K, in command of Lieutenant Brann, with 67 men; Captain Sterling, Company E, with