Numbers 35. Report of Brigadier General Alexander P. Steward, C. S. Army.
HDQRS. FIRST DIV., FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF MISSISSIPPI,
April 13, 1862.
COLONEL: I inclose (as early as it has been possible for me to make it) a copy of my report to General Polk of the evacuation of New Madrid, hoping it may contain the information desired by General Beauregard.
Allow me to say that I believe, though I am not positively certain, the evacuation was proposed and insisted on by the naval officers, who seemed to have little confidence in the ability of their gunboats to withstand the fire of the enemy's heavy guns; also that while I felt perfectly willing myself to remain and endeavor to hold the place as long as my superiors required or deemed proper, I felt that if we remained a day or two longer surrender was inevitable.
The character of the weather the night of the evacuation was such as to render the removal of the guns impossible. I presume the water was a foot in depth over Fort Thompson and the soil a perfect mush.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEX. P. STEWARD,
Colonel THOMAS JORDAN,
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, FIRST GRAND DIV., ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Corinth, Miss., March 31, 1862.
In a communication received from you on yesterday, to furnish "a full and detailed account of the condition of the respective armies, Federal and Confederate, immediately preceding the evacuation of New Madrid;" also "a full and detailed statement of the circumstances of that evacuation, so far as they came under your (my) observation"-
1st. As to the Federal Army, the Federal cavalry made its appearance in the immediate vicinity of New Madrid during the afternoon of Sunday, March 2. A large body of infantry came in the following day, and their camp was established within sight of the town and some 3 to 4 miles distant. On Wednesday, the 12th, I learned that two reliable citizens, living not far from Sikeston, estimated the entire force that had passed down towards New Madrid up to Sunday night preceding at 35,000 to 40,000, with some seventy pieces of field artillery. A portion of these had gone down to Point Pleasant, some miles below New Madrid, but how many I could not ascertain. A day or two before the evacuation it was reported that they had just received re-enforcements to the number of 10,000 men and also some pieces of heavy artillery. This information was brought in by a reliable citizen, who I had sent in a canoe up the Bayou Saint John's for the purpose of gaining intelligence. At the time of the evacuation I supposed there was probably an army of 25,000 men, of alarms, with some fifty to sixty pieces of light and some of heavy artillery, around New Madrid.
2nd. As to the Confederate Army, in the upper work, or Fort Bankhead, as it was called, were Travis', Walkers', and Baker's regiments of infantry and Bankhead's field battery of six pieces. This work had just