some 300 negroes, in charge of the Sappers and Miners, and on Tuesday morning was in better condition than it ever had been.
Tuesday, March 18.-By 10 a. m. the enemy had their gunboats in position and again opened fire on Battery Numbers 1, at the same time throwing shells as on the day before. The firing on both sides was brisk for a short time; on the part of the enemy was kept up until 3 p. m.
Wednesday, March 19.-This morning the enemy opened fire, but at greater intervals, and it was so kept up during the day. On this day we had the misfortune to burst the 128-pounder on the island.
Thursday, March 20.-But few rifled missiles from the enemy to-day. A continuation of shells from their mortar boats.
Friday, March 21.-Shells from the mortar boats; no damage to us. No reply from any of our guns. In the afternoon Major-General McCown arrived with orders to reassume the command.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
L. M. WALKER,
Colonel THOMAS JORDAN,
Numbers 38. Reports of Brigadier General M. Jeff. Thompson, Missouri State Guard.
New Madrid, February 28, 1862.
DEAR SIR: I inclose you General Thompson's letter. Since he wrote it the enemy's cavalry have got in his rear, they being at Sikeston and he beyond. Can you send us cavalry? The entire force of the enemy, 20,000 strong, is at Benton. The troops at Cape Girardeau, with six pieces of artillery, are with the command. Could you come down for a few hours? I do not fear for the general, but would like to have the cavalry, if possible.
In haste, your obedient servant,
E. W. GANTT,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
Brigadier General JOHN P. McCOWN, Columbus, Ky.
SIKESTON, February 28, 1862.
(Friday, 4 a. m.)
General JOHN P. McCOWN, New Madrid:
DEAR GENERAL: The enemy returned beyond the swamp before night yesterday. There was but the one squadron (125). I remained here to recruit the horses, but will start in a few minutes for Jones' and Hunter's Fords, which I will endeavor to make impassable to-day. I will then remain up here as long as I can keep my numbers secret. I have only 65 men all told, and it will take considerable talent to hold 20,000 in check more than a few days. They report a large force of cavalry, which might possibly overrun me. Should any horsemen arrive at New Madrid, send them up to support me.