became exceedingly dark and stormy, the rain falling in torrents. The enemy, taking advantage of this favorable opportunity, ran down another of his large gunboats, which passed the island under the ineffectual fire of the batteries, both on the main-land and on the island. I caused the musketry to fire as it arrived opposite, in order ot indicate its position and aid in directing the fire of the guns, but the darkness was too great to point them with accuracy, and she passed unharmed.
On the morning of the 7th (my men drenched with rain, worn down with fatigue and with fasting), while anxiously expecting to be relieved, I received an order from General Mackall, placing me in command of the island, and Captain Jackson, of the artillery, in command of the mainland. I the, for the first time, learned that General Mackall had gone, in the early part of the night, with all the remaining infantry and light artillery, to join Brigadier-General Gantt in Madrid Bend, to dispute the landing of the enemy there.
During the day messengers came and assured me that the enemy was landing in force; had captured and spiked our guns; had driven our friends back to Tiptonville, and occupied the ground between us. Later in the evening his cavalry came within about 1 mile of the lower point of the island, captured a gun mounted at Harris' Meadow, and came up in rear of the floating battery. On their approach those in charge sunk the battery and attempted to escape. Some succeeded, others were killed, and others fell into the hands of the enemy. The number of each I am not able to report.
In the mean time my officers were importunate that I should order the evacuation of the island. I would not consent to do so until I had consulted Captain Jackson, who commanded the land forces, which I did, as also Captain Humes, in charge of the batteries on the island. All concurred in the expression of the conviction that it was impossible to hold the place against the enemy should he have effected a landing on the main-land below, as we were assured he had done.
There were no guns mounted intended to be used against a land attack except one or two small pieces upon the new fort just erected above the island. There was literally upon the new fort just erected above the island. There was literally nothing to oppose the ascent of gunboats up the channel on the Tennessee side of the island except my little command, at that time but little exceeding 300 effective men, exclusive of those left at camp on the main-land.
We therefore determined to evacuate at an early hour in the evening, leaving tents standing, that our movements might not be discovered to the enemy. It was agreed between Captain Jackson and Captain Humes that the former should send up two rockets as a signal for moving; but on my suggesting the impropriety of the course, Captain Jackson failed to give the signal. Of this I had Captain Humes advised by Mr. Claggest, of the Signal Corps.
While I was off the island making arrangements for the evacuation the officers of my regiment moved their several companies away in good order, but rather earlier than I intended. I rode back to the bat landing, opposite the batteries on the island, and ordered the steamer De Soto over to bring away Captain Humes and his command.
There was some delay, as the captain told me, for want of the Engineers. I remained, however, until the De Soto landed on the island, where the Champion already lay, subject to Captain Humes' orders. This done, I turned away to overtake my regiment, then on the march.
I have no positive knowledge of the fate of that gallant officer Captain Humes, but fear that he and his whole command are in the hands of the enemy.