G. V. FOX or Lieutenant H. A. WISE, Washington:
The iron-clad boats cannot be held when anchored by stern in this current, on account of the recess between the fan-tails forming the stern yawing them about, and as the sterns of the boats are not plated, and have but two 32-pounders astern, you will see our difficulty of fighting down-stream effectually. Neither is there power enough in any of them to back up-stream. We must therefore tie up to shore the best way we can and help the mortar boats. I have long since expressed to General Meigs my apprehensions about these boats' defects. Don't have any gunboats for rivers built with wheels amidships. The drift-wood would choke wheel, even if it had a powerful engine. I felt it my duty to state these difficulties, which could not be obviated when I came here, as the vessels wee modeled and partly built.
A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-Officer, Commanding Flotilla.
HEADQUARTERS MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Near New Madrid, March 13, 1862.
I established last night the heavy guns in position and opened at daylight. At this hour (2 o'clock p. m.) the gunboats are still holding on, though several of them are injured. Our loss has been 1 officer killed and 6 men wounded. The heavy guns are established within 800 yards of the enemy's lower redoubt, and I shall, under the circumstances, be obliged to work on towards the river by trenches, so as to establish the heavy battery directly on the bank. This will require a day or two. The enemy will not be able to dislodge us from our present position nor from any other, as they depend and must depend altogether on the gunboats. There are now nine gunboats here, and it is apparent that the enemy means to make a stand here as long as possible. I will commence to-night to push approaches towards the river and move forward the battery as soon as I can. The enemy continues to re-enforce from above, but I think not heavily. If the gun and mortar boats were here to drive off the gunboats of the enemy, we could easily deal with his land forces. The 20-pounder Parrotts will help us greatly. We must also have more 24-pounder and 8-inch howitzer ammunition as soon as possible. Also two or three more heavy guns, if possible. The troops are in fine spirits and exhibit wonderful gallantry.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
PILOT KNOB, March 13, 1862.
Colonel Carlin writes me from Rives' Station that the rebels are 3,000 strong at Pitman's Ferry and have about 2,000 more near at hand. Jeff. Thompson is at Pocahontas. The water is so high that the troops cannot cross from Greenville at present. I hear nothing of the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry yet.
39 R R-VOL VIII