yourself fully apprised of what is going on for some distance below you. You will use all vigilance, and be ready to support the guns with your whole force if necessary. Keep up constant communication with General Plummer and advise him immediately of any movement of the enemy. He is instructed to move with his whole force to your assistance if necessary. It is of the last importance to the operations here that the battery of the two 24-pounder guns be maintained in its present position, and I will move the whole force from here for that purpose if necessary. If there be no suitable point below the gun in position for the one which I sent down last night, you will cause it to be placed in position near the other. But I must impress upon you that it is the landing at Tiptonville and for a half a mile below it which must be commanded by our guns to effect the purpose contemplated. Keep your mounted scouts along the river for at least 4 or 5 miles below you, to watch carefully whether the enemy make any attempt to cross. Their whole force in this vicinity, at island Numbers 10 and elsewhere, does not exceed 9,000 infantry, with perhaps two batteries of light artillery; no match for yourself and Plummer united. Write to me regularly and fully two or three times a day.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
NEW MADRID, March 18, 1862. (Received March 19,)
As soon as daylight unmasked my heavy battery below Point Pleasant the enemy moved with five gunboats to within 300 yards and attempted to dislodge us. A furious cannonade was kept up for an hour and a half, when the gunboats rapidly retreated out of range. One gunboat was sunk and several badly damaged. Many of the gunners were shot down from our rifle pits. We lost a single man. Our lower battery is so placed that it commands the upper end of the overflowed lands on east side of river, and no communication from below with the enemy is now possible. They are shut up in the bend of the river, with no egress whatever except by a road from Tiptonville to Union City, which crosses Reelfoot Lake, 2 miles wide, and with only one small flat-boat. If I had the means to cross the river with my command I could bag the whole of them.
I made reconnaissance across peninsula to-day towards Island 8. Party not returned. Will write fully by mail, to reach you day after to-morrow.
CAIRO, ILL., March 8, 1862.
Lieutenant H. A. WISE,
Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography:
News received this 9 a. m. from flag-ship Benton, dated near island Numbers 10, March 17. We had hard work this afternoon with the upper battery. Of all at this point four shots struck us only out of the fire of some five forts. One shot, after striking the upper deck twice and the lower one once, breaking some half dozen beams, finally lodged