of New Madrid. His progress is necessarily slow, but if the operation should be successful, it can hardly fail to produce important results.
Generals Grant and Smith are near Savannah, on the Tennessee, with about 45,000 men. The streams in the vicinity are so very much swollen and the roads so nearly impassable that his movements are necessarily delayed. As I could not re-enforce him as I expected (on account of sending troops to General Curtis and New Mexico), I have directed him to make no importation movements till General Buell's column, now at Columbia, can form a junction with him. the Mobile and Ohio Railroad has been cut in two places between Corinth and Jackson, but we must take Corinth before we can seriously injure his communications. Johnston is reported to be in very strong force at Corinth and Tuscumbia, having received large re-enforcements from Georgia and Alabama. Beauregard and Polk are reported to be at Jackson and Humboldt with re-enforcements from Louisiana and Florida. Cannot Generals Sherman and butler take advantage of this withdrawal of troops from Georgia and Alabama to attack Savannah and Mobile?
I am rapidly withdrawing all troops mustered into the service of the United States from State control and fitting them out here for the field. This causes some grumbling on the part of the troops and State authorities, but I am satisfied that it is the only way to get these forces promptly into the field, where they are now much wanted. So long as the soldiers remain near their homes they cannot be disciplined; more-over, as the local authorities derive profits from the expenditure of public moneys in their vicinity, they very naturally desire to keep them there as long as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
New Madrid, March 23, 1862.
Since yesterday our gunboats seem to have ceased their fire and are waiting for us to reduce the batteries opposite Island Numbers 10. If I can cross this force it will be an easy matter, as the batteries are only earth parapets, open to the rear-such works as could be put up in twenty-four hours. The river is very high and rising still, and the current runs so furiously that a row-boat, manned by six oarsmen, which I sent out yesterday, was unable to stem it and floated down 3 miles. It was necessary to haul it back to the upper redoubt by land. The river is over a mile wide at every point-a distance too great for our guns to cover the landing on the opposite side. To cross this army under such circumstances, in the face of the enemy, will be a difficult and dangerous operation, and nothing except the utter failure of our gunboats to achieve what hey promise and the imperative necessity of taking the enemy's batteries, now that they have been assailed, would induce me to hazard such an operation with volunteers without positive orders. The difficulties hae much increased since I first determined upon such a movement by the greatly-increased velocity and fury of the current. The canal cannot be made deep enough for gunboats, and there will be nothing to cover our landing on the opposite bank. The movement must therefore be made under cover of darkness, which will greatly increase the danger and chance of confusion. I see well the necessity