would be compelled to abandon the fort. I have selected a spot just below, immediately on the bank of the river and facing the sally-port or entrance of the fort, for the construction of barracks for my command. Have engaged the lumber, and can have them built in a week. It is best, I think, that can be done. The position is out of the way of the guns, cannot be flanked by the enemy, and could afford him no cover in advancing upon the fort. Shall I go on and build them?
It occurs to me that another fort like this-a bastion-built higher up the river, at a point where an impassable swamp comes well nigh up to New Madrid, would be advisable. It would command all the weak points not covered by the guns of this fort, and the two, properly controlled, would render this a very strong point.
I fear that only a few of General Thompson's forces can be induced to re-enlist now. This will leave us here almost alone, and that in a few days. The enemy are not ignorant of this. It is useless to say they are not advised of matters here. These facts lead me to conclude that we stand in immediate need of additional forces here. The regiment at Island Numbers 10-Colonel Smith's-might, I think, be sent here, as that point could not be attacked except by way of this place or down the river. I can send forthwith for the guns I have below and arm them. Besides this, these troops need drilling and rigid discipline, the requirements of the service having kept them heretofore isolated. Logan's battalion from Arkansas will soon reach Columbus. It is raised under the order I obtained from you a few weeks since. Could it not be ordered here? If allowed a preference, they would come. It is armed. Colonel Terry's Arkansas command, just organized, if not otherwise disposed of, might be sent here. I sent messengers to Arkansas for a cavalry regiment, with instructions to report to you at Columbus. I fear it has gone into service elsewhere. I can soon have one organized and, I think, armed, yet not in time to meet the emergency just upon us. Unless General Thompson's cavalry re-enlist we shall be without this arm of the service. Such a possibility, which I fear is a probability, needs no comment.
Assistant quartermaster and commissary for the Confederate forces here are indispensable. The Missouri Militia are better in marching and fighting than in army detail. I think it would be to the interest of the Confederacy to get accounts as little confused with them as possible. Their facilities are fewer, and they necessarily pay more for supplies than Confederate officers. In obedience to your instructions, the quartermasters and commissary of my regiment, who are both Confederate bonded officers, are acting as post officers for the Confederate forces here. About &3,000 placed in their hands now would enable them to open a running account for supplies, forage, &c. We can per chase pork at 6, beef at 5, and corn at 45 cents. These officers might be of service in procuring supplies for Columbus. They are energetic and competent business men.
The fort is a half mile from town and 2 or 3 miles from General Thompson's command. While he and his command are gallant officers and soldiers, and while he as a brigadier and his staff as officers are, in my opinion, highly essential to the success of our cause in Missouri, yet in matters of discipline and drill, of defense and fortification, and all those things which pertain to the efficient and thorough organization of our army, they are somewhat careless. I cannot help feeling that the responsibility of matters connected with the fort will rest upon me. I would feel better satisfied to take command of the fort at once and report to General T. as commandant of the post. It