JANUARY 21, 1862.
Mem. [for General POLK]:
I have visited Island Numbers 10 and the positions in that vicinity, and agree with Captain Gray in the importance which he attaches to them.
It would be well, in my opinion, to remove at once to that vicinity all the troops and guns from Fort Pillow except a small battery and the men necessary to fight it, and to strengthen the different points about the island by the establishment of batteries at selected points, to contain in all from forty to fifty heavy guns, sustained by a land force of from 4,000 to 5,000 men. This done, and the works pushed on to completion, would greatly add to, if it did not entirely insure, the security of the valley of the Mississippi.
General Thompson thinks that the visit of the General Polk to New Madrid and her frequent appearance in that neighborhood is important. If I ever saw a position where steamers of war could be stopped by batteries it is the one embraced in the remarks which I, with great diffidence, have taken the liberty to submit.
I should have done myself the pleasure of seeing you personally, but I am quite unwell and much debilitated.
WM. C. WHITTLE,
Commanding Naval Forces Columbus.
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., January 24, 1862.
GENERAL: Your communication of the 21st* was received last night. Its contents have been carefully considered. I immediately forwarded your letter addressed to Colonel [James] McIntosh. He will get it this morning. I will take immediate measures to have my command fully ready for a movement should the colonel commanding division authorize it, and will go to your support at any time you ascertain an advance of the enemy. I will hear from Colonel McIntosh by to-night, if not sooner. As soon as I do, I will send you a messenger.
Be assured, general, that I have every willingness to give you my support, and will do so cheerfully if permitted.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Regiment La. Vols., Commanding Brigade.
Should you determine anything relative to the train now near here for your army, please dispatch at once. There are no new cases of small-pox.
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., January 22, 1862.
Major General STERLING PRICE,
Commanding Mo. S. G.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to respectfully transmit a copy of a communication addressed to me from the Adjutant General's Office, C. S.+ The document explains itself as fully as I could explain it.
+See Chilton to Hebert, December 31, 1861, p. 726.