here under the orders which have been already issued by him and under the call of the Governor of this State.
You will please designate a proper officer to muster into service such troops as may assemble here in obedience to the Governor's call.
During the temporary absence of the general commanding he relies upon your vigilance, good judgment, and firmness to guard the interests of the Confederacy in this region. You will please continue to carefully watch the movements of the enemy, make the best dispositions in your power for the protection of the people and property placed under your care, and in no event will you abandon this post unless you are driven back by a superior force.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, yours,
D. H. MAURY,
JACKSON, TENN., February 23, 1862.
Major General LEONIDAS POLK,
Commanding First Division, Department of the West, Columbus, Ky.:
DEAR GENERAL: I am informed by General McCown that you desired his brigade to move down at once to Island Numbers 10. I beg to remark it might be dangerous to divide the forces under you command before the works at that island shall have been put in a defensible condition and before we are ready to abandon Columbus in pursuance to what has already been determined on that subject; hence the necessity of hurrying the construction of the works at Island Numbers 10 and at New Madrid; meanwhile all the necessary preparations can be made for the rapid evacuation of Columbus at the proper time.
The next most important question is, where shall we collect the balance of the forces at Columbus, which is not to form a part of the garrison at Island Numbers 10. Shall this be done at Union City, Humboldt, or Jackson, or shall it be collected temporarily at that island, depending on water transportation alone as far as Memphis, to effect a junction with Ruggles' forces, now at Corinth and Grand Junction, for ulterior operations?
I am not sufficiently well acquainted with the nature of the roads in Western Tennessee and with the means of transportation at our command to be able to answer these queries; hence I would be most happy to have your views on the subject. The great point is, as I understand it, to be able to support in time the garrison at Island Numbers 10 if attacked only by a force equal to our own, or to be able to keep open our communications, either by water or railroad, with the States of Mississippi and Alabama, if attacked by an overwhelming force, which might endanger not only the safety of the garrison referred to, but especially of its supporting force, intended, after having been driven out of Western Tennessee, for the defense inch by inch of the two States already mentioned.
Before concluding, I must call your attention to the necessity of making the works at Island Numbers 10 and at New Madrid as strong as circumstances will permit and to be armed with the heaviest guns that can be spared for this purpose.
I would advise the gorges of the works at the latter place to be palisaded merely, so that our gunboats may fire into them from the river if they were taken by the enemy. Three works, with strong profiles for 500 men, about, each, may be required at that place, two on the