War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0763 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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My position is critical. If it is possible General Beauregard should come and see how matters stand here.

Yours, &c.,

J. P. McCOWN,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

New Madrid, Mo., February 28, 1862-8 p. m.

[Major-General POLK:]

DEAR SIR: My reports from Sikeston here have been every two hours. The entire force of the enemy now at Benton is estimated at 20,000. Some seem to have been sent through from Kentucky, so my spies inform me. Their largest gun, a siege mortar, requires twenty-six horses; the others are either 12 or 6 pounder guns.

When I wrote to-day at 10 o'clock I informed you Thompson had been cut off. At the date of this writing it seems that he left Sikeston at 7 a. m. The enemy came in at 8 a. m. His force was 65 men and a few of those little brass concerns. My picket just informs me that the force in Thompson's rear is only 100, and that he had possession of Jones' Pass; also that he heard the general's little guns just before leaving. If so, he has cut them off instead of they him.

I have just written up to General McCown to suggest some changes in our mode of defense, which I will write to you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. W. GANTT,

Colonel, Commanding Post.

Have I written to you that General Pope commands the expedition?

HEADQUARTERS McCULLOCH'S DIVISION,

March 1, 1862.

General VAN DORN:

SIR: I have ordered the command to be ready to march as soon as you arrive, with six days' cooked rations, and will notify General Price to be ready also. We await your arrival anxiously. We now have force enough to whip the enemy.;

Your obedient servant,

BEN. McCULLOCH,

Brigadier-General.

Effective total of McCulloch's division, at Strickler's, March 2, 1862.

Hebert's (infantry) brigade.................................. 4,637

Greer's (cavalry) brigade................................... 3,747

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Total........................................................ 8,384

Artillery (Hart's, Gaines', Good's, and Provence's batteries), 18 guns.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,

Boston Mountains, March 3, 1862.

Brigadier General ALBERT PIKE:

GENERAL: I am instructed by Major-General Van Dorn to inform you that he will move from here to-morrow morning with the combined