morning. The enemy are in large force back of New Madrid (in sight). Several of them have been killed and captured. They are reported to be 25,000 strong. General McCown is expecting an attack at any moment. We are endeavoring to get matters so arranged as to keep back their gunboats. We will have at this place and on the island forty-five guns in position by to-morrow morning. We have five gunboats at New Madrid. General McCown must have re-enforcements from some quarter. If we can keep the enemy's boats back, our force can hold out for some days at Madrid. With an additional force of 15,000 or 20,000, the general thinks he can bag the entire army or crush them. We are excellent spirits; the boys all confident and freezing for a fight, but we must have re-enforcements.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. F. MARKS,
Commanding on Main-land.
JACKSON, TENN., March 7, 1862.
Island Numbers 10, or New Madrid:
Your dispatch of the 5th, by Captain Lewis, just received. Change the position of the Belmont gun if you deem it necessary. Contrive to have the bridge across the plank road destroyed at all hazards. You must rely upon General Thompson and the Missourians for this and the sort of service you wish performed by Lewis and his company. Throw out large advance pickets at night as near as possible to the enemy. If possible, build the salient in advance of your two works, so as to have it flanked by the firing from them. This you may have to do at night.
If the plank road is destroyed Sigel's force cannot reach you.
Economize powder and shot, and tell Hollins to do the same. I have sent you 600 spades by the Hartford City, and will send others across from Union City. There was 700 guns in boxes sent from Columbus to New Madrid to Colonel Gantt. Let me know if they came to hand. Have all heavy guns of every caliber that you do not want sent down to Fort Pillow immediately.
Have levees built around Batteries Numbers 1 and 2, with stakes, sand bags, and earth. Have just given orders to have 1,000 negro men pressed and put to your assistance from the river. The Manassas will be with your perhaps to-morrow. I have no fears of the enemy trying to run the gauntlet with his gunboats, and we all believe you can hold the position.
Madrid Bend, March 7, 1862.
General LEONIDAS POLK, Commanding:
GENERAL: Yesterday the enemy appeared at Point Pleasant. At my request Commodore Hollins sent two gunboats to remove all means of crossing from the Missouri shore. Several shots (6-pounders) were fired at the Kentucky. The gunboats soon removed the annoyance. Should I fail to hold New Madrid, it would require 10,000 men to main-
49 R R-VOL VIII