ing give me 2,273 infantry, rank and file. Deduct the necessary guards for batteries, and it would be difficult for me to assemble 1,000 in less than three or four hours, the circuit from Battery Numbers 1 to Tiptonville (supposing my right and rear to be safe) being 25 miles. Under this state of things I see but little prospect of their landing in such a small force that I may hope to strike the decisive blow suggested to Major-General McCown.
Yesterday about 1 o'clock a. m. the guns in Battery Numbers 1 were spiked. It was under water and watched by two sentinels, the guard being placed on a breast-height running from the battery to the lake. There was no contest. If not a surprise, the enemy spiked the guns and left before the guard could get in. I have required Colonel Steedman, to whose regiment the battery was instructed, to investigate the affair. He has probably the best regiment under my command. I hope to be able to bore out the vents to-night.
To-day the mortar firing of the enemy has been brisk; so much so, that the floating battery had to loose her mornings.
I learned from Commodore Hollins and Major-General McCown that this battery continues to be under the orders of the commodore, or I would have removed her fine armament to the shore. Any one shell falling on it will sink or blow it up.
Could the new gunboats, if worth anything, take its armament, or, still better, bring with them a fine armament from the gunboats of the Navy, there is yet a possibly of getting command of this river, now for all practicable purposes closed to us.
Ammunition for guns and small-arms will not exceed half the amount your ordered. I have twenty days' provisions on the island, but no ingenuity of man has been able to discover what remains; but I do not doubt the supply will suffice.
The enemy's transports are collected in large numbers above the Bend this evening, and something may be attempted. Please say this to the general: My guns may give him time below When the enemy cross the game is practically up. It takes an army to defend the ground. One good regiment would be better than the force which I have. It never had any discipline. It is disheartened-apathetic. So report my best officers. I cannot rely on sentinels or guards Tell him I do not say this to save myself from future censure or to worry him. I only want him to understand that if the enemy land this will be a beleaguered place, which will not hold out ten hours in my opinion.
We have no guns heavier than 8-inch columbiads. We can reach neither gunboats nor transports.
I ask for neither re-enforcements nor aid of any other kind. I know that each place is though by the local commander of supreme importance. Having placed my condition fully before the general, I am satisfied he will judge of the value and his capacity to support the place best from his stand-point.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. MACKALL,
P. S.-Major General McCown left copies of seven or eight letters and telegrams from Generals Beauregard and Polk, but neither order nor letter books nor copies of his instructions to this command. I inclose a report of Captain Sheliha, staff engineer.