HEADQUARTERS, Fort Pillow, March 21, 1862.
Colonel THOMAS JORDAN,
SIR: In compliance with your telegram of this date I forward, via Memphis, a report of this command, including negro laborers and some half dozen men or more belonging to Captains Neely's and Haywood's cavalry.*
What we most need here is the remainder of the ten columbiads (four are here) which I learn have been ordered here, and their carriages; parts of carriages have arrived. If not already done, I would be glad if you would dispatch orders to the proper points along the line they were to come to hasten up the guns and their carriages.
One battery of eight smooth-bore 32s has 3 or 4 inches of water on the platforms and 3 feet of water in rear of the platforms. I think the guns can be used, and that it will be preferable to attempting to move them. If we had the columbiads here in position we might defy the gunboats.
Captain Harris has shown me a telegram of this date respecting the land defenses at this point. It is barely possible that General Beauregard may not be aware of the existence of a line of intrenchments in our rear some 3 1/2 miles in length, and requiring a garrison of 15,000 to 20,000 men to line it. A rear defense for 3,000 men would have to be thrown up entirely within the existing Fort Pillow, and would require some days for its construction.
I have deemed it important just now to direct all our labor on the river defenses, and hope yet to be able to stop the enemy's fleet should it pass Numbers 10.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. P. STEWART,
MEMPHIS, March 21, 1862.
I am conscious, my dear sir, that matters of greater moment hourly press upon you than anything about which I may trouble you, but your kind answer to my previous letter induces me to invoke your attention once more. This morning I telegraphed you that Lieutenant Fister, of one of the gunboats, had just arrived here, having been sent down by Commodore Hollins for ammunition for his fleet. He called at this office (ordnance) to confer with the ordnance officer, Colonel Hunt. He is now at Columbus, Miss., and I am acting for him. I had nothing here for Commodore Hollins, and in talking with Lieutenant Fister he told me that there was not ammunition enough in the whole fleet for a fight of three hours. He also says that the enemy now has a battery 8 or 10 miles below Tiptonville, and that communication with Tiptonville is effectually cut off by it. This isolates our army on Island 10 from all help, and as the river now overflows all the land below Tiptonville as far as Reelfoot Lake, there is no retreat for our forces on Island 10 in case they are attacked by overwhelming forces. Can they thus attack us? I fear from all the rumors current that they design
*Report not found.