in the following general report of this fort, in order to lay before the general commanding as accurate a statement of its actual condition and resources as possible.
With respect to the site itself, it possesses the advantage of being quite elevated and of commanding the river for 2 or 3 miles above and below, thus bringing vessels for a long time under the fire of heavy guns mounted in proper position. It is not more than 29 miles from Mason's Depot, on the Memphis and Ohio Railroad. A small stream, the Hatchie, intervenes. A good military road has been constructed to Mason's Depot, crossing the Hatchie 11 miles from this point; a good flat-boat has been placed at the crossing, but is slightly out of condition at this time.
The topography of the country, unfortunately, is such that I fear it will be impossible to construct any line of intrenchments that will enable a small force to hold the position securely against a large one. An extensive cremaillere line has already been constructed in the rear at distances from the river varying from about the half of a mile to a mile; a part of it, however, is so badly located that it would be untenable. Several hills, entirely protected from fire, command it in reserve; but were there no other defects in the line, it is so extensive that 15,000 men and a large number of guns would be required to man it properly.
We are at work on a shorter line nearer the river, and in twelve or fifteen days more will probably have it finished; after which a brave garrison of 5,000 men ought to make a protracted and obstinate resistance; but a smaller number would be insufficient.
At least twenty guns should be mounted on the work we are constructing. I had intended to use the 32-pounders mounted on the water front for that purpose, but in obedience to instructions received from the general will turn most of them over to the River Defense Expedition. A sufficient number to make up my deficiency could probably be spared from Pensacola or Mobile.
Two companies of good cavalry could patrol the country in my rear and give me timely notice of the enemy's approach after I should be deprived of other sources of information; then, by destroying bridges, felling timber, and other expedients, retard his progressing. Circumstances might justify the enemy in advancing even with Island Numbers 10 in his rear. I would like to be prepared for the worst. I would like to have those companies as soon as possible. I have one battery of light artillery here and would like to have another.
About two miles and a half from this point the Cold and Hatchie Rivers approach each other to within a mile. The country is hilly, and it might be desirable to meet the enemy at this point; in which event the batteries would be of great service. Should the enemy invest me, the light guns could be used with effect in the works.
The armament of the works consists of twenty-two 32-pounders, smooth bore; six 32-pounders, rifled; four 10-inch and three 8-inch columbiads. Five of the smooth-bore 32-pounders are mounted on the intrenchments. The six rifle guns are old pattern light 32-pounders, and will certainly explode after a few rounds; consequently will keep them in reserve with a few rounds for each, and take precautions to avoid casualties if they burst.
After reserving 200 rounds for each columbiad and a few rounds for each of the rifle guns, I will be able to supply about 12,000 pounds of powder and other ammunition in proportion to the Defense Expedition. I will then require at least 15,000 pounds of powder to raise my