fired on by a party of guerrillas. Acts of this kind must be promptly punished, and it is almost impossible to reach the actors, for they come from the interior and depart as soon as the mischief is done. But the interest and well-being of the country demands that all such attacks should be followed by a punishment that will tend to prevent a repetition.
Two boats will be placed at your disposal, one, the Eugene, to proceed on the regular trip to Saint Louis when you are done wither, and the other, a chartered boat, wholly at your service. Embark on the Eugene two of your companies and on the chartered boat the remainder of your command, with a section of rifled guns that will be sent to the levee by Major Taylor. Get off by 5 or 6 p. m. at furthest and move up to this bend and make a landing at Cuba Landing; then send the Eugene ahead, moving, under steam without landing, to Fort Pillow and back, till she meets you, following more slowly. You should both be ready to reach Randolph at daybreak or a little before. I think the attack on the Eugene was by a small force of guerrillas from Loosahatchie, who by this time have gone back, and therefore that you will find no one at Randolph; in which case you will destroy the place, leaving one house to mark the place. Let the people know and feel that we deeply deplore the necessity of such destruction, but we must protect ourselves and the boats which are really carrying stores and merchandise for the benefit of secession families, whose fathers and brothers are in arms against us. If any extraordinary case presents itself to your consideration you may spare more than one house; but let the place feel that all such acts of cowardly firing upon boats filled with women and children and merchandise must be severely punished.
It is barely possible that the army of Breckinridge, last heard from at Davis' Mill, designs to reach the Mississippi River at Randolph, in which event the party there yesterday may have been an advance guard. If this be so the Eugene will discover the fact, for they will have artillery; then you should be very careful, as your force would be inadequate; but if the Eugene pass Randolph and return to meet you it is certain that it is a guerrilla raid, when you can safely proceed. Do not land at an accustomed place, but consult with captains and pilots. Approach the shore below the landing, get a couple of companies over as skirmishers, and move rapidly into Randolph. Of course the inhabitants will be all gone, or will be expecting you and be prepared for anything. Keep your men in the reach of your voice, and do your work systematically. Let your quartermaster take a minute account of every house or piece of property destroyed under this order, with the names of owners if possible. If all is clear, you can send parties inland toward Covington, but not over 5 miles.
When done you can take aboard your boat the men from the Eugene and let her proceed on her voyage. If you find men whom you suspect of guilt bring them in, but no women or children. Also you may capture any slaves, horses, or mules belonging to known rebels.
W. T. SHERMAN,
COLUMBUS, September 24, 1862.
Fort Pillow is now unoccupied by Federal troops, and there is no gunboat there. Your ordered all ordnance and ordnance stores to be moved, and I supposed until to-day that it had been done under the