expands the rails and throws the track, ties, and all out of place, and when the iron gets so hot that it can push no farther the rail knuckles, and when it cools breaks the rails. I understand miles of the road are thus destroyed.
The enemy, from all accounts, have left, going south. The reports are contradictory, however. I am now in a position to send a construction train out and hold the place against any force which they can bring. I shall, however, do nothing in that way until I am sure of the position of the enemy and their strength, which must soon be developed. I have about 6,000 troops and will be assisted by Brigadier-Generals Tuttle and Fisk. i shall await your orders or those of General Grant as to the commencement of repairs on this road. My impression is that the damage is so extensive that it may involve a change of base to Memphis or below.
THOS. A. DAVIES,
COLUMBUS, KY., December 27, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
One of my couriers sent to Jackson has returned, but could not penetrate nearer than 27 miles of that place. Heard cannonading in that direction. Colonel of Forrest's cavalry informed him that Buckner was attacking Jackson and would have it before night; that Corinth had fallen, also Bolivar; that they were going to take Paducah, and would move on Columbus as soon as Forrest was re-enforced. This is rumor and must be taken for what it is worth. They have two cordons of pickets extending from Jackson to the Tennessee River, 15 miles apart. Van Dorn is at Brownsville, just back of Fort Pillow. This is reliable. One of our own men marched three days with him. I shall re-enforce Fort Pillow by troops from New Madrid by daylight to-morrow morning.
THOS. A. DAVIES,
HEADQUARTERS FISK'S BRIGADE,
Columbus, Ky., December 27, 1862.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Commanding Department of Missouri:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I reached Columbus yesterday and proceeded directly to business. Found General Davies very much alarmed and quite nervous. A large force of rebels was reported as very near and approaching. I was immediately put in command of the left wing of the forces here, including all the forts on the heights. General Tuttle command s the right win and holds the low grounds near the railroad. We have now about 7,000 troops. Your prompt re-enforcement of this point saved it, with its $13,000,000 of Government stores, beyond any doubt; General Davies has so telegraphed General Halleck. General Davies was inclined to evacuate the position; had placed much of the Government stores on transports ready for departure. General Tuttle and myself have resisted any such conclusion. I told General Davies I had come to Columbus by your order with your forces to aid in saving the post, and I should obey orders. If he left, I should stay and fight it out. General Tuttle, true to his Iowa grit, said "amen." I fear