swer, and we must act with great expedition if unsupported in this move by either Grant or Banks, both of whom should now be heard from.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
CAMP, January 1, 1863.
Admiral DAVID D. PORTER:
DEAR SIR: I was, of course, greatly disappointed at our luck this morning, when General Steele reported the fog too heavy to admit of the execution of our plan of attack on the bluff.
As we are forced to lie by to-day, I would suggest that a small gunboat ascend Steele's Bayou to reconnoiter. On my maps Steele's Bayou enters the Mississippi at Eagle Landing, and it is called Cypress Bayou opposite our landing. I would like to ascertain if they connect. General Steele will send on board a party of infantry, if you wish it.
I am, with respect, yours, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Island Number 10, Tenn., February 1, 1863.
Major THOMAS J. NEWSHAM,
Assistant Inspector-General, District of Columbus:
MAJOR: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following statement in regard to the spiking of guns, dismantling of batteries, and destruction of ammunition at this post:
On the morning of December 25 last, a messenger came to Major Jones, then in command here, with a written order from Brigadier-General [T. A.] Davies, commanding District of Columbus, to this effect:
Spike all your guns, destroy all the ammunition, burn all the carriages and woodwork belonging to the guns. Spike them all. Be quick.
This order was in a few words, written on a small piece of paper about 2 or 3 inches square. The man who brought it had come down in a skiff during the night. He stated that it was dangerous for a steamboat to run lower down than Hickman; that he had been carried to within a mile or two than Hickman; that he had been carried to within a mile or two of that place, where a skiff was furnished him. He was under the influence of liquor, and appeared much excited, as if he had performed a perilous journey. He brought with him a bundle of rattle files, which he said the general had sent to be used on our guns. City, and our position was perfectly impregnable to any attack. The order was so unaccountable, Major Jones could not believe it emanated from any Federal general, but was inclined to think it a ruse of the rebels to have us destroy our defenses. He accordingly put the man under arrest, and at once sent a messenger to Columbus with a dispatch, a copy of which you will find inclosed. In the afternoon of the same day the steamer O'Brien brought down another written order, more full than the first one, but in substance the same.*
Major Jones still heristated to execute what appeared to him a most uncalled for destruction of property. Thus matters continued until the
*See Inclosure, Numbers 2, p. 881.