as they probably will in a few days, shall be ordered on duty again and put in the front of the first fight, and if ever captured again let them be hung, as they deserve. There are strong suspicions that they surrendered to be paroled, that they might get home. They were all sitting down and lying around, shamefully neglecting their duty.
About four days previous to this they attacked our cavalry pickets from an ambuscade in the dense woods; killed 2 nd wounded 16. These belonged to the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, and behaved handsomely. None were captured. I am still occupying Friar's Point with the Twenty-ninth Wisconsin Regiment, 100 cavalry, and two pieces of artillery.
General Sherman's troops, on the way down the Mississippi, wantonly burned much property. The general arrested the guilty parties, had them tried promptly, and seven of them shot. I am not advised to what regiment or command they belonged. This is the first execution for plundering, marauding, or burning property that has occurred in our army during the war. I regret to say that this army has acquired an unenviable reputation for plundering, robbing, and burning property. The discipline is improving. When I took command it seemed to me the most undisciplined mob I ever came in contact with. The material is splendid, but the political demagogues among the line officers are enough to damn the best army on God's footstool. I found colonels giving leaves of absence, men and officers slipping off home on boats, and all manner of breaches of discipline and order. I have had thorough inspections, of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, commissary and quartermaster's departments, transportation, and all public property. I have had drills and reviews of every arm of the service. If I had thirty days' pretty weather, I would set up this army in as fine style as need be.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.
JANUARY 2, 1863.-Reoccupation of New Madrid, Mo., by Union forces.
Report of Colonel D. Henry Hughes, Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry.
NEW MADRID, MO., January 3, 1863.
GENERAL: I occupied this post with my regiment yesterday. We found the guns spiked, gun carriages burned, and magazine blow up, filling the works with debris. The defenses proper are but little injured. No opposition was made to my landing, the few guerrillas in the place scattering to the country. From the best intelligence I hear, there is no large body of the enemy within 30 miles, but several bands of from 100 to 250, which, united, would make considerable force. I would suggest, general, that we need a company or two of cavalry to scour the country and pick up information, capture chiefs of guerrilla bands, &c.
We also need a battery of light artillery. If it is a possible thing, I would like to have them furnished immediately.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
D. H. HUGHES,
Colonel, Commanding Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry.