regiment has 700 men; the Fortieth Iowa has 920 men. I have here and en route to Helena forces as follows: Thirty-third Missouri Infantry, say, 800; Thirty-fifth Missouri Infantry, say, 700; Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, say, 900; Thirty-third Iowa Infantry, say, 800; Fortieth Iowa Infantry, say, 900, and Tenth Missouri Cavalry (detachment), say, 400.
Schofield's battery, First Missouri Artillery, and Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Infantry, commanded by an old friend, en route down stream without any special orders, has sought protection under my wing and attached themselves to my command. If I succeed in running this force all by Memphis, I shall consider ourselves very fortunate. I am unable to judge why General Grant is so earnest in his desire to keep us at Memphis; his force is now at Holly Springs, and unoccupied; he ought to be able to take care of his entire department without further aid from you.
I forward you by this mail a letter from Colonel Hughes, announcing his arrival at and occupation of New Madrid. I don't regard him in any danger of an attack. If a company of cavalry, with two howitzers, could be sent to New Madrid, and Colonel Scott ordered back there from Fort Pillow, Colonel Hughes' entire regiment might be relieved and proceed down stream. Colonel Scott was here in person when General Davies ordered him to abandon New Madrid and destroy the works. Colonel Scott questioned the authority of General Davies to make such an order, when General Davies informed him that he had your order to command the force at New Madrid, as also that of Colonel Chipman, chief of staff. Colonel Scott was opposed to the evacuation; no one favored it but General Davies. Consultation with me was simply a statement to me that the post must be abandoned and the force ordered to Fort Pillow. General Davies thought he had reliable information that Van Dorn, with an immense force, was marching on Fort Pillow, and that Jeff. Thompson and Jeffers, with their consolidated hordes of rebels, were in close proximity to New Madrid and Island Numbers 10; that the plan was to seize the guns at these several points and blockade the Mississippi River. General Tuttle and myself were both opposed to the abandonment, blowing up,and spiking proposition. I had all I could do to convince General Davies that it was madness to abandon Paducah even; his dispatches to Colonel Dougherty ordering him to give up Paducah were written when General Tuttle and myself were advised of his intention. General Halleck's dispatches to General Davies, three in number, were definite and imperative to hold this post at all hazards, and allow no movement to be made that would in the least endanger the Mississippi between Cairo and Memphis. I have not believed that Columbus was in real danger at any time, although had you not thus promptly re-enforced it, it would have been given up. It has been an unpleasant episode in my military history, but I have obeyed orders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CLINTON B. FISK,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, U. S. VOLUNTEERS,
Columbus, Ky., January 5, 1863.
Brigadier General WILLIS A. GORMAN,
Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas:
GENERAL: I am forwarding my command to Helena as rapidly as transportation can be furnished me. I have been detained at this post