all of the Thirteenth Corps, except what is at Brownsville, can be sent here, I think it will be ample, if 1,000 or 1,500 cavalry can also be sent along with it. Part of the First Division, I understand, is at Plaquemine. Can it not be sent here? There is said to be eleven batteries of field artillery in Texas. As yet I have received but very few wagons. Whenever a large steamer can be had, adapted to taking cavalry. I hope she will be taken and sent forward with plenty of forage and water for not less than seven days. Should she arrive, in a smooth time she will immediately unloaded, but if it should be otherwise she would have to lie off perhaps two or three days. The light-draught, vessels, viz, the Saint Mary's Crescent, Alabama, Corinthian, and Fairhaven, had better be used as far as possible for artillery and wagons. On the night of the 28th, I sent 100 infantry up on the outside, on the gun-boat Granite City, which was accompanied by the gun-boat Sciota, with instructions to land near the head of the peninsula and march down under cover of the gunboats while at the same time I sent all of my mounted men, 50 in number, up the peninsula. My object was to capture the pickets which the enemy are known to keep on the peninsula, and drive in cattle to supply the army. I have information that the enemy's cavalry charged down the peninsula 1,000 strong and overtook them about 15 miles down. My men gave battle and with the boats repulsed the enemy. As soon as the party returns you shall have an official report of the affair.*
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. WASHBURN,
Pilot Knob, Mo. January 1, 1864.
General C. B. FISK,
Commanding Saint Louis District:
SIR: I find the catastrophe at Centreville was much aggravated, if not occasioned, by carelessness, though perhaps no care could have entirely prevented the misfortune. Proper watchfulness might have made the enemy's success much more costly to him. The facts that the enemy's means of information are so much superior to ours, that he avoided roads for a long distance below, thus escaping detection by a patrol party there to ascertain the state of affairs and report, and that making a large circuit he came in from the west across the hills, and not by any road, with his advance dressed in Federal uniforms, may afford some excuse.
I think a private note of mild reprimand from you, directing Captain Bartlett and First Lieutenant Hendrick, of Company C, to be more on their guard in future will answer every purpose. The second lieutenant is on detached service here and can in no way be implicated. The captain was also at the line, on business connected with his command, and took a very active part in the pursuit. These officers are both young, active, intelligent, and brave, very valuable to the service, and I cannot afford to lose them; their places cannot be filled; they are high-strung and very sensitive, and will think their resignation demanded, at least, by any harshness. I therefore, since the affairs has turned out so much more disastrous
* See Vol. XXXVI, Part 1, p. 480.