MEMPHIS, TENN., December 10, 1864.
Captain JAMES W. EDWARDS,
Second Cav. Missouri State Militia, Commanding New Madrid, Mo.:
CAPTAIN: Should it be decided to continue the post at New Madrid, I would suggest to you to make it more secure against surprise with as little delay as practicable. The work necessary to effect this object can all be done by your own men and with materials within your reach. It consists simply in placing your entire command, including all the animals belonging to it, within a palisaded inclosure sufficiently strong to resist a sudden and unexpected dash. To do this a row of palisading should be placed in the bottom of the ditch off the fort (or twenty-five to thirty yards beyond) throughout its entire length. I would also add a palisaded inclosure of four sides to the front of the fort facing up stream large enough to include the cluster of buildings containing your headquarters, and extending far enough upstream to give all the room required for your two cavalry companies. Palisade this inclosure on two sides, the river forming a third, and the front of the fort the fourth side. The largest side of this inclosure might be parallel to the river-bank, and should be swept by at least one of the guns of the fort. This work finished, your position would be perfectly secure, except against some well-organized attack in considerable force, which in the present or any probable future condition of things you have no reason to apprehend. I do not think you require all the artillery you have, and if the new post at Caruthersville is to be maintained I shall suggest that part of it (at least the two 12-pounders and the ammunition for them) be sent there. Your supply of ammunition when your late requisition shall have been filled and you complete your complement of powder, which should be done at once, will be 103 rounds per gun for the five 24-pounders (aggregate 515 rounds) and 73 rounds per gun for your two 12-pounders (aggregate 146 rounds). This will be ample, but the solid shot, amounting to 39 rounds per gun for the 24-pounders and 20 rounds per gun for the 12-pounders, should be replaced to the extent of about three-fourths of the entire quantity by spherical case, grape, and canister in suitable proportions. There should be no delay in getting powder enough to complete all your partial rounds of ammunition. The men should be practiced in firing with each kind of projectile enough at least to establish the ranges and mark them on the ground. I will furnish a copy of this letter to Major General Canby, commanding Division of West Mississippi, with my report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,
Major-General and Inspector-General of Fortifications,
Military Division of West Mississippi.
HDQRS. SECOND SUB-DISTRICT, SAINT LOUIS DISTRICT,
Cape Girardeau, December 27, 1864.
Respectfully referred to commanding officer of Saint Louis District, with the remark that the letter of Major-General Gillmore having been shown me by the commanding officer at New Madrid, I have caused a copy to be made and forwarded for his consideration. I would suggest that if the addition to the defenses at New Madrid be made,, that you send an officer of the Engineer Corps to superintend the construction of them, as I have no officer there sufficiently instructed in such matters to construct them properly. The ammunition mentioned has been