six hours' fight the Unidne was abandoned and, with the transports Cheeseman and Venus, had fallen into the enemy hands. I also received, the same day, positive and reliable information that Forrest intended attacking this place on the following Wednesday or Thursday, all of which was telegraphed to yourself. I should here remark that at this time we had nothing worthy the name of fortifications, only one small block-house and a little earth-work thrown up on two hills overlooking the town and river, where were mounted the six 10-pounder Parrotts of the First Kansas Battery, the only guns then here. In addition to above we had about 700 men of the Forty-third Wisconsin Infantry (a new regiment that had never been under fire); also one company of the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, which, with some twenty mounted men from the Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry, coimprised our whole military force. Gun-boats Key West (32) and Elfin (52), under command of Lieutenant Commanding E. M. King, also reached here from above. The same morning Colonel C. R. Thompson, of the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, commanding troops on the Nashville and Northeastern road, immediately ordered here all the men that could be spared from the different points along the line of the road, thus increasing our force by the addition of about 500 men from the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and One hundredth Regiments of the U. S. Colored Infantry. During this and the few following days I also placed all employes that could possibly be spared from other work to assist in constructing fortifications about the place.
On Wednesday, November 2, it having become evident that an attack upon us was near at hand, Lieutenant-Commanding King, with gun-boats 32 and 29, started at about 3 p. m. on a river reconnaissance below this point. When some five miles below, in rounding a point in the river, he came upon the gun-boat Undine (captured from us on the 30th instant) and the transport Venus, carrying two 20-pounder rifled Parrotts, and both boats loaded with troops, steaming up the river for this place. Lieutenant Commanding King at once opened fire upon the boats, and after a sharp engagement of some twenty minutes the Venus was disabled, run into the shore, and abandoned. The Undine at once steamed down the river, and owingto the heavy fog and mist, together with the fear of being decoyed into the rebel shore batteries, Lieutenant Commanding King returned with his boats and prize to this place. The Venus had on board when captured, in addition to the two 20-pounder Parrotts, with 200 rounds of ammunition for same, 100 boexes shoes, 2 bales blankets, 576 boxes hard bread, and other packages of quartermaster stores. The guns were taken from the Venus the same evening and placed in battery on the hill. The following day, Thursday, the 3rd instant, at about 12 m., the Undine came in sight near the head of the island, little more than a mile below here. Our gun-boats immediately moved down to engage her, when she steamed down the river for the evident purpose of decoying our boats into their shore batteries. This was repeated twice, the rebel sharpshooters who lined the banks on each occasion firing in volleys upon our gun-boats. At about 4 p. m. I received a letter from Lieutenant-Commanding King, which was forwarded to Lieutenant S. W. Treat, acting assistant quartermaster, as per copy herewith attached. Colonel J. C. Peterson, with one section of artillery and some 300 volunteers from the quartermaster's department at Nashville, arrived this evening and went immediately to work in the mud and rain throwing up intrenchments and preparing for defense. On Friday morning, the 4th instant, the Undine was againd iscovered lying at the opposite bank near the head of the island. Our gun-boats immediately