and having full control over the swampy country around sikeston Before leaving Birds Point you will see that all the important points on the Illinois Central Rail Road are guarded by small squads and that the Gun Boats watch all the crossings on the River between Commerce & Hickman. Should you instead of moving forward make a stand at Benton as well as at Charleston you will throw up without delay earthworks to strengthen your position and report immediately the disposition of our own forces; and also as far as possible from your Reconnoisances and the intelligence brought by your scouts the numbers and position of the enemy." Copies, DLC-USG, V, 7, 8, 81; DNA, RG 393, USG Hd. Qrs. Correspondence. O. R., I, iii, 146-47.
September 4th 1861|
Information is just in from Sikeston which I am disposed to credit although the authority is a negro man. He tells a very strait story. Says that the Rebels left Sikeston last Monday. Had there four regiments of Tennessee and Mississippi troops, ten or twelve pieces of Artillery drawn by horses, one large piece drawn by five yoke of oxen and one mortar drawn by three yoke. In addition to this Jeff. Thompson 1 had 1500 men. They said they were going to New Madrid and then to Memphis.
On the strength of reconnoisances made by Col. Waagner I telegraphed this evening 2 that troops, Artillery Cavalry & Infantry, can be spared from here, by sending those from Jackson promptly, to take possession of Columbus heights 3 & New Madrid will fall within five days after. This should be done to-morrow night.