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705 Series I Volume III- Serial 3 - Wilson's Creek


over 80 negroes at work, and no similar force and facilities at my command could have done more than they have done; so you will readily perceive the impossibility of finishing the fortifications at an early date unless I could have for 10 or 15 days some 500 hands from Fort Pillow, where I learn some 2,000 are at work. I have no boat either, which is essential to a rapid construction of the batteries at Island Numbers 10. The Mohawk, placed under my orders for topographical service, has been taken off some time ago for other duty by orders from your department.

Since I have seen Columbus, I have not lessened my opinion, previously given to the commanding general, of its strong natural facilities for defense; but further examinations have strengthened my belief of the great importance of Island Numbers 10 in connection with a line of defense including New Madrid and Union City, as a powerful base of operations against the enemy.

I have been put to serious inconvenience by an order causing suddenly my assistant, Mr. Rowley, and my clerk, Mr. Miller, who had charge of my commissary stores and papers, to be taken away from this post. The general commanding must have been misled by a misapprehension of facts in some way. Mr. Miller was a civilian, appointed by me as clerk and to attend to my commissary matters, and he was in no way an army officer. I had attentively taught Mr. Rowley and Mr. Miller to assist me in systematically conducting the important duties confided to me, and their sudden withdrawal, without an hour's notice, has not only in convenience me, but been really detrimental to the service. Lieutenant Snowdon is sick, and cannot be exposed to the labors of an assistant probably for some time. He is to-day wholly dialed by fever. I feel sure that had the general known of the circumstances I have related, he would not have ordered them away at so necessary a period in the progress of this work, unless on some imperative occasion.

I will send you, captain, in a day or two, a sketch of this section of country, exhibiting the situation of our works, if I can possibly secure time from my other labors. In the mean time, if you can lay before the commanding general the necessity, in my opinion, of more speedy movement in the works here, I shall be better satisfied that we shall be altogether upon a much safer basis to meet the enemy under any circumstances that may arise. If the will give me an order for 500 negroes from Fort Pillow and send me a small steamer and authority to get the guns from Memphis, I will soon be enabled to say we are prepared.

I remain, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, C. S. Army, ant Topographical Engineer.

Superintending Fortifications, Island Numbers 10.

Pitman's Ferry, September 19, 1861.

Major General LEONIDAS POLK, Commanding, &c., Columbus, Ky.:

GENERAL: I have just received your dispatch of the 17th instant.* Your previous dispatch of the 14th instant I have already answered. I have sent Colonel Cleburne with his regiment to repair the Point Pleasant plank road. This road, if practicable, is the shortest and easiest


*Not found.