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[38] that if even a musket-shot was again fired at a transport or other boat, the place would be at once destroyed. These boats have been moving constantly day and night, and despatch-boats have been furnished by the navy to convey despatches for General Sherman and General Brayman, up the Tennessee River, or wherever they might require. I would add that when Captain Fitch returned from Fort Pillow he brought away with him refugees, women, and children, who had been left there, and ten wounded soldiers who had been there for two days.

Question. What, in your opinion, would be the competent military and naval force to protect the public property at Cairo and Mound City?

Answer. Two gunboats and two thousand men.

Question. State briefly your reason for believing so large a force is required for that purpose?

Answer. For the reason that we have public property extending along the river for seven miles, and we should be ready for any emergency.

Question. What amount of property would be destroyed here, should the enemy get possession long enough to destroy it?

Answer. It is difficult to estimate its value accurately. We have here a large number of guns, and all the ammunition and other supplies for the Mississippi fleet, consisting of at least one hundred vessels.

Question. What effect would the destruction or capture of this property have upon operations here in the West?

Answer. It would paralyze the fleet.

Question. For how long a time?

Answer. For the entire season, beside giving the enemy means to act more on the offensive — means enough to last them for a campaign.

Question. Is it also true that all the army supplies for the Western department pass through here?

Answer. To the best of my knowledge it is.

Question. What force have you here at Mound City now?

Answer. I have two gunboats, eighty-five marines, one hundred mechanics, who have been armed and drilled, one company of the invalid corps, and a detachment of convalescents. from the hospital. Any other forces that may be here are merely temporary.

Question. What force have you at Cairo?

Answer. Seventy-odd marines. But those we have only to protect the wharf-boat and the inspection-boat, which have on board provisions, ship chandlery, etc. Admiral Porter has ordered me to move them up to this point whenever I can do so without detriment to the public service. I understand that there is a permanent garrison at Cairo of between three hundred and four hundred men. When General Brayman was compelled to reenforce Columbus, he was compelled to take away from there all except about one hundred and fifty men.

Captain James W. Shirk, United States navy, sworn and examined: by the Chairman:

Question. What is your rank and position in the navy, and where are you stationed at this time?

Answer. I am a Lieutenant Commander, and commandant of the United States gunboat Tuscumbia, and the Seventh district of the Mississippi squadron, which extends from the headwaters of the Tennessee River to Cairo.

Question. How long have you been in service in the West?

Answer. I have been attached to this squadron since the sixth of September, 1862.

Question. You are acquainted with the immense amount of public property at Mound City and Cairo?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Do you consider that there is permanent force here, both naval and military, large enough for its protection?

Answer. I do not consider that there has been force enough here heretofore.

Question. What, in your judgment, would be a force sufficient to render that protection and security which the place ought to have?

Answer. I should think it would take a couple of gunboats, and at least two full regiments. The great danger to be apprehended here is from fire.

Question. Will you now state what services the navy has rendered in the late raids in this region of country?

Answer. I will state in regard to my own division. I returned to Paducah, from a trip up the Tennessee River, on the twenty-fifth of March, at noon. I immediately called upon Colonel Hicks, the commandant of that post, as was my custom, to hear what news he had. He informed me that the rebels had taken Union City the day before, and that he expected an attack there that night. As I had just come down from the southern part of Tennessee, and had heard nothing of Forrest there, and as I had been told so many times before without cause that the rebels were threatening to attack Paducah, I did not put much confidence in the report; at the same time, I did not wish to leave the place unprotected by gunboats, and I accordingly left the Peosta and the Pawpaw at that place, while I came down to Cairo to communicate with Captain Pennock and the authorities here, in order to find out whether or not there was any truth in the report. I left Paducah about one o'clock and arrived here about dark. Shortly after I arrived here the telegraphic operator at Metropolis telegraphed down that Paducah was in flames. Captain Pennock and I went down to Cairo to see Generals Brayman and Veatch. General Veatch ordered a regiment of his troops up to Paducah to reenforce Colonel Hicks, and I immediately started up in the despatch boat Volunteer with Captain Odlin, General Brayman's Assistant Adjutant-General. On our way up we destroyed several ferry-boats and

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