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[357] thousand, with sixty guns. . . . How long can I hold New Madrid with my small force against such odds, is a question. I believe the enemy will soon be fifty thousand strong. . . . I am determined to hold my position at every hazard. Shall engage in no field risks; I see my danger; my men are confident and in good spirit.

This communication aroused the greatest apprehension in General Beauregard's mind, as it confirmed his belief in General Mc-Cown's exaggerated fears of the dangers threatening his position. Clearly, Napoleon's axiom—‘Confidence is half the battle’—was not known to the commander at Madrid Bend. General Beauregard began to think it would be necessary to send a steadier officer to relieve him. Having but recently arrived in that military district, however, the direct command of which he had assumed only four days previously,1 and being, as yet, unacquainted with the subordinate commanders serving there, General Beauregard, who, on the other hand, was still awaiting the arrival of the officers so urgently asked2 of the War Department, concluded to await further developments before taking final action in the matter. He did not doubt the personal bravery of General McCown, though his timorousness as a commander and fear of responsibility were most apparent. He therefore wrote him an earnest letter of encouragement, of which the closing words were: ‘The country expects us all to do our duty with a fearless heart, and we must do it or die in the attempt.’3

Columbus had been successfully evacuated. Part of its troops and most of its guns and other armament had been transferred to the different defences about Madrid Bend, the enemy offering no interference to delay the movement. There was additional cause of gratification in the fact that the governors of the southwestern States had all favorably answered General Beauregard's call on them, through his circular of February 21st. We need not repeat what we have already written about his efforts to organize and concentrate an army under the most trying circumstances, and the noteworthy manner in which it was effected.4

The real attack on New Madrid commenced March 12th, but

1 March 5th. See order to that effect, as given in Chapter XVII. p. 249.

2 See General Beauregard's letter of February 24th, to General Cooper, in Chapter XVI. See all his telegrams to same purpose.

3 The letter appears in the Appendix to the present chapter.

4 See Chapters XVI.–XVIII.

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