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[358] the four siege-guns of the Federals were not in position, nor were their batteries completed, until 3 A. M. on the 13th. The firing opened at daybreak and ended at dusk, with very little injury on either side; yet, that very evening, after a defence of less than twelve hours, General McCown, although the vital importance of holding his post to the last extremity had been repeatedly impressed upon him by General Beauregard, held an informal conference with Commodore Hollins, on board the latter's flagship, at which General Stewart only was present, and it was agreed that the forts must be immediately evacuated. This was done during the night of the 13th, in a heavy rain storm, and in a manner far from creditable to the general commanding. The evacuation was conducted with so much confusion indeed as almost to amount to a stampede. The Confederate forces there engaged numbered some three thousand five hundred men of all arms, with twentyone heavy guns, and two light batteries of six pieces, opposed to which were only four siege-guns, as we have already stated. All our artillery, except the guns of one of the two light batteries, together with ammunition, animals, and stores, were left in the hands of the enemy. Not one of General Beauregard's important instructions had been carried out. This was the poorest defence made of any fortified post during the whole course of the war; and the responsibility for the disasters it entailed must necessarily rest on the immediate commander and not on the troops; for they were formed of the same material as those who manned and made glorious the defences of Island No.10, Fort Pillow, Vicksburg, Charleston Harbor, Petersburg, Fort Fisher, and Spanish Fort.

The hasty and unnecessary evacuation of New Madrid destroyed the little confidence General Beauregard had felt in the commander of that sub-district. It is but fair to add that the enemy had displayed activity, enterprise, and determination in his attack upon the Confederate works, though, as appears from the Federal reports, no such easy victory had been anticipated.

General Beauregard now concluded to apply at once for Brigadier-General W. W. Mackall, then Chief of Staff to General A. S. Johnston, whose promotion he had long been urging, and who, he knew, would have fulfilled all his expectations, had it been possible sooner to secure his services.

General Johnston sustained the application, but could not spare

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G. T. Beauregard (4)
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