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[500] to divide the forces under your command before the works at that island shall have been put in a defensible condition, and before we are ready to abandon Columbus, in pursuance of what has already been determined on that subject; hence the necessity of hurrying the construction of the works at Island No.10 and at New Madrid. Meanwhile, all the necessary preparations can be made for the rapid evacuation of Columbus at the proper time.

The next most important question is, where shall we collect the balance of the forces at Columbus, which is not to form a part of the garrison at Island No.10? Shall this be done at Union City, Humboldt, or Jackson? or shall it be collected temporarily about that island, depending on water transportation alone as far as Memphis, to effect a junction with Ruggles's forces now at Corinth and Grand Junction, for ulterior operations?

I am not sufficiently well acquainted with the nature of the roads in western Tennessee, and with the means of transportation at our command, to be able to answer these queries; hence I would be most happy to have your views on the subject.

The great point is, as I understand it, to be able to support in time the garrison at Island No.10, if attacked only by a force about equal to our own, or to be able to keep open our communications, either by water or railroad, with the States of Mississippi and Alabama, if attacked by an overwhelming force, which might endanger, not only the safety of the garrison referred to, but especially of its supporting force—intended, after having been driven out of western Tennessee, for the defence, inch by inch, of the roads leading into the interior of the two States already mentioned.

Before concluding, I must call your attention to the necessity of making the works at Island No.10 and at New Madrid as strong as circumstances will permit; and to be armed with the heaviest guns that can be spared for that purpose. I would advise the gorges of the works at New Madrid to be palisaded merely, so that our gunboats might fire into them from the river if they were taken by the enemy. The defences must consist of three works with strong profiles, for about five hundred men each—two on the river, and one a little in advance of the others. The cremaillere lines, on the right and rear of Island No.10, must be provided with small redans for a few siege-guns, and the navigation of Black Lagoon obstructed so as to prevent the enemy's barges from getting into Reelfoot Lake, the shores of which, between the two cremaillere lines, were to be well guarded, and, if need be, properly defended. The island opposite Tiptonville was to be examined, to determine if it could be advantageously fortified.

I would advise the garrison at Fort Pillow (excepting a strong guard) to be sent, for the present, to New Madrid or Island No.10. All the heavy ordnance, not required at these two points, should be sent, when removed, from Columbus to Fort Pillow, or to any other point on the river (above, and not too far from Memphis), which could be held by a small garrison.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. T. Beauregard, Genl. C. S. A. Maj.-Genl. L. Polk, Comdg. 1st Division Dept. of West, Columbus, Ky.

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