d until they reached the bushes, when they set off at a rapid pace, which was not slackened until they came within the lines of the Twentieth Illinois, Col. Marsh.
They represent that Columbus is strongly fortified, and that the troops are still at work day and night in the entrenchments.--They are in hourly expectation of an attack, and sleep at night — when they do sleep — upon their arms.
The forces at Columbus number some 40,000 men, composed of all nationalities, and mainly from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Tennessee troops are well uniformed in "niggen cloth," and armed with improved muskets.
The other troops, however, are wretchedly armed with shot-guns, and poorly uniformed, many of them barefooted, but all seem hopeful, contented, and confident of ultimate success.
In the ranks are large numbers of Union men, who have been impressed into the service, and will seize the first opportunity to escape.
Columbus is defended by eighty pieces of