Sunday, February 7, 2010

From Cairo

Times’ Special.

CAIRO, April 21

The Ohio and Mississippi rivers at this point are still gradually rising. Should a heavy wind arise the levee would be broken, and the town be flooded, in which event the citizens and government could scarcely escape a great loss of life and property. Fears were generally prevalent last evening that the levee could not long withstand the flood, and there was a general stampede to Mound City and other places of refuge. Yet the night passed and without the recurrence of the calamity of 1857.

The waters were slowly ebbing over some portions of the levee Sunday evening, when Gen. Strong, who is ever efficient amid a multiplied diversity of army cares, ordered out a force of men, who raised the levee and prevented the disaster so imminent.

The hospital steamer City of Memphis reached here this morning from New Madrid. She had on board 515 sick soldiers from the army of Gen. Pope. Among them were a number who have been discharged from the service on account of incurable maladies and physical inability. The hospital steamer has left for Evansville, Ind., where the patients are to be removed to more comfortable quarters in the hospital at that place.

Capt. Polk, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Pittsburgh, is among the sick, being wounded in both legs. He is the nephew of President Polk, and served in the battle as captain of a rebel battery from Memphis.

A large number of soldiers have passed this place on transports from St. Louis during the last two days, and are now on their way to reinforce Gen. Halleck.

The unprecedented rise of water in the Ohio, besides interfering with railroad operations at this place, has also carried away the telegraph poles, cutting us off from telegraphic communication with the North and East.

On Saturday last the Adam’s Express from this place was used to the exclusion of all other business, and in transmitting money packages from soldiers to their families. – Over $170,000 were sent away.

The postoffice [sic] at this place has been undergoing a thorough examination, under the supervision of Asst. P. M. Armstrong, of Chicago. When he came here he found upwards of 70,000 letters awaiting transmission. These have been hurried forward and no accumulation of letters is now permitted. An additional clerical force has been supplied, and the office si now fully equal to the enormous business required of it. All the letters from the army in Tennessee pass through here. An idea of the great number of letters mailed at the Caro office may be obtained from the fact, that one mail from our army brought from 75,000 to 100,000 letters.

There are no items from New Madrid or guerilla, Jeff. Thompson.

Major Steward, of Gen. McClernand’s staff, heretofore reported killed, proves only to have been wounded and is now at Savannah, where he is doing well.

News from the flotilla off Ft. Pillow unimportant. Affairs there remain in statu quo as previously telegraphed. The mortar boats throw occasional shots, and the rebels respond at irregular intervals. It seems to be no part of the programme to fully invest the stronghold until the battle at Corinth has transpired.

It is reported that the rebels are fortifying Ft. Randolph in the strongest manner, and that a large force of negroes is engaged in throwing up entrenchments. This is hardly probably, from the fact the Randolph was originally the strongest fortified place between Columbus and Memphis.

The Steamer Mussleman arrived to-day from Pittsburg landing, having left that place Saturday evening. She brings no news of special importance, but a passenger reports that the Tennessee has again commenced rising [rapidly], and that the roads in the vicinity of Pittsburg are in wretched condition, by reason of the late fall of rain.

Forage can only be distributed by being hung on the backs of mules, and the army wagons are stuck fast in the mud.

In view of the present condition of the roads around Pittsburg, it is fair to infer that the great battle which has been momentarily expected the last week, will not transpire in at least a week to come.

Our army at Pittsburg is in excellent fighting condition. The regiments that were so frightfully decimated at the lat contest are being reorganized, and, thanks to the activity of Gen. Halleck, every division, brigade, regiment and company is prepared to meet the enemy with an unbroken front.

Our scouts penetrate directly to the enemy’s lines and bring back intelligence. – Beauregard, who is chief in command, is actively engaged in throwing up entrenchments along his whole line, planting batteries and preparing for a systematic defence. Their intelligence may be deemed reliable, inasmuch as the statements of scouts are corroborated by those of deserters.

It is thought that the rebels will act merely on the defensive, and that the aggressive attack will be made by Halleck and that too at an early day as possible. It is known Beauregard has been greatly reinforced, and that forced levies of troops are continually swelling his ranks.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 2

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