Friday, November 4, 2011

November 6, 1861 (Monday): More Action In Missouri

General M. Jeff Thompson "The Swamp Fox of the Confederacy"

BLOOMFIELD, MO., November 5, 1861—8 p.m.
      DEAR GENERAL:  Another courier has arrived from Scott County, confirming the report from Cape Girardeau County.  The last courier says 3,500 men landed at Commerce yesterday at 11 o’clock a.m., and camped last night at Benton.  No other couriers have yet arrived, but these couriers from different directions confirming the report have forced me to prepare for action.  I have issued orders disposing of my forces for a defense of this position, but as the troops from Cape Girardeau will have to cross no swamp to get here, their numbers may overwhelm me, and force me southward.  If there is no possible chance to whip them, I may forego the pleasure of fighting them for the purpose of trying to save this country, which has always been very true to us, and may be sacked entirely if I should kill many of their men.  The reports of the night and morning will determine me.
   Should they move a large force down the ridge, Columbus is turned, and you will be forced to fight them.
    Your, most respectfully.
                                                                                    M. JEFF THOMPSON,
                                                                                    Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, C. S. A.
                                                                                    7.30 A. M., 6th
Several couriers from the Cape road confirming reports.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 3, Page 261

The force which would move to turn Columbus would not come down the ridge, but by landing party.  Grant was preparing a move against Polk at Columbus in a few days.  Meanwhile, whatever force landed at Commerce was most likely not 3,500 strong.  It was enough to keep Thompson occupied in western Missouri, which is perhaps all that was intended.

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