CAIRO, March 28. – A gentleman returned here this morning from Pittsburg and Savannah, on the Tennessee river and reports that on Sunday and Monday last Gen. Sherman made a reconnoissance in force to Pea Ridge, near the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where it had been reported the rebels were fortifying. The reconnoissance was completed in every particular, no enemy was found, however, in the neighborhood. The expedition returned to Pittsburg on Tuesday.
Our forces at Pittsburg are being rapidly augmented. Steamer after steamer are continually arriving laden with fresh troops.
The latest advices from the rebel camp at Corinth gives the strength of their force there at 170,000 and the apparent efforts of the rebels to fortify the town of Corinth would seem to demonstrate an intention to make a vigorous resistance there. It is, however, the general belief of all prominent officers of Gen. Grant’s command, that the rebels will retreat on our approach, but should a battle occur Corinth will doubtless be one of the hardest fought and bloodiest affairs of the present war.
On Sunday last information was received at headquarters of Gen. Grant that a considerable amount of pork was stored at a point on the river called Nicholas Landing, sixty miles south of Savannah. Major M. Smith of the 45th Ill. with one hundred and fifty infantry and Capt. Osband’s company 5th Illinois cavalry was dispatched on a steamer to secure said property. – Arriving at Nicholas Landing information was given by contrabands regarding the locality of the pork in question. Within a circuit of fifteen miles fifteen thousand pounds of fresh pork, forty-five thousand pounds of pork hams and shoulders were discovered and confiscated and placed on board the steamer and brought to Savannah and turned over to the Commissary Department. Nicholas Landing and vicinity has been the mart of the pork business for a long time, and immense quantities have been brought there and stored for the use of the confederate army. Had the information been received two weeks earlier it would have secured to the United States upwards of two hundred thousand pounds of meats. Within that time the rebels have transported large quantities southward by teams.
On Monday the gunboat Taylor [ran] up the river to the vicinity of Eastport, near which point a masked battery opened upon them at a distance of two hundred yards, one shot striking the smoke stack of the Taylor. A number of shots were exchanged, but with what effect on the enemy’s works is unknown. The engagement was spirited while it lasted; upwards of fifty shots were fired. The Taylor received no other injuries and nobody was hurt.
Captains Bernard and Corson of Gen. Smith’s scouts returned to Savannah from Nashville, overland, on Tuesday night as bearer of despatches from Gen. Buell. Capt. Bernard reports a strong loyal sentiment in several districts of Tennessee between Columbia and Savannah. – He overtook certain bodies of marauding rebels, but their identity not being suspected they were allowed to pass unmolested. Union men live in extreme fear of these marauders prowling about the vicinity, and are anxious for the approach of the Government forces.
A man named Morris, one of the Jesse scouts, was hung at Savannah on Sunday for stealing thereabouts.
Gen. Grant has entirely recovered from his recent illness. Gen. Smith is still confined at his headquarters, but is convalescent.
A steamer arrived early this morning from the flotilla and reports no change in the condition of affairs at Island No. 10. The bombardment continues with but little interruption, but the results are not indicative of any signs of evacuation by the rebels.
Rumors were afloat that the rebel gunboats had passed Pope’s batteries at Point Pleasant, from below, but they can be traced to no reliable source. The store is undoubtedly a canard.
The rebels are impressing citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee into service and arming them with axes and pikes.
Four rebels armed with Arkansas toothpicks were arrested near Charleston yesterday, and brought to Bird’s Point; they claim to be refugees from Tennessee. Their story is disbelieved. They remain in custody.
Gen. Strong visited the Island to-day.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 5, 1862, p. 4