Battle of Island Number Ten

Battle of Island Number Ten

Overview


The Battle of Island Number Ten was an engagement at the New Madrid or Kentucky Bend
Kentucky Bend
The Kentucky Bend, variously called the New Madrid Bend, Madrid Bend, Bessie Bend, or Bubbleland, is an exclave of Fulton County, Kentucky, in the United States....

 on the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, lasting from February 28 to April 8, 1862. The position, an island at the base of a tight double turn in the course of the river, was held by the Confederates
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 from the early days of the war. It was an excellent site to impede Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 efforts to invade the South along the river, as vessels would have to approach the island bows on and then slow down to make the turns.
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The Battle of Island Number Ten was an engagement at the New Madrid or Kentucky Bend
Kentucky Bend
The Kentucky Bend, variously called the New Madrid Bend, Madrid Bend, Bessie Bend, or Bubbleland, is an exclave of Fulton County, Kentucky, in the United States....

 on the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, lasting from February 28 to April 8, 1862. The position, an island at the base of a tight double turn in the course of the river, was held by the Confederates
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 from the early days of the war. It was an excellent site to impede Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 efforts to invade the South along the river, as vessels would have to approach the island bows on and then slow down to make the turns. For the defenders, it also had an innate weakness in that it depended on a single road for supplies and reinforcements, so that if an enemy force could cut that road, the garrison would be trapped.

Union forces began the siege shortly after the Confederate Army
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 abandoned their position at Columbus
Columbus, Kentucky
Columbus is a city in Hickman County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 229 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Columbus is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

, Kentucky, in early March 1862. The first probes were made by the Union Army of the Mississippi
Army of the Mississippi
Army of the Mississippi was the name given to two Union armies that operated around the Mississippi River, both with short existences, during the American Civil War.-1862:...

 under Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 John Pope
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

, which came overland through Missouri and occupied the town of Point Pleasant, Missouri, almost directly west of the island and south of New Madrid
New Madrid, Missouri
New Madrid is a city in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. New Madrid was founded in 1788 by American frontiersmen. In 1900, 1,489 people lived in New Madrid, Missouri; in 1910, the population was 1,882. The population was 3,334 at...

. From there, the Union army moved north and soon brought siege guns to bear on New Madrid. The Confederate commander, Brig. Gen. John P. McCown
John P. McCown
John Porter McCown was a career officer in the United States Army, fighting in the Mexican–American War and in the Seminole Wars. He also served as a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War....

, decided to evacuate the town after enduring only one day of bombardment, removing most of his soldiers to Island No. 10 but abandoning much of his equipment, including his heavy artillery.

Two days after the fall of New Madrid, Union gunboats and mortar rafts came down to attack Island No. 10 from the river. For the next three weeks, the defenders on the island and in nearby supporting batteries were subjected to bombardment by the vessels, mostly carried out by the mortars. While this was going on, the army at New Madrid was digging a canal across the neck of land to the east of the town; several transports were sent to the Army of the Mississippi by way of the canal when it was finished, providing the army with the means of crossing the river and attacking the Confederate troops on the Tennessee side.

Pope persuaded Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote
Andrew Hull Foote
Andrew Hull Foote was an American naval officer who was noted for his service in the American Civil War and also for his contributions to several naval reforms in the years prior to the war. When the war came, he was appointed to command of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, predecessor of the...

 to send a gunboat past the batteries, to aid him in the river crossing by warding off any Southern gunboats, and by suppressing Rebel artillery fire at the point of attack. This was accomplished by , under Commander
Commander (United States)
In the United States, commander is a military rank that is also sometimes used as a military title, depending on the branch of service. It is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the military, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Naval rank:In the United States...

 Henry Walke, on the night of April 4, 1862. This was followed by , under Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 Egbert Thompson two nights later. With the support of these two gunboats, Pope was able to send his army across the river and trap the Confederates who were trying to flee. Outnumbered at least three to one, they felt their cause was hopeless, and decided to surrender.

At about the same time, the garrison who had remained at the island decided that resistance was futile for them as well, so they surrendered to Flag Officer Foote and the Union flotilla.

The Union victory marked the first time the Confederate army lost a position on the Mississippi River in battle. The river was then open to the Union Navy as far as Fort Pillow, a short distance above Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. Only three weeks later, New Orleans fell to the Union fleet led by David G. Farragut, and the Confederacy was in danger of being cut in two along the line of the river.

Background



Geography


Island No. 10 owed its name to the fact that it was at one time the tenth island in the Mississippi River south of its junction with the Ohio. An evanescent product of the river, it was an enlarged sandbar, roughly 1 mi (1.6 km) long and 450 yd (411.5 m) wide at its maximum width, and standing about 10 ft (3 m) above low water.

More important than the island itself was the course of the river in its neighborhood. Island No. 10 was at the southern extremity of a clockwise turn of the river through 180°, which was followed immediately by a counterclockwise turn that left the river moving almost parallel to its original course, but displaced to the west by about 8 mi (12.9 km). The turns are quite tight; the distance from the southern limit of the first turn to the northern limit of the second is only 9 mi (14.5 km) by air, or 12 mi (19.3 km) measured along the river channel. The double bend, which still exists in almost the same location, is known as the New Madrid Bend.

The mainland behind the island on the south side was connected to the town of Tiptonville
Tiptonville, Tennessee
Tiptonville is a town in and the county seat of Lake County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 2,439 as of the 2000 census. It is also home to the Northwest Correctional Complex, a maximum security prison, known for once housing mass murderer Jessie Dotson, Jr.-History:According to the...

, Tennessee, by a good road on the natural levee of the river. This was the only approach to the island on dry land through Tennessee, as the region is otherwise a mixture of lakes, sloughs, and swamps, with the nearest high ground nearly 10 mi (16.1 km) to the east. Reelfoot Lake, the largest of these, was 40 mi (64.4 km) long and in places 10 mi (16.1 km) wide. In low water, the northern end of Reelfoot Lake was near Tiptonville, but in high water such as was present in the spring of 1862, it extended north to beyond the bend. The water was nowhere very deep, so that individual soldiers could cross it by wading or using makeshift rafts, but an army trying to do so would not be able to move its heavy equipment, and also would lose cohesion. For these reasons, Island No. 10 was considered to be invulnerable to land attack from the Tennessee side. It also meant, however, that the only route for either reinforcement or escape was the Tiptonville road.

The land on the Missouri side was higher, although not high enough to give guns mounted there the advantage of plunging fire. The river banks, about 30 ft (9.1 m) above low water, were roughly only one-third as high as the bluffs that had aided the Confederate defense against gunboats at the Battle of Fort Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S...

. At high water, although shore-based guns would not be drowned as they had been at the Battle of Fort Henry
Battle of Fort Henry
The Battle of Fort Henry was fought on February 6, 1862, in western Tennessee, during the American Civil War. It was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater....

, they would nevertheless be no higher than the guns of vessels on the river.

The town of New Madrid
New Madrid, Missouri
New Madrid is a city in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. New Madrid was founded in 1788 by American frontiersmen. In 1900, 1,489 people lived in New Madrid, Missouri; in 1910, the population was 1,882. The population was 3,334 at...

 , which gives the bend its name, is at the northern apex of the second turn. It is most noted as eponym of the most violent earthquakes to take place in the 48 contiguous United States in historical times.

Opposing forces



Confederate command


During the first year of the war, the Confederate forces in the West went through a series of command changes that are often confusing, and left responsibility for particular actions hard to pin down. Although New Madrid was in Missouri, it was in a pro-Southern part of the state, and therefore fell within the purview of Confederate Department No. 2. In command of the department was Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk was a Confederate general in the American Civil War who was once a planter in Maury County, Tennessee, and a second cousin of President James K. Polk...

. The region of the bend was brought to official notice by one of Polk's subordinates, Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow. Neither Pillow nor Polk was actively involved in developing the defenses at the bend, but the latter assigned an army engineer, Captain Asa B. Gray, to the task. Gray worked hard, but he was not given the resources to complete the task. On September 15, General Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston served as a general in three different armies: the Texas Army, the United States Army, and the Confederate States Army...

 superseded Polk in command of Department No. 2, with Polk remaining in a subordinate position. Like his predecessor, Johnston took no active interest in Island No. 10. In early February, just in time for the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, General P. G. T. Beauregard
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Louisiana-born American military officer, politician, inventor, writer, civil servant, and the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used...

 was sent to the West to command the Army of the Mississippi, and became in effect Johnston's second in command. He recognized the importance of Island No. 10, and issued the orders to abandon Columbus and move its garrison there. His health failed him at this time, so he could not take personal charge. When he recovered, he and General Johnston were preoccupied with preparations for the forthcoming Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

. Transferred from Columbus to Island No. 10 was Major General John P. McCown
John P. McCown
John Porter McCown was a career officer in the United States Army, fighting in the Mexican–American War and in the Seminole Wars. He also served as a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War....

, who thereby became local commander. He remained in charge until after New Madrid was taken by the Union Army of the Mississippi; on March 31, 1862, he was replaced by Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall.

Through all of these command changes, the vessels of the Confederate States Navy along the entire length of the Mississippi were led by Flag Officer George N. Hollins. Because the river lay in two military departments, Hollins had to work with both the man in charge at the New Madrid Bend and the man in charge of the defenses of New Orleans.

Union command


At this time, command of the Union forces was also in flux, but it had little bearing on the issue. From the time the campaign against New Madrid began, in late February 1862, the Army of the Mississippi was led by Maj. Gen. John Pope
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

. The Army was a part of, first, the Department of the Missouri, and after March 11, the Department of the Mississippi, both under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck. The name change represented organizational changes in the army that did not affect the campaign.

The warships employed in the campaign were part of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, led by Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. Foote was a captain in the US Navy, but the flotilla was organized as part of the U.S. Army, so he reported to, and was subordinate to, Halleck.

Early defense preparations


The widespread publicity given to Union General in Chief Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

's Anaconda Plan
Anaconda Plan
The Anaconda Plan or Scott's Great Snake is the name widely applied to an outline strategy for subduing the seceding states in the American Civil War. Proposed by General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, the plan emphasized the blockade of the Southern ports, and called for an advance down the Mississippi...

 made the Confederate government aware of the threat that would be posed to the Mississippi Valley by a water-borne invasion along the course of the river. In response, they set up a series of defensive positions along the river. Among them were Fort Pillow, 40 mi (64.4 km) north of Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

, and extensive works at Columbus
Columbus, Kentucky
Columbus is a city in Hickman County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 229 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Columbus is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

, Kentucky, both of which positions were important in relation to Island No. 10.

Construction of the batteries on and near the island began in mid-August 1861, directed by Captain Asa B. Gray. He began by laying out a battery on the Tennessee shore about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) above the island. This battery, known as Battery No. 1 or the Redan Battery, commanded the approach to the bend. Vessels coming down the river would have to move directly toward its guns for more than a mile. It was not very effective, as it was sited on low ground subject to flooding. Almost as soon as work was started, however, the attention of Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk was diverted to the capture and fortification of Columbus. Work continued at Island No. 10, but it was not regarded as urgent and so was denied both equipment and workers.

The importance of the New Madrid Bend rose dramatically when Fort Henry
Battle of Fort Henry
The Battle of Fort Henry was fought on February 6, 1862, in western Tennessee, during the American Civil War. It was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater....

 and then Fort Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S...

 fell to Union forces in early February 1862. Columbus was cut off from rest of the Confederate Army, and faced capture by Union troops advancing overland from the Tennessee River to the Mississippi. To avoid losing the garrison and its equipment, General Beauregard ordered that the position be abandoned as quietly as possible. The process began on February 24, when the first members of the Columbus garrison arrived at Island No. 10. Two days later, its new commander, Brig. Gen. John P. McCown
John P. McCown
John Porter McCown was a career officer in the United States Army, fighting in the Mexican–American War and in the Seminole Wars. He also served as a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War....

, arrived, and immediately set to work to strengthen the position from Battery No. 1 to Point Pleasant.

McCown, with adequate resources, was able to transform the island and nearby mainland into a formidable obstacle for any fleet attempting to pass. By the middle of March, five batteries containing 24 guns had been built on the shore above the island; 19 guns were in five batteries on the island itself; and the floating battery New Orleans, with nine guns, was moored at the west end of the island. In addition, two forts had been set up at New Madrid: Fort Thompson to the west, with 14 guns, and Fort Bankhead with 7 guns to the east, where St. John's Bayou met the Mississippi.

The Confederate Navy also supported the position. Flag Officer George N. Hollins commanded six gunboats in the river between Fort Pillow and Island No. 10. All of these were unarmored; the armored ram CSS Manassas would have been there also, but she was found to be unable to operate in the relatively shallow water. She was damaged by running aground on the way north, so she was sent back to New Orleans.

Union preliminaries


Preparations by the Union for the attack on New Madrid and vicinity began before the evacuation of Columbus. On February 23, 1862, Maj. Gen. Pope was placed in command of the (Union) Army of the Mississippi, assembling at Commerce
Commerce, Missouri
Commerce is a Mississippi River city in Scott County, Missouri, United States. The population was 110 at the 2000 census.-History:In 1788, the present site of Commerce was first occupied by French settlers, making Commerce apparently the third-oldest present site settlement in Missouri after St...

, Missouri. It was common practice at that time to go into winter quarters and await the arrival of good weather in the spring, but Pope soon had his army of 25,000 on the march, corduroying roads when necessary. The army arrived at New Madrid on March 3, but were not yet prepared to attack the Confederate positions. Preparing for a siege, Pope requested that his army be supplied with some heavy artillery, which arrived on March 12.

The gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote were not ready to cooperate with the Army of the Mississippi at this early date, as the damages they had received at Fort Donelson were still being repaired. They were finally sent down from Cairo on March 14, with Foote yet believing that they were not ready for combat. The Union fleet was augmented by the addition of 14 mortar rafts, vessels that each mounted a single 13 in (330.2 mm) mortar. The mortars were a semi-autonomous unit under the command of (Army) Captain Henry E. Maynadier.

First contact


Unwilling to waste his troops in an assault on the forts at New Madrid, Pope sent a brigade under Colonel (later Brigadier General) Joseph B. Plummer
Joseph B. Plummer
Joseph Bennett Plummer was a career soldier in the United States Army, serving as a general during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

 to occupy the town of Point Pleasant, on the right bank of the river almost directly opposite Island No. 10. The movement was contested by the Confederate gunboats, but Plummer's troops soon learned that they had only to withdraw out of range when the gunboats appeared, and return as soon as they left. The brigade occupied Point Pleasant on March 6, and the boats shelled their positions for the next three days. In this period, the Confederate Army remained within their fortifications, offering no support to Flag Officer Hollins.

The siege guns arrived on March 12, surprising McCown and Hollins almost as much as the winter march of Pope's army. They effectively closed the river to the unarmored gunboats, and prevented reinforcement of the artillery companies at New Madrid by shifting troops from Island No. 10.

The big guns opened fire on the New Madrid defensive positions on March 13, and continued throughout the day. McCown realized that Pope would try to attack his forts by regular approaches. He felt that his reduced artillery companies would be too exhausted to resist, so he decided not to wait for the inevitable. On the night of March 13–14, orders were given to abandon the town and its two forts. A heavy rainstorm hid the troop movements from the enemy, so the evacuation was accomplished without incident. There was some confusion (which seems to have been exaggerated in Pope's reports), and the departure was so sudden that the guns in the forts had to be spiked and left behind, but most of the troops were successfully removed and redistributed. On the morning of March 14, two deserters appeared bearing a white flag, and informed Pope that the town was deserted.

Following the loss of New Madrid, some of the units at the bend were withdrawn to Fort Pillow, not quite 70 air miles (113 km) to the south, but almost twice that by the river. McCown was replaced in command at the island by Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall. Although this looks like a reprimand for his poor defense of New Madrid, McCown actually was promoted to major general.

The siege


The gunboats and mortars arrived on March 15, and the siege is dated from that time. Pope, in New Madrid, and Foote, upstream of the bend, were kept apart by Island No. 10. From the first, they did not agree how to go about conducting the operation. Pope wanted immediate action; Foote hoped to subdue the island by the slow process of bombardment. Foote was hampered by ambiguous or even contradictory orders from Halleck, who was distracted at the time by preparations for the advance along the Tennessee River that soon culminated in the Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

 (or Pittsburg Landing). As early as March 17, Pope was asking that two or three gunboats run past the Confederate batteries, to enable him to cross the river and trap the entire garrison. Foote demurred, arguing that his boats were not invincible, that a chance disabling shot would deliver a boat into Confederate hands, and that gunboat could then threaten all the Northern cities along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Foote's thinking may also have been affected by the wound he had received at Fort Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S...

, which was not healing properly and kept him in pain and on crutches.

For the next two weeks, fighting consisted of bombardment of the island at rather long range, mostly conducted by the mortars, and occasionally replied to by the Confederate batteries. High expectations that had been held for the mortars were dashed; they did very little harm to the enemy position. The most significant damage incurred in this period was in fact self-inflicted: during a bombardment on March 17 in which the gunboats took part, a gun on exploded, killing three members of the crew and wounding a dozen others.

After Foote had flatly rejected Pope's request that gunboats run past Island No. 10, someone on Pope's staff suggested that perhaps a canal could be cut to enable Union vessels to bypass the batteries. The canal was completed in two weeks, but it was not deep enough to provide passage for the gunboats. It proved useful, nevertheless, in that transports and supply vessels could use it, so that Pope did not have to depend on land communications.

Gunboats pass the batteries, complete the siege


Pope still insisted that he needed a gunboat to cover his projected landing on the Tennessee side of the river. Foote called two councils of war among his captains; in the first, on March 20, his decision not to risk running past the batteries was confirmed. When Halleck wrote to Foote, saying, "Give him (Pope) all the assistance in your power," Foote called a second council, on March 29. This time, Commander Henry Walke, captain of , thought that the risk was worth the candle, and volunteered to take his boat through. Foote gave the necessary orders, and Carondelet was prepared for the run. She was covered with rope, chain, and whatever loose material lay at hand. A coal barge filled with coal and hay was lashed to her side. Her steam exhaust was diverted from the smokestacks (called "chimneys" on river craft) to muffle the sound. She then had only to wait for a sufficiently dark night to make her run.

To reduce the danger as much as possible, a raid by sailors in the flotilla and soldiers from the 42nd Illinois Infantry, under Colonel George W. Roberts overran Battery No. 1 and spiked its guns on the night of April 1. On April 2, the flotilla, including both mortars and gunboats, concentrated its fire on the floating battery New Orleans. She was hit several times, and her mooring lines were parted. She drifted downstream, out of the war. On April 4, conditions for running past the remaining batteries were satisfactory. The night was moonless, and after dark a thunderstorm came up. Carondelet made her way downstream, and was not discovered until she was abreast of the Confederate Battery No. 2. She might have escaped detection completely had not her smokestacks blazed up; the buildup of soot, no longer dampened by escaping steam, caught fire and revealed her position. The batteries opened, but their fire was inaccurate, and Carondelet completed the run unscathed. Pope continued to press Foote for another gunboat, and two nights later made a similar run.

Pope now was able to cross the river with his army without prospect of interference from Confederate gunboats. He could also suppress enemy fire that may have opposed their landing. On April 7, he made his move, and sent the gunboats to destroy the batteries at Watson's Landing, the place he had selected for the attack. When this was accomplished, the transports carried the troops across, and the landings proceeded without opposition.

A few hours elapsed until Mackall was able to decide what to do next. Realizing that his position was hopeless, he put the men on the mainland in motion in the direction of Tiptonville. The motion was detected by Pope's spies, who gave the information to Pope. Pope then diverted his soldiers to Tiptonville, and the operation became a footrace rather than the expected battle. Mackall's only hope was that the gunboats would not interfere, but they did, and the retreat of his army was delayed long enough for Pope's men to get to Tiptonville first. The defenders were trapped, with no prospect of victory, so Mackall decided to surrender.

While this was taking place, the demoralized garrison of Island No. 10 surrendered separately to Flag Officer Foote and his gunboats. The river was then open as far as Fort Pillow.

Conclusion


The destruction of the Confederate garrison was complete. Only a few hundred individual soldiers managed to escape by wading or rafting across Reelfoot Lake and later rejoined the army. The number who were captured became a matter of controversy. Pope asserted, in his official reports, that he had taken 273 officers and 6,700 private soldiers captive. This is almost certainly a great exaggeration. Confederate records (admittedly incomplete) indicate that not more than 5,350 men were present. The number captured would then likely have been less than 4,500.

Aside from the prisoners taken, the number of casualties in the entire campaign was very low. From the fall of New Madrid to the surrender at Tiptonville, the Union army and navy had lost only 7 men killed from all causes, 4 missing, and 14 wounded. During the entire campaign, losses in the Army of the Mississippi were reported as 8 killed, 21 wounded, and 3 missing. Confederate losses in killed and wounded were not reported, but seem to have been similarly low.

Because April 7 was the second day of the far bloodier Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

, the campaign for Island No. 10 soon fell from public notice. It has become memorable principally for the run of USS Carondelet past the batteries, whose passage marked the introduction of a new tactic in warfare. The use of steam for driving ships meant that they no longer had to slug it out with fixed forts. The tactic later became commonplace in the Civil War, being employed by Farragut at New Orleans, Port Hudson, Vicksburg, and Mobile, and by David D. Porter at Vicksburg
Vicksburg Campaign
The Vicksburg Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. The Union Army of the Tennessee under Maj. Gen....

. Consequently, the value of fixed fortifications was much diminished. The South did not learn this lesson, continuing to rely on forts until the end of the war, but the restored nation had to consider it when designing its defense system from 1865 on.