War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0085 Chapter XVIII. NEW MADRID, MO., AND ISLAND Numbers 10, ETC.

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which made its captured a simple matter of time. Immediately upon the occupation of New Madrid I began operations for the reduction of Island Numbers 10. I append hereto my official report and correspondence, as also the reports of division and brigade commanders, which give as full and complete a history of the operations against Island Numbers 10 as is necessary to a thorough understanding of the subject.


Camp five miles from Corinth, Miss., May 2, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations which resulted in the capture of Island Numbers 10 and the batteries on the main shore, together with the whole of the land fores of the enemy in that vicinity. A brief sketch of the topography of the immediate neighborhood seems essential to a full understanding of the operations of the army.

Island Numbers 10 lies at the bottom of a great bend of the Mississippi, immediately north of it being a long, narrow promontory on the Missouri shore. The river from Island Numbers 10 flows northwest to new Madrid, where it again makes a great bend to the south as far as tiptonville, otherwise called Meriweather's Landing, so that opposite New Madrid also is a long narrow promontory. From Island Numbers 8 across the land to New Madrid is 6 miles, while by river it is 15; so likewise the distance from Island Numbers 10 to Tiptonville as 5 miles, while by water it is 27.

Commencing at Hickman, a great swamp, which afterwards becomes Reelfoot Lake, extends along the left bank of the Mississippi and discharges its waters into the river 40 miles below Tiptonville, leaving the whole peninsula opposite New Madrid between it and the river. This peninsula, therefore, is itself an island, having the Mississippi River on three sides and Reelfoot Lake and the great swamps which border it on the other. A good road leads from Island Numbers 10 in this peninsula were by the river. When the river was blockaded at New Madrid supplies and re-enforcements were landed at Tiptonville and conveyed across the neck of the peninsula by land. There was no communication with the interior except by a small flat-boat, which plied across Reelfoot Lake, a distance of 2 miles, and that through an opening cut through cypress swamps for the purpose. Supplies and re-enforcements or escape to any considerable extent were therefore impracticable on the land side. One mile below tiptonville begin the great swamps along the Mississippi on both sides, and no dry ground is to be found except in occasional spots for at least 60 miles below. By intercepting the navigation of the river below Tiptonville and commanding by heavy artillery the lowest point of dry ground near that place the enemy would be at once cut off from his resources and prevented from escaping.

Immediately after the reduction of New Madrid this subject engaged my attention. The roads along the river in the direction of Point Pleasant followed a narrow strip of dry land between the swamps and the river, and were very miry and difficult. With much labor the heavy guns captured from the enemy at New Madrid were dragged by hand and established in battery at several prominent points along the river, the lower battery being placed immediately opposite the lowest point of dry ground below Tiptonville. This extended my lines 17 miles along the river. A week was thus passed in severe labor. The