I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of Captain Walke during the whole of these operations. Prompt, gallant, and cheerful, he performed the hazardous service assigned him with signal skill and success. About 12 o'clock m. he signaled me that the batteries near our place of landing were silenced, and the steamers containing Paine's division moved out from the landing and began to cross the river, proceeded by the gunboats.
The whole force designated to cross had been drawn up along the river bank, and saluted the passing steamers with cheers of exultation. As soon as we began to cross the river the enemy commenced to evacuate his position along the bank and the batteries along the Tennessee shore opposite Island Numbers 10. His whole force was in motion towards Tiptonville, with the exception of the few artillerists on the island, who in the haste of retreat had been abandoned.
As Paine's division was passing opposite the point I occupied on the shore one of my spies, who had crossed on the gunboats from the silenced battery, informed me of this hurried retreat of the enemy. I signaled General Paine to stop his boats, and sent him the information, with orders to land as rapidly as possible on the opposite shore and push forward to Tiptonville, to which point the enemy's forces were tending from every direction. I sent no force to occupy the deserted batteries opposite Island Numbers 10, as it was my first purpose to capture the whole army of the enemy.
At 8 or 9 o'clock that night (the 7th) the small force abandoned on the island, finding themselves deserted, and fearing an attack in the rear from our land forces, which they knew had crossed the river in the morning, sent a message to Commodore Foote, surrendering to him. The divisions were pushed forward to Tiptonville as fast as they were landed, Paine leading. The enemy attempted to make a stand several times near that place, but Paine did not once deploy his columns. By midnight all our forces were across the river and punishing forward rapidly to Tiptonville.
The enemy, retreating before Paine and from Island Numbers 10, met at Tiptonville during the night in great confusion, and were driven back into the swamps by the advance of our forces, until, at 4 o'clock a. m. on the 8th, finding themselves completely cut off, and being apparently unable to resist, they laid down their arms and surrendered at discretion. They were so scattered and confused that it was several days before anything like an accurate account of their number could be made.
Meantime I had directed Colonel W. L. Elliott, of the Second Iowa Cavalry, who had crossed the river after dark, to proceed as soon as day dawned to take possession of the enemy's abandoned works on the Tennessee shore opposite Island Numbers 10, and to save the steamers if he possibly could. He reached there before sunrise that morning, the 8th, and took possession of the encampments, the immense quantities of stores and supplies, and of all the enemy's batteries on the main-land. He also brought in about 200 prisoners. After posting his guards and taking possession of the steamers not sunk or injured he remained until the forces from the flotilla landed. As Colonel Buford was in command of these forces, Colonel Elliott turned over to his infantry force his prisoners, batteries, and captured property for safe-keeping, and proceeded to scout the country in the direction of Tiptonville, along Reelfoot Lake, as directed.
It is almost impossible to give a correct account of the immense quantity of artillery, ammunition, and supplies of every description which fell into our hands. Three generals, 273 field and company