War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0151 Chapter XVIII. NEW MADRID, MO., AND ISLAND Numbers 10, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

the work at once on all points. Captain Johnston was ordered to place at the island I his four guns in battery (three 24-pounder siege guns and one 12-pounder), and to take charge four 64-pounder howitzers, with thirty rounds of ammunition for each and every piece; Captain Humes, senior captain, commanding at the island, to commence immediately to mount three rifled 32 and two 24 pounder rifled, the platform being ready; the epaulement of the battery to be made at leisure. Captain Jackson, with the assistance of two companies of the Eleventh Louisianian, under Captain Flemming, who volunteered to work until the battery was ready, was ordered to break the ground where Battery Numbers 4 is now placed, to set his platform as rapidly as possible, and to mount upon them three 32-pounder rifles and one 8-inch columbiad. The large battery still unfinished, known as Battery Numbers 5, was placed in the hands of the Sappers and Miners, Captains Jones, Dismuke, and Caruthers working on it with their men day and night like all the other companies of artillery. Captain Sterling was placed in charge of Battery Numbers 1, and Captains Rucker and Hoadley were ordered, with heavy details, to work as speedily as possible on Batteries Nos. 2 and 3.

At this juncture the Sappers and Miners and their officers, especially Captain Wintters, rendered valuable assistance and executed the work now under consideration of mounting guns with great dispatch, especially when we consider that everything had been piled upon the steamboats in such a way, at that time of the evacuation of Columbus, that upon landing here nothing could be found. The chassis of a gun would be at once point, the gun and the carriage at another; the pintle-blocks and pintle-pins had all been stowed away in a flat-boat, and we had already made ourselves such as we required when they were discovered.

On the 4th we had sixteen guns in battery at the island and fourteen on the bend, without counting the ten guns of the floating battery. We could now defend ourselves, and a feeling of security pervaded the camp when our men perceived the importance of their forts for themselves and for their country.

At that time, the water having risen in Battery Numbers 1 to the platforms, Captain Sterling desired to be transferred to Battery Numbers 2 and to build it. Captain Rucker, upon his demand, was placed in charge of Battery Numbers 1, and a steamboat provided as a boarding place for himself and men.

The Engineer Corps, under Captains Gray and Harris, were very efficient in superintending the construction of the batteries. I have, however, one, and a serious, objection to make against their plan of raising the platforms-it doubles the amount of labor. The platforms for river batteries, where the ground is high, should always be sunk. By this mode the same object is attained with less labor and the battery is far better protected against armed vessels. Such batteries, with cremaillere rifle pits connecting the different works, are impregnable, unless they are turned.

Lieutenant Tidmarsh, being appointed ordnance officer in charge of the whole department, I have ordered him to collect all the ordnance stores in one central building, with a depot at the island. Much of the ammunition has been lost by being placed on board of flat-boats, which became leaky, and which received a large quantity of gun-cartridges, buck and ball, musket cartridges, &c. All the ammunition placed on board of steamers has been saved, except on boards of the Prince. Lieutenant Tidmarsh has proved himself an efficient reliable