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Gen. Buell soon afterward reached Nashville, and established there his headquarters, while his army was quartered around the city. Col. Stanley Matthews, 51st Ohio, was appointed Provost-Marshal, and soon restored the city to order; discovering and reclaiming a considerable amount of Rebel stores which had been appropriated to private use. The bridges and roads northward were speedily repaired, and railroad connection with Louisville reopened. The wealthier classes had in great part left, or remained sullenly disloyal; but among the mechanics and laboring poor a good degree of Union feeling was soon developed.

By the Union successes recorded in this chapter, the Rebel stronghold at Columbus, Ky., commanding the navigation of the Mississippi, had been rendered untenable. It was held by Maj.-Gen. Polk, Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, who had expended a vast amount of labor in strengthening its defenses, while the adjacent country had been nearly divested of fool and forage to replenish its stores. Its garrison had been reported at 20,000 men; but had been reduced by successive detachments to 2,000 or 3,000. Com. Foote, on returning from Clarksville to Cairo, speedily collected a flotilla of six gunboats, apparently for service at Nashville; but, when all was ready, dropped down the Mississippi, followed by three transports, conveying some 2,000 or 3,000 soldiers, under Gen. W. T. Sherman, while a supporting force moved overland from Paducah.1 Arriving opposite Columbus, he learned that the last of the Rebels had left some hours before, after burning 18,000 bushels of corn, 5,000 tons of hay, their cavalry stables, and much other property; while many of their heavy guns, which they were unable to take away, had been rolled off the bluff, here 150 feet high, into the river. The 2d Illinois cavalry, Col. Hogg, from Paducah, had entered and taken possession the evening before. A massive chain,/un> intended to bar the descent of the Mississippi, had here been stretched across the great river, but to no purpose; the Missouri end being loose, and buried in tile mud of tie river-bed.

Island No.10 lies in a sharp bend in the Mississippi, 45 miles below Columbus, and a few miles above New Madrid on the Missouri bank. This island had been strongly fortified, its works well supplied with powerful guns and ammunition, under the direction of Gen. Beauregard, so that it was confidently counted on to stop the progress of the Union armies down the river. Gen. Pope with a land force of nearly 40,000 men, had previously marched down the Missouri shore of the river, reaching and investing New Madrid, arch 3. Finding it defended by stout earthworks, mounting 20 heavy guns, with six strongly armed gunboats anchored along the shore to aid in holding it, he sent back to Cairo for siege-guns; while he intrenched three regiments and a battery under Col. Plummer, 11th Missouri, at Point Pleasant, ten miles below, so as to command the passage of tho river directly in the rear of No. 10. The Rebel gunboats attempted to dislodge Col. Plummer, but without

1 March 4.

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