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[236] to be provided with small redans for a few siege guns, and the navigation of Black Lagoon obstructed, so as to prevent the enemy's barges from getting into Reelfoot Lake, the shores of which, between the two cremaillere lines, were to be well guarded, and, if necessary, properly defended. The island opposite Tiptonville was to be examined, to determine whether or not it could be advantageously fortified.

General McCown, of General Polk's forces, was selected to command those river defences, and General Trudeau,1 of Louisiana, to take charge of the heavy batteries at Island No.10 and in the Bend. Both of these officers were to report to General Beauregard at Jackson, for special instructions. The troops at Columbus, apart from those to be sent to protect the construction of and occupy the river defences at New Madrid, Island No.10, and the Bend, were to be withdrawn to Union City and Humboldt, for the protection of the right flank and rear of those important defences, against any movement from the Tennessee River, the cavalry to be thrown out well in advance.

It was understood, from General Polk, that the earth-works at Island No.10 and the Bend were already prepared for a sufficient number of heavy guns to make an effective defence, and that a large force of negro laborers was there with the necessary tools; which, however, proved to be an error. General Beauregard gave specific instructions to Captain Harris (the only engineer who had accompanied him from Virginia, and whose great ability was not then matured by sufficient experience) as to the planning, layingout, and construction of these batteries, including the details of their parapets, embrasures, traverses, and magazines; after the completion of this duty he repaired to Fort Pillow, to reduce that work and adapt it to a garrison of about three thousand men. The work, at that point, had been planned upon so extensive a scale as to require a garrison of nearly ten thousand men.

The grave defect in these river defences, at Columbus and Fort Pillow, was in their extended lines, requiring a whole army to hold them, leaving no forces for operations in the field. This was one of the great mistakes in engineering on both sides during the war. A garrison of from three to five thousand men, in properly constructed forts, with an ample supply of ammunition and provisions,

1 At that time a Vol. A. D. C. to General Polk.

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L. Polk (3)
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