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[355] McCown's forces at New Madrid were increased to six regiments of infantry, and a few companies of heavy artillery, in two fieldworks, one of which—Fort Thompson, a bastioned redoubt, south of the town—had fourteen heavy guns, while the other—Fort Bankhead, a battery north of the town—was armed with seven heavy guns. He also had a field battery, originally of six guns, afterwards of seven. The two works were more or less connected by rifle-pits.

The river was high at that season of the year, and the eight Confederate gunboats, under Commodore Hollins, could easily rake the approaches to the above-named forts.1

On or about the 12th of March, General McCown's forces, exclusive of the gunboats—which were not under his orders, but had come to co-operate with him—consisted of twelve regiments and one battalion of infantry, five field-batteries of six pieces each, and three companies of cavalry; added to which was the equivalent of one regiment of heavy (foot) artillery, making an aggregate of about eight thousand five hundred men of all arms.

His opponent, Major-General Pope, who had left Commerce, on the Mississippi, above Columbus, Kentucky, on the 28th of February, arrived in front of New Madrid on the morning of the 3d of March. His force numbered five small infantry divisions, with one light battery to each, besides nine companies organized into a division of light artillery; about three regiments of cavalry, and two of infantry acting as engineer troops — in all, some twenty-five thousand men.

General Pope had no sooner ascertained the nature and armament of the Confederate works in his front than he sent for and obtained, from Cairo, with great labor and difficulty, three rifled 24-pounders and one 8-inch howitzer, which were all the siegeguns he could bring to his assistance.

On March 5th he detached Colonel Plummer, from near New Madrid, with three regiments of infantry, four light rifled pieces of artillery, two companies of cavalry, and one of engineer troops, to act as an outpost at Point Pleasant, some ten miles below New Madrid, and to attempt, with their rifled field-pieces, to stop the passage of transports up and down the river. By morning of the 7th the enemy's four guns were in position, in separate sunken

1 General Force, ‘From Fort Henry to Corinth,’ pp. 68, 69.

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