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[359] Brigadier-General Mackall, until his own and General Beauregard's forces were united at Corinth, which only occurred on March 27th. The hurried course of events and consequent dangerous outlook on the Mississippi, from and after the 14th of March, rendered it doubtful whether it was not too late, on the 31st, when General Mackall assumed command, to accomplish any good result, or provide for the emergencies of the situation. At his last interview with General Beauregard before entering upon his new duties, and in answer to the remark that he would probably command only a forlorn hope, but that the fate of the Mississippi Valley depended, just then, on the possession of Island No.10 and the surrounding works, if only for twelve days more, he, true soldier as he was, said: ‘The post of danger is the post of honor. I will do my duty to the best of my ability, and, I hope, to the satisfaction of the country and of yourself.’

It has already been shown, in Chapter XVIII., how the garrison of New Madrid was transferred to the opposite bank of the river, and how a portion of it was sent to reinforce the troops supporting the works at and about Island No.10.

General McCown, having succeeded in reaching Fort Pillow with a portion of his forces, was authorized by General Polk to assume command there; but General Beauregard, though approving the main dispositions taken for the defence of Madrid Bend and Island No.10, insisted upon General McCown's return to his former headquarters, to resume the direction of operations; which he did, on the 21st, leaving General A. P. Stewart, a good artillery officer, in charge of the fort and its immediate surroundings.

The abandonment of New Madrid insured the fall, ere long, of Island No.10, and, therefore, of Madrid Bend. Hence General Beauregard's immediate order to send at once all unmounted guns, surplus supplies, and boats to Fort Pillow—thus reducing to a minimum the forces necessary to hold those two now much endangered posts.1 His order was first delayed on account of an earnest appeal made to him by General McCown, but was renewed and carried out on the 18th, the need being absolute for a garrison at Fort Pillow, and no other troops being then available. The force thus transferred thither consisted of five regiments of infantry, two light batteries of six guns each, and Captain Neely's

1 General Beauregard's letter to General Bragg, of March 15th, see Appendix.

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