So far as circumstances would permit, this plan had been carried out in regard to all the river defences.
But, in order the sooner to complete the works at New Madrid, Island No.10
, and Madrid Bend, which had first to be prepared against attack, only the surplus guns of Columbus
had been sent to Fort Pillow
The recent loss of so much armament and ammunition had increased the gravity of the situation, not to speak of the additional loss of General Mackall
's forces at Island No.10
We were in one of those unfortunate positions in war where it becomes necessary to sacrifice a fractional command to save the other and larger portion.
Here the sacrifice had become all the more imperative, by reason of the fact that Fort Pillow
was now our only reliance, for the safety of the Mississippi Valley
; except, perhaps, Randolph
, fifteen miles farther down, where some light works had been thrown up, with as little regard to a minimum garrison as at Forts Pillow
Less than a week after the surrender of Island No.10
, transports were filled with General Pope
's forces, and, thus loaded, descended the stream, reaching the vicinity of Fort Pillow
on or about the 14th of April.
And here began a new phase of the stirring drama of this period of the war; for, before any active operations were undertaken by General Pope
against Fort Pillow
, he was suddenly ordered to Pittsburg Landing
by General Halleck
, who had arrived there on the 11th, and had officially assumed command.
This order was carried out; and on the 21st, General Pope
's army was encamped at Hamburg
, on the Tennessee River
, some twelve miles below the celebrated ‘Landing;’ thus increasing the Federal
forces at and around the battle-field of Shiloh
, to an aggregate of at least one hundred and twenty thousand men.1
This was an error on the part of General Halleck
; for he certainly had no need of reinforcements at that time, his army being in a state of complete inactivity.
should have been allowed to continue his operations against Fort Pillow
, as he had already successfully done against New Madrid, Island No.10
, and Madrid Bend.
The probabilities are that, with their immense resources in men and materials, and in view of the unfinished condition