of the works at Fort Pillow
, the Federals
would, in a short time, have succeeded in forcing its evacuation, when the whole Mississippi River
would have been opened to them down to New Orleans.
A respite of many months was thus unintentionally given, by the commander of the Federal
forces, to the Confederacy
, then hard pressed in the Southwest
During the operations thus recorded, and judging from the different telegrams he had received from Commodore Hollins
, and Generals Polk
, General Beauregard
was under the impression that our gunboats had done all that could have been expected of them.
A careful reading of other telegrams, letters, and reports, Confederate as well as Federal, have, since that time, compelled him to modify his opinion.
He now thinks that the Confederate
flotilla, under Commodore Hollins
, did not display the energy, resoluteness, and daring afterwards evinced by many an officer in the Confederate States
navy, most conspicuous among whom were the heroic Admiral Semmes
, Commodore Maffitt
, and Captain Brown
of the Arkansas
Among the gunboats brought from New Orleans by Commodore Hollins
, or sent to him after he had left, was the celebrated ram Manassas
, which, however, could not then be used to any advantage, for the reason, as it appears, that there was no Federal craft of any description south of Island No.10
, against which her ramming qualities might be brought into play.
Later, and just as she could have been of much use, General Lovell
insisted upon her being sent back to him, which, after several remonstrances from General Beauregard
and from Commodore Hollins
, was reluctantly done.
Had the Manassas
been with the flotilla, on the 5th of April, when the Federal
transports passed through the recently excavated canal at New Madrid, and two of the enemy's gunboats ran the gauntlet before Island No.10
and the Madrid Bend batteries, it is more than probable that they would have been destroyed by the Confederate ram; and that no other Federal transport or gunboat would have made a like attempt.
In that case General Pope
would not have been able to cross his troops to the Tennessee
shore, and could not have taken in rear the forces holding the works at Madrid Bend.
Had a signal repulse been met with by the first Federal boats entering that part of the Mississippi River
, it is to be presumed that General Pope
's operations around