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[236] sent to him. For this purpose no detail was made, as a sufficient number of volunteers were found to supply his wants, and marched into the very jaws of death to the relief of their exhausted comrades. In the mean time, from fort and river, the conflict was still kept up with unabated fury. It seemed more than could be hoped from mortal courage and endurance, that the battery should be worked against such terrible odds. But it was, and at last, about night-fall, the enemy was compelled to withdraw, with some of his boats for the time disabled. Rucker had the last shot at him, as he retired up the river. The battery mounted five guns. Only two of them were in a condition to be worked, at the close of the fight.

Gen. McCown, under orders from Gen. Beauregard, left the Bend for Fort Pillow, on the night of the 17th of March, with six regiments of infantry, Bankhead's light battery, and a part of Stuart's, embarking at Tiptonville, and reaching the former place on the morning of the 18th. This movement was accomplished with such secrecy, that few, even of the officers remaining at the Bend, were aware of it until it was accomplished.

On the afternoon of the 19th, Gen. McCown was ordered to send from Fort Pillow three regiments, to report to Gen. Bragg, leave the remainder at that post, and return himself and re-assume command at Island 10, which he immediately did. Upon returning to the Island, he found the enemy engaged in cutting a canal across the Bend, on the Missouri side, from a point three miles above the Island to Bayou St. John, for the purpose of communicating with New Madrid without having to run our batteries. From this time up to the 30th, the enemy continued to shell at long range, but without effect. Gen. McCown, in the mean time, made a full reconnoissance of the Bend. In his despatches he expressed confidence in his ability to repel the enemy's boats, if they should attack his batteries, but strongly intimated his doubts as to his being able to stop them if they attempted to run by. He was also busily engaged in building flatboats and collecting canoes on Reetford Lake, ostensibly with the view of bringing over reinforcements, but actually for the purpose of securing his retreat, should the enemy force a crossing in numbers sufficient to overwhelm his command, now reduced to less than two thousand effective men.

On the 1st of April, Gen. McCown was relieved, and Gen. Mackall assigned to the defence of the Island. In the mean time the enemy had busily progressed in his herculean enterprise of digging a canal twelve miles long, across the peninsula formed by the winding of the river. This work was fatal to the defence of the Island, for it enabled the enemy to take it in its rear. On the night of the 6th of April, Gen. Mackall moved the infantry and a battery to the Tennessee shore, to protect the landing from anticipated attacks. The artillerists remained on the Island. The

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