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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Reminiscences of the Confederate States Navy. (search)
he Confederate forces under General Polk. The battle of Belmont had just been fought, and the enemy was concentrating at Cairo. The Yankees had two small wooden gun-boats above Columbus. A number of iron-clads had arrived at Cairo, but they were Cairo, but they were without guns or sailors. The Confederates had at Columbus, the Manassas, McRae (8), Polk (5), Jackson (2), and Calhoun (2). A small fort below Cairo was all the Confederate gun-boats would have to encounter. An advance was urged by many of us. TheCairo was all the Confederate gun-boats would have to encounter. An advance was urged by many of us. The enemy's gun-boats were allowed to take on board their armaments, to receive their sailors, and with a fleet of transports and men to bring the first disaster to the Southern arms — the capture of Forts Donelson and Henry. Columbus was evacuated andank of the river, and is about ten miles below Island 10. A good road leads to Cape Gerideau, a point on the river above Cairo. Hence, New Madrid was an important point as long as we held No. 10. The place was poorly fortified, had an insufficien
ederal armies in possession of nearly the whole of Missouri, and continually menacing Columbus, the left flank of his line in Kentucky, with heavy forces massed at Cairo. The war in Kentucky had been fought with different weapons. Here, diplomacy instead of arms had transferred a Commonwealth of strongly Southern feelings from neutrality of Kentucky was ended early in September. Major-General Polk, the Confederate commander in West Tennessee, having information that the Federal force at Cairo was about to seize Columbus, a strategic point of great importance in Southwestern Kentucky, crossed the State line, occupied Hickman on the 5th of September, and on the 7th secured Columbus. General Grant, who had just taken command at Cairo, where he had arrived on the 2d of September, thus anticipated and foiled in that quarter, promptly seized Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee River, September 6th, with a detachment, following it with additional forces next day. General Polk made a
established there as the right of General Johnston's line, and a barrier to the invasion of East Tennessee. the water-lines of the West were a source of great weakness to the Confederacy. The converging currents of so many Rivers, uniting at Cairo in one great flood, enabled the United States Government to collect flotillas of gunboats, which searched out every navigable stream, and overawed communities unaccustomed to War. The line of defensive works in progress at different points from Cation, organization, and discipline, was still greater. The United States troops opposed to him were over 36,000 strong, while his own available force was less than 20,000 men. General Fremont reports that he had, September 14, 1861, at and near Cairo, 12,831 men, and at Paducah, 7,791 men; together, 20,622 men, under General U. S. Grant. report on the conduct of the War, part III., p. 41. in this estimate he only puts the forces in his Department at 55,000 men. General McClellan, in his re
: Polk's on the left, at Columbus; Buckner's in the centre, about Bowling Green; and Zollicoffer's, on the right, at Cumberland Ford. Early in October, Polk had some 10,000 men to protect Columbus from Grant's 20,000 or 25,000 troops at and near Cairo. Buckner's force had increased to 6,000, against double that number of adversaries under Sherman; and Zollicoffer's 4,000 men had 8,000 or 10,000 men opposed to them in Eastern Kentucky, under General Thomas. Polk had small permanent camps at Fderate Government would be able to arm them. As at present informed, the best effort of the enemy will be made on this line, threatening at the same time the communications between Tennessee and Virginia covered by Zollicoffer, and Columbus from Cairo by river, and Paducah by land, and maybe a serious attack on one or the other; and for this their command of the Ohio and all the navigable waters of Kentucky, and better means of transportation, give them great facilities of concentration. As m
al A. S. Johnston. This report, made on the day of battle, is substantially accurate, except that the force of the enemy is over-estimated. General Grant represents his purpose and procedure in this movement as follows, in his report from Cairo, of November 12, 1861: On the evening of the 6th instant I left this place with 2,850 men, of all arms, to make a reconnaissance toward Columbus. The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending out reinforcements to Pricngagement ensued. On the 3d of November Grant had sent Colonel Oglesby with four regiments (3,000 men) from Commerce, Missouri, toward Indian Ford, on the St. Francis River, by way of Sikestown. On the 6th he sent him another regiment, from Cairo, with orders to turn his column toward New Madrid, and, when he reached the nearest point to Columbus, to await orders. The ostensible purpose of this movement was to cut off reinforcements going to General Price, and to pursue Jeff Thompson. T
Thomas's movements. the movement of the Federal army, which had been frustrated in November, was renewed with better success early in January. General Johnston was now confronted by Halleck in the West, and by Buell in Kentucky. With the exception of the army sent under Curtis against Price in Southwestern Missouri, about 12,000 strong, the whole resources of the Northwest, from Pennsylvania to the Plains, were turned against General Johnston's lines in Kentucky. Halleck, with armies at Cairo and Paducah, under Grant and C. F. Smith, threatened equally Columbus, the key of the Mississippi River, and the water-lines of the Cumberland and Tennessee, with their defenses at Forts Donelson and Henry. Buell's right wing also menaced Donelson and Henry, while his centre was directed against Bowling Green, and his left was advancing against Zollicoffer at Mill Spring on the Upper Cumberland. If this last-named position could be forced, the way seemed open to East Tennessee by either the
Green, toward which Buell was still reaching out. Grant, under orders from Halleck, sent McClernand, with 6,000 men, from Cairo to Milburn, to menace Columbus; and C. F. Smith, with two brigades, from Paducah toward Mayfield and Murray, threatening Johnston, as probable. On their return from these January expeditions, Grant telegraphed Halleck, January 28th, from Cairo: With permission, I will take Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there. On the srity, and instructions, also, for the execution of the plan. Badeau says: On the 2d of February Grant started from Cairo with 17,000 men on transports. Foote accompanied him with seven gunboats, and on the 4th the debarkation began at Baileythful in habits, and badly organized, could not be expected to prove very efficient laborers. The demonstrations from Cairo and Paducah, and the simulated attack on Fort Henry, January 17th, made it clear that this position was liable to attack
ne times, the Louisville thirty-six times, the Carondelet twenty-six, the Pittsburg twenty, and four vessels receiving no less than 141 wounds. The fleet, gathering itself together, and rendering mutual help to its disabled members, proceeded to Cairo to repair damages, intending to return immediately with a stronger naval force to continue the siege. We learn also, from Hoppin's narrative, that Foote was twice wounded, once in the arm and once in the leg; and, from Foote's report, that hi of the victor. This must be an error. For, even including the six guns and 5,000 small-arms recaptured, and the thirteen heavy guns in the fort, the total artillery would fall a good deal short of his estimate. He says, Rations were issued at Cairo to 14,623 prisoners. Very likely this was the quartermaster's return ; but, if so, it was based on muster-rolls, not men. The actual number of captives did not exceed 7,000 or 8,000. To Buckner's proposition for capitulation, Grant replied:
icient force to create a strong diversion in your favor; or, if his strength cannot be made available in that way, you will best know how to employ it otherwise. I suppose the Tennessee or Mississippi River will be the object of the enemy's next campaign, and I trust you will be able to concentrate a force which will defeat either attempt. The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi River, if the enemy's gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but, to one so well informed and vigilant, I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be attained. With the confidence and regard of many years, I am very truly your friend, Jefferson Davis. Decatur, Alabama, March 18, 1862. my dear General: I received the dispatches from Richmond, with your private letter by Captain Wickliffe, three days since; but the pressure of affairs and the necessity of getting my command across the Tennessee prevented me fro
troops State of Southern arsenals and stores Practices of the Jews troops ordered to Virginia Rejoicings in the camp Hospitalities on the road patriotism of the women Northern sympathies in east Tennessee camp at Lynchburgh by rail to Manassas station. April having passed, and the intentions of General Scott not being as yet developed, it was conjectured that operations might commence simultaneously at different points. Troops were therefore sent to Union City, (Kentucky,) near Cairo, on the Mississippi, and to Columbus, (Kentucky,) on the same river; the latter place being the last station of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and of great importance in many ways. Troops were also hurriedly despatched to Western Virginia, but not in large bodies. Indeed, our infant Government seemed overwhelmed with care and anxiety to meet the storm that was rapidly approaching, and could scarcely attend to the wants of her little army. It is true the various State arsenals contained mor
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