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Doc. 120.-surrender of Island number10.

Commodore Foote's despatches.

United States steamer Benton, off Island number10, April 7, 8.25 A. M.
To Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
Two officers of their navy have this instant boarded us from Island Number10, stating that by order of their commanding officer they were ordered to surrender Island Number10 to the commander of this fleet.

As these officers knew nothing of the capture of the batteries on the Tennessee shore, I have sent Capt. Phelps to ascertain something definite on the subject.

Gen. Pope is now advancing from New-Madrid, in strong force, to attack the rear. I am, with gunboats and mortars, ready to attack in front, and Buford is ready to cooperate; but it seems as if the place is to be surrendered without further defence.<

A. H. Foote, Flag-Officer.

Flag-steamer Benton, off Island number10, April 8.
To Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
My despatch, three hours since, informs the Department that Island Number10 has surrendered to the gunboats. Captain Phelps has this instant returned, after having had an interview with the late commandant. I have requested Gen Buford, commanding the troops, to proceed immediately, in company with two of the gunboats, and take possession of the Island. The batteries on the Tennessee shore had been hastily evacuated, where we shall find, no doubt, in the morning large quantities of munitions of war.

I communicate immediately with Gen. Pope, who has, under the cover of the two gunboats, (which gallantly ran the blockade in the thunder-storm,) crossed the river in force, and was ready, as well as the gun and mortar-boats, and General Buford and his troops, to have made a simultaneous attack on the rebels had they not so hastily evacuated the Tennessee shore, and surrendered Island Number10.

A full report will be made as soon as we can obtain possession of the land-batteries, and I am able to communicate with Gen. Pope.

A. H. Foote, Flag-Officer.

Commodore Foote's report.

flagship Benton, Island no.10, April 8, (via Cairo.)
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
I have to inform the Department that since I sent the telegram last night, announcing the surrender to me of Island No.10, possession has been taken of both the island and the works upon the Tennessee shore by the gunboats, and troops under command of General Buford. Seventeen officers and three hundred and sixty-eight privates, besides one hundred of their sick, and one hundred men employed on board the transports, are in our hands unconditionally prisoners of war.

I have caused hasty examination to be made of the forts, batteries and munition of war captured. There are eleven earthworks with seventy heavy cannon, varying in calibre from thirty-two to one-hundred-pounders, rifled. The magazines are well supplied with powder, and there are large quantities of shot and shell and other munitions of war, and also great quantities of provisions. Four steamers afloat have fallen into our hands, and two others, with the rebel gunboat Grampus, are sunk, but will be easily raised. The floating battery of sixteen heavy guns, turned adrift by the rebels, is said to be lying on the Missouri shore below New-Madrid.

The enemy upon the mainland appear to have fled with great precipitation after dark last night, leaving in many cases half-prepared meals in their quarters, and there seems to have been no concert of action between the rebels on the island and those occupying the shore, but the latter fled, leaving the former to their fate. These works, erected with the highest engineering skill, are of great strength, and with their natural advantages would have been impregnable if defended by men fighting in a better cause.

A combined attack of the naval and land forces would have taken place this afternoon or to-morrow morning had not the rebels so hastily abandoned this stronghold — to mature the plans of attack having absolutely required twenty-three days of preparation. Gen. Pope is momentarily [438] expected to arrive with his army at this point, he having successfully crossed the river yesterday under a heavy fire, which no doubt led to the hasty abandonment of the works last night.

I am unofficially informed that the two gunboats which so gallantly ran the fire of the rebel batteries a few nights since, yesterday attacked and reduced a fort of the enemy opposite, dismounting eight heavy guns.

The following is a copy of the order of Gen. McCall on assuming command of the rebel forces on the fifth instant:

soldiers: We are strangers, commander and commanded, each to the other; let me tell you who I am. I am a general made by Beauregard, a general selected by Beauregard and Bragg for this command, when they knew it was in peril. They have known me for twenty years; together we have stood on the fields of Mexico. Give them your confidence now; give it to me, when I have earned it. Soldiers, the Mississippi Valley is entrusted to your courage, to your discipline, to your patience. Exhibit the vigilance and coolness of last night and hold it.

W. D. Mccall, Brigadier-General Commanding.

I regret that the painful condition of my feet still requiring to use crutches, prevented me from making a-personal examination of the works. I was therefore compelled to delegate Lieutenant Commanding S. Phelps, of the flag-ship Benton.

A. H. Foote, Flag-Officer Naval Forces.

General Pope's report.

expeditionary force, New-Madrid, Mo., April 9.
Major-Gen. H. W. Halleck:
The canal across the peninsula opposite Island No.10--and for the idea of which I am indebted to Gen. Schuyler Hamilton--was completed by Col. Bissell's Engineer regiment, and four steamers were brought through on the night of the sixth. The heavy batteries I had thrown up below Tiptonville completely commanded the lowest point of the high ground on the Tennessee shore, entirely cutting off the enemy's retreat by water; his retreat by land has never been possible through the swamps. On the night of the fourth, Captain Walke, of the navy, ran the enemy's batteries at Island No.10, with the gunboat Carondelet, and reported to me here. On the night of the sixth, the gunboat Pittsburgh also ran the blockade. Our transports were brought into the river from the bayou, where they had been kept concealed; at daylight on the seventh, had Paine's division loaded. The canal had been a prodigiously laborious work. It was twelve miles long, six miles of which were through heavy timber, which had to be sawed off by hand four feet under water.

The enemy has lined the opposite shore with batteries, extending from Island Ten to Tiptonville, Merriweather Landing, to prevent the. passage of the river by this army.

I directed Capt. Walker to run down with the two gunboats at daylight on the seventh to the point selected for crossing, and silence the enemy's batteries near it. He performed the service gallantly, and I here bear testimony to the thorough and brilliant manner in which this officer discharged his difficult duties with me, and to the hearty and earnest zeal with which, at all hazards, he cooperated with me.

As soon as he signaled me, the boats containing Paine's division moved out from the landing and began to cross the river. The passage of this wide, furious river, by our large force, was one of the most magnificent spectacles I ever witnessed. By twelve o'clock that night, the seventh, all the forces designed to cross the river were over, without delay or accident.

As soon as we commenced to cross, the enemy began to evacuate Island No.10 and his batteries along the shore. The divisions were pushed forward to Tiptonville as fast as they landed, Paine's leading. The enemy was driven before him, and although they made several attempts to form in line of battle and make a stand, Paine did not once deploy his columns. The enemy was pushed all night vigorously, until at four o'clock A. M. he was driven back upon the swamps and forced to surrender. Three generals, seven colonels, seven regiments, several battalions of infantry, five companies of artillery, over one hundred heavy siege-guns, twenty-four pieces of field artillery, an immense quantity of ammunition and supplies, several thousand stand of small arms, a great number of tents, horses, wagons, etc., etc., have fallen into our hands.

Before abandoning Island No.10, the enemy sunk the gunboat Grampus, and six of his transports. These last I am raising, and expect to have ready for service in a few days. The famous floating battery was scuttled, and turned adrift with all her guns aboard; she was captured and run aground in shoal-water by our forces, at New-Madrid.

Our success is complete and overwhelming. Our troops, as I expected, behaved gloriously. I will, in my full report, endeavor to do full justice to all. Brigadier-Generals Paine, Stanley, and Hamilton crossed the river, and conducted their divisions with untiring activity and skill. I am especially indebted to them. Gen. Paine, fortunate in having the advance, exhibited unusual vigor and courage, and had the satisfaction to receive the surrender of the enemy. Of Col. Bissell, of the Engineer regiment, I can hardly say too much. Full of resource, untiring and determined, he labored night and day, and completed a work which will be a monument of enterprise and skill.

We have crossed this great river with a large army, the banks of which were lined with batteries of the enemy to oppose our passage; have pursued and captured all his forces and material of war, and have not lost a man, nor met with an accident.

John Pope, Major-General.


Record of the siege.

March 15.--Commodore Foote, with several gunboats and a part of the mortar-fleet, left Hickman for Island Number10.

March 16.--Bombardment commenced.

March 17.--Rifled gun on board the St. Louis exploded, killing and wounding fourteen men.

March 18.--General Pope repulsed the gunboat fleet at New-Madrid. A rebel transport, loaded with cannon, reported sunk by the fire from the fleet.

March 19.--Commodore Foote reports the island harder to conquer than Columbus. Firing continued night and day.

March 20.--Cannonading continued all day. All the guns but one in the upper battery reported dismounted. Hollins's ram sent from Memphis.

March 21.--Firing continued at intervals.

March 22.--But little firing from the gunboats, to which the rebel batteries made no reply.

March 23.--Mortars fired with considerable regularity all day; result not ascertained.

March 24.--Firing continued at intervals; rebel batteries replied but seldom.

March 25.--Affairs unchanged.

March 26.--Main works of the enemy reported overflowed. Operations slackened.

March 27.--Firing continued at intervals only. Residents captured report the rebels fifteen thousand strong.

March 28.--Heavy firing from the fleet. Upper battery reported silenced; enemy lost sixty killed, and twenty-five wounded. Rebels constructing new batteries.

March 29.--Firing very heavy.

March 30.--Heavy bombardment, to which the rebels make no reply.

March 31.--Same condition of affairs.

April 1.--An expedition from the fleet proceeded to the upper rebel fort and spiked six guns.

April 2.--Operations not reported.

April 3.--Rebel heavy floating battery detached from shore and drifted down the stream. Gunboat Carondelet ran the blockade.

April 4.--Firing active, and good execution to the rebel works reported.

April 5.--Transports and barges arrived at New-Madrid. Heavy firing all day.

April 7.--Gen. Pope succeeds in landing Gen. Paine's division on the Tennessee shore. The whole army to be moved over. Gunboat Pittsburgh ran the blockade.

April 7.--Surrender of Island Number10. (See Supplement.)

Chicago post account.

On Island No.10, Mississippi River, Tuesday, April 8, 1862.
Island 10 has been abandoned. The rebels have departed in undignified haste, with the exception of some five hundred, who have surrendered as prisoners of war. Our victory is complete in all except the capture of the whole rebel force, the greater part of which is scattered through the swamps of this region, and may yet be surrounded or overtaken.

The Carondelet, having run the blockade, proceeded forthwith to the performance of her allotted duty. The rebels, to oppose any attempt that might be made to cross the river, had planted cannon — field-pieces — along the left bank of the river for a distance of twelve miles, extending from above New-Madrid to below Point Pleasant. The Carondelet proceeded to the latter place, giving the rebels an occasional broadside by the way. Reversing her course, she then moved up the stream, and opened her broadside-guns. Broadside after broadside was discharged as she moved slowly and steadily up the stream. The rebels fired their guns as she approached, and fled in confusion — those of them who were not slain. Thus twelve miles of rebel batteries were literally swept out of existence. When the Pittsburgh arrived, Sunday morning, she found the work accomplished. One gunboat took possession below, the other above, the army that was to cross, and there waited to receive any rebel craft that might venture to approach from either direction, with “bloody hands, and hospitable,” but rather moist, “graves.”

At twelve o'clock, Monday, our transports emerged from the bayou through which they have been so long making their slow and toilsome progress, and were once more upon the broad river, but on the other side of the enemy's position. Immediately they commenced the performance of their allotted duty, which was to transport our army across the river. By nine o'clock last evening, nine thousand men had been ferried across, and the expectation was that by two o'clock to-day thirty thousand men would be in the position they were to occupy. At that hour a simultaneous attack would have been made upon the rebel position by the gunboats both above and below; the mortars would again have belched their thunders, and one of the biggest fights with big guns which the world ever witnessed would have been seen — if the rebels had not run away! which they did. Of this fact the flag-officer was apprised by the rebel steamer which came out last night.

The steamer was the De Soto, a Red river packet, as I am informed by the blue sideboard on her upper works. The tug which went off to her brought the rebel messenger--one Lieut. McDowell, a sprig of St. Louis rebelism — on board the flag-ship. This young man informed the Commodore that he had come from the officer in command of the confederates on the Island, with orders to surrender the Island to the flag-officer of the flotilla. Com. Foote replied that he would receive the surrender, but he asked somewhat sharply where the rest of the command was. The officer said they had retreated. Where had they gone to? They had gone to Hick--, really, Mr. McDowell did not know.

Meanwhile, the gunboat St. Louis had been ordered to go up at once to Hickman and join the Louisiana for active work, in case the rebels should make their appearance there. Col. Buford [440] despatched a regiment of infantry to the same place. No rebel soldiers, however, made their appearance there.

Their retreat was an inglorious and disgraceful flight. According to the accounts given by the prisoners themselves, the rebel soldiers were completely demoralized. The officers seem to have had no command over them, but rather to have shared their terrible fright. When our gunboats ran the blockade, and they found themselves unable to prevent it, both officers and men lost all confidence in each other or in themselves. They felt that their time was drawing nigh, and when, about seven o'clock last evening, they learned that Gen. Pope's army was crossing the river, they perceived that it had arrived. The men, somehow, had the information almost as soon as the officers. Had bedlam broken loose, the scene could not have rivalled that which I am told the flight of these rebellious wretches presented. Every man seized his gun and incontinently took to his heels. It was every man for himself, each striving on his own individual bottom to double the point of Reelfoot Lake before Gen. Pope's army should close up the only avenue of escape.

The number of rebel troops on the mainland was about seven thousand, a considerable part of the force, which at one time reached fourteen thousand, having been withdrawn to reinforce Beauregard at Corinth. The commanding officer was Brig.-Gen. McCall. He was specially detailed by Beauregard to succeed Brig.-Gen. McCown, who was ordered to Richmond, in command of this “Key of the Mississippi,” as he is pleased to call it in his proclamation, dated April fifth, assuming command. The original of this proclamation was found in Brig.-Gen. McCall's late headquarters, that doughty commander having been too busy in taking care of himself to think of such trifling matters as important official papers — among them a plan of Fort Pillow. The proclamation is a somewhat curious document as showing how very valorous a rebel brigadier-general may be only two days before he ignominiously runs away. I sent the interesting document by telegraph, in advance of this letter.

The value of captured property amounts to over a million of dollars. There are nine steamboats — the Yazoo, H. R. W. Hill, Grampus, Ohio Belle, Admiral, Champion, De Soto, Red Rover, and Mars — worth four hundred thousand dollars. The first four were scuttled and sunk, but will be raised easily. There are seventy heavy position-guns of the first class, some of them navy guns, stolen from Norfolk. There are four mortars — small affairs, nothing like our thirteen-inch fellows. There are over ten thousand pounds of powder; one single magazine contains seven thousand pounds. Why they did not destroy it is a mystery only to be solved upon the supposition that they were in too much of a hurry to save themselves. There are shot and shell in vast quantities. There are tents for seven thousand men. There is at least a warehouse full of commissary stores.

The sunken steamers will be ready for use in three or four days. A messenger has already gone to Cairo to bring down one of the large submarine steam elevators there, which were built expressly for lifting sunken steamboats. So we shall soon add to our fleet of transports nine or ten first-class boats, whose owners will not be very apt to present their bills monthly.

The fortifications are admirably constructed and of immense strength. The rebels commenced building them before they came up to Columbus; the breastworks are well settled and firm. Served by brave men in a better cause, they would have held the river much longer than three weeks. But these fellows could not stand our gunboats on both sides of them, and thirteen-inch bombshells in their midst. The effect of these shells upon the Island was truly terrific. The earth is ploughed and furrowed as with an earthquake. Small caverns were excavated by the tremendous explosions, and in one place an unexploded shell has penetrated the earth to the depth of sixteen feet, leaving a round hole like a wall. Huge cottonwood trees, two and three feet in diameter, were hit and blown to atoms. The rebels could not stand such missiles, and would not. They constructed “rat-holes,” by felling large trees and placing short logs slantingly against them, covering the whole with earth. Into these they crawled with the utmost agility whenever the voice of a mortar was heard. Every battery on the Island is provided with one of these rat-holes in convenient proximity for the gunners. It is difficult to conceive of an engine more terrible, in its destructive effects at the distance of three miles than these enormous shells.

No rebel gunboats were captured, and it is probable they had none at the Island, except the Grampus, which they sunk. This was nothing but a common stern-wheel steamboat, mounted with two small guns.

The floating battery, about which so much has been said, was discovered yesterday afternoon floating down the river toward New-Madrid. One of the batteries there fired upon it, but receiving no response, the machine was then boarded and found to be abandoned. It was navigated to the shore and secured at Point Pleasant, and it is to be added to the number of our trophies. Its guns, however, are alone valuable.

Letter of Secretary Welles.

Washington, April 9, 1862.
The following congratulatory letter was sent to-day to Flag-Officer Foote by telegraph:

Navy Department, April 9, 1862.
Flag-Officer A. H. Foote, Commanding Gunboats of Western Waters:
sir: A nation's thanks are due you and the brave officers and men of the flotilla on the Mississippi, whose labors and gallantry at Island No.10, which surrendered to you yesterday, have for weeks been watched with intense interest. Your triumph is not the less appreciated because it was protracted and finally bloodless.

To that Being who has protected you through [441] so many perils, and carried you onward to successive victories, be the praise for his continued goodness to our country, and especially for this last great success of our arms.<

Let the congratulations to yourself and your command be also extended to the officers and soldiers who cooperated with you.

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

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