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1862 April 16: Island No. Ten Surrendered

April 18, 2012

This is mostly from The Prescott Journal, reporting a week later, April 16, 1862, than The Hudson North Star about the end of the siege of Island No. 10.

I S L A N D   N O .   T E N    S  U  R  R  E  N  D  E  R  E  D


Three Generals and 6,000 Prisoners Taken

Chicago, April 8

A special dispatch says that Island No. 10 was surrendered  to Commodore Foote [Andrew H. Foote] Midnight last night unconditionally.

All sorts of reports are afloat as to the number of prisoners, munitions of war, but it is supposed that most of the rebels escaped.

The Alps arrived at Cairo this morning, bringing 2nd Master Lord of the Benton, with dispatches from Commodore Foote, announcing the surrender to him at midnight of the entire position men, guns and transports. The number of prisoners is not yet known, nor is account of ordinance stores.

St. Louis, April 8

Gen Halleck [Henry W. Halleck] has just telegraphed to the War Department that Island No. 10 was abandoned by the enemy last night leaving all their artillery, baggage, supplies and sick.

Gen. Pope [John Pope] had captured three Generals, 6,000 prisoners of war, 100 seige, several field batteries, immense quantities of small guns, tents, wagons, horses and provisions.  We have not lost a single man.

 Commodore Foote’s report also appeared in the April 16, 1862, issue of The Hudson North Star.

Surrender of Island No. 10 — Official Report of Commodore Foote


The following was received at the Navy Department this morning:

FLAG SHIP BENTON, Island No. 10,}
April 8, 1862.}

To Hon. Gideon Wells, Sec’y of the Navy:

Sir:—I have to inform the Department that since I sent the telegram last night announcing  the surrender to me of Island No. 10, possession had been taken both of the Island and the works upon the Tennessee shore by the gunboats and the troops under command of Gen. Buford [John Buford].

Seventeen officers, 368 privates, besides 100 of their sick, and 100 men employed on board the transports, are in our hands unconditionally prisoners of war.

I have caused a hast examination to be made of the forts, batteries and munitions  of war captured.  There are earthworks with 70 heavy cannon, vary in caliber from 32 to 100 pounders, rifled.

The magazines are well supplied with powder, and there are large quantities of shot, 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 16 heavy guns turned adrift by the rebels and is said to be laying on the Missouri shore below New Madrid.

The enemy on the main land 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 upon the Island and those occupying the shore, but the last fled, leaving the former to their fate.

These works, erected with the highest engineering skill, are of great strength, and with our naval 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, bad not the rebels  so hastily abandoned this stronghold.  To mature the plans of the attack, absolutely required twenty-three days of preparation.

General Pope is momentarily expected to arrive with his army at this point, he having successfully crossed the river yesterday under heavy fire, which no doubt led to the hasty abandon of the works.

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’s opposite, dismounting eight heavy guns.

The following is a copy of the order of Gen. Makall [sic]1 on assuming command of the rebel forces on the 5th:

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 [P.G.T. Beauregard], a General selected by Beauregard and Bragg [Braxton Bragg], for this command when they knew it was in peril.  They have known me for twenty years.  We have stood on the fields in Mexico.  Give them your confidence now—give it to me when I have earned it.  Soldiers, the Mississippi valley is entrusted to your patience, exhibit the vigilance and coolness of last night and hold it.

W. D. MAKALL [sic]
Brig. Gen. Commanding

I regret that the painful conditions of my feet, still requiring the use of crutches, prevented me from making a personal examination of the works. I was therefore compelled to delegate Lieut. Commanding S. Phelps,2 of the flag ship Benton.

A. H. Foote,
Flag Officer Commanding.

 The Hudson North Star also included General Pope’s Report:

NEW MADRID MO., April 9, 1862.

Major General H. W. Halleck :

The canal across the peninsula opposite Island No. 10—and for the idea of which I am indebted to General Schuyler Hamilton3—was completed by Colonel Bissoll’s [sic]4 Engineer regiment, and four steamers were brought through on the night of the 6th.  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 swamp.

On the night of the 4th Capt. Walker [sic]5 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 6th the gunboat Pittsburg also ran the blockade.  Our transports were brought into the river from the bayou, where they had been concealed, at daylgiht on the 7th, and Paine’s6 division loaded.  The canal has been a prodigiously laborious work.  It was 12 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 No. 10 to Tiptonville, Merriweather landing, to prevent the passage of the river by this army.

I directed Captain Walker [sic] to run down with the two gunboats at daylight on the 7th to the point selected for crossing, and silencing 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 official duties with me, and to the hearty and earnest zeal with which, at all hazards, he cooperated with me.

As soon as he signalled 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 7th, 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 colums [sic].  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 nmuber [sic] of tents, horses, wagons, etc., etc., have fallen in our hands.

Before abandoning Island No. 10, the enemy sank 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 at New Madrid.

Our success is complete and overwhelming.  Our troops, as I expected, behaved gloriously.  I will in my fall report endeavor to do justice to all.  Brigadier General Paine, Standly [sic]7 and Hamilton crossed the river and conducted their divisions with untiring activity and skill.  I am especially indebted to them.  General Paine, fortunate in having the advance, exhibited unusual vigor and courage and had the satisfaction to receive the surrender of the enemy.  Of Colonel Bissell of the Engineer regiment, I can hardly say too much.  Full of resorces [sic], untiring and determined, he labored night and day, and completed a work which will be a monument of enterprise and skill.

We have crossed the 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 an accident.

JOHN POPE, Major General.

1.  William Whann Mackall (1817-1891) was a career military officer who served in the Seminole Wars and the Mexican War. He served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. Mackall had replaced Brigadier General John P. McCown on March 15 as commander of the defenses at Isalnd No. 10. He was taken prisoner when the Union forces captured the Island. He will be exhanged in August of 1862.
2.  Seth Ledyard Phelps (1824-1885) was a career naval officer. He was one of the first naval officers sent to help build the Western Gunboat Flotilla on the Mississippi River. He commanded the division of timberclads in the attack on Fort Henry. He also participated in the capture of Island No. 10 and was promoted to flag officer following that.
3.  Schuyler Hamilton (1822-1903) was a grandson of Alexander Hamilton, a graduate of West Point, and a career military officer. He had resigned from the army, but volunteered as a private in the 7th New York Infantry when the War broke out. He quickly was promoted to a brigadier general of volunteers.
4.  Colonel J. W. Bissell, Pope’s chief engineer officer who supervised the construction of the canal that was built to ferry Union troops across to Island No. 10. He and the Engineering Regiment of the West were put to work on March 23rd and finished the effort on April 2nd. “Canal” is somewhat of a misnomer, since the area was flooded. The major part of the work was cutting a path through the bayous, which Bissell’s engineers accomplished by devising an ingenious method of cutting trees below the water line.
5.  Henry Walke (1809-1896) was a career naval officer. He had assumed command of the Carondelet in mid-January 1862 and in February he led her in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson. In April, he led her in the passing of heavily fortified Island No. 10 and in the attack on and spiking of shore batteries below New Madrid and in the final Battle of Island No. 10.
6.  Eleazer Arthur Paine (1815-1882) was a soldier, author, and lawyer. He was the colonel of the 9th Illinois Infantry before being appointed a brigadier general of volunteers. Paine commanded the 4th Division of the Army of the Mississippi at the Battle of New Madrid and the 1st Division at Island No. 10.
7.  David Sloane Stanley (1828-1902) will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Franklin (in 1864). Earlier in the War, he fought at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and was quickly promoted to brigadier general. He participated in the operations against New Madrid and the Battle of Island No. 10.

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