Near Tiptonville in Lake County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Capture of Island No. 10
An incident in the systematic process of opening the great rivers which served the heart of the Confederacy to Federal control, this was performed by Pope's Army of the Mississippi, assisted by a naval task force under Commo. Andrew H. Foote.
Federal troops present in reduction of Island No. 10 were over 20,000, all arms being represented including the "flotilla brigade," attached to the naval task force.
Naval units present were six gunboats, mounting 15 guns each, except the flagship, 16 guns; 11 mortar boats, each mounting a 13-inch cohorn, or mortar, but without their own power, and several tenders and transports.
Confederate forces in the area were originally commanded by Maj. Gen. John P. McCown and numbered about 7500. Later changes reduced this number to about 4000, all arms being represented. Confederate naval units present under Commo. G. N. Hollins included his flagship, the yacht, McRae, and six gunboats, several steamboats and tenders, and a naval floating battery of 14 guns under Lt. S. W. Averett, CSN.
Following the taking of Forts Henry and Donelson, on the Tennessee River, by Grant, Lt. Gen. Polk, Confederate area commander, evacuated his base at Columbus, Ky., and commenced fortifying New Madrid, Mo., and Island No. 10. Grant moved his army to Pittsburg Landing, later to fight the
On March 15, McCown evacuated New Madrid after some skirmishing. The bulk of his force went to Fort Pillow, about 50 miles downriver; a number of guns and artillery personnel went to Island No. 10.
Pope now had units above and below the island. To capture it, he needed water transportation for ferrying his troops into Tennessee. Accordingly, his engineers cut a passage through the trees at the head of Bayou St. John to the river, thus making a passage for light-draft vessels. This passage was in use by Apr. 1.
The Confederate defenses of the island, still incomplete by the time of the attack, are shown on the map. Troops not quartered directly in the various batteries were camped on the island itself, and round-the-clock reliefs detailed from infantry regiments. There was considerable sickness among the garrison.
On March 16, Brig. Gen. L.M. Walker succeeded Gen. McCown in command. The latter returned on March 22, but left again for Ft. Pillow on March 31, leaving Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall in command.
About March 15, Federal naval units commenced daily bombardment of Island No. 10 and the Tennessee shore, but without too much effect. Attempts to pass westward through a chute to the north of the island were thwarted
The Confederate defenses received heavy bombardment on March 18 and 19, but effective counter-battery fire caused a slackening of this fire by March 20. But, by Apr. 2, flood waters had forced the virtual abandonment of Battery No. 1. That night, a Federal landing party from USS Benton rushed the position and spiked the guns.
On Apr. 5, USS Benton, Cincinnati and Pittsburg each with a mortar boat in tow, shelled Confederate positions on both sides of the river, cutting adrift the floating battery.
On the night of Apr. 4-5, Commander Henry Walke took the Carondelet downstream past the island, anchoring at New Madrid at dawn. The Pittsburg duplicated the maneuver the following night.
On Apr. 7, these two vessels steamed downstream and attacked and silenced Confederate batteries along the river as far south as Tiptonville.
Gen. Mackall, forseeing Pope's crossing, began assembling about 2500 of his troops in a central position west of the island. Pope, ferrying his troops to Watson's Landing, fanned them out south and east. His 4th Division
The remaining defenders on the island, finding themselves about to be overrun, attempted escape by boat across the then flooded river, in a snowstorm. Upward of 500 go away; they were mostly members of the 12th Arkansas Infantry. The floating battery was scuttled, but drifted to the Missouri shore, where it was captured. About 500 were captured when the island was overrun by the Federal naval task force.
(Caption under Map):
Capt. William Y. C. Humes, who was
Bty. No. 2 Capt. Humes. One 32-pounder rifle, three smooth-bore 32-pounders.
Bty. No. 3 Capt. Fisher. Two rifled 24-pounder Dahlgrens, one 8-in. Columbiad, 2 smooth-bore 32-pounders, Btry. No. 4 Capt. Johnston - three 24-pounder siege guns, one 12-pounder, four 64-pounder howitzers.
Btry. No. 5 The floating battery - Lt. S.W. Averett, CSN - nine 8 in. Columbiads, one 32-pounder rifle mounted in a converted drydock which could be towed into position.
Btry. No. 2 Capt. Robert Sterling - three rifled 32-pounders, one smooth-bore 32-pounder.
Btry. No. 3 Capt. J.W. Noadley - three rifled 32-pounders.
Btry. No. 4 Capt. Andrew Jackson, Jr. - one 8-in, Columbiad, three rifled 32-pounders.
Btry. No. 5 Capts. Jones, Caruthers, & Dismukes - three 8-in. Columbiads, one rifled 32-pounder, three smoothbore 32-pounders.
Redoubt - four smooth-bore 32-pounders.
Erected 1966 by Tennessee Historical Commission. (Marker Number 4B 28.)
Location. 36° 26.608′ N, 89° 28.663′ W. Marker is near Tiptonville, Tennessee, in Lake County. Marker is at the intersection of New Markham Road and Tennessee Route 22, on the right when traveling west on New Markham Road. Touch for map. Located at the town of Cates, north of Tiptonville. Marker is in this post office area: Tiptonville TN 38079, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Confederate Forts & Batteries (a few steps from this marker); Confederate Burials (approx. 0.6 miles away); Tiptonville Presbyterian Church (approx. 4˝ miles away); a different marker also named Capture of Island No. 10 (approx. 4˝ miles away); General Clifton Bledsoe Cates (approx. 4.6 miles away); a different marker also named General Clifton Bledsoe Cates Reelfoot Lake (approx. 6.1 miles away); New Madrid Earthquake (approx. 9.3 miles away in Kentucky). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tiptonville.
Also see . . . The Capture of Island No. 10. Official reports of the battle. (Submitted on April 24, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 22, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,681 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 22, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on April 24, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.