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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbus in Hickman County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Anchor and Chain

 
 
Anchor and Chain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
1. Anchor and Chain Marker
Inscription. "The rebels have a chain across the river about one mile above Columbus. It is sustained by flats, at intervals, chain passing through steeples placed about the water's edge, the chain passing under the boats."
- Report from Union spy to General Ulysses S. Grant
January 1862

Confederate General Leonidas Polk stretched this mile-long chain across the Mississippi River from Fort DeRussy, on the Iron Banks Bluff north of Columbus, to a capstan on the Belmont, Missouri shore. Polk hoped that any Union ships coming down the river would be stopped by the chain long enough for cannon fire to sink them. Most of the chain was removed after the Union occupation of Columbus in March 1862. The effort obviously failed.

In December 1925 a landslide at the edge of the bluff exposed a section of the chain. Each link weighs 20 pounds 5 ounces. Digging at the end of the chain revealed an anchor measuring 15 feet 9 1/2 inches long, with flukes 9 feet from tip to tip. The anchor had been buried 11 feet deep with the flukes in a vertical position and fixed in place with 12-foot oak logs. It is estimated to weigh anywhere from 2 to 6 tons.
 
Location. 36° 45.984′ N, 89° 6.682′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Kentucky, in Hickman County. Touch for map.
Marker, Anchor, and Chain image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
2. Marker, Anchor, and Chain
Located in Columbus-Belmont State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Columbus KY 42032, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Polk's Firepower (within shouting distance of this marker); In Search Of .... (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mississippi River in the Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Trenches (within shouting distance of this marker); "Gibraltar of the West" (within shouting distance of this marker); The History of Columbus, Kentucky (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Battle at Belmont, Missouri (about 400 feet away); Fourth United States Colored Heavy Artillery (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Chain Laid out Behind the Anchor image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
3. Chain Laid out Behind the Anchor
Chain Link image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
4. Chain Link
The letters "WNY" may indicate "Washington Navy Yard" as the origin of the chain.
Anchor image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
5. Anchor
Mississippi River north of Columbus image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 14, 2010
6. Mississippi River north of Columbus
View from Columbus-Belmont State Park near the marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,083 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on January 25, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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