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New Madrid in New Madrid County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Siege of New Madrid

 
 
The Siege of New Madrid Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
1. The Siege of New Madrid Marker
Inscription. In February 1862, Union Gen. John Pope, then stationed in central Missouri, was placed in command of the 20,000-man Army of the Mississippi and ordered to advance on Island #10 and New Madrid. On February 28th, Pope and his men left Commerce, MO and marched south along the Sikeston Ridge through swamps, lugging supplies and artillery, reaching the outskirts of New Madrid on March 3rd and laid siege to the city. For a successful advance, Pope had to cut off routes of supply. By capturing New Madrid, Pope could bring the river under his guns and prevent any enemy supply boats from reaching Island #10 from below.

The Confederates had incorrectly assumed that Pope would not be able to haul heavy and cumbersome siege guns along the miry roads to the Federal entrenchments, which faced the two Forts of Bankhead and Thompson and the Confederate gunboats that protected New Madrid's position. It required 10 days of herculean effort, but on the 12th, the Federals succeed in dragging the four 128-pound siege guns, three 24-pounders and an 8-inch howitzer on huge four-wheeled sling carts to New Madrid and they set about in earnest to shell the forts and the fleet of gunboats.

At dusk Colonel James Morgan's brigade of Paine's division advanced advanced to within eight hundred yards of Fort Thompson. Throughout the evening one
The Siege of New Madrid Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
2. The Siege of New Madrid Marker
regiment worked feverishly on the gun emplacements and trenches, while the other stood guard. The men piled fence rails lengthwise, lapping the ends over and covering them with dirt.

By 3 am the Federals had completed two redoubts with flanking rifle trenches for two regiments. Captain Joseph A. Mower, with two companies of the of the 1st US Infantry, manned the siege guns. The 10th and 16th Illinois were assigned to the trenches, supported by Bissell's engineers. Seven companies of the 2nd and 3rd Michigan Cavalry anchored the far right, beyond the breastworks. The 51st Illinois was positioned on the extreme left flank along the wooded slough that stretched from the river. Slack's brigade moved into a cornfield to the left of Cumming's regiment. Stanley's Ohio division, backed by a dozen field guns, moved in the rear of the main line of battle along the road. More than ten thousand men were deployed to support the siege batteries, with Hamilton's division and Palmer's brigade in reserve.

At dawn on March 13th, a deafening roar jolted the Confederates, followed by a thunderous cheer throughout the Union army. The Confederates were taken completely by surprise.

Unable to hold New Madrid against siege guns, the Confederate commanders ordered the evacuation of the gunboat and their positions at Forts Bankhead and Thompson during the night in the middle
The Siege of New Madrid Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
3. The Siege of New Madrid Marker
of a rainstorm with much confusion. The next morning the Federals quickly occupied New Madrid and entered the deserted forts.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Missouri’s Civil War marker series.
 
Location. 36° 35.37′ N, 89° 33.243′ W. Marker is in New Madrid, Missouri, in New Madrid County. Marker can be reached from Blomfield Road 0.8 miles north of U.S. 61/62, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. This marker is located along a dirt road north of Sand Hill Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: New Madrid MO 63869, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Higgerson School (approx. 1½ miles away); New Madrid (approx. 1.6 miles away); Bissell's Submergible Saw (approx. 1.6 miles away); Fort Bankhead (approx. 1.6 miles away); New Madrid & Island No. Ten (approx. 1.6 miles away); Capture of Island No. 10 (approx. 11 miles away in Tennessee); Confederate Forts & Batteries (approx. 11 miles away in Tennessee); Confederate Burials (approx. 11½ miles away in Tennessee). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Madrid.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Detail of upper right figure image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
4. Detail of upper right figure
Detail of left figure image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
5. Detail of left figure
Detail of lower right figure image. Click for full size.
By William Bruce, January 13, 2015
6. Detail of lower right figure
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 28, 2015, by William Bruce of Madison, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 311 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 28, 2015, by William Bruce of Madison, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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