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SIEGE OF YORKTOWN.
more or less skirmishing of the sharp- you that I have never written you, or 1. shooters with the enemy in their en spoken to you, in greater kindness of || trenchments in front of the Union line. feeling than now, nor with a fuller pur
Heavy rain storms, unusual for the sea- pose to sustain you, so far as in my son, aggravated the ordinary difficulties most anxious judgment I consistently of a campaign in a strange region; and can. But you must act."* the ground, imperfectly drained, would Siege operations were pushed forbave rendered an advance entirely im- ward vigorously and as rapidly as pospracticable, had not some Maine and sible ; batteries were erected to silence Michigan regiments constructed, with the enemy's guns, and drive them from great toil, a series of corduroy roads, the works at Wynn's and Lee's Mills; over which the artillery could be trans- and active reconnaissances were kept ported.
up continually in every direction. On The rebel General Magruder had the 16th of April, Gen. W. F. Smith, some 10,000 men at Yorktown, and with a brigade of Vermont troops, adcould be reinforced at any time directly vanced to a point, thought to be the from Richmond, and was reinforced weakest of that part of the enemy's lines, largely so soon as our army appeared. about a mile above Lee's Mills, where It was, therefore, prudent, if not neces. there was a dam covered by a battery. sary, on McClellan's part, to take the The rebel fort was silenced in about two course which he did; although there bours; and an attempt was made to were many who held, that a bold dash
the entrenchments; but without at the outset would have given him
On the 18th of April, a porpossession of Yorktown.
tion of McDowell's corps, under Gen. The impatience of the public, demand. Augur, made an advance upon Freing greater activity and speedy results, dericksburg, and drove the was shown in various ways. The
enemy, some 3,000 in number, president was deeply affected by it, and a running fight being kept up at the under date of April 9th, closed an same time. The rebels burned two urgent letter
to McClellan bridges and a number of vessels on the as follows :—“I suppose the Rappahannock; and the authorities whole force which has gone forward to formally surrendered the town. The you is with you by this time, and if so, same day an advance was accomplished I think it is the precise time for you to by some of Banks's force, who took strike a blow. . . . . Let me tell you possession of New Market, near Mathat it is indispensable to you that you nassas. strike a blow. I am powerless to help this.. The country will not fail * McClellan, in his report, is confident that the
president, if he knew the actual position of affairs, to note—is noting now—that the pre- would not deem an attack at all safe, at that time. sent hesitation to move upon an en- He also says, “ still less could I forego the conclusione trenched position is but the story of of my most instructed judgment for the mere sake of
avoiding the personal consequences intimated in the Manassas repeated. I beg to assure president's dispatch.”
The steady progress of the siege needless. The advantage was on the works, under the superintendence of enemy's side, they having stopped our Gen. Fitz John Porter, and the certainty progress a whole month, and having that within a few days the assault had the opportunity, meanwhile, of would be made with success, led the strengthening their position in and rebels to the conclusion that Yorktown about Richmond. must be evacuated. With their usual Thus far, certainly, the president's skill in concealing their designs, keep- earnest and peremptory injunction to ing up a vigorous and noisy fire, during McClellan, “you must act,” had not the early days of May, they made their resulted in the successes which the preparations, and on the 3d and 4th of public voice called for, and which the the month abandoned all their works. government was exceedingly desirous The next day McClellan purposed to to attain, at the earliest possible moassault Yorktown, which now became ment.
ISLAND NO. 10: SHILOH, OR PITTSBURG LANDING : CONGRESS IN SESSION.
Rebel fortifications on the Mississippi - Importance of the river - Island No. 10 — Strongly fortified — Gen
Pope at New Madrid – Works there --- Occupies Mount Pleasant - Attack on New Madrid — Rebels re. treat - Commodore Foote and his flotila — Begins bombardment of Island No. 10 — Pope's plans and ope rations-Canal made for crossing peninsula – Very toilsome work - Gunboat Carondelet runs the enemy's batteries — Bombardment continued - Pope's troops cross the Mississippi — Rebels give up in despair – Surrender — Chagrin of rebel authorities — Vast amount of supplies, etc., taken – Foote and Island No. 10 -- Advance of Grant's army in Tennessee — Beauregard at Corinth, Mississippi — The two armies Confederate line of defence — Grant's army at Pittsburg Landing – Beauregard and Johnston determine to attack him before Buell arrives — Battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing - First day's fight – Union army nearly ruined - Buell arrives at night — The next day the rebels beaten and driven back to Corinth Hugeness of the conflict and terrible slaughter — Thanks to the army -Halleck assumes command — His plans — Congress in session – Tone and spirit of the majority — Slavery abolished in District of Columbia
- The bill and message of the president - Slavery abolished in the territories of the United States — Mr. Lincoln's views as to compensated emancipation - President authorized to take possession of roads, etc., in certain cases - Great financial measure — Legal tender question - Issue of treasury notes — Confederate Congress at Richmond - Its proceedings, views of its members, etc.
As has been already pointed out, the from the Ohio to the Gulf, a disconfederate leaders clearly perceived tance of nearly 1,000 miles. Beginning the importance of the Mississippi to with Columbus in Kentucky, at Island their plans, and, as rapidly as possible, No. 10, dividing the stream at the they had carefully and skilfully forti. northern border of Tennessee, at Meni. fied all the principal strategic points phis and its vicinity, at Vicksburg and
POPE OCCUPIES NEW MADRID.
elsewhere, to New Orleans, above and water it is twenty-seven. On the Tenbelow that city, the rebels had been at nessee shore was a great swamp, cutwork, excavating the hill-sides for bat. ting off communication with the interior, teries, throwing up trenches, mounting so that the garrison at the island had cannon on the heights, preparing mines to depend mainly, if not wholly, for its on the banks and torpedoes for the chan- supplies, reinforcements, and way of nel; and using every possible means to escape, if necessary, upon the river.
obstruct the advance of our armies. It All help from the Missouri shore was i was, therefore, a matter of necessity on cut off by our troops, under Pope, hav.
our part to open the Mississippi, as well ing occupied and secured it. for the commercial interests of the great Pope began his march, Feb. 22d, West, as to cripple most effectually the from Commerce above Cairo, on the purposes of the leaders in rebellion. west bank of the Mississippi, and after
The energy and activity of our mili. a slow and painful advance, owing to tary and naval forces under Buell, the deep mud and sloughs, arrived at Grant, Foote, etc., had driven the New Madrid on the 3d of March. He rebels to abandon not only Nashville found the place occupied by regiments and Bowling Green, but also Columbus, of infantry and several companies of “ the northern key to the Mississippi artillery. The fortifications consisted
delta," as it was called. Still, of earthworks mounting over twenty
our success, great as it had been, guns, with lines of entrenchments. was only a step in the onward progress Six gun boats, carrying from four to down the Mississippi. Island No. 10 eight heavy guns each, were anchored was the next formidable obstacle in the along the shore between the upper and way of further advance; and the rebels lower redoubts. As the country was were determined to make here a bold level for miles around, and the river so stand. This Island No. 10, about forty high that the guns of the boats looked miles below Cairo, is situated at the directly over the banks, Pope found the bottom of a great bend of the Missis- approaches to the town commanded for sippi, where the stream, in a sharp some seven miles by direct and cross curve, sweeps around a tongue of land fire from at least sixty guns of heavy projecting from the Missouri shore, and, calibre. pursuing thence a north-westerly course Point Pleasant, twelve miles below, to New Madrid, on the western bank, was first occupied by direction of Pope, descends past a similar narrow promon. so as to blockade the river from below. tory of Tennessee soil, on its great This was accomplished by Col. Plumsoutherly track. The distance across mer, despite the cannonading of the the upper end of the first promontory, enemy's gun boats. The rebels made four miles above the island, to New great efforts to strengthen New Madrid, Madrid is six miles, and by the river is in order to hold Island No. 10; but so fifteen. The passage across the second soon as Pope got his heavy siege guns, promontory is fire miles, while by |(March 12th), they were placed in posi
tion, and in the course of a day's can- vicinity. To accomplish his object, nonading proved that the town must Pope needed only the means of crossing be given up. The rebels hastily re. the river, and bringing his forces face treated during the night, leaving behind to face with the enemy from below. a large quantity of stores, artillery, etc. | At first, a road was thought of through
On the same day, March 13th, that the swamps to a point on the Missouri New Madrid was captured, Commodore shore opposite Island No. 10. This Foote left Cairo with a fleet, including being impracticable, a canal was proseven iron-clads and ten mortar buats, jected, by which steam transports could and having been joined at Columbus be brought from above across the Misby Col. Buford with his regiment and souri peninsula to New Madrid below.
other troops, some 1,500 in all, The canal was a serious piece of work.
he moved down the river, and and occupied a much longer time than took possession of Hickman, on the was expected; but Colonel Bissel and Kentucky shore. The next day, the his regiment of engineers overcame all expedition approached Island No. 10; difficulties, and finally succeeded. It reconnaissances were made along the was twelve miles long, six of which shores; the mortar vessels were placed were through very heavy timber, requir: in position; and everything was pre- ing great exposure and privation in pared for the attack. A bombardment cutting the way through. It was com was begun, on Sunday the 16th ; but pleted April 4th, and was highly prais with no particular result, except trying ed as a monument of enterprise and the range of the guns on both sides. skill. The next day, another vigorous attempt Foote, meanwhile, was not idle or in was made by the gun boats and mortar efficient. The firing was regularly kept vessels, which kept up a continuous up, and on the night of April 1st, in fire all the afternoon upon the island the midst of a furious storm, battery and water batteries of the rebels. The No. 1 of the enemy, which had been day's work, however, was not encourag- particularly annoying to our boats, was ing, and it became quite evident that taken by assault. The rebels, however, Island No. 10, and its bulwarks, could retreated without contesting the posnot easily be taken by assault from the session of the fort. On consideration, gun boats; other help was needed from Foote determined to allow one of the another quarter before the place could gun boats to run the batteries. On the be captured.
night of the 3d of April, in a furious Pope's operations were expected to storm of lightning and thunder, the render this aid. His object was to cut gun boat Carondelet, Captain Walke, off the escape of the rebels by the only passed the entire series of rebel batway left to them, viz., across the Ten. teries, without returning a shot, and renessee peninsula, a few miles to Tipton-ceiving their concentrated fire. Strange ville, below New Madrid, whence they to tell, the Carondelet passed in safety, might readily reach Memphis or its and was received with much enthusiasm
THE CAPTURE OF ISLAND NO. 10.
by our troops at New Madrid. Three his supplies and material of war; and days afterwards, another gun boat ac- have again recrossed and occupied the complished the same feat in safety. On camp at New Madrid, without losing a the morning of the 4th of April, the man or meeting with an accident.” heavy floating battery of the rebels at Foote, on his part, was, on the 7th of Island No. 10, having been fired upon April, visited by some rebel officers, for more than an hour by three of our who surrendered Island No. 10 to the boats, cut loose from its mooring, and commander of the fleet. Immediate drifted two or three miles down the possession was taken of the island river.
Communication was then had with On the 7th of April, Paine's division, Pope, and a safe opportunity was affordin the steam transports, preceded by ed for investigating the extent of the
the gun boats, crossed the Mis- military preparations of the enemy, the
sissipi. The rebels, finding the forts and batteries, which it had requircase hopeless, attempted to retreat dured twenty-three days of persistent ef. ing the afternoon and night; but early forts, on land and water, effectually to on the 8th, ascertaining that they were overcome.* completely cut off, they laid down their In pushing forward operations in the arms, and surrendered at discretion. South-west, it was of prime importance Colonel Elliott proceeded at once to to effect a junction of the forces under take possession of the works on the Gens. Grant and Buell, on Tennessee shore, opposite Island No. 10, the upper waters of the and to save, if possible, several steam- Tennessee River, so as to cut off the ers belonging to the rebels. This he rebel communications with the South accomplished, and brought in besides and East. Nashville had been occupied some 200 prisoners.
as we have seen, (p. 116), Columbus Pope, in his report, dilates upon the had been evacuated, and Island No. 10 greatness of his success. “Three gene was certain to be captured in a short cals, 273 field and company officers, time; hence, by advancing our forces 6,700 prisoners, 123 pieces of heavy ar- to Corinth, in Mississippi, where was tillery, all of the very best character and
* Pollard states that Beauregard was charged with latest patterns, 7,000 stand of small preparing the defences for Island No. 10, and tho Misarms, an immense quantity of ammuni- sissippi River generally. He, and the South everywhere, tion of all kinds, etc., are among the daily bulletins respecting the progress of affairs a
were sure that the position was impregnable, and the spoils. The conduct of the troops was the island confirmed that notion. When the news of splendid throughout, as the results of from northern sources, and the mortification, astonish
its fall did come, it came upon the southern people
: this operation and its whole progress ment and keen appreciation of thrir loss are forcibly very clearly exhibit. We have crossed depicted by Pollard.
wretched management and infamous scenes that attend. the great river, the banks of which were ed the evacuation. · . . No single battle field lined with batteries and defended by had yet afforded to the North such visible fruit of victory 7,000 men ; we have pursued and captur- that the total number of prisoners taken was not more
as had been gathered at Island No. 10.” Pollard states ed the whole force of the enemy, and all than 2,000.-“ First Year of the War," pp. 201–294.
“ There couli be no excuse for the