Battle of Island Number Ten (Battle of New Madrid 1862): Summary and Facts

The Battle of Island Number Ten started on February 28 and lasted till April 8, 1862 during the American Civil War. It is also known as the battle of New Madrid since it was fought at the New Madrid Bend of Mississippi.

One of the weak points in the battle, Real Madrid, was in close proximity of this place. From the very beginning of the combat, the Confederates held this point, an island at the pedestal of a stiff dual turn in the route of the river. This was a perfect position to encumber the efforts of the Union and also march into the South next to the river. The defenders also faced some problems at this location as they had to depend on the single road for their supplies and reinforcements. So, if the enemies could excise the road, then the garrison could be easily ambushed.

The name Island Number Ten came from the fact that it was once the tenth island in the south of the Mississippi river that had its intersection with Ohio. This island stands about 10 feet above the low water and the dual bend, which still exists in the same position, is acknowledged as New Madrid Bend.

battle-of-island-number-ten

Unfolding of the battle

Brigadier General John Pope and his troop made the first probes by occupying the Point Pleasant town in Missouri. Slowly they moved towards the North and Brigadier General John P. McCown, the Confederate Commander, made up his mind to abandon the town. The bombardment lasted only one day, after that he removed almost all his soldiers to the Island Number 10, leaving behind equipments like the heavy artillery.

Within two days past the New Madrid fall, Union mortar rafts and gunboats arrived to attack the Island Number Ten from the waterway. Three subsequent weeks, the island defenders as well as the supporting batteries nearby had to face bombardment that was mainly carried out by mortars and partially by vessels. On the other side, a canal was being dug transversely the neck of the land at New Madrid by the army. Using this pathway, the Army of the Mississippi received several transports, so that they can cross the river and attack the Confederate troops from the side of Tennessee.

Outcome of the battle

Pope asked for aid in crossing the river and trapping the Confederates across the river. The confederates decided to surrender as they saw there was no hope and they have been heavily outnumbered by the troops. This task was accomplished on the nighttime of 4th April, 1862. Around the same time, the garrison also felt that there was no use of resisting such a powerful troop, so they also surrendered to Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote, who was with Brigadier General John Pope. This was the first time that the Confederates had lost a position in the battle on the Mississippi river. Within three weeks time, David G. Farragut led the Union Fleet to victory over New Orleans. This made the Confederates realize that they were in danger of being separated into two alongside the river line.