Island Number Ten

Island Number Ten was the northern outpost of a chain of five forts on the Mississippi River. These posts were the responsibility of Tennessee Governor Isham HARRIS and state commander, General Gideon PILLOW, until General Leonidas POLK took charge in July of 1861. The Mississippi River and its recapture was a prime consideration of the Federals.

Island Number Ten, near Tiptonville, lay in the first of two strange bends at the junction of Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri where the Mississippi River made two bends and flowed north in between. Tennessee fortified Island No. 10 and Confederates in Missouri fortified New Madrid in the second bend.

September 3, 1861, the Confederates under POLK seized Columbus KY across the state border from Island No. 10. The high bluff at Columbus was a fortress with 140 guns pointed north and west across the river. A huge and heavy link chain was suspended across the river to stop the big boats, but it broke from it's own weight and lay on the bottom of the river.

From reading history of the times the southern generals lost all of the islands to the north by March/April of 1862. On April 7, 1862 Island Number 10 fell to POPE. (That's the same time as the Battle of Shiloh) 7,000 men, 158 pieces of artillery and 7,000 small arms were surrendered. June 4, Fort Pillow and Fort Randolph were evacuated, and by the evening of June 6, 1862, all of Tennessee west of the Cumberland Mountains was in Federal Hands.

Description of The Battle of New Madrid and Island No. 10 - Use back arrow to return to this page.

American Battlefields Protection Program - Island #10 - Use bank arrow to return to this page.

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