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McLaughlin, J. M.
Two Naval Men Looking at the Bronze Mortar of George II, Island No. 10, Mississippi River near New Madrid, Missouri.
Civil War drawings collection, approximately 1861-1865.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
Drawing: Graphite on paper. 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. Two naval men look at a small mortar with the initials 'GR' imprinted on it. Inscribed along lower edge in graphite: 'One of the ancient bronze mortars of the time / of the George II--found at Island No 10. / formerly in Jackson square New Orleans.'
Engraved for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, July 5, 1862 (XIV:352-3): 220, as 'Ancient Mortor, Captured on Island No. 10'; sailors omitted. Before the war, the mortar had been displayed in Jackson Square, New Orleans. During the Battle of New Madrid and Island No. 10, Confederate forces under Brigadier-General Pope started construction of two positions in April 1861 to block Federal navigation of the Mississippi. On a peninsula 10 miles long by three miles wide the defenses consisted of a two-regiment redoubt at New Madrid, and a floating battery at Island No. 10. The latter was also covered by land batteries on the Tennessee shore. Federal forces had to reduce these forts to pursue their general offensive down the Mississippi. Pope was sent to organize a corps from the remaining US troops in Missouri, and to capture New Madrid. He realized that with 50 heavy guns and the small fleet of gunboats, the Confederates necessitated a regular siege operation. He sent for siege artillery and started a bombardment and the construction of approaches on March 13th. He then decided to cross the river south of New Madrid and turn the defense of Island No. 10. Since his supporting naval transports were upstream, he had a canal cut through the swamps so that boats could by-pass the defenses of Island No. 10. The canal was finished on April 4th. Two Federal gunboats ran the Confederate batteries to support the river crossing, and on April 7th, four regiments were ferried across the Mississippi to cut the Confederate line of retreat at Tiptonville. The Confederates surrendered 3,500 men (over 1,500 of whom were sick) and 500 escaped through the swamps. Pope's victory opened the Mississippi to Fort Pillow, and gave him a reputation which led to his being selected by Lincoln two months later to command the Army of Virginia (2nd Bull Run Campaign).
New-York Historical Society
New Madrid (Mo.)--History-Civil War, 1861-1865
Drawings (visual works)
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