Reports of Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote, U. S. Navy.
Operations at New Madrid, Mo., and Island No. 10, and descent upon Union City, Tenn.

FEBRUARY 28--APRIL 8, 1862

UNITED STATES STEAMER BENTON,
Off Island No. 10, April 2, 1862.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Comdg. Dept. of the Mississippi, &c., Saint Louis, Mo.

        GENERAL: Last night an armed boat expedition was fitted out from the squadron and the land forces at this point, under command of Colonel Roberts, of the Forty-second Illinois Regiment. The five boats comprising the expedition were in charge of First Master J. T. Johnson, of the Saint Louis, assisted by Fourth Master G. P. Lord, of the Benton; Fourth Master Pierce, of the Cincinnati; Fourth Master Morgan, of the Pittsburgh, and Master's Mate Scoville, of the Mound City, each with a boat's crew of 10 men from their respective vessels, and carrying in all 100 men, exclusive of officers, under command of Colonel Roberts.
        At midnight the boats reached the upper or No. I fort, and pulling directly in face, carried it, receiving only the harmless fire of two sentinels, who ran on the discharge of their muskets, while the rebel troops in the vicinity rapidly retreated, whereupon Colonel Roberts spiked the six guns mounted in the fort and retired with the boats uninjured.
        The commanding officer represents all under his command, from their coolness and determination, as being ready to perform more hazardous service had it been required to the fulfillment of the object of the expedition.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE,
Flag. Officer.


UNITED STATES STEAMER BENTON,
Off Island No. 10, April 3, 1862.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Comdg. Dept. of the Mississippi, &c., Saint Louis, Mo.

        GENERAL: This morning the Benton, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, with three mortar boats, opened and continued for more than an hour a fire on the rebels' heavy floating battery at Island No. 10, when the battery, having received several shells from the rifles and mortars, cut loose from her moorings and drifted 2 or 3 miles down the river. The shells were thrown from the flotilla on different parts of the island and into the rebel batteries lining the Tennessee shore. The return fire produced no effect upon the squadron. No more men than were actually necessary to man the rebel batteries were visible.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-Officer.


FLAG-STEAMER BENTON,
Off Island No. 10, April 6, 1862

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding Army of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.

        GENERAL: I inclose several papers in relation to our operations here. I have written Commodore Porter that, in consideration of my having authority to modify the Eastport, now preparing for a gunboat at Mound City, into a ram, and the two boats you refer to as being built also for that purpose, he had better not attempt to fit out the steamer Choctaw, at Saint Louis, as he proposes, into a ram, but to confine himself to fitting out and getting the Essex ready to join us as soon as possible. If under your authority you wish Commodore Porter to fit out the Choctaw, he will of course do it under your directions. I have no authority to act in the matter except what may be authorized and directed by you.
        As you will perceive by the accompanying papers, there is so much hazard in running the blockade with our badly-protected gunboats, and the rebels being so much on the alert, I consider it injudicious to hazard another boat in attempting to reach New Madrid.
        I am not yet informed of the condition of the Carondelet.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-Officer.


[Inclosure No. 1.]

UNITED STATES FLAG-STEAMER BENTON,
Off Island No. 10, March 30, 1862.

Commodore H. WALKE,
Commanding Carondelet :

        COMMODORE: You will avail yourself of the first fog or rainy night and drift your steamer down past the batteries on the Tennessee shore and Island No. 10 until you reach New Madrid. I assign you this service, as it is vitally important to the capture of this place that a gunboat should soon be at New Madrid for the purpose of covering General Pope's army while he crosses that point to the opposite or to the Tennessee side of the river, that he may move his army up to Island No. 10 and attack the rebels in rear while we attack them in front. Should you succeed in reaching General Pope, you will freely confer with him and adopt his suggestions, so far as your superior knowledge of what your boat will perform will enable you to do, for the purpose of protecting his force while crossing the river. You will also, if you have coal and the current of the river will permit, steam up the river when the army moves for the purpose of attacking their fortifications. Still you will act cautiously here, as your own will be the only boat below. You will capture or destroy the rebel steamer (gunboat) Gram pus and the transports, if possible, between this place and [Island] No. 10 at such time as will not embarrass you in placing yourself in communication with General Pope at the earliest possible time after leaving this place.
        On this delicate and somewhat hazardous service I assign you. I must enjoin upon you the importance of keeping your lights secreted in the hold or put out, keeping your officers and men from speaking at all, when passing the forts, above a whisper, and then only on duty, and of using every other precaution to prevent the rebels suspecting that you are dropping below their batteries.
        If you successfully perform this duty assigned you, which you so willingly undertake, it will reflect the highest credit upon you and all belonging to your vessel, and I doubt not but that the Government will fully appreciate and reward you for the service which I trust will enable the army to cross the river and make a successful attack in rear, while we storm the batteries in front of this stronghold of the rebels.
        Commending you and all who compose your command to the care and protection of God, who rules the world and directs all things,

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-0fficer.

        P. S.--Should you meet with disaster, you will, as a last resort, destroy the steam machinery, and, if possible to escape, set fire to your gunboat or sink her and prevent her from falling into the hands of the rebels.


[Inclosure No. 2.]

UNITED STATES GUNBOAT TYLER,
Pittsburg, Tenn., April
1, 1862.

Flag-Officer ANDREW H. FOOTE,
Commanding Naval Forces on Western Waters:

        SIR: I have the honor to inform you that this vessel and the Lexington are actively employed cruising up and down the Tennessee River from within sight of Eastport, Miss, down to a place called Perryville, 50 miles below Savannah [Tenn.]
        The Tyler, with the Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, proceeded up the river within 2 miles of Eastport on the 30th instant. We found the battery silenced by the Tyler on the 25th ultimo deserted and the mounted gun removed. Although this vessel fired a few shells in the direction of the battery below Eastport, no response was elicited. On our way down we were fired upon by some of their scouts. I suppose 15 or 20 cavalry were seen. Rounding to, we shelled the woods and landing from whence the shot proceeded and returned to this place. The Cairo arrived at Savannah last evening.
        General Grant contemplates attacking the two small batteries at and near Eastport with the gunboats, in conjunction with a land force of 1,000 men.
        Hoping soon to have the pleasure of congratulating you on being in possession of Island No. 10,

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. GWIN,
Lieutenant-Commander, U.S. Gunboat Tyler.

P. S.--Communications addressed to us care of General Grant will be promptly delivered.


[Inclosure No. 3.]

APRIL 2, 1862.

        SIR: This report having been brought back to this place through mistake, I will add that yesterday the Cairo, Tyler, and Lexington, followed by two transports, carrying a force of 1,000 men, proceeded up the river as high as Chickasaw, Ala. All of their batteries were found to be deserted. General Sherman landed there with a small force, and also at Eastport, Miss. No rebels were visible, they having abandoned both places. They state at Chickasaw that all their forces have gone back to the railroad--Memphis and Charleston.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. GWIN.


[Inclosure No. 4.]

APRIL 5, 1862.

        I am informed that the Cairo (iron-clad steamer) has returned to Cairo, having been sent there by General Grant. I shall order her to join me here when it is repaired.

A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-Officer.


[Inclosure No. 5.]

UNITED STATES FLAG-STEAMER BENTON,
Off Island No. 10, April 4, 1862.

Maj. Gen. JOHN POPE,
Commanding Army at New Madrid, Mo.:

        GENERAL: The gunboat Carondelet, Commander Walke, left her anchorage this evening at 10 o'clock in a heavy thunder-storm, for the purpose of running the fire of the batteries on Island No. 10 and those lining the Tennessee shore, to join your forces at New Madrid: By a previous concerted signal of three minute-guns twice fired at intervals of five minutes, which have since been heard as far as the heavy thunder would enable us to ascertain, leads me to hope that the blockade has been run successfully, although the batteries opened on her with forty-seven guns while passing. I am therefore so exceedingly anxious to hear the fate of the noble officers and men who so readily were disposed to attempt the hazardous service, that I beg you will immediately inform me by bearer if Commander Walke has arrived with his vessel and the condition in which you find her and her officers and men.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. FOOTE,
Flag-Officer.

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