After marching through swamps, Union forces, led by Brigadier General John Pope, lay siege to New Madrid, Missouri, from 3–14 March 1862. New Madrid was in the Mississippi flood plain and a strongpoint for defending the Mississippi River. After Union forces repulsed the Confederate raiders and bombed their fortifications, the Confederate garrison evacuated to Island No. 10 (given this name, as it was the 10th island south of the Mississippi’s junction with the Ohio). Their fleet moved downstream and Pope occupied New Madrid. On 14 March, Flag Officer Andrew Foote launched a failed assault on Island No. 10. Between 4–7 April, Pope’s troops crossed the river and assaulted the Confederates, while the Carondelet (an ironclad gunboat) duelled with shore batteries. On 7 April, supported by further gunboat barrages, Pope’s forces blocked the Confederate’s escape route, while Island No. 10 was seized by Foote’s flotilla.
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