Category Archives: Gideon Pillow

August 19, 1861: Swamp Fox takes Commerce, MO

1853 map of the region Making good on his plans from the day before, the “Missouri Swamp Fox” Jeff Thompson took the town of Commerce (while all the local men were hiding out on the Illinois side of the river). … Continue reading

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August 18, 1861: The Swamp Fox plans a little trick

Pillow wrote to Polk that he had driven the Union troops out of Southeast Missouri all the way up to Cape Girardeau — a claim that may have been slightly exaggerated. He also claimed that Fremont was pulling back to … Continue reading

Posted in Gideon Pillow, Illinois, John C. Fremont, Leonidas Polk, M. Jeff Thompson, Missouri | Leave a comment

August 17, 1861: Confederate delays in Swampeast Missouri

1853 railroad map of the region As mentioned yesterday, General Polk ordered Pillow to fortify Island #10 opposite New Madrid, MO. He then released Pillow to move north toward Cape Girardeau, a strategically important river port. Pillow, on the other … Continue reading

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August 16, 1861: Polk orders Pillow to take Island #10

1862 Map of New Madrid and vicinity. Captain Gray of the CSS Mohawk reports that Island #10, opposite New Madrid, MO, would make a good site for controlling river traffic. Apparently his report convinced General Polk, because shortly thereafter Polk … Continue reading

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August 15, 1861: Affairs at Cairo

From the New York Times: Correspondence of the Cincinnati Commercial. CAIRO, Thursday, Aug. 15 — 4 A.M. When I left Cape Girardeau yesterday noon, the force of four companies of infantry under Lieut.-Col. ERWIN, and one piece of CAMPBELL’S Artillery, … Continue reading

Posted in Benjamin Prentiss, Gideon Pillow, Illinois, M. Jeff Thompson, Missouri | Leave a comment

August 11, 1861: Confederate strategy in eastern Missouri is a mess

From the dispatches below I gather that Hardee wanted Jeff Thompson to attack the lead mining area of Ironton, in east central Missouri, while Pillow wanted Thompson in New Madrid to help him move north along the river. Polk appears … Continue reading

Posted in Claiborne Fox Jackson, Gideon Pillow, John C. Fremont, Leonidas Polk, Missouri, William J. Hardee | 2 Comments

August 9, 1861: News from Missouri

Gideon Pillow The New York Times’ Missouri correspondent summarizes the situation in Missouri, bringing together many threads that we’ve seen recently. Missouri was crucial to the western Confederacy, as well as to the Union. The Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers … Continue reading

Posted in Benjamin Prentiss, Franz Sigel, Gideon Pillow, John C. Fremont, Missouri, Nathaniel Lyon, Ulysses S. Grant | Leave a comment

August 3, 1861: Confederates heading for Cape Girardeau, MO

The Fighting Bishop, Gen. Leonidas Polk. View Larger Map The Confederates needed to control the Mississippi near the confluence with the Ohio at Cairo, IL. South of Cape Girardeau, MO, the Missouri side rapidly becomes low and swampy — poor … Continue reading

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May 4: “Let him come.”

Cairo, Illinois in 1861: Guns at Fort Prentiss, later renamed Fort Defiance. [This spot is underwater at the moment; how deep depends on what the Corps of Engineers has decided to do.][Update: The Corps of Engineers blew the levee at … Continue reading

Posted in Gideon Pillow, Illinois, Tennessee | 1 Comment