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NEW MADRID

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 516 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NEW MADRID, a city and the county-seat of New Madrid county, Missouri, U.S.A., on the right bank of the Mississippi river, about 35 M. S. by W. of Cairo, Ill. Pop. (1900) 1489; (191o) 1882. It is served by the St Louis South-western railway and by river packets. The city is a shipping point for a rich grain, cotton, livestock and lumber region. Among its manufactures are lumber, staves, and hoops. The municipality owns its water-works. Owing to the encroachments of the Mississippi river, the site of the first permanent settlement of New Madrid is said to lie now about 1 m. from the E. bank of the river, in Kentucky. This settlement was made in 1788, on an elaborately laid out town site, and was named New Madrid by its founder, Colonel George Morgan (1742-1810),1 who, late in 1787, had received a grant of a large tract of land on the right bank of the Mississippi river, below the mouth of the Ohio, from Don Diego de Gardoqui, Spanish minister to the United States. The tract lay within the province of " Louisiana," and the grant to Morgan was a part of Gardoqui's plan to annex to that province the western American settlements, Morgan being required to establish thereon a large number of emigrants, whom he secured from New Jersey, Canada and elsewhere. Governor Estevan Miro of Louisiana, however, disapproved of the grant, on the ground that it would cause the province to be overrun by Americans; the settlers became restive under the restraints imposed upon them; Morgan himself left; and in December 1811 and January 1812 a series of severe earthquake shocks caused a general emigration. New Madrid was occupied by Confederate troops under General Gideon J. Pillow, on the 28th of July 1861, and after the surrender of Fort Donelson (February 16, 1862) the troops previously at Columbus, forming the Confederate left flank, were withdrawn to New Madrid and Island No. ro (in the Mississippi about to m. S.). There were Confederate batteries on the left bank of the Mississippi opposite Island No. to, and along the same bank from a point opposite New Madrid to Tiptonville, Tennessee. Behind these batteries were Reelfoot Lake and over-flowed lands. Retreat by land was thus virtually impossible. Early in March, Major-General John Pope and Commodore A.H. Foote proceeded against these positions; New Madrid, then in command of General John P. McGown, was evacuated on the 14th; (Admiral) Henry Walke (1808-1896), commanding the " Carondelet," ran past the batteries of Island No. to and the shore batteries on the 4th of April, and Lieut.-Commander Egbert Thompson, commanding the " Pittsburgh," on the 7th; meanwhile the Federals under the direction of Colonel Josiah W. Bissell (b. 1818), of the engineer corps, had, with great difficulty, constructed an artificial channel to New Madrid across the peninsula (swamp land) formed by a great loop of the Mississippi; troops were conveyed by transports through this channel below the island, Federal batteries having been established on the right bank of the river; the retreat of the Confederates down stream was effectually blocked; they evacuated the island on April 7th, and on the 8th the garrison and the forces stationed in the shore batteries, a total of about 7000, under General W. W. Mackall (who had succeeded General McGown on the 31st of March) was surrendered at Tiptonville. The island was subsequently washed away, a new one being formed in the vicinity.
End of Article: NEW MADRID
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