Fort PillowThe Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1153, p.27.
July 12, 1862
We give, at page 37, two Illustrations by our Special Artist of this important stronghold—by some esteemed the strongest position on the Mississippi—which the Confederates abandoned on the 5th ult. Some particulars of the strength and position of Pillow are given by the correspondent of the New York Tribune. "The Bohemians," he says, "were early on the ground, and began rambling up and down the Bluff, through ravines and over hills, examining the batteries, the deserted camps, and the ruined barracks, sketching the situation, entering magazines, and doing all the necessary but disagreeable duties that appertain to their avocation. The situation of the Mississippi at Pillow is most favourable for defence. The river at Craighead Point makes a very sudden bend, running nearly north and south, and narrowing so remarkably that at the lower end of the works it is not more than half a mile wide, and at their first batteries is about three-quarters of a mile; bringing all boats within easy range of their guns, and rendering their escape almost an impossibility. Below the point there are two large sandbars which render navigation quite difficult. The fort, by which I mean the series of fortifications, is on the first Chickasaw Bluff, is composed of nine different works, extending about half a mile. The bluff is some 80ft. high, very precipitous and rugged, furnishing an excellent location for defence. The works erected at the base of the bluff and on the bank, at some distance from the river, are very well and carefully built for about fifty guns. The country about the fort is exceedingly uneven and rough, and presents the most formidable obstacles to pedestrians everywhere. There are deep ravines, steep ascents, wild gorges, sudden and unexpected declivities on every hand; while in the rear of the fort there is an unbroken line of heavy and carefully-built breastworks, some seven miles in length, to resist any and all attacks by land. These breastworks are far superior, considering their length, to any others which I have seen during the war. Usually they are merely thrown-up embankments of earth; but these are regularly and scientifically made, with broad parapets, heavy escarpments, and counterscarps neatly lined with timber and firmly secured by deeply-driven posts."