Following the bloodbath at Shiloh, Knox County residents certainly wanted to know if any of the boys from here were involved in the great fight. Finally, On April 22, this was published in the Democratic Banner:
Our Knox County Boys
“In reading over the list of casualties at the late battle at Pittsburg Landing, we have failed to see mention made of either the 20th, 65th or 43rd Regiments, in which are a large number of Knox County Volunteers.
The 43rd was at New Madrid until the evacuation of Island No. 10, and could not by any possibility have reached Pittsburg after the evacuation took place. The 43rd, moreover, belongs to Gen. Pope’s column, which is intended, we believe, to move down the Mississippi River. It is difficult to tell the location of the 20th Regiment in which was the Mt. Gilead and Fredericktown company. The 65th Regiment, which was part of Sherman’s Brigade, formed at Mansfield, was under Gen. Buell and probably did not reach the scene of battle until late on Monday, after the heavy fighting was over, and hence took no part in the engagement. This is simply a conjecture. The 4th Regiment in which are the companies of Captains Banning and Carpenter, is at Winchester, Va., and the 32nd in which is Captain Blackston Banning’s company, is at Monterey, in Western Virginia, under Gen. Fremont. The latter company was in the late sharp skirmish with the rebels.”
Also on the 22nd, the Banner published another letter from the 43rd OVI. This is shorter than the previous letters and is signed by Edwin S. Lybarger, a member of Capt. Walker’s Company K. It is addressed, not to the banner, but to an unidentified “Lady of Mount Vernon.” He writes of the regiment’s actions through the taking if Island No. 10. Having boarded transports at he old camp, Lybarger wrote that “Our gunboats having the day before silenced the rebel batteries on the opposite shore, we found no difficulty in effecting a landing about three miles below Madrid.”
He says they pursued fleeing enemy forces until 10 p.m. that night, and camped on the bank of the Mississippi, resuming the pursuit at 6 a.m. and “reached Tiptonville before noon, where we found that five thousand of the enemy had surrendered.
“The eight regiments which were there, formed a square around the prisoners, who seemed to wear a dejected and melancholy look — I was pretty tired, but I assure you that I never felt better in my life than when I beheld the stars and stripes waving triumphantly in sight of those despicable traitors, whose very countenances showed that they felt some compunction at this sight of the time-honored banner.
“Our division did not remain long at Tiptonville; but started for Island No. 10, and reached the mainland on the Kentucky side before sundown, and encamped on the very ground the enemy had left the night before. I beheld the formidable batteries which the enemy had erected for our destruction in the island, and had they not retreated or surrendered it would in all probability have been one of the most sanguinary battles ever fought upon this continent. Everything fell into our hands; but as the papers will give the particulars of all we have gained by this great victory over the enemy, I will not enter into details. — suffice it to say, that we all got our canteens full of molasses before the officers could get a guard over the commissary stores which had been left by the rebels.”
The campaign for Island No. 10 took more than a month, beginning in late February when Gen. John Pope was sent overland with 20,000 men to take the strongholds at Island No. 10 and New Madrid. Pope began a siege of New Madrid on March 3, and Confederates abandoned it on March 13, pulling back to the stronger island position.