Monday, August 19, 2019
Fort D, Cape Girardeau, Missouri-- Part 1: A Shiloh and John Powell Connection
A Civil War fort along the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about 115 miles southeast of St. Louis. (It is 35 miles from Sikeston, home of the original Lambert's Cafe, home of the "Throwed Rolls".)
During the Civil War, it was the site of the Battle of Cape Girardeau on April 26, 1863. The forces engaged in a minor four-hour skirmish, each side sustaining casualties in the low double digits. Fort D was not involved in it.
Work on Fort D began on August 6, 1861, under the direction of Lieutenant John W. Powell of Illinois. He later recruited a company of Cape Girardeau men for service in the Union Army. These men eventually became Battery F, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery (Powell was from Illinois) After a short period of training, they were at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862.
As Powell raised his hand, a bullet shattered his wrist and the arm was later amputated to stop infection. In 1868, a one-armed John Powell led the first successful navigation of the Colorado River through what Powell named "The Grand Canyon."