Brigadier General William W.
Island No. 10 Commander
William Whann MacKall graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837. The brevet promotions for gallantry he received during the Mexican War were to captain after the Battle of Monterrey and to major after the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco. He served in the U. S. Army for twenty-four years, and he rose to the permanent rank of major. William MacKall joined the Confederate Army as a colonel. He served as assistant adjutant general under General Buckner until the surrender of Fort Donelson.
General P. G. T. Beauregard sent newly appointed Brigadier General MacKall to take command of the Confederate armed forces located at the Madrid Bend of the Mississippi River on March 31, 1862. Many Confederate troops had been transferred out of this area to reinforce General Beauregard's army. It was hoped that the remaining four thousand men could hold the final defensive position on Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River. General MacKall found his new command to be poorly armed with no useful gun boats. Obviously, General Beauregard did not send a scarce, veteran, senior officer to surrender an army, but General MacKall had to surrender Island No. 10 on April 8, 1862. General MacKall was imprisoned at Fort Warren until his exchange. General MacKall was not given another command. There could be several speculative reasons why he was not used after his release. There may have been reluctance to give a command to a general who had surrendered his last command. Jefferson Davis may have viewed General MacKall as a participant in Beauregard's anti-Davis clique.
William MacKall was born in Washington, D.C. in 1818. He lived in Langley, Virginia after the Civil War. He died in 1891.
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