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Chapter 28: Fort Donelson.

  • Preparations for defense.
  • -- concentration. -- Federal strength. -- demoralization. -- military criticism. -- encouragement. -- skirmish. -- strength of position. -- plan to abandon it. -- General Johnston's orders. -- Floyd's vacillation. -- explanation. -- Floyd's plan. -- General Johnston's plan. -- defenses and topography. -- Confederate troops. -- Federal troops. -- design of advance. -- delay. -- advance. -- battle of the trenches. -- apathy of defenders. -- gunboat disabled. -- death of Dixon. -- battle of the gunboats. -- repulse. -- important order. -- authority and responsibility. -- a quiet day. -- abortive sortie. -- divided counsels. -- Federal reenforcements. -- exaggerated reports. -- discouragement. -- sortie agreed on. -- battle of Dover. -- the attack. -- Federal strength. -- well-matched antagonists. -- fight on the left. -- Brown's assault. -- Hanson's assault. -- Wynn's road cleared. -- cessation of conflict. -- the critical moment. -- recall of troops. -- Grant's advance. -- Grant and Smith. -- assault by Federal left. -- capture of Outwork. -- close of battle. -- losses.;, Confederate victory telegraphed. -- sortie planned. -- Forrest's reconnaissance. -- Council of War. -- discussion of surrender. -- escape of Floyd and Pillow. -- the breaking-up. -- prisoners. -- surrender. -- consequences. -- terms of surrender. -- Confederate strength and losses. -- Federal strength and losses. -- value of the Fort. -- separation of army. -- news of surrender. -- congressional inquiry. -- General Johnston's inquiry. -- Governor Johnson's opinion.

The fall of Fort Henry made it manifest that a combined attack on Donelson by land and water would soon follow. Such attack could not be otherwise than formidable. Indeed, the success of the gunboats at Henry had produced an exaggerated impression of their power; while the real strength of the Northern armies was too well known at General Johnston's headquarters to leave any doubt of their ability to move overwhelming forces on both Bowling Green and Donelson. Still, if the line of the Cumberland could be maintained from Nashville to Donelson for even a few weeks, General Johnston hoped that the awakened spirit of the country would supply him with the long-demanded reenforcements. Grant's movable column at Fort Henry, stated by his biographer, Badeau, at 15,000 men, was receiving accessions from Halleck, while Buell was also reinforcing him.

Forrest had reported the enemy concentrating 10,000 men at South Carrollton for a forward movement toward Russellville; and, to meet this movement, General Johnston detached Floyd, on January 20th, with his own brigade and part of Buckner's-8,000 men in all. General Johnston retained 14,000 men to restrain the advance of Buell. Floyd was sent to Russellville, with orders to protect the railroad line from Bowling Green to Clarksville. It was added:

He must judge from after-information whether he shall march straight upon the enemy, now reported at South Carrollton, or wait for further developments of his intention. It is sufficient to say, he must get the best information of the movements of the enemy southward from the river, and beat them at the earliest favorable opportunity.

Toward the close of January, General Pillow, who had been for some time sick in Nashville, was placed in command at Clarksville. On February 6th Brigadier-General Bushrod R. Johnson was placed in command at Fort Donelson. Next day, on account of the attack at Fort Henry, Pillow was ordered to move from Clarksville, with all the troops there, to Donelson, and assume command. Brigadier-General [434] Clark was also charged to move at once from Hopkinsville to Clarksville with his command, something over 2,000 men; and Floyd was directed to take his force from Russellville to Clarksville without a moment's delay. Floyd was given authority to determine his movements as he might think judicious; at the same time it was indicated to him that he should concentrate his forces at Clarksville, and move to the support of Donelson. He was directed to encamp on the left bank of the Cumberland, so as to leave open the route to Nashville in case [435] of the loss of the fort. Suggestions were also made for obstructions and submarine batteries, which, however, the engineers found themselves unable to carry out. All these dispositions were made as soon as General Johnston heard of the advance upon Fort Henry, and before he had learned of its fall.

Events were moving so rapidly, and proper military action was so dependent on accurate information of the enemy, that it was necessary to leave the immediate commander untrammeled. Floyd was, therefore, invested with the fullest authority. Pillow reported that the troops at Donelson were much demoralized by the transactions at Henry, and this was true. They were the rawest militia, reduced by disease and disheartened by retreat. Pillow wrote that a naval officer, who had witnessed the surrender, told him (February 7th) “that we had troops enough at Donelson, and that they are powerless to resist the gunboats.”

General Johnston, presuming that Grant would follow up his success at Fort Henry by an immediate attack on Donelson, took his measures on the supposition that Donelson was no longer tenable, and already virtually lost. But, though his advices gave him little confidence of the ability of the batteries to prevent the passage of the gunboats, General Johnston said what he could by way of encouragement. He telegraphed to Pillow:

Your report of the effect of shots at Fort Henry should encourage the troops, and insure our success. If, at long range, we could do so much damage, with the necessary short range on the Cumberland, we should destroy their boats.

Gilmer, after his escape from Henry, stopped at Donelson; and, with General Johnston's authority, engaged actively in preparations for its defense. Pillow arrived on the 9th, and pressed forward the works. Additional lines of infantry cover were constructed, to embrace the town of Dover; and two heavy guns were mounted — the only guns there effective against the armor of the gunboats. All this was accomplished by the night of the 12th.

Pillow says that, at the time of his arrival-

Deep gloom was hanging over the command, and the troops were greatly depressed and demoralized by the circumstances attending the fall of Fort Henry, and the manner of retiring from that place. ... I imparted to the work all the energy which it was possible to do, working day and night with the whole command.

But Pillow, bold and sanguine in temper, saw difficulties vanishing, and gave assurances of an improved and improving condition of affairs. Senator Bailey of Tennessee, then colonel of the Forty-ninth Tennessee Regiment, informs the writer that the restoration of confidence [436] among the men in the power of the garrison to resist the passage of the gunboats was chiefly due to Lieutenant Dixon, who lost his life during the siege. On February 8th Buckner conveyed to General Johnston information, derived from friends in Louisville, that there were not more than 12,000 Federals on the Curberland and Tennessee Rivers. In fact, the strength of the movement against Donelson was not developed. To meet it, General Johnston sent a force, which he estimated moderately at 17,000 men, reserving for himself only 14,000 men to perform the more delicate task of retiring before a larger army, ably commanded. Even after reinforcing Grant with thirteen regiments, General Buell, had left seventy regiments of infantry, besides artillery and cavalry-fully 55,000 men. Certain is it, therefore, that General Johnston took himself the place of greater hazard, and left to his subordinates the opportunity of glory. If it terminated otherwise, it was no fault of his. He had sent all the troops he could possibly spare, with abundance of ammunition and supplies. Under the circumstances, the army at Donelson might well be thought sufficient. At all events, General Johnston felt that he had done all that he could do; and he awaited the issue with composure.

The criticism has been made that General Johnston should have concentrated his forces, and made an aggressive campaign. The foregoing facts show that this could not properly have been done at Donelson; and they make it almost as plain that the attempt would have been equally as futile at Bowling Green. This subject will be briefly considered, however, in its proper place.

But there was no reason for General Johnston to feel that he had fallen short of the requirements of the occasion. Pillow telegraphed him on the 10th, the day after his arrival:

My position undisturbed by enemy. Am pushing my work day and night. Will make my batteries bomb-proof, if allowed a little time. Have my guns mounted, and satisfactory trial of all my guns.

Pillow wrote to Floyd to the same effect. He stated that he was apprehensive that the enemy might cross the country south of him, and cut his communication by river, though the country was so rough and broken as to be nearly impracticable. He believed that the difficulty of procuring supplies insured his safety. He says:

The conflict of yesterday between our cavalry and that of the enemy resulted in three of ours wounded, and twenty taken prisoners by being thrown from their horses; and in three of the enemy killed and six mortally wounded. . .. I hope you will order forward at once the tents and baggage of General Buckner's command, as they are suffering very much this cold weather.

Writing to General Johnston the same day, the 10th, Colonel Gilmer says : [437]

The attack expected here is a combined one-gunboats by water, and a land-force in their rear. The greatest danger is, in my opinion, from the gunboats, which appear to be well protected from our shot. The effect of our shot at Fort Henry was not sufficient to disable them, or any one of them, so far as I can ascertain. This was due, I think, in a great measure, to the want of skill in the men who served the guns, and not to the invulnerability of the boats themselves . ..

With the preparations that are now being made here, I feel much confidence that we can make a successful resistance against a land-attack. The attack by water will be more difficult to meet. Still, I hope for success here also ... We are making Herculean efforts to strengthen our parapets, making narrow embrasures with sand-bags.

He also announced the landing of troops. Pillow wrote at the same time:

This position can be made stronger than Columbus is now, by water, if we had more heavy artillery. The advantage is in the narrowness of the stream, and the necessity of the boats approaching our works by a straight and narrow channel for one and a half mile. No more than three boats could possibly bring their guns to bear upon our position at once; thus admitting the construction of very narrow embrasures.

A difference of opinion arose between Pillow and Floyd as to the proper disposition of the troops, Buckner concurring with Floyd. Pillow believed that the defense of the river should and could be made at Donelson; the other two seem to have given up the idea of a successful defense of the river before the enemy appeared. Floyd proposed to withdraw Buckner's troops from Donelson to Cumberland City, where the railroad diverged from the river, whence a retreat might be easily made to Nashville. He intended to leave Pillow to defend the fort. But Pillow thought if the whole of Floyd's army could not defend Donelson, half of it could not, and that such a course must involve his capture. So, when Buckner arrived, on the night of the 11th, to carry off his division, Pillow refused to allow it, and appealed to General Johnston by telegraph. He also went by steamer to Floyd at Cumberland, leaving Buckner temporarily in command, and persuaded Floyd to concentrate all his troops at Donelson. Floyd consented, though probably with hesitation. General Johnston, that night, telegraphed Floyd to go to Donelson; and he replied that he had anticipated the order.

General Pillow, in a letter dated March 28, 1877, gives the present writer the following information:

The orders of General Johnston at Bowling Green, delivered personally, were for me to proceed directly to Donelson, to assume command of the forces there, to do all that was possible to protect his rear by holding that place; that he would give me all the force it was possible for him to spare from his position; when it was no longer possible to hold that place, to evacuate the position and march the army by way of Charlotte to Nashville. [438]

General Pillow's recollection of his verbal orders is sustained by the correspondence, telegraphic and by letter, between General Johnston and his subordinates on the Cumberland. These matters will be made clearer by reference to the correspondence here following.

On the 12th, Pillow, being still in command, telegraphed:

If I can retain my present force, I can hold my position.... Let me retain Buckner for the present. If now withdrawn, will invite an attack. Enemy cannot pass this place without exposing himself to flank-attack. If I am strong enough to take field, he cannot ever reach here; nor is it possible for him to subsist on anything in the country to pass over, nor can he possibly bring his subsistence with him. With Buckner's force, I can hold my position. Without it, cannot long.

General Johnston, at three o'clock that day, communicated the above dispatch to General Floyd, adding:

I do not know the wants of General Pillow, nor yours, nor the position of General Buckner. You do. You have the dispatch. Decide. Answer.

Floyd replied:

I am moving all my troops except two Tennessee regiments, as fast as it is possible with the means at command. The force, except what is absolutely necessary for the fort, I think (General Buckner concurs), ought to be at Cumberland City, whither we go from all directions.

At 10.30 P. M., February 12th, General Johnston again telegraphed General Floyd:

My information from Donelson is that a battle will be fought in the morning. Leave a small force at Clarksville, and take the remainder, if possible, to Donelson to-night. Take all the ammunition that can be spared from Clarksville. The force at Elkton and Whippoorwill Bridge has been ordered to Clarksville.

Three hours later, Floyd replied from Cumberland:

I anticipated your order, which overtook me here shipping the balance of the troops from this point to Fort Donelson. I will reach there before day, leaving a small guard here.

On the 13th, at 9.50 A. M., Floyd telegraphed from Fort Donelson:

The enemy's gunboats are advancing. They are in force around our entire works. Our field-defenses are good. I think we can sustain ourselves against the land-forces. I reached here this morning at daylight.

It is sufficient to say in this connection that the telegrams continued favorable until the 16th, when, at the hour of the surrender, General Johnston was suddenly apprised of that great reverse.

When Floyd was subsequently hard pressed by public indignation for the fatal issue of Donelson, he published a letter written by him on the 12th to General Johnston, as explanatory of his plans. In the [439] rush of events, he probably forgot their sequence. In this letter he says :

The best disposition to make of the troops on this line was to concentrate the main force at Cumberland City-leaving at Fort Donelson enough to make all possible resistance to any attack which may be made upon the fort, but no more. The character of the country in the rear and to the left of the fort is such as to make it dangerous to concentrate our whole force there; for, if their gunboats should pass the fort and command the river, our troops would be in danger of being cut off by a force from the Tennessee. In this event, their road would be open to Nashville, without any obstruction whatever.

He proposed, therefore, to concentrate at Cumberland City, and threaten the flank of any force attacking the fort; while, as the railroad diverged from the river at Cumberland, he could effect a retreat to Nashville without molestation from gunboats.

The radical defect of this plan was that it assumed that no resistance could be offered to the approach from Henry, and that Donelson must be yielded without resistance, or with a mere show of resistance. The loss of Donelson involved the surrender of the whole Cumberland Valley; and, moreover, the plan was based upon an apprehension of dangers which did not cause the fall of the fort. The boats did not pass the fort, and Floyd's army was not called upon to meet any flanking army, but only Grant's direct attack and investment.

But as Floyd's letter was written previous to his conference with Pillow, and was not received by General Johnston until after Floyd's movement, and as he changed his plan before hearing from General Johnston, whose order he anticipated, he ought not to have claimed credit for this vacillation, which impeded, instead of fully carrying out, General Johnston's conception of defending Nashville at Donelson-the only armed barrier on the Cumberland. It seems plain enough that the duty of the hour was to concentrate rapidly at Donelson, dispute vigorously the roads from Henry, fortify as strongly and speedily as possible, secure a transit across the Cumberland, and a line of retreat along its south bank, and then fight for Donelson as became men who held the gateway to the land — in a word, to defend Nashville at Donelson.

General Floyd said in his report : “The position of the fort .... was by no means commanding, nor was the least military significance attached to the position.”

General Floyd could not have meant that it had no strategic importance, but merely that it was not judiciously located; for Gilmer says in his report what was quite evident, “The surrender of Fort Donelson made Nashville untenable.”

Fort Donelson, it must be recollected, was situated on the left bank [440] of the Cumberland, near its great bend, and about forty miles from the mouth of the river. It was about one mile north of the village of Dover, where the commissary and quartermaster's supplies were in depot, on a commanding bluff, at a bend of the river. The fort consisted of two water-batteries on the hill-side, protected on the rear, or land-side, by a bastioned earthwork of irregular outline, on the summit of the hill, inclosing about one hundred acres. The water-batteries were admirably placed to sweep the river-approaches, with an armament of thirteen guns; eight thirty-two-pounders, three thirty-two-pound carronades, one ten-inch columbiad, and one rifled-gun of thirty-two-pound calibre. The field-work, which was intended for infantry-supports, occupied a plateau about 100 feet above the river, commanding and protecting the water-batteries at close musket-range. These works afforded a fair defense against gunboats and marauding-parties; but they were not designed or adapted for resistance to a land-attack or investment by an army.

The field-work at Donelson, elevated as it was, was commanded by a series of eminences, the crests of a range of hills three-quarters of a mile farther inland. On the fall of Fort Henry, this was selected as a line of defense for the Confederate troops, arriving hourly, and was continually strengthened by the labors of the soldiers, until Donelson itself was surrendered. Gilmer laid off the works with his accustomed judgment and skill; and, although rudely and tardily executed, owing to the bad weather and scanty supply of tools, they were really formidable when well defended. Buckner says:

The defenses were in a very imperfect condition. The space to be defended by the army was quadrangular in shape, being limited on the north by the Cumberland River, on the east and west by small streams, now converted into deep sloughs by the high water; and on the south by our line of defense. The river-line exceeded a mile in length; the line of defense was about two miles and a half long, and its distance from the river varied from one-fourth to three-fourths of a mile. The line of intrenchments consisted of a few logs rolled together, and but slightly covered with earth, forming an insufficient protection even against field-artillery. Not more than one-third of the line was completed on the morning of the 12th. It had been located under the direction of that able engineer-officer, Major Gilmer, near the crests of a series of ridges which sloped backward to the river, and were again commanded in several places by other ridges at a still greater distance from the river. This chain of heights was intersected by deep valleys and ravines, which materially interfered with communications between different parts of the line. Between the village of Dover and the water-batteries, a broad and deep valley extending directly back from the river, and flooded by the high water, intersected the quadrangular area occupied by the army, and almost completely isolated the right wing. That part of the line which covered the land-approach to the water-batteries and constituted our right wing was assigned to me with a portion of my division. [441]

Pillow describes these defensive works as “consisting of rifle-pits and abattis for infantry, detached on our right, but continuous on our left, with defenses for light artillery.” The artillery-defenses were slight and incomplete; but the abattis was difficult, and offered serious obstruction to an assailant. The hill-sides were cleared by simply felling the trees; but time did not allow the chopping to be carried far enough to the front, and the assailants had ample cover in the woods on the opposite hills. Unfortunately, a similar abattis had been made around the inclosed field-work, so that, when the new line of intrenchments was made, the inclosed area was partly filled with this felled and tangled timber, and the movements of the defenders were greatly retarded and embarrassed by it. This obstruction, with the back-water in the sloughs, destroyed the means of rapid communication, and impeded maneuvers inside the works.

When the Confederate army had assembled at Donelson, on the 13th of February, Buckner commanded the right wing and Pillow the left.1

That part of the line which covered the land-approach to the waterbatteries — the right front — was assigned to Buckner's division, whose right flank was protected by an impassable stream, called Hickman Creek. Buckner had with him Brown's brigade and part of Baldwin's, the rest of that brigade being detached to the left under its commander. Those of his regiments which remained were attached to Brown's brigade. Buckner gave his presence and supervision to these troops. Buckner says:

The work on my lines was prosecuted with energy, and was urged forward as rapidly as the limited number of tools would permit, so that by the morning of the 13th my position was in a respectable state of defense. My disposition of the troops was as follows: Hanson's regiment on the extreme right; Palmer's regiment, with its reserve, in position to reinforce Hanson; Porter's battery occupying the advanced salient, sweeping the road which led to the front, and flanking the intrenchments both to the right and to the left. The reserve of the Fourteenth Mississippi was held as its support; Brown's, Cook's, and Farquharson's regiments were on the left; Graves's battery occupied a position near the extreme left of the intrenchments on the declivity of the hill, whence it swept the valley with its fire, and flanked the position of Colonel Heiman to the east of the valley. From three to five companies of each regiment were deployed as skirmishers in the rifle-pits. The other companies of each regiment were massed in columns, sheltered from the enemy's fire behind the irregularities of the ground, and held in convenient positions to reinforce any portion of the line that might be seriously threatened. [442]

To Buckner's left, and separating him from the left wing, was a broad and deep valley, 500 yards wide, extending back from the river, and flooded by the high water. Pillow commanded — the left wing, containing about two-thirds of the army, organized in seven brigades. He was assisted by Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson, whom-he had superseded. The right of Pillow's line was held by the brigade of Colonel Heiman, about 1,700 strong. Heiman's position, as he himself describes it, was as follows:

A hill, somewhat in the shape of a V, with the apex at the angle, which was the advance point as well as the centre of my command, and nearly the centre of the whole line of defense. From this point the ground descended abruptly on each side to a valley. The valley on my right was about 500 yards in width, and divided my command from General Buckner's left wing. The one on my left was about half that width, and ran between my left wing and the brigade commanded by Colonel Drake. These two valleys united about half a mile in the rear. The ground in front of my line (2,600 feet in length) was sloping down to a ravine, and was heavily timbered.2

The Forty-ninth Tennessee, Colonel Bailey, and the Fiftieth, Colonel Sugg, with Colms's Tennessee Battalion, were assigned as a garrison to the fort — in all, some 700 or 800 strong. The heavy artillery was served by details from the infantry regiments 3 and light artillery.4 Forrest commanded all the cavalry-his own regiment, Gantt's Tennessee Battalion, and three or four small companies-altogether 800 or [443] 1,000 strong. He had arrived with his regiment only on the 10th. Scott's Louisiana Cavalry Regiment was in observation on the right bank of the Cumberland.

The aggregate of this force has been variously stated. General Johnston estimated it at 17,000, thus:

Garrisons of Henry and Donelson5,000
Floyd's and Buckner's command8,000
Pillow's, from Clarksville2,000
Clark's, from Hopkinsville2,000

To these must be added Polk's reinforcements, not included in Tilghman's returns-1,600 men-making 18,600 men. The generals commanding at Donelson estimated the force there at from 12,000 to 15,000 men. General Brown, General Palmer, and some other intelligent Tennesseeans present in the battle, put the effectives at 13,500, and some as low as 11,000. General Johnston accounted for this shrinkage by the prevalence of camp-diseases and the losses incident to winter campaigning. He found that, in the retreat from Bowling Green to Nashville, his own army fell off from 14,000 to 10,000 effectives. At Donelson there were other causes also at work, usual among raw and demoralized recruits. Three of Tilghman's regiments decreased, from January 14th to January 31st, from 2,199 effectives to 1,421, principally from measles ; and in many commands the effective strength after the fall of Fort Henry continued to diminish. An investigation of the tables in Appendix A to this chapter will enable any clear-headed person to arrive at an approximate calculation of the Confederate strength. The writer furnishes all the data accessible to him, and offers, as his own opinion, from careful computation and comparison of such data, that the effective force of the Confederates during the siege of Donelson was from 14,500 to 15,000.

Let us now turn to the Federal army at Henry. Grant, elated by success, telegraphed Halleck: “I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th, and return to Fort Henry.” Badeau says, “This was the first mention of Fort Donelson, whether in conversation or dispatches, between the two commanders.” This statement is erroneous. Halleck telegraphed Buell, January 31st: “I have ordered an advance on Fort Henry and _Dover. It will be made immediately.” He frequently calls Fort Donelson Dover. He also says, February 2d, “It is only proposed to take and occupy Fort Henry and Dover,” etc. Buell, however, had recommended the same movement to Halleck, as early as January 3d, and had already voluntarily started thirteen regiments to aid Grant in it. Halleck was also sending reinforcements, and he replied to Grant on the 8th: [444]

Some of the gunboats from Fort Holt will be sent up. Reinforcements will reach you daily. Hold on to Fort Henry at all hazards. Impress slaves, if necessary, to strengthen your position as rapidly as possible.

On the 10th he again promised “large reinforcements.”

Grant was not able to make good his promise. His biographer attributes his delay to the impassable condition of the roads. The rains must have made them very bad in the marshy country immediately around Fort Henry; but, after the first mile or two, they were excellent for the season; so that it is probable he was awaiting the promised reinforcements. But Grant and Foote, learning that the Confederates were reinforcing Donelson, hurried their preparations for attack; and, as soon as the first reinforcements arrived, began their expedition against Donelson.

Foote started on the 11th, with his fleet, and transports carrying six regiments of reinforcements. Near Paducah they were met by eight more transports loaded with troops, which accompanied them to Donelson. Federal writers place this force at 10,000 men. They were to land near Donelson, and cooperate with the army that marched across the country from Henry.

On the same day Grant sent forward his vanguard, under McClernand, three or four miles, and, early on the morning of the 12th, moved with his main column. His force was 15,000 strong, with eight light batteries; and he left a garrison of 2,500 men at Henry. He marched unincumbered with tents or baggage, with but few wagons, and “no rations save those in the haversacks. . . . No obstacle was opposed to the march, although nothing would have been easier than to prepare obstructions.” 5

The column which marched from Henry was composed of two divisions, commanded by Generals McClernand and C. F. Smith, each of three brigades.6

Surgeon Stearn 7 reports the infantry strength of Oglesby at 3,130, and of McArthur at 1,395. Colonel Wallace reported 3,400 effectives of all arms. Add to this, for Oglesby, cavalry and artillery, 500, and we have the strength of this division, 8,425 men (see Appendix B to [445] this chapter). Smith's brigades were commanded by Colonels J. G. Lauman, Morgan L. Smith, and J. Cook.8

To these divisions were soon added the Third, commanded by General Lew Wallace, with Colonels Cruft and Thayer as brigade commanders, composed of troops sent forward from Henry, and others transported by way of the Cumberland River.9

When all these troops were arrayed in front of Donelson, McClernand occupied the Federal right, Smith the left, and Wallace the centre.

It is extremely difficult to arrive at a correct conclusion as to the actual force of an army by any system of estimate, or indeed by any other means than investigation of the returns of commands. As these were not accessible to the writer when this memoir was prepared, he has no means of verifying the statements made by Federal writers. He gives such data as he has.

In a memorandum furnished Hon. Montgomery Blair by the War Department, for the information of the writer, General Grant's effective force at Donelson is placed at “about 24,400.” In a memorandum furnished the writer by the War Department (see Appendix, Chapter XXXI.), it is placed at 27,113. General Buell, in his letter of August 31, 1865, published in the New York World, September 5, 1865, estimates the reinforcements sent by him to Grant at 10,000 men, and Grant's force at from 30,000 to 35,000.

Badeau says:

On the last day of the fight Grant had 27,000 men, whom he could have put into battle; some few regiments of these were not engaged. Other reenforcements arrived on the 16th, after the surrender, swelling his number still further.

In this estimate no account is taken of the cooperating naval forces, nor of troops landed and supporting, but not engaged. There was no doubt in the mind of any Southerner engaged in the defense that the Federal force was much greater than this. The conviction of all the Confederate leaders that they fought 50,000 men was probably exaggerated by the circumstances of the case; but General Badeau's figures will prove, on a rigid investigation, below the mark.10 [446]

After leaving the bottom-lands around Fort Henry, a broad, good road, built by Tilghman, passed through a country of hill and valley, thickly wooded, to Donelson. It was sandy, and now dry; and the troops moved swiftly over it in the bracing air of a warm winter day. Forrest, with all the Southern cavalry, had posted himself about two miles in front of the intrenchments, where the Eighth Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Rhodes, of Oglesby's brigade, advancing in line of battle, encountered him, and drove in the Confederate outposts, with little loss on either side. It was certainly unfortunate that the few roads to Henry were not obstructed and vigorously disputed, as a short detention would have caught the Federal army on the march in exceedingly severe weather, and might have broken up the expedition.

Oglesby's brigade was deployed and moved forward through the oak-woods until it found itself opposite Heiman's position, near the Confederate centre. His artillery, Swartz's and Dresser's batteries, opened; and Graves's and Maney's replied from the trenches. This artillery duel did little damage; but it was sufficient, with the fire of the sharp-shooters, to interrupt the work on the trenches. The advanced brigades worked their way to the right, harassing with a continuous fire the fatigue-parties of the Confederates, who, with some loss,/had to suspend their labor until night. No resistance was offered to the investment; and, before the dusk of a winter's day, the army which had left Henry in the morning unfolded itself along the entire Confederate front at Donelson. McClernand's division was on the Federal right, opposite Pillow, and reaching nearly around to Dover. Smith's brigades, as they came up, drew off to the left, and rested with their flank on Hickman's Creek, facing Buckner. Grant's headquarters were in the rear of Smith's line. Such was the situation on the night of February 12th. The opposing hosts, that night, lay on their arms. The bivouac was under the shadow of the oaks and pines. A bright moon was overhead; and the still, mild air had in it scarcely a breath of winter. The Federals rested; the Confederates plied shovel and mattock to build a barrier against the next day's storm of lead and iron. Saving the random shot of some startled picket, all was quiet — the seemingly peaceful prelude to days and nights of deadly struggle.

“the battle of the trenches,” as Pillow styles it, began at dawn on the 13th. Floyd arrived before daylight with the troops from Cumberland City; but, before they had taken position, the fighting had begun.

Thursday morning, the 13th, was clear and mild; and, at earliest dawn, the Federal skirmishers came down from the hills, where they had slept, into the valley between the lines, and commenced firing; while their artillery opened from every hill along the front. Oglesby's [447] brigade on the right, and W. H. L. Wallace's, next to it, moved to the right, along the road to Dover, keeping up a constant cannonade as they advanced. Birge's sharp-shooters, a picked corps, deployed as skirmishers, annoyed the Confederates greatly, compelling them to lie low behind their intrenchments. But skillful Southern marksmen volunteered to occupy their attention, and finally forced them to retire. Jordan says that two of Forrest's companies were thus engaged.

About half-past 8 o'clock the Twelfth Iowa, of Cook's brigade, made a reconnaissance against the centre, as if about to assault, but retired before a few well-directed shots from Graves's battery. About ten o'clock in the morning, Smith made an attack on Hanson's position, but was repulsed with heavy loss. Hanson had built rapidly and roughly some rifle-pits to the right and in front of the original line of defense. Here he was again attacked, this time by three strong regiments; but the Second Kentucky, now aided by Palmer's Eighteenth Tennessee, again repulsed the assault. A third time the Federals came to the charge, with the same result. Porter's battery played a conspicuous part in the defense. Buckner says in his report:

The fire of the enemy's artillery and riflemen was incessant throughout the day; but was responded to by a well-directed fire from the intrenchments, which inflicted upon the assailant a considerable loss, and almost silenced his fire late in the afternoon. My loss during the day was thirty-nine in killed and wounded.

Heiman's position has already been described. A salient to the Confederate centre, it was the most elevated and advanced point on the line. Here was posted his brigade: the Tenth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel McGavock; the Forty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Voorhies; the Fifty-third Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Winston; the Twenty-seventh Alabama, Colonel Hughes; and Maney's light battery-in all about 1,700 strong. Badeau says of the Federal operations:

Skirmishers were thrown out actively in front, and several smart fights occurred, but with no result of importance. They were in no case intended for real assaults, but simply as attempts to discover the force and position of the enemy, and to establish the national line. An attempt was made by McClernand to capture the ridge-road on which Grant moved, but this was without orders, and unsuccessful, though gallantly made; three regiments were engaged in the affair. On the first two days Grant lost about 300 men in killed and wounded.

The assault by Smith on Buckner was one of these “smart fights;” that of McClernand on Heiman was another. The facts are these :

As Wallace was moving to the right, McClernand detached Colonel Hayne, with his regiment, the Forty-eighth Illinois, to support McAllister's battery, and giving him, in addition, the Seventeenth Illinois, Major Smith, and the Forty-ninth Illinois, Colonel Morrison, ordered [448] him to storm Heiman's position. The approach to Heiman's left was along a ridge, obstructed with abattis; against his right, it was through a dense wood, across a valley, and up a hill-side. The advance of this column was first discovered by Colonel John C. Brown, who notified Colonel Heiman. Brown ordered the batteries of Graves and Porter to open upon the column, which they did with great effect, contributing materially to the repulse. The Federal regiments came to the charge right gallantly, mounting the acclivity on every side. Maney's battery now opened a rapid fire on them; but his position on the point of the hill was an exposed one, and their sharp-shooters brought down the men at his guns with deadly aim. Both of his lieutenants fell. Still, the Illinoisians rushed on almost up to the breastworks, and until they met, at close quarters, the blaze of musketry from the trenches. Entangled in the felled timber, they wavered, and, after a struggle of some fifteen minutes, gave way. The Forty-fifth Illinois, Colonel Smith, was brought up to their support, and again they attempted to assault. But Quarles's Forty-second Tennessee had arrived on the ground, in the mean time, to Heiman's assistance; and a destructive fire drove back the Federals. They made a third ineffectual assault, when Colonel Morrison, who had bravely led his men, having been severely wounded, they finally retired, after a combat of two hours, during nearly an hour of which “the entire line had been held under a brisk, galling fire.” The Federals lost 200 killed and wounded, while the Confederates lost not more than thirty or forty. These were chiefly in Maney's battery and the Fifty-third Tennessee. The dry leaves on the ground caught fire from the cannonading. The Confederates rescued the wounded as far as they could venture out from the rifle-pits; but, unhappily, some of the Federal wounded perished in the flames. After the retreat, Heiman's pickets collected sixty muskets and other equipments left on the field.

The artillery-firing continued all day, and, at intervals, during the night. Nearly every Confederate regiment reported a few casualties from the shot and shell, which came incessantly; and, doubtless, the other side suffered equally. Though the attack on Heiman was so severely repulsed, it was, in the end, fortunate for the Federals. Their determined attitude concealed the inadequacy of their force; and, while but a small part of their army was engaged, they interrupted the Confederate fortification, and put the whole line of defense upon a strain. Badeau comments on the fact that there was no effort to molest Grant, allowing him to continue the investment at his leisure — a blunder almost equal to that of opposing no obstacle to the march from Fort Henry.

While these operations were going on at the trenches on Thursday, the Carondelet, Captain Walke, a thirteen-gun vessel, preceding [449] Foote's flotilla, arrived at Donelson early in the morning, and opened the siege by water. Taking position behind a headland, she threw 138 shots, until a 128-pound shot came crashing through one of her ports, injuring her machinery, and sending her off crippled. No damage was done to the fort, except that a shot disabled a gun, and killed Captain Joseph H. Dixon, a valuable young engineer, whose name has been mentioned in connection with the fortification of the place. Educated, enthusiastic, and full of talents and purpose, his loss was generally deplored.

Thus far the weather had been warm for the season; but, on Thursday afternoon, it turned cold and began to rain heavily, and that night a great and sudden change occurred. The thermometer fell to 10° above zero; and a driving storm of snow, hail, and sleet, set in. An icy wind came howling from the north, beating with uninterrupted fury upon the two armies. They were both fully exposed to the tempest, and both ill-prepared to meet it. The Federals were bivouacking in the woods; but, though they were comparatively well clothed, many of them had thrown away their blankets during the previous genial weather. The Southerners, poorly clad, and less fitted in constitution to endure the buffetings of a winter's storm, were kept in the trenches to guard against surprise; though, indeed, there were no quarters or other refuge for them. Many of them were working on the trenches; and the Forty-second Tennessee built a redoubt to protect the point where Maney's battery had suffered so much. No fires could be built, lest they should serve as targets for the sharp-shooters, crouching in easy range. But, in the dark, and cold, and storm, the work of death went on; and more than one struggle between the combatants mingled the noises of battle with the turmoil of the tempest. Some of the soldiers were frozen; and the wounded between the lines suffered the extremest pangs that belong to our mortal lot. Those thus stricken down lay with raw and gaping wounds, perhaps scorched in the blaze of the conflagration that had swept through the fallen timber, and aching from the frozen rain and icy wind. On that fearful night they endured isolation, hunger, pain, and exhaustion, so that death brought a blessed relief. These are some of the horrors of war; and yet it is to the sentimental philanthropists that the occasions of war are oftenest due.

During the evening of the 13th Commodore Foote's flotilla arrived, with the reinforcements, 10,000 strong or more. These were assigned to General Lew Wallace, who had also brought over the troops from Fort Henry. Part of them were landed before daylight; and Friday, the 14th, was spent in putting them in position on the centre, between Smith and McClernand. These arrangements occupied the whole day. The snow lay more than two inches deep, and the north wind still blew with chilly breath. The torpor of cold and fatigue seemed to cling to [450] both antagonists. Nevertheless, though no assault was made, a rambling and ineffective fire was kept up. But, though the land-forces were thus paralyzed by the rigor of the season, Donelson was not permitted to enjoy a day of rest. Foote, exultant with his easy triumph at Henry, rushed in, hoping to crush the defenders with his heavy guns, and crown the navy with another victory. But the audacious policy which has once succeeded may, when essayed again, recoil with ruin on its author. It was so with Foote.

“the battle of the gunboats” 11 began about 3 P. M., on Friday, the 14th of February. The United States flotilla consisted of the four heavy-armored iron-clad gunboats St. Louis, Carondelet, Pittsburg, and Louisville, thirteen guns each, and the gunboats Conestoga, Taylor, and Lexington, nine guns each. Any one of these boats was more than a match for the fort in armament. They were armed with eight, nine, and ten inch guns, three in the bow of each. The Carondelet had three nine inch and four eight inch smooth-bore and two 100-pounder rifled guns. In the fort the columbiad and the rifled gun were the only two pieces effective against the armor of the gunboats. The Confederates could merely pepper them with their lighter guns, ten in number, whose missiles, for the most part, rattled harmlessly against the iron sheathing.

The four iron-clads, followed by two gunboats, made the attack. They drove directly toward the water-batteries, firing with great weight of metal. Foote's purpose was to silence these batteries, pass by, and take a position where he could enfilade the faces of the fort with broadsides.12 The gunboats opened at a mile and a half distance, and advanced until within three or four hundred yards. Colonel J. E. Bailey, of the Forty-ninth Tennessee, now United States Senator from Tennessee, commanded the garrison. It was in bad plight from cold, hunger, and protracted watching, but was resolute in spirit. Captain Culbertson, a West Point graduate, commanded the artillery after the death of Dixon. Under him were Captains Ross, Bidwell, and Beaumont, who commanded the batteries. Stankiewitz, a gallant Pole, had two six-pounders and an eight-inch howitzer on the hill. They held their fire, under Pillow's orders, until the boats came within about 1,000 yards; then, at a given signal, they delivered the fire of the heavy guns with accuracy and effect; and, at about 750 yards, the lighter guns opened also. Stankiewitz likewise helped to divert the enemy's fire by a few discharges of his pieces. [451]

The boats steamed up with great confidence, based on their experience at Fort Henry; but, although the number of guns opposed to them was the same, a brief contest taught them a woful lesson. Their shot and shell roared, and tore up the earthworks, but did no further injury. On the other hand, the Confederate guns, aimed from an elevation of not less than thirty feet, by cool and careful hands, fell with destructive power on the decks of the gunboats. The thirty-two-pound shot generally rebounded from the plated armor; but even these, entering the port-holes, or striking at favorable angles, or on unprotected parts of the roof, shook loose the fastenings, and aided in the work of demolition. While the iron-clads could use grape and canister against the Confederates on the parapets, and their gunboats were throwing shells at long range, which burst in the fort with novel terrors to the untried soldiers there, nothing but solid shot told against the sides of the vessels. But the furious cannonade of the fleet, while terrific, was harmless, though each moment it seemed that it must sweep away gunners and batteries together. Soldiers and generals alike looked with apprehension for the catastrophe, when their guns should be silenced, and the fleet, steaming by, take them in reverse. Still, the fascination of the scene riveted to the spot, as spectators, hundreds who witnessed it with breathless suspense and anxiety. As the heavy metal smote the iron mail of the water-monsters, it rang with a mighty and strange sound — a new music in the horrid orchestra of strife and death, unheard before, and terrible to the hearer. Old fables seemed to live again; in which giants, with clash of hammer on linked scales, fought the dragons of the great deep.

But the elevation of the batteries, and the courage and coolness of their gunners, overcame all the Federal advantages in number and weight of guns. The bolts of their two heavy guns went crashing through iron and massive timbers with resistless force, and scattering slaughter and destruction through the fleet.

In the hottest of the engagement a priming-wire became lodged in the vent of the rifle-gun, through the inexperience of the artillerists, who had seen but two days service at the guns. Sergeant Robert Cobb mounted the piece and vainly endeavored to extract it. He continued his efforts under a fire of grape at point-blank range, until the close of the action. He was afterward distinguished as a captain of artillery.

A Northern writer, who was on board the Louisville, thus describes what he saw:

We were within point-blank range, and the destruction to our fleet was really terrible. One huge solid shot struck our boat just at the angle of the upper deck and pilot-house, perforated the iron plating, passed through the heavy timbers, and buried itself in a pile of hammocks just in front and in a direct line with the boilers. Another, a shell, raked us from bow to stern, [452] passed through the wheel-house, emerged, dropped, and exploded in the river just at our stern. Then a ten-inch solid shot entered our starboard bow-port, demolished a gun-carriage, killed three men and wounded four others, traversed the entire length of the boat, and sank into the river in our wake. Then a shell came shrieking through the air, striking fair into our forward starboard-port, killing one man, wounding two, and then passed aft, sundering our rudder-chains, and rendering the boat unmanageable. We were compelled to drop astern and leave the scene of action, and, so far as we were concerned, the battle was over.

One of their shells entered and exploded directly in the pilot-house of the St. Louis, killing the pilot, and wounding Flag-Officer Foote severely in the leg. Two of the shots entered the Pittsburg below the guards, causing her to leak badly, and it is probable she will sink before morning. Another entered the Carondelet, killing four men and wounding eight others.

Commodore Foote tells me that he has commanded at the taking of six forts, and has been in several naval engagements, but he never was under so severe a fire before. Fifty-seven shots struck his vessel, his upper works were riddled, and his lower decks strewed with the dead and wounded.13

Hoppin says (page 223):

The Louisville was disabled by a shot, which cut away her rudder-chains, making her totally unmanageable, so that she drifted with the current out of action. Very soon the St. Louis was disabled by a shot through her pilothouse, rendering her steering impossible, so that she also floated down the river. The other two armored vessels were also terribly struck, and a rifled cannon on the Carondelet burst, so that these two could no longer sustain the action; and, after fighting for more than an hour, the little fleet was forced to withdraw. ... Foote, it is said, wept like a child when the order to withdraw was given.

The St. Louis was struck fifty-nine times, the Louisville thirty-six times, the Carondelet twenty-six, the Pittsburg twenty, and four vessels receiving no less than 141 wounds. The fleet, gathering itself together, and rendering mutual help to its disabled members, proceeded to Cairo to repair damages, intending to return immediately with a stronger naval force to continue the siege.

We learn also, from Hoppin's narrative, that Foote was twice wounded, once in the arm and once in the leg; and, from Foote's report, that his loss was fifty-four killed and wounded. The fight lasted an hour and ten minutes. Foote believed he could have taken the fort in fifteen minutes more; but he was mistaken-further contest would have insured the destruction of his fleet. Gilmer's report tells us:

Our batteries were uninjured, and not a man in them killed. The repulse of the gunboats closed the operations of the day, except a few scattering shots along the land-defenses. [453]

Pillow telegraphed to General Johnston to the same effect. But the Confederates did not derive all the encouragement from the action that their successful valor and skill deserved, for they were not aware of the full extent of the damage to the fleet; and, in fact, expected a renewal of the attack. Nevertheless, they took heart. The gunboats were neither invulnerable nor invincible, and congratulations and rejoicings went through the camps.

On the 13th Floyd and Pillow each sent several dispatches to General Johnston. Pillow's breathed a very confident spirit: “I have the utmost confidence of success;” and, at the close of the day, “The men are in fine spirits.” Floyd details the events of the day very calmly; but no great subtilty of interpretation is required to perceive his distrust of the situation, in such words as the following: “We will endeavor to hold our position, if we are capable of doing so.”

Whether prompted by this dispatch or not — it is now impossible to say-General Johnston on the next day sent him the following telegram, which is in effect a final summing up of all his previous instructions, and in exact accordance with them: If you lose the fort, bring your troops to Nashville if possible.

How far this dispatch may have influenced the counsels of the generals the writer is not able to say, as no mention is made of it in their reports; but, on the morning of that day, as appears from Genera] Buckner's report, they came to the conclusion to cut their way out, and retreat to Nashville. General Johnston's plan was general in its scope, and perfectly simple. He wished Donelson defended if possible, but he did not wish the army to be sacrificed in the attempt. Something must be dared for the maintenance of a position so important, doubtful though he felt the issue must be; but there did not seem any imminent peril to a vigilant and able commander of not being able to extricate his army from Donelson. There was nothing in the nature of “a trap” in the situation, if the commander kept his resources well in hand, and his communications attended to. General Johnston's orders were in effect: “Do not lose the fortress, if it can be helped; but do not lose the army anyhow.” For so much he is responsible. To be more specific would have been to embarrass, not to help, his subordinates. Throughout his whole life, General Johnston's only demand for himself had been that he should have the means to accomplish an end, with full responsibility for their use. He could not apply a different rule to men intrusted with these vast interests. He had no right to consider them unequal to their charge. The general who manages a battle at a distance from the scene of action plays the game of war blindfold. An Aulic Council is proverbially a curse to a campaign. Human foresight and calculation may provide for many of the [454] contingencies of war; but the distant control of details must ignore many of the actual conditions of a contest. Strategists who, whether a week or a year beforehand and leagues away, plan other people's battles for them, may engage in the business of prophecy, whose issues are soon forgotten, but not safely or successfully in the responsible work of high military command. General Johnston's ability to divest himself of this propensity to intermeddle with matters that belonged strictly to his subordinates, even though they were unlucky, will be recognized as a merit by any soldier who has had the misfortune to serve with his hands tied, under a superior who imagined himself omniscient.

Buckner says:

The enemy were comparatively quiet in front of my position during the 14th. On the morning of that day I was summoned to a council of general officers, in which it was decided unanimously, in view of the arrival of heavy reinforcements of the enemy below, to make an immediate attack upon their right, in order to open our communications with Charlotte in the direction of Nashville. It was urged that this attack should be made at once, before the disembarkation of the enemy's reenforcements-supposed to be about 15,000 men. I proposed with my division to cover the retreat of the army, should the sortie prove successful. I made the necessary dispositions preparatory to executing the movement; but early in the afternoon the order was countermanded by General Floyd, at the instance, as I afterward learned, of General Pillow, who, after drawing out his troops for the attack, thought it too late for the attempt.

Neither General Floyd nor General Pillow alludes to this council; but it is evident that the foregoing statement is substantially correct, as General Pillow, having arranged the preliminaries for an attack, actually led his men out, and afterward withdrew them. Colonel W. E. Baldwin, commanding the Second Brigade, says in his report, March 12, 1862:

About noon, General Pillow directed the left wing to be formed in the open ground to the left and rear of our position in the lines, for the purpose, apparently, of attacking the enemy's right. My command, to which the Twentieth Mississippi, Major Brown, was temporarily attached, constituted the advance, in the following order: first, the Twenty-sixth Mississippi; second, the Twenty-sixth Tennessee; third, the Twentieth Mississippi. Formed in column by platoon, we advanced in a road leading from a point about two hundred yards from the left of our trenches, and approaching nearly perpendicularly the enemy's right. We had proceeded not more than one-fourth of a mile, when General Pillow ordered a countermarch, saying it was too late in the day to accomplish anything, and we returned to our former position in the lines.

Major William M. Brown, who commanded the Twentieth Mississippi in this brigade, mentions ten o'clock as the hour when he received the order to form his regiment. He says :

By the time we had advanced one hundred yards, a private of Company D was shot down, showing that the enemy was close at hand. We continued the [455] march two hundred yards more, when the order to halt was given, said to come from General Floyd, with the explanation that we did not have time to accomplish what we wanted.

We have here, in the abandonment of this projected sortie, an illustration of that vacillation and of those divided counsels which brought about the loss of the army at Fort Donelson. There is no need to pursue with unmerited blame any of the generals in command. While the springs of human action remain unchanged, such calamities will result from unforeseen combinations. Floyd was of a bold and impetuous temper, but he was a mountaineer; and, except a few months' experience in warfare among the Alleghanies, a novice in military operations. The moment he felt himself cooped up within intrenchments, his active spirit lost its spring. The correspondence already quoted shows the reluctance with which he came to Fort Donelson. When he went behind breastworks, he was already half beaten. On any other arena than that of war, Floyd would have been esteemed at least the equal of his associates. In a charge, he would not have fallen behind them in gallantry. But lie was a very sympathetic man; and, standing between them, as the commander of both, he gave ear first to one and then to the other. There was a strong antagonism of character and feeling between Buckner and Pillow; and the influence of each swayed Floyd, as he came within its atmosphere. Buckner, measuring the power of resistance by military precedents, and his knowledge of the resources of the United States Government, apprehended the worst. He wished to escape from what might become a trap. He therefore proposed to cut his way out. This agreed with all of Floyd's preconceptions, and he eagerly embraced the proposal; the more readily, too, as he deferred to Buckner's military education and reputation, and had, in a close association with him during the month previous, learned to appreciate his many high qualities. Now, why was this movement suddenly arrested and put off till the next day? The writer offers the following solution as an hypothesis merely: Pillow, more sanguine than the other two, believed he could hold the fort; and, when he pointed out to Floyd the immense consequences of its loss, no less than a surrender of the State of Tennessee, Floyd, perceiving that to stand still was a bolder policy than to attack and retreat, probably consented to defer the sortie and defend the trenches. If they could be held, the losses of a sortie seemed an unavailing sacrifice. Hence, the order was countermanded, or at least deferred.

The day wore away. Reports, greatly exaggerated, came of heavy reinforcements: according to Grant's statements, they were 12,000 or 15,000 men; according to the estimates of the besieged, from 30,000 to 50,000.

Floyd says, in his report: [456]

We were aware of the fact that extremely heavy reinforcements had been continually arriving, day and night, for three days and nights; and I had no doubt whatever that their whole available force on the Western waters could and would be concentrated here, if it was deemed necessary, to reduce our position. I had already seen the impossibility of holding out for any length of time, with our inadequate number and indefensible position. There was no place within our intrenchments but could be reached by the enemy's artillery, from their boats or their batteries. It was but fair to infer that, while they kept up a sufficient fire upon our intrenchments to keep our men from sleep and prevent repose, their object was merely to give time to pass a column above us on the river, both on the right and left banks, and thus to cut off all our communication, and to prevent the possibility of egress.

This theory of investment is based upon the hypothesis of the successful cooperation of the gunboats, which were already vanquished, and on a degree of strength and activity in the Federal army scarcely credible. Knowing General Johnston's want of troops and poverty in means, the Confederate generals assumed, perhaps properly, that, if applied to, he could not afford any relief in their desperate straits. Floyd was backed, in this view of the situation, by both Pillow and Buckner.

Floyd continues, in his report:

I thus saw clearly that but one course was left, by which a rational hope could be entertained of saving the garrison, or a part of it: that was, to dislodge the enemy from the position on our left, and thus to pass our people into the open country lying southward toward Nashville. I called for a consultation of the officers of divisions and brigades, to take place after dark, when this plan was laid before them, approved, and adopted; and, at which time, it was determined to move from the trenches at an early hour on the next morning, and attack the enemy in his position. It was agreed that the attack should commence upon our extreme left, and this duty was assigned to Brigadier-General Pillow, assisted by Brigadier-General Johnson.

The conclusion was reached and the specific adjustment of the details of the plan of battle settled about midnight. The whole left wing of the Confederate army, except eight regiments, was to move out of the trenches, attack, turn, and drive the Federal right until the Wynn's Ferry road which led to Charlotte, through a good country, was cleared, and an exit thus secured. In this movement, Buckner was to assist, by bringing his command to the left of Heiman's position, and thence attacking the right of the Federal centre. If successful, he was to take up a position in advance of the works on the Wynn's Ferry road, cover the retreat of the whole army, and then employ his division as a rear-guard. While the combined attack was going on, Heiman was to hold his own position with his brigade and the Forty-second Tennessee. Head's regiment, the Thirtieth Tennessee, was to replace [457] Buckner in the trenches; and the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Tennessee were to act as a garrison to the fort. The only essentially vicious feature of this plan was the insufficient force left in Buckner's lines. Most of the garrison of the Fort, also, might well have been posted in the rifle-pits. Head's position was the shortest and weakest line of approach to the fort, and in more immediate danger even than the water-batteries. A slight concentration at that point would probably have prevented or repulsed the Federal assault.

The Confederates passed another bitter cold night in the trenches, waiting for the morrow's conflict. The troops, moving in the small hours of the night, over the icy and broken roads, which wound through the obstructed area cf defense, made slow progress, and delayed the projected operations. Before daybreak the skirmishers had opened along the line. Morning was to see bloody work.

Pillow occupied himself chiefly with the right brigades of his command, where Baldwin led the attack, the two small Virginia brigades supporting. His left, composed of Simonton's and Drake's brigades and Forrest's cavalry, was confided to Bushrod Johnson, who here first proved himself a hard-hitter — a character he bore throughout the war. At 4 A. M., on Saturday, the 15th of February, Pillow's troops were ready, except one brigade, which came into action late.

“ the battle of Dover” was so called by General Pillow from its initial point. Baldwin's brigade began it. Moving out, in the order of the day before, by six o'clock he was engaged with the enemy, only two or three hundred yards from his lines. His three regiments, the Twentieth and Twenty-sixth Mississippi and the Twenty-sixth Tennessee, mustered 1,358 strong. Starting by the flank, along a narrow and obstructed by-road, they came suddenly and unexpectedly upon the enemy in force-Oglesby's stout brigade. While two companies of skirmishers tried to sustain the fire of the enemy, the column was formed by company, and the leading regiment, the Twenty-sixth Mississippi, Colonel Reynolds, attempted to deploy into line to the right. Three times it was thrown into confusion by the close and rapid fire of the enemy, but was rallied and formed fifty yards to the rear. The Twenty-sixth Tennessee, Colonel Lillard, formed on its left, across the road; and the Twentieth Mississippi advanced on the left of the Twenty-sixth Tennessee, through an open field, where it was exposed to a destructive fire, which it could not return. McCausland,--supporting Baldwin, perceived the emergency, and led forward his troops, the Thirty-sixth Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Reid, and the Fiftieth Virginia, Major Thorburn, and formed on Baldwin's right. Wharton's brigade, the Fifty-first Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Massie, and the Fifty-sixth Virginia, Captain Daviess, also moved up to the left, on very bad ground, which [458] they held tenaciously. These brigades were just in time to check the Illinois troops, who, encouraged by the confusion in the Southern line, and hoping to profit by it, were now advancing.

In the mean time, Brigadier General Johnson was leading into action still farther to the left, and consequently over greater spaces, Simonton's and Drake's brigades, while Forrest's cavalry covered their flank, and forced their horses through the thick undergrowth. Simonton pushed in between McCausland and Wharton, arrayed in the following order from right to left: the Third Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Webb; Eighth Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Lyon; Seventh Texas, Colonel Gregg; and First Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton. To the left of Wharton, Drake put into action his brigade — the Fourth Mississippi, Major Adair; Fifteenth Arkansas, Colonel Gee; two companies of the Twenty-sixth Alabama, under Major Garvin; and a Tennessee battalion, under Colonel Browder. As was said, Forrest supported the extreme left flank. In this disposition of the forces, the right of Pillow's wing rested on the trenches; and, as each command took its position to the left, it was by a larger circuit, and with a proportionate loss of time.

On the Federal side, McClernand's whole division engaged this line as it advanced. Oglesby's brigade — the Eighth, Eighteenth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois, two batteries, and four companies of cavalry-received the first shock, on its left. McArthur's brigade — the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Illinois-next became engaged; and, finally, W. H. Wallace's brigade — the Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-eighth Illinois, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Taylor's First Illinois Artillery, and McAllister's battery — on Oglesby's left. According to the data of Appendix B to this chapter, McClernand's division was about 8,500 strong of all arms. The attacking Confederate left wing, according to the writer's estimate, was composed of five small brigades of infantry, 5,360 strong, and about 1,000 cavalry. Jordan, in his “Life of Forrest,” puts the cavalry at 800. Appendix A will show the grounds for this estimate.

The antagonists were well matched in courage, confidence, and pride of prowess. Usually one or the other of two opponents promptly perceives to which side the scales of victory incline. In extreme peril, all the senses and perceptions of brave men are quickened; and, as the Greeks at Salamis saw their guardian goddess hovering over them, so some subtile instinct seems to say to men, “This is the moment of your fate-press on” --or-“yield.” As Macbeth says of Banquo:

There is none but he
Whose being I do fear: and under him
My genius is rebuked; as, it is said,
Mark Antony's was by Caesar.

[459] But these hardy soldiers, kindred in blood, equally emulous of glory, and, like the Roman twins, jealous of the birthright and preeminence of valor, saw nothing in any foe to quell the hope of final triumph. Each side believed that the fierce assault or stubborn stand was proof that the weight of numbers was with the foe; but, nothing daunted, trusted to manhood for success.

As has been seen, when Baldwin first struck the enemy, instead of encountering pickets or skirmishers, he found the Federals in line of battle, on the alert, and ready for the fray. As other brigades came to his aid, or entered on the combat, he was crowded off to the right, and had the hard measure of continually meeting new regiments eager to receive him-most probably the men of W. H. L. Wallace's brigade, who became engaged about seven o'clock.

Every attempt of the Confederate line to advance was met by a heavy raking fire from an enemy who seemed animated by desperate resolution. Overhead was the lowering sky of a damp, cold, and cheerless day; under foot the trampled and blood-stained snow. The air was foul with mists and sulphurous smoke. Entangled in the thick oak-woods, whose dense undergrowth shook from its brown leaves the wet snow that spoiled the priming of their flint-locks, the Southerners pressed forward blindly and at disadvantage. As they struggled, with irregular and spasmodic charges, up a slope, to assault an unseen enemy, who stubbornly held the ground, it looked for a long time as if the effort would prove abortive.

In carrying the first hill, Simonton's brigade, separated from the troops on its right, received the full force of the Federal fire. Robert Slaughter's company, of the Eighth Kentucky, charged straight up on two pieces of artillery and suffered severely, but the guns were taken. Gregg's Texans met heavy losses near the top of the same hill. Here fell the brave Lieutenant-Colonel Clough and Lieutenant Nowland near together. The First Mississippi greatly distinguished itself; and the Virginians to their left planted their colors on the crest, which they carried by the most unflinching resolution.

At length, however, the Confederate left so established its line as to turn the right flank of the Federals, and, by an almost simultaneous assault along its whole length, between nine and ten o'clock, forced the position that had been so well maintained by an enveloping movement, and crushed McClernand's front back and toward his left. But the brave Illinoisans, though broken, were not routed. They fell back, fighting by companies and squads, and every step had to be won from them at the price of blood.

When McClernand found the crushing process beginning on his right flank, about eight o'clock, he sent for aid. Grant was absent, at the river, with Foote; and as McClernand's messages became more [460] urgent, General Lew Wallace, commanding the central division, finding himself unoccupied in front, moved Cruft's brigade up to the right, ill support of the retreating Federals. Cruft's brigade was composed of four regiments — the Thirty-first Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn; Seventeenth Kentucky, Colonel McHenry; Twenty-fifth Kentucky, Colonel Shackleford; and Forty-fourth Indiana, Colonel Reed--in all about 2,300 strong. They came into position about ten o'clock, and found W. H. L. Wallace retiring in comparatively good order. But the regiments farther to their right were badly broken. The Twenty-fifth Kentucky, which was carried forward rather heedlessly, on the extreme right, and attempted to stem the tide of battle, was broken into fragments by the onset, and became hopelessly involved in the crowd of fugitives. Cruft bore the brunt of battle for some time; but, at length, he, too, had to give back, which he did somewhat broken, but in good order.

General Lew Wallace says, in his report:

Soon fugitives from the battle came crowding up the hill, in rear of my own line, bringing unmistakable signs of disaster. Captain Rawlins was conversing with me at the time, when a mounted officer galloped down the road, shouting: “ We are cut to pieces!” The effect was very perceptible. To prevent a panic among the regiments of my Third Brigade, I ordered Colonel Thayer to move on by the right flank. He promptly obeyed.

General Wallace acted with vigor and decision. Meeting McClernand's whole division in full retreat, with Cruft also falling back, he threw forward Thayer's strong brigade, to receive the combined attack of Pillow and Buckner, who now entered on the contest. The direction of the Confederate advance was now parallel with their intrenchments; so that, when Thayer's brigade was put in position, it stood at right angles to its former line of battle, with its left nearly opposite the centre of the Confederate trenches. Here it awaited the final assault.

While Pillow and B. R. Johnson were conducting these operations, breaking and driving the Federals by steady pressure, Buckner also shared in the assault. Head's regiment did not reach him at the appointed time, thus detaining him in his rifle-pits; and the icy roads still further delayed his movements. His advance regiment, the Third Tennessee, however, was in the trenches out of which Pillow's troops had marched, an hour before daylight and the last regiment soon after daylight. As those regiments came up, he formed them, under cover, partly in line and partly in column. In his front was massed W. H. L. Wallace's brigade, with two heavy batteries. Between these and Graves's battery, with other artillery, a severe fire was kept up.

Pillow sent messages urging Buckner to attack; and about nine [461] o'clock Colonel Brown ordered the Fourteenth Mississippi to deploy as skirmishers under direction of Major Alexander Casseday, of Buckner's staff. The Third Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, and the Eighteenth Tennessee, Colonel Palmer, both of Brown's brigade, advanced from the point where the Wynn's Ferry road crosses the trenches. Passing the valley in front, through fallen timber and open ground, under heavy fire, they attacked the Federals and drove them from their position, but not without considerable loss. The Confederate artillery, directed over their heads, embarrassed them. The snow on the bushes wet the priming of their flint-locks; and, as they penetrated the thick undergrowth, where the Federals had been posted, the heavy fire of the retiring foe threw them into some disorder. They were also told they were firing on their own men. Finally, their colonels withdrew them to the trenches.

About noon, as the tide of battle bore back the Federal army along and across the Wynn's Ferry road, General Buckner organized another attack to the right of that road, up a valley to the left of Heiman's position. Colonel Brown led his brigade, the Third and Eighteenth Tennessee, and the Thirty-second Tennessee, supported by the Forty-first Tennessee, against a battery on the road, which was supported by a very heavy infantry-force. Brown's brigade, sheltered by the ravine, advanced until within one or two hundred yards, when with a murderous fire it drove back the supports. Opening at the same time upon the Federal battery with a cross-fire from Maney's, Porter's, and Graves's batteries, it was soon disabled. The guns fell into the hands of the infantry, and Graves galloped forward on the road with his battery, and again opened at close quarters with grape and canister. Thus aided, Brown's brigade advanced, delivering well-directed volleys.

Here W. H. L. Wallace's brigade still clung to their second position, which they had retained firmly against Baldwin's and McCausland's attacks. All to the right of them had given way. Pillow's line was pressing upon their right and front, and Buckner on their left. By the retreat of Oglesby and McArthur, they had become the salient of the Federal line. Still, they fought so well that Baldwin and McCausland, who were attacking their front, called for reinforcements and ammunition from Roger Hanson, who with the Second Kentucky stood next to them, on Buckner's right. Forrest was there, too, with his cavalry, and had made two gallant but unsuccessful charges. Hanson had no orders, but, seeing them sorely pressed — a hard-headed, combative man --he gave them what they wanted. To render the needed service, he had to charge across an open field, some two hundred yards in width, against an enemy posted in the woods and brush beyond. Forrest, with his cavalry, joined in the assault; and, while Hanson attacked the infantry-supports, Forrest charged and took the battery, killing the gunners, and recovering some Confederate prisoners. Hanson says: [462]

I directed the regiment, when the command was given, to march at quicktime across this space, and not to fire a gun until they reached the woods in which the enemy were posted. The order was admirably executed, and although we lost fifty men in killed and wounded, in crossing this space, not a gun was fired until the woods were reached. The enemy stood their ground until we were within forty yards of them, when they fled in great confusion under a most destructive fire. This was not, strictly speaking, a charge bayonets, but it would have been one if the enemy had not fled.

While Hanson was thus assailing Wallace's front, Buckner continued the movement against his left. Brown's brigade, charging up the hill, through a dense wood, had been met with grape and canister and a heavy musketry-fire, much of which passed over their heads, as the men lay down to escape the missiles. Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, of the Third Tennessee, and Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of the Thirty-second Tennessee, fell wounded, the latter mortally, with some fifty men killed and wounded. These regiments, reinforced at this moment by the Fourteenth Mississippi, renewed the charge, drove the Federal force from its position, and captured the guns. The batteries, and Farquharson's Forty-first Tennessee, followed the movement. In all this fighting, Graves's battery was splendid in its gallantry and efficiency. Rice E. Graves was a model soldier; inflexible and fervent in duty, a noble Christian and patriot. He left West Point to enlist in the Southern cause, and no man of his years and rank aided it more. He died at his guns at Chickamauga, as Breckinridge's chief of artillery.

It was then, at last, that Wallace's brigade, isolated by Buckner's movement on its right and toward its rear, fell back upon its supports, beaten, cut up, and much disordered, but undismayed. Indeed, not only Wallace's command, but squads from all the others, rallied on Thayer's brigade, and, with Cruft's brigade and these fresh troops, interposed another stout barrier to a further Confederate advance.

Thayer's brigade formed, under the direction of General Lew Wallace, as described, at right angles to the intrenchments. The First Nebraska, Lieutenant-Colonel McCord, and the Fifty-eighth Illinois, were on the right; Wood's battery in the centre ; and to the left, a detached company and the Fifty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Steadman, the left of the line being obliquely retired so as to front an approach from the trenches. The line of reserve consisted of the Seventy-sixth Ohio, Colonel Woods; the Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis; and the Fifty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Baldwin. Cruft reestablished his line on the right of Thayer.

It was now one o'clock. The Federal right was doubled back. The Wynn's Ferry road was cleared, and it only remained for the Confederates to do one of two things. The first was, to seize the golden moment, and, adhering to the original purpose and plan of the sortie, move off [463] rapidly by the route laid open by such strenuous efforts and so much bloodshed. The other depended upon the inspiration of a mastermind, equal to the effort of grasping every element of the combat, and which should complete the partial victory by the utter rout and destruction of the enemy. It is idle now to discuss whether the mind, the inspiration, or the occasion, was the one thing lacking.

It is hardly fair now to say what could or should have been done then; but it would seem that had Floyd seized this critical moment — the hour of fate-and, gathering all his forces for a final assault, hurled Pillow, Buckner, Heiman, the garrison-all-upon the crowded front and flanks of the foe, the end would have been the annihilation of the Federal army, or a sacrifice so costly and glorious that censure would have been drowned in tears. While we cannot blame a commander who does not choose such courses, we must also remember that the heavy price of victory is human blood. General Grant never forgot this, at Donelson or elsewhere, and he got what he paid for.

While, to us, one or the other alternative seems now to have been the only possible safe solution, the Confederate commander tried neither. A fatal middle policy was suddenly but dubiously adopted, and not carried out. The fate which seemed always to arrest the best endeavors of the Confederate arms, and render fruitless their victories, interposed at this juncture. The spirit of vacillation and divided counsels again prevented that unity of action which is essential to success. Circumstances were largely responsible for this. The point of view has much to do with such determinations. For seven hours the Confederate battalions had been pushing over rough ground and through thick timber, at each step meeting fresh troops massed, where the discomfited regiments manfully rallied. Hence, the fervor of assault naturally slackened, though the wearied troops were still ready and competent to continue their onward movement. Ten fresh regiments, over 3,000 men, had not fired a musket. But in the turmoil of battle no one knew the relations of any command to the next, or indeed whether his neighbor was friend or foe.

Buckner had halted, according to the preconcerted plan, to allow the army to pass out by the opened road, and to cover their retreat. Bushrod Johnson was following up the tactics of the morning, which had so far proved successful, and was pressing Cruft fiercely. At this point of the fight, Pillow, finding himself at Heiman's position, heard of (or saw) preparations by C. F. Smith for an assault on the Confederate right, where Head had replaced Buckner. But whether he understood this to be their purpose, or construed the movement as the signs of flight, was left uncertain by his language at the time. In either case, the writer is not prepared to explain why the garrison of the fort was not promptly called to the defense of this point to which it was nearest, [464] nor why Heiman's command was not dispatched to Head's support or put into the fight. What occurred was this: Pillow ordered the regiments which had been engaged to return to the trenches, and instructed Buckner to hasten to defend the imperiled point. Buckner, not recognizing him as a superior authorized to change the plan of battle, or the propriety of such change, refused to obey, and, after receiving reiterated orders, started to find Floyd, who at that moment joined him. He urged upon Floyd the necessity of carrying out the original plan of evacuation. Floyd assented to this view, and told Buckner to stand fast until he could see Pillow. He then rode back and saw Pillow, and, hearing his arguments, yielded to them.

Pillow says, in his supplemental report:

I knew that the enemy had twenty gunboats of fresh troops at his landing, then only about three miles distant; I knew, from the great loss my command had sustained during the protracted fight of over seven hours, my command was in no condition to meet a large body of fresh troops, who I had every reason to believe were then rapidly approaching the field. General Buckner's command, so far as labor was concerned, was comparatively fresh, but its disorganization, from being repulsed by the battery, had unfitted it to meet a large body of fresh troops. I therefore called off the pursuit, explaining my reasons to General Floyd, who approved the order.

Floyd simply says that he found the movement so nearly executed that it was necessary to complete it. Accordingly, Buckner was recalled. In the mean time, Pillow's right brigades were retiring to their places in the trenches, under orders from the commanders.

B. R. Johnson, finding himself alone with Drake's brigade and some cavalry, and unsupported on the right, sent an aide for reinforcements, but received instead an order to report in person within the intrenchments. Johnson then went and asked leave to attack, but, after a conference, Floyd directed him to display Drake's brigade for a time before the enemy, while the other troops took their positions in the rifle-pits. This was done with the aid of Forrest's cavalry. The Federal accounts describe assaults and fierce struggles led by Grant in person. They are mistaken. General Grant's order of advance was decisive, because it was an advance, and revealed the absence of the Confederates from the battle-field; but the contest must have been slight, for Drake's brigade and Forrest's cavalry alone remained on the field, and, after holding at bay for an hour or two Wallace's division, with the remnants of McClernand's, slowly retired, under orders, over some 800 yards of intervening ground to the breastworks, not losing a man while falling back. This ended the conflict on the left. Three hundred prisoners, 5,000 stand of small-arms, six guns, and other spoils of victory, had been picked up by the Confederates. But the Federals, cautiously advancing, gradually recovered most of their lost ground. [465]

In the combats at Donelson, Forrest, with his cavalry, showed his usual vigor and dash, although he had an unusually difficult part to perform with his troopers in the dense and tangled woods. The artillery could not have done better. Porter, Graves, and Maney, in particular, displayed in splendid manner their soldierly qualities; and the men were worthy of their officers. Their losses were heavy, and Captain Porter was himself wounded.

As General Grant was returning, on the morning of the 15th, from his conference with the wounded commodore, he gave little heed to the heavy firing on his right, which, like Lew Wallace, he mistook for an attack by McClernand. As he rode leisurely to camp, between nine and ten o'clock, he met an aide galloping furiously from the right to tell him of McClernand's straits. Grant, being near C. F. Smith, found him, and bade him hold himself in readiness to attack the Confederate right.

Grant then rode to his right wing, where all was confusion and dismay. After examining the condition of things there, he rode back to C. F. Smith, whose pupil he had been, and who was a man from whom no soldier need feel ashamed to take counsel. It was determined to assault the advanced work on the extreme right of the Confederate line. Grant also sent word to Foote that part of his army was demoralized, and begged him to make an immediate demonstration with his gunboats. He adds, “I must order a charge, to save appearances.” “Two of the fleet accordingly ran up the river, and threw a few shells at long range” (Badeau).

Though it might have been apparent to the Confederates, possibly by two or three o'clock, that an assault was meditated on their right, the unfortunate conflict of opinion and action among the generals, the confusion in their commands, and the icy and impeded roads, so delayed the movement of troops that they arrived in position too late for the purpose of their recall. It was four o'clock before the assault on the right was made by Smith; and then Hanson, who, under Pillow's direct orders, preceded the rest of Buckner's command, had the mortification of witnessing, but not sharing in, the combat, when the Federal column carried the advanced work he had constructed.

The manner of the assault was this: Grant, in consultation with C. F. Smith, determined on it, and assigned the duty to that fine old soldier. Whose suggestion it was, Grant's or Smith's, has been made subject of dispute. No matter: the inspiration was a good one. C. F. Smith was a soldier of the old school; a graduate of 1825 from West Point, where he was afterward commandant of the corps when Grant was a cadet. He was frequently brevetted in Mexico; and got promotion, as lieutenant-colonel of the Tenth Infantry, from Mr. Davis, when he was Secretary of War. The vicissitudes of life found him, at this [466] early stage of the civil war, the subordinate of his former pupil. His own career in it was brief but brilliant.

Smith's assaulting column consisted of the six regiments that composed Lauman's brigade: the Second Iowa, Colonel Tuttle; Twenty-fifth Indiana, Colonel Veatch; Seventh Iowa, Colonel Parrott; Fourteenth Iowa, Colonel Shaw; Fifty-second Indiana, and Birge's regiment of sharp-shooters. The Second Iowa led the assault.

Smith formed the regiment in two lines, with a front of five companies each, thirty paces apart. He told the men what they had to do, and took his position between those two lines. The attack was made with great vigor and success. The ground was broken and difficult, impeded with underbrush, as well as extremely exposed.14

The veteran Smith led the charge with desperate purpose. As the Federals rushed up the hill, pushing through the abattis, Turner's little battalion poured on them a deadly fire, which would have repulsed a less numerous and determined foe. The rest of Buckner's corps had got into position; but when Hanson's regiment, coming from the extreme left to the extreme right, was hurrying in loose order to its aid, but had not reached the ground, a torrent of blue-coats poured over the breastworks, driving the defenders before them. Then it fell upon Hanson's regiment as it approached, so that it recoiled with the other fugitives. A few minutes' delay by the Federals would have saved the day; on such trifles does the fate of armies and nations hang.

Buckner says of the Second Kentucky:

This gallant regiment was necessarily thrown back in confusion upon the position of the Eighteenth Tennessee. At this period I reached that position; and, aided by a number of officers, I succeeded in hastily forming a line behind the crest of the hill which overlooked the detached works, which had been seized by the enemy before Hanson had been able to throw his regiment into them. The enemy advanced gallantly upon this new position, but was repulsed with heavy loss. I reinforced this position by other regiments as they successively arrived, and by a section of Graves's battery, while a section of Porter's battery was placed in its former position. During a contest of more than two hours the enemy threatened my left with a heavy column, and made repeated attempts to storm my line on the right; but the well-directed fire of Porter's and Graves's artillery and the musketry-fire of the infantry repelled the attempts, and finally drove him to seek shelter behind the works he had taken and amid the irregularities of the ground. There was probably no period of the action when his strength was not from three to five times the strength of mine. Toward the close of the action I was reinforced by the regiments of Colonels Quarles, and Sugg, and Bailey.15 Generals Floyd and Pillow also visited the position about the close of the action. [467]

Head's regiment, the Thirtieth Tennessee, occupied Buckner's line, three-quarters of a mile long. In the advanced work he had placed Major Turner with three companies. Head says in his report that his regiment numbered only 450 men. This was the number in line, excluding Bidwell's company of sixty men in the batteries. The men were very raw, mere militia, and had been at Fort Henry. Colonel Head was patriotic and able in civil affairs, but in no sense a military man.

Colonel Bailey saw the Second Kentucky retreating in great disorder, and moved Sugg's regiment to the face of the works, fronting the enemy; his own regiment was drawn up near the western sally-port, and prepared for a sally, under the impression that the enemy would follow up the dispersion of the Confederate right by a movement against the river or water batteries. These dispositions were scarcely completed, when Colonel Head in person galloped into the fort, and directed the Forty-ninth Tennessee to move to the front, which was done at a double-quick. The regiment was formed to the right of Brown's Third Tennessee, and, moving forward, met the enemy's skirmishers, now advanced nearly to the crest of the hill on which the Confederate line was being established. One or two volleys forced the enemy to retreat to the line captured from Head and the Second Kentucky. A brisk fire was kept up until sunset, when the firing ceased. A battalion of Sugg's regiment reached the field just before the close of the fight, and deployed to the right of the Forty-ninth. The right wing was likewise reinforced by Major Colms's battalion. Quarles's regiment, the Forty-second Tennessee, also came up from Heiman's position, and helped Hanson defend the second line.

In this last engagement, while Smith was attacking with Lauman's brigade, the Twelfth Iowa, Colonel Wood, and the Fiftieth Illinois, Colonel Bane, of Cook's brigade, also joined in the attack on his immediate right; and Morgan L. Smith's brigade farther still to the right. These were all fresh troops. Besides these, Cruft's brigade, part of Thayer's, and other commands, joined in the attack on the intrenchments, or in demonstrations that occupied the Confederate regiments in their positions at the breastworks.

This assault was met by a determined resistance from Brown's brigade. The writer has been kindly supplied with a statement of this combat carefully prepared in conference by a number of the gallant participants. The following extract gives its essential features:

Within a short time after Brown's command reoccupied this line, and about 4 P. M., the extreme right of the line resting on Hickman Creek, and which had been occupied by Hanson, was suddenly attacked. That part of the line was occupied by a small part of Head's regiment, under command of Major Turner. Hanson's regiment had not then reached the works, because of the [468] greater length of march and roughness of the road. As soon as the assault was discovered, Captain Porter opened an enfilade fire on the advancing column with grape and canister. Colonel Palmer, with the Eighteenth Tennessee, posted on Brown's extreme right, without awaiting the dangerous delay of orders, moved immediately to relieve Hanson, who was about going into position when the assault began. Colonel Brown moved the Third Tennessee at doublequick to extend Palmer's line already formed on the only practicable position for defense, so as to form a secondary line to Hanson's works, which were then already in possession of a force five or six times outnumbering any opposing troops at hand. Hanson rallied on this interior line, the stubborn resistance of which, aided by the well-directed guns of Porter's battery, saved the line and prevented the water-batteries from falling into the hands of the Federals that evening. This interior line had timely reinforcements in the arrival of Bailey's, Quarles's, Sugg's, and the balance of Head's regiments, all of which arrived after the forward movement of the Federal column was checked, but before the fortunes of the day were decided. One section of Graves's battery, which had been delayed in reaching its original position, with the other pieces, was brought up rapidly to the intersection of the new with the main line, and did most effective service under the personal direction of Captain Graves. At the same time that this section came up, the remaining section of Porter's battery, delayed in the same way, was brought into position by Lieutenant Morton, under a very heavy fire, and with the other guns continued firing until nightfall. It was in this engagement that the gallant Captain Thomas R. Porter was disabled by a very severe and dangerous wound, and was borne from the field. Captain Porter's marked coolness and dash, and the efficient and intelligent manner in which he handled his guns, elicited the unbounded admiration of all who saw him; and when he was being carried, bleeding, from the field, he exclaimed, as Jordan has it, to the only unwounded officer left with his battery, Lieutenant John W. Morton, a mere lad of nineteen, “Don't let them have the guns, Morton!” Lieutenant Morton replied, “No, captain, not while I have one man left!”

This battery, from its advanced and exposed position, lost eight men killed outright, and twenty-five wounded, out of forty-eight officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, actively engaged; the balance of the company, forty-two men, were drivers, teamsters, and artificers, protected in a ravine at some distance from the battery.

Captain Porter was educated at Annapolis, and was an officer in the United States Navy up to the breaking out of the war, when he resigned his position in the navy and returned to his native State, Tennessee, to offer his services in her behalf. He served during the war as chief of artillery to Buckner, and afterward to Cleburne, and was wounded at Hoover's Gap. He subsequently entered the Confederate Navy as executive officer of the Florida. After the war he commanded a California merchant-steamer, and died in 1869. He was a kind and cultivated gentleman, and a gallant soldier. His young lieutenant, Morton, before the close of the war became chief of artillery to General Forrest.

Darkness separated the combatants. Jordan, in his “Life of Forrest” (page 86), calls the works gained, “the mere narrow foothold seized on the extreme right of the trenches.” Buckner, however, considered it the key to his position, which it probably was. [469]

The loss of Lauman's brigade, exclusive of the Fifty-second Indiana, temporarily attached and not reported, was 61 killed and 321 wounded; the Second Iowa alone lost 198 men. In five Federal brigades, reported, out of ten, the loss during the siege was 1,403 men. Badeau, speaking of Grant, says: “His entire losses during the siege were 2,041 in killed, wounded, and missing; of these, 425 were killed.” Medical Director Brinton says the loss, “as stated officially, amounted to 400 killed and 1,785 wounded.” 16 If to these are added the 300 prisoners captured and sent to Nashville by the Confederates, the loss would amount to over 2,500, inclusive of the fleet-fifty-six more.

In the subsequent confusion it was difficult to obtain accurate data of the Confederate loss, in killed and wounded, during the siege. Floyd estimated it at 1,500. Pillow, in his supplemental report, put it at 2,000. In two tables in the appendix, the loss is summed up respectively at 1,348 and 1,222. The writer's estimate, from all the sources of information at his command, is 325 killed and 1,097 wounded. Besides these, several hundred were missing before the surrender, of whom, excluding fugitives and prisoners, probably a hundred or more perished; so that the actual loss by death and wounds was about 1,500.

At the close of the day, Floyd and Pillow telegraphed General Johnston that they had won a victory. After nightfall, they met in consultation with Buckner. Buckner says:

It was unanimously resolved that, if the enemy had not reoccupied, in strength, the position in front of General Pillow, the army should effect its retreat; and orders to assemble the regiments for that purpose were given by General Floyd.

Forrest was ordered to make a reconnaissance to ascertain the position of the enemy. Floyd thus states the situation:

There were but two roads by which it was possible to retire. If they went by the upper road, they would certainly have a strong position of the enemy to cut through; . . . and if they retired by the lower road they would have to wade through water three feet deep — which ordeal the medical director stated would be death to more than one-half of the command, on account of the severity of the weather and their physical prostration.

About midnight it was determined to carry out at daybreak the plan of the day before, on the supposition that the upper road was clear. But rumors having reached the generals that the Federals had reoccupied their positions, two sets of scouts, one after the other, were sent out to ascertain the facts. General Forrest is confident that the report of the scouts was that they saw no Federals, only fires in the woods. The reports of the three generals, however, concur that all the [470] information received confirmed the complete reinvestment of their lines. These discrepancies readily occur among honest witnesses. Inferences are easily mistaken for the statements from which they were drawn; and, in the mutations of opinion, the actual sequence is often lost. The scouts, who examined the river road, reported the overflowed valley about a quarter of a mile wide and half leg deep in mire, and the water in the slough one hundred yards wide and up to the saddle-skirts, and the crossing impracticable for infantry. From subsequent developments, it is probable that the investment was not so complete, nor escape so hazardous, as was reported and believed. The soldiers did escape in large numbers, many on that side of the river. The people of the vicinage came to the battle-field, some from curiosity, but generally with the more laudable motive of helping the wounded; so that the moving lights carried, and the fires kindled, by friends proved false signals, and were accepted as indications of the presence of the enemy.

The question now arose, What should be done? Buckner says in his report:

Both officers have correctly stated that I regarded the position of the army as desperate, and that the attempt to extricate it by another battle, in the suffering and exhausted condition of the troops, was almost hopeless. The troops had been worn down with watching, with labor, with fighting. Many of them were frosted by the intensity of the cold; all of them were suffering and exhausted by their incessant labors. There had been no regular issue of rations for a number of days, and scarcely any means of cooking. Their ammunition was nearly expended. We were completely invested by a force fully four times the strength of our own. In their exhausted condition they could not have made a march. An attempt to make a sortie would have been resisted by a superior force of fresh troops; and that attempt would have been the signal for the fall of the water-batteries, and the presence of the enemy's gunboats sweeping with their fire at close range the positions of our troops, who would thus have been assailed on their front, rear, and right flank, at the same instant.17 The result would have been a virtual massacre of the troops, more disheartening in its effects than a surrender.

In this opinion General Floyd coincided; and I am certain that both he and I were convinced that General Pillow agreed with us in opinion. General Pillow then asked our opinion as to the practicability of holding out another day. I replied that my right was already turned, a portion of my intrenchments in the enemy's possession; they were in a position successfully to assail my position and the water-batteries; and that, with my weakened and exhausted force, I could not successfully resist the assault which would be made at daylight by a vastly superior force.

There is no doubt that Pillow proposed to repeat the onslaught of the day before, and cut their way out; though he seems to have concurred [471] with the others in the view that it was a desperate remedy and could succeed only with great loss of men. Floyd seems also to have held this opinion at first, but to have deferred to Buckner's representation of the condition of the men, and the inevitable sacrifice of a large part of the command, the responsibility of which he would not assume. Pillow probably adhered to his opinion, but did not insist strongly upon it, in view of the opposition. At least he presented no plan of extrication. The roads were thought to be thoroughly impracticable, and the steamers, which might have been used as ferries, had been sent up the river with the prisoners and wounded; though two were expected to arrive at daylight.

General Pillow states that he proposed to make the attempt to hold out another day. The matter was discussed; and, certainly, if it could have been done, this was the best possible counsel. It was an occasion for a supreme effort. War has its chances of weal as well as of woe. No man can tell what a day may bring forth. Success so often crowns mere tenacity of purpose and stubborn endurance, that despair is scarcely a word for the soldier's vocabulary. At the same time, it has to be confessed that there is a limit to the ability of troops for resistance, and that it is the part of good sense to know when this point has been reached. Buckner was satisfied that it had been reached. He was a man of good judgment, conversant with the troops, and, if his opinion was not formed upon his observation of too small a part of the army, it may well be accepted as conclusive; as, indeed, it was by Floyd. He was sustained in his view by that resolute fighter, Roger Hanson, who, however, had seen his own regiment, the Second Kentucky, suffer very severely. Buckner believed that his command would not hold out for an hour against an assault; and that a sortie would result in a massacre. From this point of view, humanity required a surrender.

It is true that another view might well be taken of the situation. The entire loss was not more than one in nine or ten; the heaviest in any particular command was not more than one in four or five, while later in the war these same troops would undergo a loss of one-third without a shudder. Heiman's entire brigade, at the least 1,575 strong, though more probably 1,700 in number, had not been engaged in the battle of Saturday, and had the prestige of Thursday's success with the loss of only ten men killed and thirty-six wounded. In addition, the Forty-second Tennessee, 498 strong, had met but eleven casualties. The Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Tennessee, numbering 1,022 for action, had lost but nine killed and eighteen wounded. The Forty-first Tennessee, 575 men, had two killed and six wounded. Three or four batteries had had no casualties at all. Here was a force of some 3,700 men, fresh as to mere combat, having lost but ninety-two men. Other [472] troops were coming, and 400 did arrive at daylight, making a body over 4,000 strong. What could be got out of these men of course depended on a multitude of conditions, many of which cannot now be stated, much less estimated. Pillow, who was the most sanguine of these leaders, and to whose division these troops belonged, said he could not aid Buckner at the point of expected assault on the right, because he would have as much to do as he could attend to in defending his own lines.

It should, however, be remembered that these troops were not veterans, but many of them raw levies, not only undisciplined, but ignorant of drill, armed with very inferior weapons that failed them in the hour of greatest need, and often commanded by officers as inexperienced as themselves. They had been from three to eight days at work in the trenches, almost without sleep or rest, in the wet and cold, and many were frost-bitten. The men were so worn out with watching, cold, and fatigue, that they fell asleep standing on their feet, under a heavy fire from the enemy. Three days of battle had disabled many and demoralized more. Opposed to them was an army, superior in numbers and in all the appointments of war, continually augmented by reinforcements, and thus able to fight by relays and to rest. Many other considerations present themselves to the mind now, as they did then to the leaders of the besieged; but it is useless to dwell upon them. Suffice it to say that it was finally decided that a surrender was inevitable, and that, to accomplish its objects, it must be made before the assault, which was expected at daylight.

But when it came to the question of who should make the surrender, Floyd and Pillow both declared they would not surrender; they would die first. Buckner said that after the resistance that had been made the army could be honorably surrendered. “General Pillow said he never would surrender. General Floyd said that he would suffer any fate before he would surrender or fall into the hands of the enemy alive.” Floyd says in his report:

I felt that in this contingency, while it might be questioned whether I should, as commander of the army, lead it to certain destruction in an unavailing fight, yet I had a right individually to determine that I would not survive a surrender there. To satisfy both propositions I agreed to hand over the command to Brigadier-General Buckner through Brigadier-General Pillow, and to make an effort for my own extrication by any and every means that might present themselves to me. I therefore directed Colonel Forrest, a daring and determined officer, at the head of an efficient regiment of cavalry, to be present for the purpose of accompanying me in what I supposed would be an effort to pass through the enemy's lines.

To Floyd's declaration that he would not be taken alive, General Buckner responded that such considerations were personal, intimating, [473] at least, that they should not influence a commander. Floyd replied: “I would not permit such reasons to cause me to sacrifice my command; but, personal or not, such is my determination.” General Buckner then said that, being satisfied that nothing else could be done, if the command was devolved on him he would surrender the army, and that his sense of duty required him to share its fate. Floyd immediately asked him: “General Buckner, if I place you in command, will you allow me to draw out my brigade?” General Buckner promptly replied, “Yes, provided you do so before the enemy act upon my communication.” Floyd said, “General Pillow, I turn over the command.” Pillow, regarding this as a mere technical form by which the command was to be conveyed to Buckner, then said, “I pass it.” Buckner assumed the command, sent for a bugler, pen, ink, and paper, and opened the negotiations for surrender.

Pillow advised Forrest to cut his way out, and let all escape who could. Taking with him his staff and Colonel Gilmer, he crossed the river in a small skiff, and escaped by land. Floyd says in his supplemental report:

One of the reasons that induced me to make this transfer to General Buckner was, in order that I might be untrammeled in the effort I was determined to make to extricate as many of the command as possible from the fort, to which object I devoted myself during the night of the 15th. ... I supposed it to be an unquestionable principle of military action that, in case of disaster, it is better to save part of a command than to lose the whole. The alternative proposition which I adopted in preference to surrendering the entire army was, to make my way out of the beleaguered camp with such men as were still able to make another struggle, if it could be accomplished; and if it could not be, then to take any consequences that did not involve a surrender. . . . Late at night it was ascertained that two steamboats would probably reach the landing before daylight. Then I determined to let Colonel Forrest's cavalry proceed on their march by the river-road, which was impassable for anything but cavalry on account of the back-water and overflow, while I would remain behind and endeavor to get away as many men as possible by the boats. The boats came a short time before daylight, when I hastened to the river and began to ferry the men over to the opposite shore as rapidly as possible.

Floyd's brigade, which had been drawn up near the river-bank, possibly with this intent, was nearest the landing. Hence they were the first to enter the boats, but none were excluded. All who came were taken on board, and great numbers crossed and made their escape: 1,175 men of the Virginia regiments were reported at the siege, and 982 reported at Murfreesboro ten days later, accounting thereby for all except the killed and wounded.

When it was determined to cut their way out, orders had been sent to General B. R. Johnson, and between one and two o'clock he drew up [474] the left wing, including Heiman's brigade, for the sally. By 3 A. M. it was paraded outside the intrenchments by column of regiments.--A little later, the Virginia regiments were withdrawn by Floyd; and Johnson, sending an aide to state that he was ready to move, learned from Buckner that the command had devolved upon him, and that he was negotiating a capitulation.

Many of the men had slept or rested, in order to be able to renew the contest of the day before, and their victory had made them sanguine of success. When they learned that an immediate surrender was in store for them, there was a terrible revulsion of feeling, which affected individuals according to temperament, physical condition, and other circumstances. Those favored by proximity to the boats, endowed with extraordinary enterprise and decision of character, or cognizant of the actualities of prison-life and resolute not to become captives, availed themselves of the boats to cross over, or escaped by land that night or on the following days. Floyd says:

All who came were taken on board until some time after daylight, when I received a message from General Buckner that any further delay at the wharf would certainly cause the loss of the boat, with all on board. Such was the want of all order and discipline by this time on shore, that a wild rush was made at the boat, which the captain said would swamp her, unless he pushed off immediately. This was done; and, about sunrise, the boat on which I was (the other having gone) left the shore, and steered up the river.

The boats employed as ferries enabled some 300 men to escape. Forrest carried off by the river-road 500 of his own cavalry, who could ford the slough, and some 200 of other commands on artillery-horses, or aided with a friendly “lift” by the mounted men. A great number threw themselves into the icy waters of the slough, and waded over, waist-deep, at the hazard and often with the sacrifice of health or life. Many others, trusting themselves to the devious by-paths of the forest through which they had fought, made their way to the open country beyond. Little more than one-half of the defenders of Fort Donelson went into Northern prisons. Badeau, in estimating the results of the victory, says: “Sixty-five guns, 17,600 small-arms, and nearly 15,000 troops fell into the hands of the victor.” This must be an error. For, even including the six guns and 5,000 small-arms recaptured, and the thirteen heavy guns in the fort, the total artillery would fall a good deal short of his estimate. He says, “Rations were issued at Cairo to 14,623 prisoners.” Very likely this was the quartermaster's return ; but, if so, it was based on muster-rolls, not men. The actual number of captives did not exceed 7,000 or 8,000.

To Buckner's proposition for capitulation, Grant replied: “No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted. I propose [475] to move immediately upon your works.” Buckner somewhat resentfully submitted, and Grant allowed commissioned officers to retain their side-arms, and privates their clothing and blankets. The correspondence is given in Appendix A to this chapter. The Federal soldiers, suddenly lifted from the borders of despair, and, after all their toils and sufferings, exulting in a first great victory, gave way to most unseemly license. Discipline was relaxed, and the Confederate camps became the scene of almost indiscriminate pillage. It was this demoralization that permitted so many fugitives to evade their captors.

The escape of Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson illustrates this very well, as one example among many. He had taken no part in the council, but determined at the time of the surrender to remain with his troops. He says that after the officers were separated from the men-

I concluded that it was unlikely that I could be of any more service to them. I, however, formed no purpose or plan to escape. In the afternoon, toward sunset of the 18th of February,18 I walked out with a Confederate officer, and took my course toward the rifle-pits on the hill formerly occupied by Colonel Heiman, and, finding no sentinels to obstruct me, I passed on and was soon beyond the Federal encampments. I had taken no part in the surrender, had received no orders or instructions from the Federal authorities, had not been recognized or even seen by any of the general officers, had given no parole, and made no promises.

Whatever opinions may have been held as to the correctness of General Buckner's judgment as to the necessity of surrender, no question could be made as to the manliness and propriety of his conduct, if it was inevitable. His military education and well-balanced character stood him in good stead in his difficult situation. General Grant personally treated Buckner with the decency due to an honorable foe; but, as his captivity is not especially pertinent to this narrative, it suffices to say that the details of it were not creditable to the great Government into whose hands he had fallen as a prisoner. On their release from captivity, Colonels Brown, Hanson, Baldwin, and Heiman, were promoted to be brigadier-generals, for their conduct at Fort Donelson.

Floyd and Pillow, however, did not pass uncensured. Their escape was bitterly resented by the prisoners and their friends. The Twentieth Mississippi, who had acted as a guard during the embarkation, and most of whom were left behind in the precipitate departure of the boat, naturally felt very keenly their disappointment. Federal writers generally seem to feel that the United States Government had suffered some special grievance in the escape of Floyd and Pillow, and denounce very vigorously their perfidy and cowardice. What was of more concern to them, the Confederate Government held them to a rigid accountability, more of which will appear hereafter. [476]

It is difficult to over-estimate the consequences to the Federal arms of the surrender of Donelson. The material results were great; but, great as they were, the moral effects were still greater. An army was demolished; nearly one-half of the Confederate soldiers in Tennessee were killed, captured, or scattered; the line of defense was broken, so as to open the whole of Kentucky, and a great part of Tennessee, to the Federal arms; Bowling Green, Nashville, Columbus-all were turned; and the valley of the Cumberland was rendered untenable. But, mighty as was the disaster, its consequences on the minds of the parties to the civil strife were still more ominous to the Confederate cause. Where now were the impregnable fortifications, said to be guarded by 100,000 desperate Southerners; where now the boasted prowess of troops, who were to quail at no odds; where the inexhaustible resources that were to defy all methods of approach? The screen was thrown down; the inherent weakness and poverty of the South were made manifest to all eyes; its vaunted valor was quelled, it was claimed, by inferior numbers and superior courage, and the prestige of the Confederate arms was transferred to their antagonists.

An immense stride had been taken toward conquest. The North rang with self-gratulations and with plaudits to the triumphing general and army. President Lincoln at once nominated Grant as a major-general, and the Senate confirmed him; and, though some cabals and military rivalries interposed themselves timidly, there can be no doubt that his promotion was honestly won; for, by decision, force of will, and tenacity of purpose, he had held up the sinking courage of a beaten army. If Fortune helped him, his case was not different from that of many others who have thus become famous.

As for the soldiers, there were no more flings or jeers on either side at the courage of the other. Each was compelled to testify to the valor of its antagonist. The combats in the shadows of the dark woods of Donelson, and in those bosky valleys, where the snows were trampled and blood-stained in the doubtful struggle, bore impartial witness to a like fearlessness in assault, stubborn resolution in resistance, and indomitable spirit in retreat. Mutual respect grew up from the horrors and strife of that field of carnage. This is not a compensation for the awful suffering and sorrow of war; but it is something. Any generous or elevated feeling may be paid for by a nation at heavy cost. [477]

Appendix A.

General Buckner to General Grant.

headquarters, Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.
sir: In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the commanding officer of the Federal forces the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces and post under my command, and in that view suggest an armistice until twelve o'clock to-day.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. B. Buckner, Brigadier-General C. S. A.

To Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, commanding United States forces near Fort Donelson.

General Grant to General Buckner.

Headquarters, army in the field, Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.
sir: Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appointment of commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Brigadier-General commanding. General S. B. Buckner, Confederate Army.

General Buckner to General Grant.

headquarters, Dover, Tennessee, February 16, 1862.
sir: The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an unexpected change of commanders, and the overwhelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.

I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

S. B. Buckner, Brigadier-General commanding, C. S. A. To Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, United States Army.


Appendix B.

Table I: Confederate killed and wounded at Fort Donelson.

The Nashville Patriot gives the following as a corrected copy of its list of Confederate losses at Fort Donelson: Tablezzz tables from 477-483

1 Certain regiments were held more or less in reserve, and others were advanced or retired according to the outline of the trenches, which conformed to the undulations of the ground. Many interesting particulars in regard to these regiments will be found in the tables in the appendix to this chapter.

2 Heiman's brigade was arranged as follows, from right to left: Tenth Tennessee, Lieu. tenant-Colonel McGavock ; Fifty-third Tennessee, Colonel Abernethy; battery light artillery, Captain Frank Maney; eight companies of the Forty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Voorhies; eight companies of the Twenty-seventh Alabama, Colonel Hughes. Quarles's regiment, the Forty-second Tennessee, came up, in reserve to this brigade. To the left of Heiman, in the valley, was the Thirtieth Tennessee, Colonel Head; and to his left, on the adjoining eminence, Drake's brigade was posted in the following order: Fourth Mississippi, Major Adair; four pieces of light artillery, Captain French; Fifteenth Arkansas, Colonel Gee; two companies of Alabama Battalion, Major Garvin; and the Tennessee Battalion, Colonel Browder. The brigade organization was not preserved regularly beyond this point. The next commands in order were the Fifty-first Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Massie; Third Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Wells; first division of Green's battery, Captain Green; four pieces of light artillery, Captain Guy; Eighth Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Lyon; Seventh Texas, Colonel Gregg; Fifty-sixth Virginia, Captain Daviess; First Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton; second division of Green's battery, Lieutenant Perkins; Twenty-sixth Mississippi, Colonel Reynolds. Besides the Forty-second Tennessee, already mentioned, the Twentieth Mississippi, Thirty-sixth Virginia, and Twenty-sixth Tennessee, were also held in reserve. The Fiftieth Virginia was also in position on the left; as was Browder's battalion (Fifty-first Tennessee).

3 Bidwell's company of the Thirtieth Tennessee, and Beaumont's of the Fiftieth Tennessee.

4 Ross's company, 116 strong. Captain Stankiewitz had about twenty-five men in the field-work, with some light pieces.

5 Badeau's “Life of Grant,” vol. i., p. 36.

6 McClernand's first brigade, commanded by Colonel Oglesby, was formed of the Eighth, Eighteenth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois Regiments, Swartz's and Dresser's batteries, and four cavalry-companies. The Second Brigade, Colonel W. H. L. Wallace, included the Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-eighth Illinois Regiments; the Fourth Illinois Cavalry; the First Illinois Artillery, and McAllister's battery. The Third Brigade, Colonel McArthur, contained only the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Illinois.

7 “ Medical History of the War,” Part I., medical volume, Appendix, p. 34.

8 Lauman had the Second, Seventh, and Fourteenth Iowa; the Twenty-fifth and Fifty-sixth Indiana; Birge's regiment of sharp-shooters, and Stone's Missouri Battery. M. L. Smith had the Eighth Missouri and Eleventh Indiana; and Cook had the Seventh and Fiftieth Illinois, the Twelfth Iowa, the Fifty-second Indiana, and the Thirteenth Missouri.

9 His first brigade, commanded by Colonel Charles Cruft, comprised the Thirty-first and Forty-fourth Indiana Regiments, and the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky Regiments. Colonel John M. Thayer commanded a double brigade; the second, made up of the Forty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Fifty-eighth Illinois Regiments, and his own, the third, composed of the First Nebraska, and the Fifty-eighth, Sixty-eighth, and Seventy-sixth Ohio.

10 Badeau's “Life of Grant,” vol. i., p. 36.

11 Boynton's “History of the United States Navy,” and Hoppin's “Life of Foote,” give the Federal version of this conflict. Colonel Jordan shows conclusively, in his “Life of Forrest,” pages 67-69, the Federal superiority in armament.

12 Hoppin's “Life of Foote,” p. 222.

13 Howison's “History” (Southern Literary Messenger, 1862), p. 323.

14 Badeau's “Life of Grant,” vol. i., p. 46.

15 The Forty-second, Forty-ninth, and Fiftieth Tennessee; the two latter had been in the fort.

16 “Medical and surgical history of the War,” Part I., med. volume, Appendix, p. 28.

17 The force of the enemy is here over-estimated; and, so far as the gunboats are concerned, it is apparent that this was an error, but the damage done the fleet was not known to the Confederates.

18 Two days and a half after the surrender.

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