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[47] at discretion.1 Our loss in this conflict, in addition to that on the Essex, was 1 killed and 9 wounded on the Cincinnati; none on our other vessels. Gen. Tilghman says our total casualties were reported to him at 73, while his own were 21. Com. Foote reports his captures at 60 or 70 men, besides the General and his staff, and a hospital-ship containing 60 invalids, with barracks, tents, &c., sufficient for 15,000 men.2

Fort Donelson--two miles below Dover, where the Cumberland makes a short bend westward from its northerly course — was a much larger and stronger work than Fort Henry, covering a level plateau of nearly a hundred acres, which surmounts the steep bluff, 100 feet high, with two strong water batteries on the bank at its base, of 9 and 3 guns respectively, one of them a 10-inch columbiad, three 64-pounders, and the rest 32-pounders; all protected by very heavy earthworks, and all bearing on the approach up the river. The fort itself had but 8 heavy guns mounted in addition to the field batteries of its garrison. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow3 had been in command there4 until the arrival5 of Gen. John B. Floyd,6 when the number of its defenders had been swelled by successive reenforcements to about 15,0007 men. Most of them were Tennesseans, with about 2,000 Mississippians, 1,200 Virginians, 1,000 Kentuckians, and a thin regiment each from Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. The fort was commanded by two or three points farther inland, within cannon-shot; the country rolling to the bluffs of the Tennessee: some of the hills midway having an elevation of about 300 feet. Deep ravines, with steep, rocky sides, especially near the bluffs of the Cumberland, separated these hills, and, with the tall, dense, primitive forests generally prevailing, afforded admirable positions for defensive warfare. A heavy and difficult abatis in good part surrounded the fortress landward, rendering assault at many points all but impracticable.

Gen. Grant, bringing Smith's division across the Tennessee, and sending an officer down that river to turn back all vessels ascending it with troops or supplies, crossed from Fort Henry8 to the neighborhood of Donelson, gradually extending his lines9 so as to invest the Rebel stronghold nearly from river to river. by a line some three miles long, and 100 to 300 rods distant from the Rebel rifle-pits and batteries, which formed an irregular crescent, encircling their fort at a distance of one

1 Gen. Grant's official dispatch says: “In a little over one hour, all the batteries were silenced.” Com. Foote says: “The Rebel flag was hauled down after a very severe and closely contested action of one hour and fifteen minutes.” Gen. Tilghman says he surrendered “after an engagement of two hours and ten minutes.” The time probably seemed longer on that side than on ours.

2 Tilghman says he surrendered 66 beside his staff (11), and 16 on the hospital-boat; and adds that his escaping force was overtaken, some three miles from Fort Henry, by our cavalry, who were easily repulsed, but who picked up about 20 of his stragglers, while several of his field-guns were lost on the way, owing to poor teams and bad roads.

3 Of Nashville, Tennessee.

4 Since Jan. 18.

5 Feb. 13.

6 Of Virginia.

7 The Richmond Dispatch has a letter from one of the officers, dated Augusta. Ga., Feb. 22, who says: “Our troops number about 18,000.” The Nashville Patriot, of about Feb. 19, gives a list of the regiments present, with the strength of each, which foots up 13,829, and is evidently incomplete.

8 Feb. 12.

9 Feb. 13.

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