or two miles. Skirmishing by sharpshooters on both sides was maintained with spirit throughout the day, mainly from behind the trees of tie great forest, which at most points covered our army and the space between the hostile lines.
The weather was thus far like a clear, bright, Northern October, and our men in the highest spirits.
with his gunboats--four iron-clad, and two wooden — and it was determined that he should attempt to silence and carry the water batteries.
He did so at 3 P. M. next day, steadily advancing with his iron-clads to within 400 yards of the Rebels
' great guns; when, by an hour's desperate fighting, he had driven most of the enemy's gunners from their batteries, and seemed on the point of complete success.
Just here, however, the wheel of his flag-ship St. Louis
and the tiller of its consort, the Louisville
, were shot away, rendering both boats unmanageable, and causing them to drift helplessly down the river.
All his iron-clads had endured serious damage: the St. Louis
having received 59 shots, and each of the others about half so many, with an aggregate loss of 54 killed and wounded. Of his twelve guns, one had burst, while the enemy had brought over 20--most of them very heavy — to bear upon him from Donelson
, as well as the water batteries, to which the gunners returned on observing his predicament, and again poured in their hottest fire.
, perceiving victory hopeless, gave up the contest, and retired with his boats down the river, badly crippled.
decided to complete the investment of the fort, at least on that side, while he fortified his weak points, and awaited the return of the gunboats in fighting condition.
, however, not concurring in that view of the matter, decided to assume at once a vigorous offensive, while his men were elated with their defeat of the gunboats.
heavily on his extreme left, commanded by Pillow
, and ordering Buckner
in the center, to attack likewise, he made a desperate effort to beat back our investing and augmenting forces, and open for is army a line of retreat up river toward Nashville
The attack of Pillow
on our right, held by Gen. McClernand
, was impetuous, daring, and persistent.
After two hours desperate fighting, McClernand
was worsted and fell back on our center, sending urgently for reenforcements, but still contesting every inch of ground.
Two or three of his regiments were badly broken, and several more reported out of ammunition; which should not have been, since it was not yet noon.
Our men, however, had the bad habit generally of using ammunition wastefully, loading and firing as fast as possible, even when there was not one chance in a thousand of hitting an enemy.
The Rebels usually economized their cartridges, firing only when they could do so with effect.
, still successful and slowly advancing, about noon joined hands with Buckner
in the center, and took command of their united forces, when a chargee was made by Forrest
's cavalry on our infantry supporting a