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[50] fall asleep standing in line of battle, when actually under fire. The position gained by Smith would enable him to take other of their intrenchments in reverse, or to advance under cover of a ridge directly upon their most important battery and fieldwork. Buckner declared that his post would certainly be attacked in the morning, and that he could not hold it half an hour; he thought they might yet fight their way out, with a loss of three-fourths of their number, but did not deem it right to sacrifice so large a proportion. These representations being undisputed, a surrender became inevitable. Yet Floyd, the sunset of whose career as Secretary of War had not appeared brilliant at the North, at once protested that he would never surrender. Buckner — who, for obvious reasons, was scarcely more popular with Kentucky Unionists than was Floyd with those of the Free States--presented no such obstacle. Floyd, therefore, turned the command over to Pillow, who passed it to Buckner, whose late superiors now devoted their attention to the means of escape. Two Rebel steamboats having arrived a little before daylight from above, Floyd filled them with his soldiers, especially those of his own brigade, and, a little before sunrise, cast off and steamed up the river, leaving the residue to their fate.1 Col. Forrest, with some 800 cavalry, escaped by the road up the immediate bank of the river, which was partly overflowed, and therefore deemed impracticable for infantry, but which Forrest's troopers appear to have traversed without difficulty or loss.

During the night, a negro had escaped from the Rebel lines, and given our leaders their first clear information of the straits of the enemy. Gen. Grant was therefore not surprised at receiving, about daylight, the following overture:

headquarters Fort Donelson, Feb. 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 at this post under my command. In that view, I suggest an armistice until 12 o'clock to-day.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. B. Buckner, Brig.-Gen. C. S. Army. To Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding U. S. forces near Fort Donelson.

The reply was hardly so diplomatic, but quite lucid — as follows:

Headquarters on the field. Fort Donelson, Feb. 16, 1862.
To Gen. S. B. Buckner:
Sir: Yours of this date, proposing an armistice and the appointment of commissioners to settle on the terms of capitulation, is just received.

No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted.

I propose to move immediately on your works.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Brig.-General Commanding.

Gen. Buckner's response closed the correspondence thus:

headquarters Dover (Tenn.), Feb. 16 1862.
Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army:
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, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.

I am, sir, your servant,

S. B. Buckner, Brig.-General C. S. Army.

1 Maj. W. M. Brown, 20th Miss., in his official report, says one of the boats did not appear to have over 50 men on board, and that Floyd took away about 1,500; but this is probably an under-estimate. As all would naturally wish to go, it is probable that all went who could.

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