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[149] the Forty-fifth Illinois infantry, Col. John E. Smith commanding; the Forty-eighth Illinois infantry, Col. I. N. Hayne commanding; the Fourth Illinois cavalry, Col. T. Lyle Dickey commanding; Capt. Ezra Taylor's Chicago light battery “B,” (First Illinois artillery,) four six-pounder field-guns and two twelve-pounder howitzers; and Capt. E. McAllister's battery of three twenty-four-pounder howitzers, (First Illinois artillery;) the whole constituting the Second brigade of the First division, commanded by Brig.-Gen. John A. McClernand, and containing about three thousand four hundred effective men of all arms.

About noon of the eleventh inst., while in camp at Fort Henry, I received orders from Gen. McClernand to put the infantry and artillery of my brigade on the march, and move out three or four miles on the telegraph road toward this place. At four o'clock P. M. the forces designated marched out, and encamped on the road, four miles from Fort Henry. At sunrise on the next day, (the twelfth inst.,) I was joined by Col. Dickey's cavalry, and marched with my whole command by the telegraph road toward Fort Donelson, keeping up frequent communication with Col. Oglesby's First brigade, which was moving at the same time by the right road, Col. Dickey's cavalry reconnoitring the country as the column marched. Soon after noon I came within sight of the enemy's encampments on the opposite side of the creek, about a mile in advance. Having caused the road to be reconnoitred, and finding the creek impassable on account of back-water from the Cumberland, I moved to the right, up the creek, and effected a junction with Col. Oglesby's brigade in the low grounds west of Fort Donelson, when heavy wooded hills intervened between us and the enemy's position. Col. Dickey's cavalry was again thrown forward, and occupied the heights, and thoroughly scouted and reconnoitred the grounds in front. Col. Oglesby's brigade moved up the railroad to the south of Fort Donelson, while I threw my brigade by its front into the heights, dragging the artillery up the steep wooded hills. After further reconnoitring, the brigade advanced and occupied a ridge south of the centre of the enemy's fortifications, with its right resting on the left of Col. Oglesby's brigade. Some slight skirmishing occurred here, and after resting in this position for an hour or more, and further reconnoitring, in accordance with the orders of Gen. McClernand I moved the brigade by the right flank, following Col. Oglesby's brigade across the valley towards the left of the enemy's position. By this time it was dark, and Col. Oglesby's brigade being involved in ground which had not been reconnoitred, and which was very hilly, and covered with a dense growth of underbrush, I was ordered by the General commanding the division to return to the position on the west of the valley, which I did, moving by the left flank, when my brigade rested for the night. At daylight on the morning of the thirteenth, the enemy opened fire with his artillery from the inside redoubt. Soon afterwards, by order of Gen. McClernand, I marched the Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-fifth regiments, and Taylor's battery, to the right across the valley, leaving McAllister's battery, supported by the Forty-eighth Illinois infantry, on the ridge west of the valley, and ordered Col. Dickey's cavalry to move in rear, with detachments thrown toward the right, to reconnoitre the Cumberland and Dover. Reaching the high grounds east of the valley, Taylor's battery was put in position on the road leading up to Dover, where the left of the enemy's lines rested behind earthworks — intrenchments strengthened by strong abattis in front. The whole force continued to move steadily to the right, Col. Oglesby's brigade heading the artillery of his brigade and Taylor's battery on the road, while the infantry was in rear of and near to the road. Along this road the artillery advanced, taking successive positions to the right, and keeping up a constant cannonade on the enemy's works on the right and in the middle redoubt across the valley. The open space afforded a fine opportunity for artillery practice at a long range, and the fire of Taylor's, Schwartz's and Dresser's guns, warmly returned by those of the enemy in the middle redoubt and the works on the left, presented a rare example of the use of that arm of the service.

About noon I was ordered by Gen. McClernand to detach the Forty-eighth regiment, (Colonel Hayne,) to operate with the Seventeenth Illinois, (Maj. Smith commanding,) and the Forty-ninth Illinois, (Col. Morrison,) of the Third brigade, in making an assault on the enemy's middle redoubt, on the hill west of the valley, supported by the fire of McAllister's guns.

This force was under the command of Col. Hayne, as senior Colonel. They formed in line and advanced in fine order across the intervening ravines, and mounted the steep heights upon which these works are situated, in the most gallant manner, and under a heavy fire of musketry from the enemy, posted in the lines of the earthwork. They advanced up the hill, delivering their fire with coolness and precision. The line not being long enough to envelop the works, by order of Gen. McClernand, I detached the Forty-fifth Illinois (Col. Smith) to their support on the right. This regiment advanced in beautiful order down the slope, across the valley, and up the opposite steep, with skirmishers deployed in front, and were soon warmly engaged. These operations had given the enemy time to reinforce their position with strong bodies of infantry from his reserves in the rear, and field artillery, which opened a destructive fire on the advancing line. The roll of musketry showed the enemy in powerful force behind his earthwork; notwithstanding, our forces charged gallantly up the heights to the very foot of the works, which were rendered impassable by the sharp, strong points of brushwood in which it was built. All the regiments engaged in this daring attempt suffered more or less from the enemy's fire. In the mean time the enemy began to show in strength in his intrenchments in front of Col. Oglesby's brigade. Schwartz's battery was advanced along the road to within three hundred yards of the works, but being without canister


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Oglesby (8)
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