Colonel Wood's report.
headquarters Twelfth Iowa regiment, Fort Donelson, February 18, 1862.sir: In obedience to General Order No. 2, Headquarters Second Division Army in the Field, Brigadier-General Smith Commanding, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Iowa infantry volunteers in the recent attack on Fort Donelson, Tennessee. On Wednesday, the twelfth instant, the regiment, being a part of Colonel J. Cook's brigade, Second division, marched from Fort Henry to the neighborhood of Fort Donelson, and formed line of battle to the left of the Dover road, and slept on their arms, ready for instant action. Thursday morning, at half-past 8 o'clock, we marched down to and up the Dover road about half a mile, when we marched to the left and formed line of battle. Deploying our flanking companies as skirmishers, we marched forward down a long slope that lay in front, the grape, shot, and shell flying thickly around us all the time. Our skirmishers advanced to the top of the hill that lay in front; the battalion halted at two thirds of the distance to the top of the hill, where it was protected from the enemy's fire by the ridge in front. It was but a few minutes after our skirmishers reached the top of the hill or ridge in front, that private Edward C. Buckner, of company A, was shot dead, a ball taking effect in the eye. No further damage occurred to our regiment that day, though the enemy kept up a constant fire. The following night was very stormy, and as we were ordered not to make fire, the regiment suffered from the wet and cold. Early on Friday morning, skirmishing again began between our men and the enemy, which was kept up all day. Two of our men were struck during the day with spent balls, but not disabled. At nightfall eight companies retired, built fires, but passed an unpleasant night. Companies D and F remained as a guard over the ground we had occupied through the day. Saturday, until noon, a random firing was kept up with the enemy. During this and the preceding days, we were nobly supported by the coolness, bravery, and efficiency of a portion of Birge's sharpshooters, who cooperated with us. Our right flank was protected by the Fiftieth Illinois, Colonel Bane commanding. Our left was unsupported, except by our own skirmishers and the sharpshooters. At about two o'clock P. M., our regiment, the Fiftieth Illinois, and the sharpshooters were ordered to make a feint attack, and draw the enemy's fire. The men went cheerfully to the work assigned them, and kept up a warm fire on the enemy, whilst Col. Lauman's brigade, on our left, advanced and got possession of part of the enemy's outworks, and hoisted the American flag thereon. We were ordered to their support. Moving rapidly by the left flank, we charged over the down timber which the enemy had fallen for their protection, whilst a galling fire of musketry and grape poured in among us, wounding some eight or ten of our men. On reaching the breastworks, some confusion occurred by the retreat of a portion of Colonel Lauman's brigade, who, having expended all their ammunition, were compelled to fall back. Order was immediately restored, and we opened a warm fire on the enemy, who poured a sharp fire of grape upon us from their battery on our right, and of musketry on our front. We fought the enemy for two hours, advancing on them into a ravine inside their breastworks. At length we were withdrawn outside the breastworks, having, during this time, one man killed and twenty-seven wounded. During all this time, Lieutenant-Colonel Coulter behaved with the utmost coolness and bravery, performing duties regardless of the danger to which he was exposed. Major Brodtbeck and Sergeant-Major Morring aided much in rallying the men. When we began to march to support
Thomas J. Neushon, A. A. General:
Thomas J. Neushon, A. A. General: