ever. The total loss on the Louisville was six killed and eight or ten wounded. One of the other gunboats had some of her woodwork shot shot away, but was not materially damaged. The iron boats in action were: Louisville, Capt. B. M. Dove. St. Louis, Lieut.-Com. Paulding. Carondelet, Lieut.-Com. Kelte. Mound City, Lieut.-Com.-----. The other three boats were the wooden ones — Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga. There is a boat about to leave for Cairo, and I have concluded to mail this without awaiting the result of the final assault. Affairs look encouraging — the Fort is completely invested, and will probably be stormed either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The rebels have a flag flying from the Fort which is thought to be a black one.
Fort Donelson, Tenn., Monday, Feb. 17, 1862.My last letter closed with the doings of our troops up to Friday night, and at that point in the progress of the siege I will resume the history of events. Friday night was one of the severest description. The men being without tents, and in many cases without fire, suffered intensely. Hundreds were frost-bitten, and from facts related to me since the surrender by some of the rebels, I have no doubt but that many of our wounded men, who fell in the fight of Friday, and were unable to walk in, were actually frozen to death. This circumstance is a terrible one, and inexpressibly shocking, but there was no help for it. During the various conflicts of Friday, the scene was constantly changed from point to point, and not again visited by our troops. Men would fall at these places, and being unable to get away, were obliged to stay where they fell. In some cases, a few of our wounded were cared for by the rebels, although they were without fire, and could give them but little valuable assistance. Saturday morning opened cold and lowering, as if in sympathy with the bloody drama which its first gray beams inaugurated. All the day the tide of battle raged along the ground which had hitherto divided the hostile forces, and swallowed in its bloody depths more brave lives than were lost in all the days before. On the extreme right of the National line was Gen. McClernand's division, composed of three brigades, as follows:
First brigade--Col. Oglesby Commanding.Eighth Illinois, Lieut.-Col. Rhoades. Eighteenth Illinois, Col. Lawler. Twenty-ninth Illinois, Col. Reardon. Thirtieth Illinois, Lieut.-Col. Dennis. Thirty-first Illinois, Col. John A. Logan. Swartz and Dresser's batteries. Stewart's, Dollin's, O'Harnett's, and Carmichael's cavalry.
Second brigade--Col. W. H. L. Wallace.Eleventh Illinois, Lieut.-Col. Hart. Twentieth Illinois, Col. Marsh. Forty-fifth Illinois, Col. Smith. Forty-eighth Illinois, Col. Harney. Twenty-fifth Kentucky, Col. Shackleford. Taylor's and McAllister's batteries. Seventh Illinois cavalry, Capt. Kellogg. Fourth Illinois cavalry, Col. Dickey.
The Third brigade,as made up, is commanded by Gen. Payne, who, however, was not present. It has only two regiments: Eighth Wisconsin, Col. Murphy. Forty-ninth Illinois, Col. W. R. Morrison.
These three brigades occupied the entire ground from the centre of the National line to its extreme right. The balance of the line from the centre to the extreme left, was held by the second division under Gen. C. F. Smith. Early on the morning of Friday--almost before it was fairly light — the enemy poured forth in a mass of not less than three thousand men, and hurled themselves with tremendous force against the Forty-fifth and Twelfth Illinois regiments, that were nearly on the extreme right. Accompanying them were twelve batteries of artillery. The Forty-fifth and Twelfth sustained the shock manfully for a short time, and then withdrew. The Eighteenth and Ninth Illinois soon after came to their support, and for a short time held the enemy in check. Soon after, the Thirtieth, Thirty-first, and Eleventh Illinois regiments, the Eighth Missouri, Fifty-eighth Ohio, and Twenty-fifth Kentucky, and Willard's battery were added to the National force, and the fight became of terrific proportions. McAllister's battery took position on an eminence, and for four hours their heavy twenty-four-pounders were not silent for a single instant. During all this time they were exposed to a heavy fire from the rebels, who had erected batteries so as to command McAllister's position from three points--two directly in front, and one on his right. Taylor's battery stood a little to the rear of the other, and somewhat to the left — the other National batteries were distributed at various points along the line, as the nature of the ground would permit — all kept the air incessantly filled with their music, and with showers of grape and shell. This is but an outline of the position of the National forces, for there can be strictly no correct sketch given, as at no time during the fight were the regiments stationary. Now they pushed forward, again fell back, withdrew, and were replaced by others. The fight itself was prolonged and desperate. Now it rolled over a hill, anon poured along a ravine, always in the woods, and always marking its track in characters of blood. The conflict was not conducted according to any particular military plan — men stationed themselves behind trees, logs, rocks, anything that would afford shelter, and blazed away whenever a hostile head appeared. The Twenty-fifth Kentucky regiment was on the extreme right, and was attacked by a swarm of the enemy with such vigor that they broke and fled in disorder. At another part of the