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[175] in the face of immense odds, and with a comparatively small loss — the number of killed and wounded would not probably exceed sixty or seventy men.

Soon after the taking of this work, batteries were brought up, a rebel gun was silenced that had persistently, but with no effect, been playing all the afternoon on the National lines, and preparations were completed for a renewal of hostilities, in the morning, upon the next line of breast-works.

Thus ended the bloodiest day of all in the history of the siege of Fort Donelson. No day has ever before seen in this war a conflict more determined, or an endurance more unyielding. There was at no time a doubt as to the result, or a heart that quailed as it entered the lines, where the bullets fell like a hailstorm. Even the sight of the savage wounds, or the still more sickening one of the ghastly faces of the dead, seemed to have no effect upon our men. It did not unnerve or unman them. They fought on just as tranquilly as though the hideous angel of death had been a thousand leagues away. When a man was wounded, his comrades would help him to the rear, and then return instantly to their position, and resume their fighting as if nothing had happened. Of cases of individual daring there were a multitude, some of which I hope to present in another letter.

All the regiments fought gallantly, with, perhaps, one or two exceptions. The Kentucky regiment which retreated has but lately been recruited; the men are undisciplined, and lack that confidence in themselves and each other which is obtained by military training. The Forty-fifth Illinois is also accused of having made a rather precipitate and unwarranted retreat, but probably they have sufficient reasons to satisfy themselves at least, and possibly the public.

The next morning, Sunday, Gen. Buckner, commander of the Fort, to the great astonishment of everybody sent out a request for a cessation of hostilities until noon, that some arrangement might be agreed upon for a surrender of the position. Gen. Grant required an unconditional surrender, and this, after some grumbling on the part of the rebel commander, was agreed to. Soon after the Stars and Stripes were floating from the parapet of the Fort, and swung gracefully a little later from the cupola of the court-house in the little town of Dover.

Appearance of Fort Donelson.

The first thing that strikes one upon entering Fort Donelson, is its immense strength. Fort Henry was thought to be almost a Gibraltar, but its strength is weakness when compared to that of Donelson. Along Dover, the Cumberland River runs nearly north. A half-mile or so below it makes a short bend to the west for some hundred yards or so, and then turns again, and pursues its natural course due north. Right in this bend on the left bank of the river, and commanding it to the north, are two water-batteries, side by side, and nearly down to the water's edge.

The main battery has nine guns, all looking straight down the river. The left-hand gun is a ten-inch columbiad — the rest are thirty-two-pounders. The other battery has three guns — the middle one a formidable rifled sixty-four-pound columbiad — the others, sixty-four-pound howitzers. All these guns are protected by breast-works of immense thickness, the tops of which are composed of coffee-sacks filled with earth. Back of these batteries the shore rises with a pretty steep ascent till it forms a hill, whose top is nearly or quite one hundred feet above the water. On the top of this hill is Fort Donelson, an irregular work, which encloses about one hundred acres. The only guns in the Fort are four light siege-guns, a twelve-pound howitzer, two twenty-four-pound guns, and one sixty-four-pound howitzer. West of the Fort, in the direction of the place occupied by Gen. Grant, and south towards Gen. McClernand's position, the country is a succession of hills. For several hundred yards around the Fort the timber has all been cut down so as to afford a fair sweep for the confederate guns. Surrounding the whole Fort and town, and distant from the former about a mile, is a trench for riflemen, which runs completely around from the river-bank above Dover almost to a point near the river some distance below the water-batteries. Directly west of the Fort, and within the rifle-pit, are formidable abattis, which would render an advance from that direction almost an impossibility.

Soon after entering the Fort, we found that Gen. Pillow had been in command, but, in company with Gen. Floyd, had that morning made a precipitate retreat up the Cumberland upon a rebel transport. Accompanying Floyd was his brigade, consisting of the Fifty-first and Fifty-seventh regiments Virginia infantry; all the rest of the garrison, some twelve thousand men, remained, and were captured. The number of guns captured was about one hundred and forty-six--all of which were batteries of light artillery, except the heavy guns mounted in the Fort and water--batteries. There were also from ten to fifteen thousand stand of small arms, the larger part of which are shot-guns, rifles, and flint-lock muskets.

The regiments which surrendered were as follows:

Col. Gants' battalion, Ninth Tennessee cavalry, eight hundred men.

Forrest's brigade, Louisiana cavalry, one thousand one hundred men.

Forty-ninth Tennessee infantry, Col. Bailey.

Thirtieth Tennessee, Col. J. M. Head.

Fifty-third Tennessee, Col. Vorhees.

Fiftieth Tennessee, Col. Abernethy.

Tenth Tennessee, Col. Hieman.

First battalion, Col. Colms.

Fifty-first Tennessee, Col. Suggs.

Fourteenth Mississippi, Col.----.

Fourth Mississippi, Col. Drake.

Third Mississippi, Col.----.

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