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[179] up the high hill on which the redoubt was situated, some two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet in height, covered with brush and stumps, all the time receiving a galling fire of grape, shell and musketry, with a precision which would have done them credit on the parade-ground. The breastworks were nearly reached, when Col. Morrison, who was gallantly leading on his men, was struck by a musket-ball. The captain of the company on his right also fell, and the Forty-ninth fell into some confusion; but unappalled, the Seventeenth still gallantly pressed forward, and penetrated even to the very foot of the works. But it was not in the power of man to scale the abattis before them. Brush piled upon brush, with sharp points fronting them everywhere, met them wherever they turned; and so, after a few interchanges of musketry with the swarming regiments which had been concentrated here, the order for retiring was given. It was done in good order, by filing off to the left and obliquing into the woods below; but many a gallant soldier was left behind underneath the intrenchments they had vainly sought to mount. They were not, however, destined to die unavenged. Scarcely had our retiring columns got out of range, ere Taylor's Chicago battery opened on the swarming rebel masses, with shell and shrapnel with fearful effect. Every gun was aimed by the Captain himself, and every one of them did honor to his marksmanship.

About the same time that these stirring scenes were being enacted on our right wing, the enemy made a formidable sortie on our left. The Twenty-fifth Indiana, one of the regiments of General Smith's division, having at one time during the course of the day got into an exposed position, the enemy promptly availed themselves of the opportunity afforded them, and made a most formidable sortie from their intrenchments. Although taken at a disadvantage, the Twenty-fifth met the advancing forces bravely, and although suffering severely, with the aid of other regiments, which promptly proceeded to their assistance, drove them back to their hiding places. The lesson seemed to be most salutary. No further sorties were made in this direction.

During the day much uneasiness was felt as to the whereabouts of the gunboat fleet. It was, therefore, with no little gratification that information was at last received, about noon on Thursday, that the avant courier of the fleet, the Carondelet, Lieut. Walke, had arrived below the Fort. In the afternoon the report of her guns was received with cheer upon cheer by the troops encircling the beleaguered Fort.

Lieut. Walke's operations this afternoon, although partaking more of the nature of a reconnoissance, were considered by the rebel officers, as I have since ascertained, as one of the most formidable attacks they had to encounter. Hidden behind a jutting promontory of the river-bank, the Carondelet itself secure from the heavier shots of the columbiads of the Fort, hurled shell upon shell into the water-batteries of the fortifications. The commander of these batteries has recently informed me that the fire of the Carondelet did more actual damage to his guns than the heavy bombardment following the succeeding day.

The night of Thursday will long be remembered by the troops surrounding Donelson. The weather, which for the two previous days had been so mild and genial, toward the close of the afternoon became chilly and lowering. About six o'clock a heavy rain set in. During the warmth of the day before, when momentarily expecting to meet the enemy, whole regiments had cast aside their overcoats and blankets, and without tents, and, in the great majority of cases, occupying positions rendering a fire a sure mark for the enemy's batteries, with nothing to eat but cold rations, their condition was deplorable indeed.

To add to their discomfort, when thoroughly saturated with rain, a pelting snow-storm set in, continuing all night. As can be imagined, with an enemy in front, continually annoying and annoyed, but little sleep was indulged in. The only demonstration of importance on the part of the rebels, during the night, was a formidable attempt on the right wing to obtain Taylor's battery. The Twentieth Indiana, lying in the woods below it, however, after a brisk skirmish in the midnight darkness, sent the intruders back to their fortifications again.

The weather of Friday was in striking contrast to that of the morning previous. The ground was covered with snow to the depth of a couple of inches, and a breeze that would have done honor to the Arctic regions, swept across the desolate ridge upon which our army was lying. The inhabitants of the country roundabout averred that they had rarely experienced so severe a day. Still was our force on the outer edge of the formidable works, that, wander where one might, he was sure to find rising up before him. The entrance to these works was still to be gained — the location even of the door was still to be found.

I must admit, that riding along our lines on Friday again, and witnessing the formidable field-works of the enemy, (between five and six miles in extent,) which reared themselves everywhere to the front of us, I feared that the task of reducing them would be at the best a matter of considerable time. But, cold and hungry, and with garments stiff with frost, the soldiers were still hopeful and firm. I did not find a single discouraged man, or one, if he were so, who would admit it. The universal sentiment was, as bluff Col. Oglesby expressed it, “We came here to take that fort, and we will take it,” and it is this self-same spirit of dogged determination, and steady, long-enduring courage, peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon of the North, that at last outwore the perhaps more impetuous bravery of the opposing force.

Nothing of special note transpired along the lines on Friday; the sharpshooters, notwithstanding the cold, ensconced themselves in their old positions on the hillsides, and were as great a terror as ever to the gunners of the batteries above them. Cavender, Taylor, Woods, (of McAllister's

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