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[183] on the outposts, it was certain death for a man to show his head. A picked regiment from Illinois, nine hundred strong, acting as skirmishers and sharpshooters, fired with deadly aim at every living object exposed, while the keen eyes that flashed along the rifle-barrels of Tennessee and Kentucky, allowed no Federal invader to escape the well-directed bullets which flew from them, Still the casualties were few.

Whether the gunboats commenced their attack upon the Fort this day, my informant does not know, but his impression is, that they did.

Thursday witnessed a repetition of the events of Wednesday, varied perhaps with the exchange of a few volleys from the infantry behind the intrenchments. The shot and shell of the Federals made sad rents in our ranks, and in return they received a compound interest of destruction. Great numbers were killed and wounded, the latter, on our side, being sent to the little town of Dover mentioned above, from whence they Were removed to other and safer localities.

Friday was another warm day, the enemy's assaults being fierce and more vigorous than before. The cannonading was terrible; the rain of shot and shell incessant. The air was filled with flying missiles, and the rattle of musketry now sounded ominously along the entire line, not continuous, but at intervals, as occasion made necessary. The gunboats, said to be seven in number, again opened fire, and, in the language of the narrator, “blazed away as if they would tear everything loose.” During the day a desperate charge was made by two Illinois regiments upon the Second Kentucky and the Tenth Tennessee, but with equal desperation they were met by the brave confederates, who poured volley after volley into their ranks, and drove them back to their intrenchments with almost sickening slaughter. This seemingly satisfied the enemy of the impracticability of making a breach anywhere in our lines, and for that day at least no other attempt of the kind was made.

Saturday, however, was a glorious day; glorious for the indomitable daring and perseverance displayed by our troops, and glorious in its results.

There was our little army of eighteen thousand, composed of the men of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, confronted by an army of at least fifty thousand of the best fighting stock of the North and West, well drilled, well armed, well fed, and well officered. What a spectacle must have been presented when that mere handful, as it were, stood face to face with an enemy three times their number, and yet faltered not in the determination to “do or die” for the cause in which they were enlisted. How great, too, must have been their moral as well as physical heroism when the order to “charge” ran through their lines, and they dashed into legions, whose ample proportions seemed capable of overwhelming and crushing them out of existence.

Our troops were under the command of Floyd, Buckner, B. R. Johnson and Pillow. Aligned behind their entrenchments, three o'clock on the morning of Saturday found them resting on their arms, awaiting the decisive movements which were to determine the fate of the day. The snow lay upon the ground to the depth of three inches--soon to be the pall of the bridegroom death to many a brave fellow — and a cold, blinding sleet came slanting down like a shower of lances. At early dawn the firing commenced, as usual, with the artillery. Fortress and battery responded to each other with fearful vindictiveness, and every man felt from that hour that the time had arrived when the mettle of the respective antagonists was to be put to a final test. Time progressed. It became a military emergency that the right wing of the Federals should be turned. They were thirty-five thousand strong, and posted on the surrounding hills, under Gen. Grant. This movement took place in the morning. Artillery, cavalry and infantry, under command of Gens. Pillow, Floyd, and Buckner, in battle array, passed out of the intrenchments, and the struggle commenced. The onset was terrible. Our left wing, numbering not more than eight or ten thousand, fought as if they were irresistible, and the Federals everywhere gave back before their impetuous advance. Charges were made upon the enemy's intrenchments at various points, and in every instance they were driven in confusion from the works. Four of the Federal batteries, several hundred stand of arms, and three hundred prisoners, were captured. The latter are still in our possession, and by this time are probably in a confederate prison.

The charge which resulted thus successfully took place between twelve and one o'clock in the day, the principal regiments engaged in it being Floyd's brigade and several from Mississippi and Tennessee.

It was in one of these charges that Lieut. Duquecron received his wound, and from that time he is consequently unable to state anything of “his own personal knowledge.” From others he afterwards learned that later in the day — towards evening — the Federals receiving, according to their own account, a reinforcement of nearly thirty thousand men, made an attack upon our right wing, and were again repulsed with tremendous slaughter, both of our own and their troops. Subsequently, while lying in a temporary hospital, he was informed that as the enemy were hourly increasing in numbers, the probability was that the Fort would have to be abandoned or surrendered.

Of the circumstance of the surrender on Sunday morning he knows nothing beyond the fact that the enemy's army completely surrounded our own in the shape of a crescent, whose either end rested on Cumberland River, to the right and left of Fort Donelson. Through this line a part of our troops may have cut their way to Nashville or elsewhere, but his impression is, that a considerable number of those who made their escape did so by means of boats with which they crossed the Cumberland from Dover and other points in the rear of our position.

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John B. Floyd (3)
J. Pillow (2)
E. C. Buckner (2)
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U. S. Grant (1)
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