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[195] being alarmed, two thirds of them have fled, and, having expressed my views and intentions to the Mayor and Hon. Cave Johnson, at their request I have issued a proclamation assuring all peaceably disposed persons that they may with safety resume their business avocations, requiring only the military stores and equipments to be given up, and holding the authorities responsible that this shall be done without reservation.

I left Fort Donelson yesterday with the Conestoga, Lieut. Commanding Phelps, and the Cairo, Lieut. Commanding Bryant, on an armed reconnoissance, bringing with me Col. Webster of the Engineer Corps, and chief of Gen. Grant's staff, who, with Lieut. Commanding Phelps, took possession of the principal fort and hoisted the Union flag at Clarksville.

A Union sentiment manifested itself as we came up the river.

The rebels have retreated to Nashville, having set fire, against the remonstrances of the citizens, to the splendid railroad-bridge across the Cumberland River.

I return to Fort Donelson to-day for another gunboat and six or eight mortar-boats, with which I propose to proceed up the Cumberland.

The rebels all have a terror of the gunboats. One of them, a short distance above Fort Donelson, had previously fired an iron rolling-mill belonging to Hon. John Bell, which had been used by the rebels.

A. H. Foote, Flag-Officer, Commanding Naval Forces, Western Waters.

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