A Reminiscence of Donelson
.--A correspondent of the Memphis Appeal
made the following statement, on the authority of a member of Congress who was one of the Fort Donelson Investigation Committee
On Saturday night, before the surrender, a council of war was called.
, and a number of brigadiers, composed this body.
There was much confusion and exciting debate for a while.
Some thought it necessary to surrender, and some did not. It was midnight, and no definite understanding was come to. General Floyd
, seeing this, dismissed the council, requesting Pillow
The three sat down gloomily by the fire, to ponder over the sad aspect of affairs.
A long silence ensued.
At last Floyd
Well, gentlemen, it remains with us to decide this matter, and we must — do it at once.
It is now midnight, and if we retreat we haven't got a minute to lose.
“I say retreat,” said Pillow
“I say surrender I We have shed enough blood already to no purpose,” said Buckner
“Well, gentlemen,” said Floyd
, “I see you are still divided; and as I have the casting vote, I will settle the matter at once.
I favor a surrender myself, provided the duty does not devolve upon me. I cannot surrender, because the United States Government have indicted me for treason, and the probability is that if they were to get me they would hang me. So, you see, the thing is impossible.
I transfer the command to you, General.”
“Well, gentlemen,” said Pillow
, “I'm in the same fix as yourself.
have got me indicted for shipping guns and munitions of war to the confederate government.
So, you see, I can't surrender either.
They would hang me as quick as they would you; and if you are excusable, I guess I am, too. So I transfer my right of command to you, General Buckner
bowed, but said nothing.
At that moment a noise was heard without.
The door opened, and the courier announced an officer who desired admittance.
He was ordered to show him in; and the next moment Colonel Forrest
, all splashed with mud and water, with high-topped boots and an old slouched hat, made his appearance.
He walked to the fireplace, and seated himself without saying a word.
After a few moments, Floyd
Well, Colonel, have you any thing important to communicate, that you come here at this late hour, or has your curiosity led you to pay us this visit in order to find out what we have decided upon?
“Both,” replied Forrest
dryly; then rising from his chair, he said:
But is it possible, gentlemen, as I have already heard whispered this night, that you intend to surrender?
“Yes,” was the reply.
“We have just arrived at that conclusion.”
“But,” said Forrest
, “there is no occasion for it, gentlemen.
The whole army can easily escape, without the loss of a man. Not an hour ago I crossed the river, on my horse, where it was not waist-deep.
I crossed it going on horseback, and waded it coming back.
It is free from Yankee pickets also, and there is no danger to be feared.”
“Yes; but, Colonel
,” said General Floyd
, “my scouts have reconnoitred the entire river, and an officer who arrived not half an hour ago told me that he had tested the river everywhere, and no spot had he found that was fordable.”
“I don't care, General, if he did,” said Forrest
; “he told you a d — d lie, as I am ready to swear that I waded the river not half an hour ago, as my wet clothes will testify.
And now, gentlemen, as it is getting late, it is high time you should be acting.
Will you take my advice, and make your escape?”
“No,” was the reply, “it is too late.”
“I have one request to make,” said Forrest
; “I have a fine regiment of cavalry here, and I want permission to take it out. Grant
me this much, and I'm off.”
nodded his head, when Forrest
bolted out of the house, took his command, crossed the river at the aforesaid place, and made his escape without the loss of a man.