The day before Grant attacked Fort Donelson, the troops had had a march of twenty miles, part of it during a bitter cold night. Grant called a council of war, to consider whether they should attack the  fort at once, or should give the troops a day or two's rest. The officers were in favor of resting. Grant said nothing till they had all given their opinion; then he said: ‘There is a deserter come in this morning — let us see him, and hear what he has to say.’ When he came in, Grant looked into his knapsack. ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Fort Donelson.’ ‘Six days rations in your knapsack, have you not, my man?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘When were they served out?’ ‘Yesterday morning.’ ‘Were the same rations served out to all the troops?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Gentlemen,’ said Grant, ‘troops do not have six days rations served out to them in a fort if they mean to stay there. These men mean to retreat — not to fight. We will attack at once.’
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.