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[419] splendid execution by shelling the retreating rebels so long as they were within range.

Reenforcements were promptly sent from Fort Henry by Col. Lowe, as soon as the approach of the rebels was telegraphed him, but they arrived at three o'clock next morning, too late to participate in the glory, as well as loss, of the gallant Eighty-third.

Forrest admits a loss of two hundred killed, including one Alabama colonel, left where he fell (on the very steps of Col. Harding's headquarters) while boldly leading a charge, besides several other officers; his wounded must exceed that number. Of the latter, we have in our hands over sixty, including three captains and several lieutenants. Forrest's son is reported dangerously wounded. Woodward is also said to be wounded. Gen. Wheeler was at first reported killed, but the body proved to be that of Colonel McNary, above mentioned. Our loss is comparatively small, but includes some of the finest officers in the Eighty-third. Capt. P. E. Reed, of company A, and Quartermaster Bissell are killed. Capts. McClanahan, of company B, and Gillson, of company E, are wounded. Lieuts. Moore, of the battery, and Sykes, of company I, Eighty-third, are wounded. Fourteen of our men are killed and fifty-one wounded--a few fatally. Two officers and twenty-seven men of the Fifth Iowa cavalry, with several of the Eighty-third, and a number of Captain Flood's men were captured. The men were paroled and have returned, and the officers — with whom paroling is “played out,” as you are aware — managed to escape. One of them, Lieut. Lene, spiked one of their guns before leaving, and made his escape on one of their best horses. He reports them in a sorry condition, destitute of ammunition and of food, save what they could glean from inhabitants along the line of their retreat. One of our men, paroled, reports that they gave him nothing to eat, and gave as a reason that they had nothing — the men having fasted since the morning before the battle--thirty-six hours. They left one hundred and fifty of their dead for our men to bury. Among them were many mere boys. I saw one, with his brains oozing from a ragged hole in his narrow forehead, who could not have been more than fourteen; but, except that of Col. McNary, I sought in vain for a physiognomy indicating any thing but brutality and a total lack of ordinary intelligence. I was particularly struck with the strange and vivid contrast between rebel common soldiers and our own, as illustrated by these. I would not have admitted it except on the testimony of my own senses.

Although I think this is the last attempt Forrest or Wheeler will make in this vicinity, it is to be regretted that we have not cavalry enough to follow up this brilliant repulse by the capture or destruction of the whole force, any thing short of which is not complete victory.


Richmond Whig account.

front of Fort Donelson, February 3.
The booming of the cannon has scarcely ceased as I snatch a moment to inform you of one of the most hotly contested fights of the war. And desperate as the fighting was, strange to say the loss on either side was insignificant. The enemy was protected by his breastworks, and our troops by the excitement and wide firing of the foe. About the last of January, Gen. Wheeler, fresh from the Cumberland, and fatigued with a difficult campaign, started out in his ambulance one night, and, travelling constantly, arrived the next evening in Franklin, where he had ordered Gen. Forrest, Wharton, and Major Hodgson (commanding part of the First brigade) to rendezvous. Taking up the line of march thence to Dover, the command traversed nearly a hundred miles over miserable roads, in weather severely cold. The progress of the artillery being arduous, the march was necessarily slow. At two o'clock, February third, our troops came into possession before the outworks in front of Dover, the pickets and skirmishers of the enemy being driven in--(Old Donelson, you remember, is dismantled.) A flag of truce was sent to Col. Hardin, of the Eighty-third Illinois regiment, demanding the surrender of the Fort. He refused, and, as we afterward understood, took occasion then to harangue his troops, informing them that if captured, they would all be slaughtered.

Our batteries were now in position to command the outworks. The Fort is constructed in the centre of the town, around the court-house — the outworks and rifle-pits surround the town in a semi-circle, one end resting upon the river. The rear of the town is unfortified and unprotected beyond the guns of the inner Fort, which sweep the streets in that direction. Hardly had the flag reached our lines before the artillery of the enemy opened upon us. Gen. Wharton, with his men dismounted, had gained the rear of the town, while Gen. Forrest, with his brigade mounted, and in line of battle, stood under the brow of a hill in front; Wheeler, on a hill that commanded a view of the whole scene, had charge of the battle. He despatches two aids to order the charge. The guns of our batteries belch forth their hurtling iron, and their sound is not echoed back before they again sweep the outworks. Forrest turns in his saddle, tells his troopers that “they must plant their banners upon the inner works before Wharton comes up on the other side,” and orders the charge. The bugle sounds. His brigade in line, more than a mile long, at first walks off. Forrest is seen in its front. It gains the eminence. A shower of bullets greet it. As if disdainful of the enemy, the horsemen now strike a trot, until they have descended to the bottom of the hill. The fire of the enemy is now furious. On the next hill are the rifle-pits and ditches. The bugle sounds again, but now its notes are more thrilling and rapid. The general of an hundred battles rises in his stirrups and waves his sword. The men dash forward at full speed. The earth fairly trembles beneath their tread. Woe to those poor fellows! What a storm of lead is thinning their ranks. They will be repulsed. No! Hurrah! The enemy leaves his

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