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[23] fifty-nine of their shots were counted as striking the gunboats. On the ironclad Essex a cannon ball ranged her whole length; another shot, passing through the boiler, caused an explosion that scalded her commander, Porter, and many of the seamen and soldiers on board.

Five minutes after the fight began, the twenty-four pounder rifled gun, one of the most formidable in the fort, burst, disabling every man at the piece. Then a shell exploded at the muzzle of one of the thirty-two pounders, ruining the gun, and killing or wounding all the men who served it. About the same moment a premature discharge occurred at one of the forty-two pounder guns, killing three men and seriously injuring others. The ten-inch columbiad, the only gun able to match the artillery of the assailants, was next rendered useless by a priming wire that was jammed and broken in the vent. An heroic blacksmith labored for a long time to remove it, under the full fire of the enemy, but in vain. The men became exhausted and lost confidence; Tilghman, seeing this, served in person a thirty-two pounder for some fifteen minutes. Though but four of his guns were disabled, six stood idle for want of artillerists, and but two were replying to the enemy. After an engagement of two hours and ten minutes he ceased firing and lowered his flag. For this soldierly devotion and self-sacrifice the gallant commander and his brave band must be honored while patriotism has an advocate and self-sacrifice for others has a votary. Our casualties were five killed and sixteen wounded; those of the enemy were sixty-three of all kinds. Twelve officers and sixty-three noncommissioned officers and privates were surrendered with the fort. The Tennessee River was thus open, and a base by short lines was established against Fort Donelson.

The next movement was a combined attack by land and water upon Fort Donelson. As has been stated, this fort was situated on the left bank of the Cumberland, near its great bend and about forty miles from the mouth of the river. It was about one mile north of the village of Dover, where the commissary and quartermaster's supplies were in depot. The fort consisted of two water batteries on the hillside, protected by a bastioned earthwork of irregular outline on the summit, enclosing about one hundred acres. The water batteries were admirably placed to sweep the river approaches, with an armament of thirteen guns: eight thirtytwo pounders, three thirty-two pound carronade, one ten-inch columbiad, and one rifled gun of thirty-two pound caliber. The field work, which was intended for infantry supports, occupied a plateau about one hundred feet above the river, commanding and protecting the water batteries at close musket range. These works afforded a fair defense

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Lloyd Tilghman (1)
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