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 against gunboats; they were not, however, designed or adapted for resistance to a land attack or investment by an enemy. Generals Pillow and Floyd were ordered with their separate commands to Fort Donelson. General Buckner also was sent with a division from Bowling Green, so that the Confederate effective force at the fort during the siege was between fourteen thousand five hundred and fifteen thousand men.1 The force of General Grant was not less than thirty to thirty-five thousand men. On February 12th he commenced his movement across from Fort Henry, and the investment of Donelson was made without any serious opposition. On the 13th General Buckner reports that ‘the fire of the enemy's artillery and riflemen was incessant throughout the day; but was responded to by a well-directed fire from the intrenchments, which inflicted upon the assailant a considerable loss, and almost silenced his fire late in the afternoon.’ The object of the enemy undoubtedly was to discover the strength and position of our forces. The artillery fire was continued at intervals during the night. Nearly every Confederate regiment reported a few casualties from the shot and shell which frequently fell inside of the works. Meanwhile, a gunboat of thirteen guns arrived in the morning, and, taking a position behind a headland, fired one hundred thirty-eight shots, when our one hundred twenty-eight pound shot crashed through one of her ports, injuring her machinery and crippling her. The enemy's fire did no damage to the fort itself, but a shot disabled a gun and killed Captain Dixon, a valuable engineer, whose loss was greatly deplored. The weather became cold during the night, and a driving snowstorm prevailed, so that some of the soldiers were frozen, and the wounded between the lines suffered extremely. The fleet of gunboats under Commodore Foote arrived, bringing reenforcements to the enemy. These were landed during the night and the next day, which was occupied with placing them in position. Nevertheless, though no assault was made, a rambling and ineffective fire was kept up. About 3 P. M. the commander of the naval force, expecting an easy victory like that at Fort Henry, brought his four ironclads, followed by two gunboats, up to the attack. Each of the ironclads mounted thirteen guns and the gunboats nine. Any one of them was more than a match for the guns of the fort. Their guns were eight-, nine-, and ten-inch, three in the bow of each. Our columbiad and the rifled gun were the only two pieces effective against the ironclads. The enemy moved directly toward the water batteries, firing with great weight of metal. It was the intention of Commodore Foote to silence
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