previous next


Feb. 12th, 1862.
Col. W. W. Mackall, A. A.-Genl. C. S. A., Bowling Green:
Sir,—My communication of the 7th instant, sent from Fort Henry, having announced the fact of the surrender of that fort to Commodore Foote, of the Federal navy, on the 6th inst., I have now the honor to submit the following report of the details of the action, together with the accompanying papers, marked A, B, containing list of officers and men surrendered, together with casualties, etc.

* * * * * * *

The wretched military position of Fort Henry, and the small force at my disposal, did not permit me to avail myself of the advantages to he derived from the system of outworks, built with the hope of being reinforced in time, and compelled me to determine to concentrate my efforts, by land, within the riflepits surrounding the 10th Tennessee and 4th Mississippi regiments, in case I deemed it possible to do more than to operate solely against the attack by the river. Accordingly, my entire command was paraded and placed in the riflepits around the above camps, and minute instructions given, not only to brigades, but to regiments and companies, as to the exact ground each was to occupy. Seconded by the able assistance of Major Gilmer, of the Engineers, of whose valuable services I thus early take pleasure in speaking, and by Colonels Heiman and Drake, everything was arranged to make a formidable resistance against anything like fair odds. It was known to me, on the day before, that the enemy had reconnoitred the roads leading to Fort Donelson, from Bailey's Ferry, by way of Iron Mountain Furnace; and at 10 o'clock A. M., on the 5th, I sent forward, from Fort Henry, a strong reconnoitring party of cavalry. They had not advanced more than one and a half miles in the direction of the enemy, when they encountered their reconnoitring party. Our cavalry charged them in gallant style, upon which the enemy's cavalry fell back, with a loss of only one man on each side.

Very soon the main body of the Federal advance guard, composed of a regiment of infantry and a large force of cavalry, was met, upon which our cavalry retreated. On receipt of this news I moved out in person, with five companies of the 10th Tennessee, five companies of the 4th Mississippi, and fifty cavalry, ordering, at the same time, two additional companies of infantry to support Captain Red at the outworks. Upon advancing well to the front I found that the enemy had retired. I returned to camp at 5 P. M., leaving Captain Red reinforced at the outworks. The enemy were again reinforced by the arrival of a large number of transports. At night the pickets from the west bank reported the landing of troops on that side, opposite Bailey's Ferry, their advance pickets having been met one and a half miles from the river.

* * * * * *

To understand properly the difficulties of my position, it is right that I should explain fully the unfortunate location of Fort Henry, in reference to resistance by a small force against an attack by land co-operating with the gunboats, as well as its disadvantages in even an engagement with boats alone. The entire fort, together with the intrenched camp spoken of, is enfiladed from three or

Creative Commons License
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.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Red (2)
W. W. Mackall (1)
Heiman (1)
J. F. Gilmer (1)
H. S. Foote (1)
Drake (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 12th, 1862 AD (1)
7th (1)
6th (1)
5th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: