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[497]

Against such overwhelming odds as sixteen thousand well-armed men (exclusive of the force on the gunboats) to two thousand six hundred and ten badly armed, in the field, and fifty-four heavy guns against eleven medium ones, in the fort, no tactics or bravery could avail. The rapid movements of the enemy, with every facility at their command, rendered the defence, from the beginning, a hopeless one. I succeeded in doing even more than was to be hoped for at first. I not only saved my entire command outside the fort, but damaged, materially, the flotilla of the enemy, demonstrating thoroughly a problem of infinite value to us in the future. Had I been reinforced so as to have justified my meeting the enemy at the advanced works, I might have made good the land defence on the east bank. I make no inquiry as to why I was not, for I have entire confidence in the judgment of my commanding general.

* * * * * * *

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lloyd Tilghman, Brig.-Genl. Comdg.
Official. Ed. A. Palfrey, A. A. Genl., A. and I. G. Office, Aug. 29th, 1862.

Clarksville, Tenn., Feb. 12th., 1862.
General Johnston:
Sir,--There is but little known satisfactorily of the enemy or their movements. Up to ten o'clock last night all was quiet as usual at the fort. General Buckner is now there. I have thought the best disposition to make of the troops on this line was to concentrate the main force at Cumberland City, leaving at Fort Donelson enough to make all possible resistance to any attack which may be made upon the fort, but no more. The character of the country in the rear and to the left of the fort is such as to make it dangerous to concentrate our whole force there; for, if their gunboats should pass the fort and command the river, our troops would be in danger of being cut off by a force from the Tennessee. In this event, their road would be open to Nashville without any obstruction whatever. The position at Cumberland City is better; for there, the railroad diverges from the river, which would afford some little facility for transportation in case of necessity; and from thence the open country southward towards Nashville is easily reached. Besides, from that point we threaten the flank of any force sent from the Tennessee against the fort. I am making every possible effort to concentrate the forces here at Cumberland City. I have been in the greatest dread ever since I reached this place, at their scattered condition. The force is inadequate to defend a line of forty miles in length, which can be attacked from three different directions. We can only be formidable by concentration. A strong guard is all that can be left here, and this no longer than your movement can be made. I shall begin to-day, if the engineers report favorably, to blockade the river at the piers of the railroad bridge. I have taken up an idea that a ‘raft,’ secured against this bridge, can render the river impassable for the gunboats. If this is possible, it will be an immense


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