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[205] until the last act of the battle's tragedy had been closed, were blue with cold, and covered with frost and snow.

Reinforcements were now continually reaching the enemy. Transports were arriving nearly every hour, from which dark streams of men could be seen pouring along the roads, and completing the investment of the lines around the fort. Indeed, it might have been evident from the first, that the whole available force of the Federals on the western waters could and would be concentrated at Fort Donelson, if it was deemed necessary to reduce it. It was fair to infer that while the enemy kept up a constant menace of attack, his object was merely to gain time to pass a column above the works, both on the right and left banks, and thus to cut the Confederate communications and prevent the possibility of egress.

On the night of the 14th, Gen. Floyd called a council of the officers of divisions and brigades. It was unanimously determined that but one course was left by which a rational hope could be entertained of saving the garrison, and that was to dislodge the enemy from his position on our left, and thus to pass the troops into the open country lying southward, towards Nashville.

The plan of attack was that Gen. Pillow, aided by Brigadier-General Bushrod R. Johnson, with three brigades, should advance to the assault of the enemy on the right, while Gen. Buckner, with his force, chiefly of Kentucky and Tennessee troops, should advance upon the left and centre of the enemy along the Wynn's Ferry road, which led from the river and village of Dover, and was the only practicable route to Nashville. When Gen. Pillow moved out of his position next morning, he found the enemy prepared to receive him in advance of his encampment. For nearly two hours the battle raged fiercely on this part of the line, with very little change in the position of the adverse forces.

As the morning advanced, a brigade of Mississippians and Tennesseans was thrown forward, and advanced up a hollow, firing terrible volleys into the enemy's right flank. This heroic band of troops, less than fifteen hundred in number, marched up the hill, loading and firing as they moved, gaining inch by inch, on an enemy at least four times their number. For one long hour this point was hotly contested by the enemy. At last, unable to bear the hot assault, the Federals gave way, and fell back slowly to the left, retiring towards the Wynn's Ferry road.

Gen. Buckner's advance on the centre and left of the enemy was retarded by various causes, and it was nearly nine o'clock before this part of the Confederate forces became fairly engaged with the enemy. A portion of his artillery opened upon the flank and left rear of the enemy's infantry, who were being pressed back by Gen. Pillow's division.

As the enemy's line of retreat was along the Wynn's Ferry road, Gen. Buckner now organized an attack further to his right, up a deep valley, in

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