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[168] were not in that state of incompleteness and disorder which the report of a general officer charges, nor was there any gloom or despondency hanging over the garrison. It is true there was some delay in getting the 10-inch Columbiad in working condition, but no one connected with the Fort was responsible for it. The gun was mounted in ample time, but upon being tested it came very nearly being dismounted by the running back of the carriage against the hurters. It was necessary to increase the inclination of the chassis, which was accomplished by obtaining larger rear traverse wheels from the iron works just above Dover. It was still found, even with a reduced charge of powder, that the recoil of the carriage against the counter-hurters was of sufficient force to cut the ropes tied there as bumpers. There was no alternative but to dismount the piece and lower the front half of the traverse circle; by this means the inclination of the chassis was made so steep that the piece was in danger of getting away from the gunners when being run into battery, and of toppling off in front.

Any paper upon the subject of Fort Donelson would be incomplete without the mention of Lieutenant-Colonel Wilton A. Haynes, of the Tennessee artillery. He was, in the nomenclature of the volunteers, a ‘West Pointer,’ and was an accomplished artillerist. He came to Fort Donelson about the middle of January, and found the ‘Instructor of Artillery’ engaged in engineering duty, and nothing being done in familiarizing the companies detailed for artillery service with their pieces. He organized an artillery battalion, and made a requisition on General Polk, at Columbus, for two drill officers, and whatever of proficiency these companies attained as artillerists is due to him. He was physically unable to participate in the engagements and this may account for the failure of recognition in the official reports.

The artillery battalion as organized by Colonel Haynes was fully competent to serve the guns with success, but General Pillow deemed otherwise and proceeded to the mistake of assigning Lieutenant Dixon to the command of the heavy batteries, instead of attaching him to his personal staff, and availing himself of that officer's familiarity as an engineer with the topography of the battleground and of the surrounding country. The assignment was particularly unfortunate, inasmuch as Dixon was killed before the main fight and the batteries were not only deprived of his services for that occasion, but the Confederate army lost an able engineer. It must be remembered, however, that the great fear was of the gunboats.

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