the Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiment in the Fort Donetson battles.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Chattanooga, Tenn., Feb, 28, 1862.
The desperate and determined struggle at ‘"Dover
"’ near Fort Donelson
, is still the principal topic in this section.
Probably your readers would like to hear something of the bearing and casualties of the ‘"56th Virginia"’ and other items of interest, by one, who was an actor in that terrible conflict.
On Wednesday, the 12th, instant, the call to the battle-Reld was made.
With an alacrity and promptness worthy of all praise — the ‘"56th"’ responded to the call, and with one exulting shout marched to the scene of action.
At first we were placed on the right wing of our army but later in the day were removed to the left where a position was assigned us. We then felled the surrounding trees and hastily threw up breastworks of logs and dirt.
We worked all Wednesday night without sleep or rest, and as the next day dawned upon us commenced an incessant fire from the enemy of grape, canister, and bombs.
They came over our heads with terrific fury and swiftness, making the very air and earth resound with their appalling music, which though commanding more silence and vigilance was not as pleasant as the music of an Acollan harp.
Again on Thursday night and Friday, all day and all night, we were up without sleep or rest, amid cold and snow, receiving and returning the fires of the advancing foe. Saturday at light our forces surprised the enemy by an early attack and repulsed them with great slaughter at almost every point, contesting every inch of ground with an undaunted valor and courage which ancient Romans
, in their victorious days, might have envied.
Towards night we returned to our breastworks undispated victors of the field — nearly every man bringing with him some trophy from the Federal
That night the General
hearing of the large reinforcements of the enemy, and our troops being almost exhausted from cold, exposure, and need of rest, decided to retreat, and the remnant of the ‘"56th"’ came up on a steamboat to Nashville
The loss of the Fifty-sixth in killed and wounded was 47; taken prisoners, 90 men, besides 6 Lieutenants
In Captain Boswell
's Company, ‘"A,"’ 5 were wounded, none prisoners.
In Captain Davis
's Company, ‘"B,"’ 2 were killed, and Lieutenants Turner
and 25 privates taken prisoners.
In Captain Taylor
's Company, ‘"E."’ Lieutenants Flournoy
, and 25 men, were taken prisoners.
In Captain T. D. Jeffressis
Company, ‘"G,"’ (from Charlotte county
,) T. N. Cole
and J. H. Jeffress
were killed, 3 men and one officer wounded, prisoners none.
In Company ‘"K,"’ the gallant and chivalrous Captain D. C. Harrison
was killed, and Lieutenants P. H. Clopton
and G. W. Hay
and all except 5 men prisoners.
In other companies there were killed and wounded, but I cannot inform definitely as to the number.
All of our field officers were absent sick, and the senior Captain
present commanded the regiment.
It would be impossible to single out any instances of particular distinction, when all officers and men conducted themselves with such determined coolness and unflinching bravery.
, after the battle, highly complimented the Fifty-sixth Virginia.
Prior to being sent to Donelson
, we were stationed under the command of General Floyd
at Bowling Green
and Russellville, Kentucky
Our loss in killed and wounded was small compared to the enemy's — theirs, no doubt, four times as great as ours.
's brigade is now ordered to this place, and will be here in a day or two.
Our sick are sent to Atlanta
and Rome, Ga.
The principal fighting at Donelson
was done by Virginians
, Mississippians, Texans, and Kentuckians.
The troops from each State won unfading laurels in that contest.
The men from all the South
place implicit confidence in the coolness and resolute courage of Virginians
; and, whether at home or upon the soil of a sister State, the men have proved themselves worthy sons of the ‘"Old Dominion"’
We have suffered a terrible disaster; but let us not despond, but make united, repeated, and determined efforts to repel the vandal hordes of the North
; and, if necessary, let every mountain pass be a Thermopy , before the foot of the fanatical invader shall again poliute the soil of the Confederate States
In addition to the foregoing, the editors of the Dispatch
have received a letter from 1st Lieutenant James H. Mason
, company K, 56th Regiment, giving the following statement of easualties in his company:
Killed--Captain Dabney Carr Harrison
; not mertally.
Taken prisoners — Lieuts P H Clopton
. W Hay
H C Earnest, H T Tucker
, E M Peace, W H Wood
, B F Marshall
, E. H. Acree
, Jno Adams
; D. W Anderson
, R Baskett, Wm Balley, L W Heath
, Wm Ingram
, A. J Jenkins
, Thos Jackson
, E W Kelley
, H P Kelley
, Bo P Richardson
, T J Truman
, Wm Truman
, Wm White
, P J. Woody
, and Wm H Peace.
The balance of the men are safe and accounted for.