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Chapter 8: the siege and capture of Fort Donelson.

The fall of Fort Henry was followed by immediate preparations for an attack on Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River. Preparatory to this was a reconnoissance up the Tennessee River. Lieutenant-Commander S. L. Phelps was sent up that river on the evening of the day of battle,
Feb. 6, 1862.
with a detachment of Foote's flotilla, consisting of the Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington, to reconnoiter the borders of the stream as far toward its upper waters as possible. When he reached the bridge of the railway between Memphis and Bowling Green, he found the draw closed, its machinery disabled, and some Confederate transports just above it, escaping up the river. A portion of the bridge was then hastily destroyed, and the work of demolition was completed the following day by Commander Walke, of the Carondelet, who was sent up by General Grant for. the purpose. The fugitive transports were so closely pursued that those in charge of them abandoned all, and burned two that were laden with military stores.1 In this flight an officer left papers behind him which gave an important official history of the Confederate naval preparations on the western rivers.

Onward the little flotilla went, seizing Confederate vessels and destroying Confederate public property as far up as Florence, in Alabama, at the foot of the Muscle Shoals. When Phelps appeared in sight of that town, three Confederate steamers there, loaded with supplies, were set on fire, but a part of their contents, with other property on shore, was saved. A delegation of citizens waited upon the commander to ask for kind treatment for their families, and the salvation of the bridge that spanned the Tennessee there. He assured them that women and children would not be disturbed, as he and his men were not savages; and as to the bridge, being of no military account, it should be saved.

Returning, Lieutenant Phelps recruited a number of loyal Tennesseeans, seized arms and other Confederate property in several places, and caused the [207] flight of a considerable number of troops from Savannah, on the eastern bank of the river, which he had prepared to attack. His reconnoissance was a perfect success. It discovered the real weakness of the Confederacy in that direction, the feasibility of marching an army into the heart of the Confederacy, and, better than all, it developed the most gratifying evidences of genuine Union feeling in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. The river banks in places were crowded with men, women, and children, who greeted the old flag with the greatest enthusiasm. “I was assured at Savannah,” he said, “that, of the several hundred troops there, more than one-half, had we gone to the attack in time, would have hailed us as deliverers, and gladly enlisted with the National forces.” Over and over again he was assured that nothing but the dreadful reign of terror then prevailing kept thousands from openly expressing their attachment to the old flag. “Bring us a small organized force, with arms and ammunition,” they said, “and we can maintain our position.” 2

The report of this reconnoissance was very cheering, and it was determined to capture Fort Donelson as speedily as possible, and then, with a heavy force, march across Tennessee and penetrate Alabama. Foote had already hurried back to Cairo with the Cincinnati, Essex, and St. Louis, to prepare mortar-boats for the new enter-prise, leaving Commander Walke, of the Carondelet, in charge of a portion of his flotilla at Fort Henry. With the spirit of the old Puritans (from whom he was descended3), who were everr eady to fight or pray, as circumstances might require, he went into the pulpit of the Presbyterian church at Cairo, on the Sunday after the capture of Fort Henry,4 and preached a stirring sermon from the words of Jesus--“Let not your hearts be troubled. Ye believe in God; believe also in me.” He poured forth eloquent sentences in humble thanks to Almighty God for the recent victory, and inspired all who heard him with burning zeal in the National cause.

A mortar-boat.5

General Grant, at the same time, was making vigorous preparations for attacking Fort Donelson.6 Re-enforcements were arriving in Cairo, where [208] they were rapidly gathering. He reorganized his army, with McClernand and Smith at the head of the principal divisions, as before, while a third division was formed of small proportions at first, but destined to be enlarged by six regiments sent around by water. The latter division was under the command of Lewis Wallace, of the famous Eleventh Indiana Zouave Regiment,7 who was promoted to be a brigadier-general on the day of the capture of Fort Henry.8 With McClernand's division were the field batteries of Schwartz, Taylor, Dresser, and McAllister; and with Smith's were the heavy batteries of Richardson, Stone, and Walker, the whole under the command of Major Cavender, chief of artillery.

On the 11th, General Grant called a council of war, which was composed of his division commanders and several acting brigadiers. “Shall we march on Donelson, or wait for further re-enforcements?” was the question considered. Information that heavy re-enforcements were hastening toward that stronghold carried a decision in favor of an immediate march against it; and in general field orders the next morning,

Feb. 12, 1862.
Grant directed one of McClernand's brigades to move at once by the telegraph road directly upon Fort Donelson, and to halt within two miles of it; his other three brigades to march by the Dover Ridge road, to within the same distance, to unite with the first in forming the right wing in the investment of the fort. Two of Smith's Brigades were to follow by the Dover Road, and these were to be followed, in turn, by the troops on the left bank of the river, then occupying Fort Hieman, as soon as they could be sent forward. Smith was directed to occupy the little village of Dover, on the river bank, a short mile above the fort, if possible, and thus cut off the retreat of the Confederates up the stream.

Route from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson

Let us observe the character and strength of the works to be assailed, called Fort Donelson.

In the center of Stewart County, in Tennessee, was its shire town of Dover, situated on the left bank of the Cumberland River, where that stream, running nearly due north, makes an abrupt turn to the westward, and, after flowing about half a mile, as suddenly turns to the northward. At this turn, about a mile below Dover, Fort Donelson was constructed, with two water batteries near the river's edge, and all so arranged as to have a large number of guns trained directly down the stream. The country in that vicinity is broken into a singular conglomerate of hills and knolls, divided by deep valleys and ravines, rendering possession easy, and attack very difficult. Upon one of these hills, terminating at the river, and broken by hollows, Fort Donelson was built. Its lines were irregular, and inclosed almost one hundred acres of land. Below it was Hickman's Creek, [209] a sort of back-water of the Tennessee, seldom fordable, excepting at the distance of a mile or more from the river. Just above the fort, and between it and Dover, was a small creek, flowing through a ravine.

The water batteries were admirably planted for commanding the river approaches from below. They had strong epaulments, or side works, and

Lower water battery.

their embrasures were revetted with coffee-sacks filled with sand. The lower or principal battery was armed with eight 32-pounders, and one 10-inch Columbiad; and the other bore a heavy rifled cannon that carried a 128-pound bolt, flanked by two 32-pound carronades.9 The only guns in the fort (which was at a mean elevation above the river of nearly one hundred feet) were four light siege-guns, a 12-pound howitzer, two 24-pounders, and one 64-pound howitzer. Back of the fort the forest was cut down, and supporting field works were erected for the use of infantry and artillery. Still farther back, at the mean distance of a mile from the fort, was an irregular and detached line of light intrenchments for riflemen, fronting landward, with a parapet of Togs and earth, which commenced at Hickman's Creek, and extended to a back-water on Hysmith's farm, above Dover, thus completely surrounding the fort and the town landward. In front of these intrenchments was a row of slashed timber, forming strong abatis. Altogether, the post seemed to have been mad; by nature and art almost impregnable. And within these intrenchments, when Grant appeared before them to make an assault, were more than twenty thousand effective men.10 It was expected [210] that this force behind fortifications would check the further advance of the Nationals up the Cumberland, and thus secure the safety of Nashville. Johnston clearly perceived the importance of the post, and when it was threatened by the attack on Fort Henry, which was only twelve miles distant, he gave it all the re-enforcements in his power. “I determined,” he said, “to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and have the best part of my army to do it,” and so he sent sixteen thousand troops there, retaining only fourteen thousand men to cover his front at Bowling Green.11

It is difficult to conceive how a veteran soldier like Johnston could have intrusted a business so important as the command of so large a force, on so momentous an occasion, to such weak men as Gideon J. Pillow and John B. Floyd, who were successively placed in chief command of Fort Donelson, at that time. But so it was. Pillow had arrived there on the 10th of the month,

Feb., 1862.
and with the aid of Major Gilmer, General Johnston's chief engineer, had worked diligently in strengthening the defenses. On the 13th he was superseded by Floyd, who, as we have observed, had fled from Virginia with his followers.12 He had been ordered from Cumberland City by General Johnston, to hasten to Fort Donelson, and take chief command. He arrived there, with Virginia troops, on the morning of the 13th. General Simon B. Buckner was there at the head of re-enforcements from Bowling Green, and he was the only one of the three possessed of sufficient ability and military knowledge to conduct the defense with any hope of success; yet he was subordinate to the other two, until, as we shall observe presently, their fears overcame their honor, and in the hour of extreme necessity they invested him with the chief command, and deserted him.

Berge's sharp-shooter.

The morning of the 12th

was like one in spring, so warm and balmy was the atmosphere. At an early hour, the divisions of McClernand and Smith, preceded by cavalry, in all about fifteen thousand men, began their march over the hilly country toward Fort Donelson, leaving behind them a brigade at Fort Hieman, under General Wallace, who was placed in command of that post and Fort Henry. At the same time, Foote was moving up the Cumberland with his gun-boats, convoying transports filled with troops that were to constitute Wallace's Third Division. The columns, commanded respectively by Colonels Oglesby and W. H. L. Wallace, of the First division, and Colonels Cook and Lauman, of the Second division (who were acting brigadiers), while moving across the wooded country between the two rivers, met with no armed men, and early in [211] the afternoon they came in sight of the fort, drove in the pickets, and proceeded, with some severe skirmishing, to take their prescribed positions, as nearly as possible. Every thing was in readiness for battle before morning, and at dawn
Feb. 13, 1862.
the attack was commenced by the sharp-shooters of Colonel Berge (Sixty-sixth Illinois Regiment13), who advanced upon the Confederate pickets, and thus disclosed the position of the Nationals. The batteries of the Confederates, on the land side, were at once opened, while the water batteries engaged the Carondelet, a solitary ironclad gun-boat in the river. During a desultory fire from the Confederates, Grant rapidly posted his troops for the most vigorous work. McClernand was placed on the right, with Oglesby's Brigade at the extreme, and Smith's was posted on the left, opposite the northwest portion of the fort. The light artillery was planted, with proper infantry supports, upon the various roads, to repel approaching columns, while the heavier guns, under the direction of Major Cavender, were brought to bear upon those of the fort.

With this general disposition of his troops along a line nearly four miles in length, Grant, who had made the house of Mrs. Crisp, about two miles from Dover, at the head of Hickman's Creek, his Headquarters, refrained from a general attack, while waiting for the arrival of the gun-boats and Wallace's Third Division. Yet heavy artillery firing and brisk skirmishing were kept up all the forenoon, and Berge's sharpshooters, concealed behind logs and trees,

Grant's Headquarters, Fort Donelson.

spread terror among the Confederate gunners, who were rapidly picked off by them. Finally, with a determination to make a lodgment upon the Confederate entrenchments, McClernand, at about noon, ordered Colonel Wallace to capture a formidable battery, known as the Middle Redoubt, on a hill west of a valley, which separated the right wing under Buckner from the right center commanded by Colonel Hieman. The troops employed for this purpose were Illinois regiments — the Seventeenth, Major Smith, commanding; the Forty-eighth, Colonel Hayne; and the Forty-ninth, Colonel Morrison--covered by McAllister's battery. They were placed under Hayne, who was the senior colonel. Dashing across the intervening knolls and ravines, and up toward the battery, with great spirit, they found themselves confronted by superior numbers. Their line not being long enough to envelope the works, the Forty-fifth Illinois, Colonel Smith, were [212] sent to their support on the right. They, too, displayed great courage in the face of a galling fire. The Confederates were concentrated in defense of the position with two supporting field batteries, and soon began to show strength in front of Oglesby's brigade. Schwartz's battery was first advanced to meet this new danger, and then Taylor was directed to throw forward two sections of his battery to that position. The fight for a little while was severe and stubborn, when the Nationals were repulsed. Similar movements on the left by a portion of Colonel Lauman's brigade were equally unsuccessful, and in both cases the National loss was heavy. The troops, somewhat discouraged, fell back to the position they occupied in the morning, and anxiously awaited the arrival of the gun-boats and expected re-enforcements.

That night the National troops were terribly smitten by an unexpected enemy. The spring-like morning, during which many of them, in expectation of a battle, had laid aside their overcoats and blankets, was succeeded by clouds and chilliness in the afternoon, heavy rain in the evening, and sleet and snow and severe frost at midnight, the mercury having rapidly fallen at that hour to only ten degrees above zero. The besiegers were bivouacked without tents, and dared not light a fire, because it immediately became a mark for the guns of the besieged. Their food was scant, and some were without any; and in that keen wintry air, the ground like iron, and mailed in ice, with insufficient clothing, no shelter, and half starved, the weary, worn, and intensely-suffering troops sadly and anxiously awaited the dawn and the expected re-enforcements. The Confederates, who lay upon their arms all night in the trenches, were equal sufferers.

Conscious of the peril of his situation, Grant had sent a courier to General Wallace at Fort Henry, to bring over the garrison there immediately. The order reached that officer at about midnight. At dawn

Feb. 14, 1862.
he marched for Fort Donelson, with the Eleventh Indiana, the Eighth Missouri, and his battery in charge of Company A, Chicago Artillery. A crust of sleet and snow covered the ground, and the air was full of drifting frost. With cheering, and singing of songs, and sounding of bugles these troops pressed on, and at noon the general reported at Grant's Headquarters, and dined with him on crackers and coffee.

In the mean time the gunboats and transports had arrived, and with them the re-enforcements that were to form the Third Division. The advent of the latter was most timely. They were landed with their artillery three miles below the fort, and, rapidly clearing the woods before them, were standing around Grant's Headquarters soon after Wallace's arrival there. He was at once placed in command of them,14 and posted between McClernand and Smith, thereby (with two of Smith's regiments, under McArthur, posted on McClernand's extreme right) completing the absolute investment of the fort and its outworks. He was ordered by Grant to hold that position, and to prevent [213] the enemy from escaping in that direction; in other words, to repel any sally from the fort. Rations that had been brought forward were now issued to the half-starved men of the line, and all the preparations for a general assault were soon completed.

The gun-boat Carondelet, Commander Walke, which had arrived two days before, and made a diversion in favor of Grant15 on the 13th, had the honor of opening the assault on Fort Donelson, at three o'clock in the after-noon of Friday, the 14th,

February, 1862.
and was immediately joined by the armored vessels St. Louis, Pittsburg, and Louisville. These formed the first line. The second line was composed of the unarmored gun-boats Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington. The whole were under the personal command of Commodore Foote, who had not been able to get his mortar-boats in readiness to accompany the expedition.

The flotilla made direct war upon the water-batteries, with the intention of silencing and passing them, so as to gain a position to enfilade the faces of the fort with broadsides. The fight was severe. Never was a little squadron exposed to so terrible a fire. Twenty heavy guns were trained upon it, those from the hill-side hurling plunging shot with awful precision and effect, while only twelve boat-guns could reply. Yet, in the face of this terrific storm, Foote, with his flag-ship (St. Louis ) and the other armored boats, slowly moved nearer and nearer in the desperate struggle, until he was only four hundred yards from the batteries. Very soon the upper one of four guns was silenced, the men were flying from both to the fort above, and the victorious vessels were on the point of shooting by, when the Louisville, assailed by flying missiles and a cross fire, was disabled by a shot which cut away her rudder-chains. Utterly helpless, she drifted away with the current of the narrow river. The flag-ship was very soon in a similar condition, and the commodore was severely wounded in the foot by a falling piece of timber. The other two armored vessels were terribly wounded, and a heavy rifled cannon on the Carondelet was bursted during the engagement.

Position of the gun-boats in the attack on Fort Donelson.16

For more than an hour the tempest of iron had been beating furiously [214] upon the four armored vessels, and so perilous became the condition of them all, that Foote ordered them to withdraw. Then the fugitives from the shore batteries ran back to their guns, and gave the retiring flotilla some deadly parting blows. The four vessels received during the action, in the aggregate, no less than one hundred and forty-one wounds from the Confederate shot and shell,17 and lost fifty-four men killed and maimed.

After consultation with General Grant and his own officers, Foote set out for Cairo, for the purpose of having the damages to his flotilla repaired, and to bring up a competent naval force to assist in carrying on the siege with greater vigor.18 Grant resolved to wait for his return and for large re-enforcements, meanwhile strengthening his own weak points, holding the Confederates tightly in their intrenchments, and cutting off their supplies, with a possibility of starving them into a surrender. The besieged were conscious of their peril, which would increase with every hour of delay. The officers of divisions and brigades held a council of war on the evening of the 14th,

February, 1862.
over which Floyd, the chief commander, presided. He gave it as his opinion that the fort was untenable with less than fifty thousand men to defend it, and proposed, for the purpose of saving the garrison, to make a sortie next morning, with half his army and Forrest's cavalry, upon McClernand's division on Grant's right, crush it, or throw it back upon Wallace, and by a succeeding movement on the center, by Buckner, cast the whole beleaguering army into confusion, or rout and destroy it, when the liberated troops might easily pass out into the open country around Nashville. This plan, promising success, was agreed to by unanimous consent, and preparations were made accordingly.

The troops designated for the grand sortie, about ten thousand in number, were under the command of Generals Pillow and Bushrod R. Johnston, the former being chief. They were put in motion from Dover at five o'clock on Saturday morning ;

Feb. 15.
Colonel Baldwin's brigade of three regiments of Mississippi and Tennessee troops in advance, followed by four Virginia regiments, under Colonels Wharton and McCausland, and several more under Colonels Davidson, Drake, and others. These were accompanied by Forest's cavalry and thirty heavy guns, with a full complement of artillerists. This main body were directed to attack McClernand's troops, who

Bushrod R. Johnston.

occupied the heights that reached to the river, just above Dover. Buckner was directed to strike Wallace's division, which lay across the Wynne's [215] Ferry road, at about the same time, so that it should not be in a condition to aid McClernand. Pillow expected, he said, “to roll the enemy in full retreat over upon General Buckner, when, by his attack in flank and rear,” they “could cut up the enemy and put him completely to rout.” 19

McClernand's division was well posted to resist the assailants, had they been on the alert; but the movement of the Confederates appears not to have been even suspected. Reveille was just sounding, and the troops were not under arms; and so sudden and vigorous was Pillow's attack, that the whole of Grant's right wing was seriously menaced within twenty minutes after the presence of the Confederates was observed. Then vigor and skill marked every movement, and Pillow's attempt to throw cavalry in the rear of McArthur, on Oglesby's extreme right, was thwarted.

The attack was quick, furious, and heavy. Oglesby's brigade had received the first shock of the battle, and gallantly withstood it until their ammunition began to fail. Colonel W. H. L. Wallace's brigade hastened to their relief, but the pressure was so tremendous that Oglesby's line all gave way, excepting the extreme left, held by the Thirty-first Illinois, whose commander, Colonel John A. Logan, inspired his troops with such courage and faith by his own acts, that they stood like a wall opposed to the foe, and prevented a panic and a rout. In the mean time the light batteries under Taylor, McAllister, and Dresser, shifting positions and continually sending heavy volleys of grape and canister shot, made the line of the assailants recoil again and again. But the fresh troops continually pressing forward in greater numbers kept its strength unimpaired, paired, and very soon the whole of Mc-Clernand's

John A. McClernand,

division was in such a perilous situation, that at about eight o'clock he sent to General Lewis Wallace, commanding the Third Division, for immediate assistance. As the latter was assigned to the special duty of preventing the escape of the Confederates, he applied to Headquarters for instructions. Grant was away in conference with Commodore Foote. Again McClernand sent for assistance, saying substantially that his flank was turned, and his whole command was endangered. Wallace took the responsibility of immediately ordering Colonel Cruft to move his brigade on to the right, and report to McClernand. An incompetent guide took Cruft too far to the right, where he was fiercely assailed by a greatly superior force, and compelled to bear the brunt of battle for a time. He struggled gallantly with an equally gallant foe, charging and receiving charges with varied fortunes, until his antagonists gave up the fight.

In the mean time General Buckner had made his appearance, in considerable [216] force, to attack the left of the center of Grant's line, and produce the confusion as directed in Floyd's programme. There seemed to be much peril to the National troops in this movement, and the danger seemed more imminent when some frightened fugitives from the battle came crowding up the hill in the rear of Wallace's Division, and a mounted officer dashed along, shouting, “We are cut to pieces!” It was here that the whole of McClernand's line, including Cruft's men, was rapidly falling back. Colonels Logan, Lawler, and Ransom were wounded, and a large number of subalterns had been killed, yet there was no confusion in that line. This was the crisis of the battle, and it was promptly met. To prevent a panic in his own brigade, Wallace ordered Colonel Thayer to move on by the right flank. Riding at the front, he met the retiring troops, moving in good order and calling for ammunition, the want of which had been the chief cause of their misfortune. He saw that every thing depended upon prompt action. There was no time to wait for orders, so he thrust his third brigade (Colonel Thayer commanding) between the retiring troops and the flushed Confederates, who were rapidly following, formed a new line of battle across the road, with the Chicago artillery, Lieutenant Wood, in the center, and the First Nebraska, Fifty-eighth Illinois, Fifty-eighth Ohio, and a company of the Thirty-second Illinois on its right and left. Back of these was a reserve, composed of the Seventy-sixth Ohio, and Forty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Illinois. In this position they awaited attack, while McClernand's retiring troops, halting near, supplied themselves with ammunition from wagons which Wallace had ordered up.

These preparations were just completed when the Confederates (the forces of Pillow and Buckner combined20) fell heavily upon the battery and First Nebraska, and were cast back by them as the rock throws back the billows. “To say they did well,” said Wallace, “is not enough; their conduct was splendid. They alone repelled the charge ;” 21 and the Confederates, after a severe contest, retired to their works in confusion. “They withdrew,” said Buckner, “without panic, but in some confusion, to the trenches.” 22 This was the last sally from the fort, for, by the timely and effectual interposition of the Third Division, the plans of the Confederates were frustrated. “I speak advisedly,” wrote Captain W. S. Hillyer (Grant's Aidde-camp) to General Wallace the next day, on a slip of paper with pencil, “God bless you! You did save the day on the right!” Poor Pillow, with his usual shallowness, had sent an aid, when McClernand's line gave way, to telegraph to Johnston, that “on the honor of a soldier” the day was theirs ;23 and he foolishly persisisted in saying, in his first report, a few days afterward, that the Confederates had accomplished their object, when it was known to all that they had utterly failed.

It was at about noon when the Confederates were driven back to their trenches. General Grant seemed doubtful of his ability to make a successful assault upon their works with his present force, and at about three o'clock in the afternoon he called McClernand and Wallace aside for consultation. [217] They were all on horseback. Grant held some dispatches in his hand. He spoke of the seeming necessity of falling back and intrenching, so as to stand on the defensive, until re-enforcements and Foote's flotilla should arrive. His words were few, as usual, and his face was flushed by strong emotions of the mind, while he turned his eyes nervously now and then on the dispatches. It was suggested that McClernand's defeat uncovered the road by which the enemy might escape to Clarksville. In an instant the General's countenance changed from cloudiness to sunshine. A new thought took possession of him and he acted instantly on its suggestions. Grasping the dispatches more firmly, he ordered McClernand to retake the hill he had lost, while Smith should make a simultaneous attack on the Confederate right.24

The new movement was immediately begun. McClernand requested Wallace to retake the ground lost in the morning. A column of attack was soon formed, with the Eighth Missouri, Colonel Morgan L. Smith, and the Eleventh Indiana (Wallace's old regiment), Colonel George McGinnis (both led by the former as a brigade), moving at the head. Two Ohio regiments, under Colonel Ross, formed a supporting column. At the same time, Colonel Cruft formed a line of battle at the foot of the hill.

The Eighth Missouri led the van, closely followed by the Eleventh Indiana; and when about half way up the hill, they received a volley from its summit. The ground was broken, rough, and partly wooded. The Nationals pressed on, and the struggle was fierce and unyielding for more than an hour. Gradually the Confederates were pushed back, and their assailants soon cleared the hill. They drove the insurgents to their intrenchments, and would have assailed them there had not an order reached Wallace, when he was only one hundred and fifty yards off the works, to halt and retire his column, as a new plan of operations was in contemplation for the next day. That commander was astonished and perplexed. He was satisfied that Grant was not informed of the entire success of his movement. He was also satisfied that if he should fall back and give up the hill (it was then five o'clock in the evening) the way would be opened for the Confederates to escape under cover of approaching darkness. So he assumed the responsibility of disobeying the order, and he bivouacked on the field of victory. All of that keen wintry night his wearied troops were busy in ministering to the wants of the wounded, and in burying the many Illinois

The graves of the Illinois troops.25

[218] troops who had fallen in the conflict of the morning. They also made preparations for storming the Confederate works at an early hour on the following day.

While Wallace was carrying on the successful movement on the Confederate left, Smith was assailing their intrenchments on their right. He posted Cavender's heavy guns so as to pour a murderous fire upon these and the fort. Lauman's Brigade formed the attacking column, while Cook's Brigade, posted on the left, was ordered to make a feigned attack.

Lauman was directed to carry the heights on the left of the position that had been assailed on Thursday. He placed the Second Iowa, Colonel Tuttle, in the van. These were followed by the Fifty-sixth Indiana as a support. These, in turn, were closely followed by the Twenty-fifth Indiana and Seventh and Fourteenth Iowa, while Berge's sharp-shooters were deployed as skirmishers on the extreme right and left of the column. When all were in readiness, General Smith rode along the line, told the troops he would lead them, and directed them to clear the rifle-pits with the bayonet alone. At a given signal, the column moved, under cover of Captain Stone's Missouri Battery; and Smith, with a color-bearer at his side, rode in advance, his commanding figure, flowing gray hair, and courageous example, inspiring the men with the greatest admiration.

Very soon the column was swept by a terrible fire from the Confederate artillery. It wavered for a moment, but the words and acts of the General soon restored its steadiness, and it moved on rapidly. When Tuttle was within range of the Confederate muskets, he placed himself at the head of his men and shouted “Forward!” Without firing a gun, they charged upon the Confederates with the bayonet, driving them from their intrenchments, and, in the midst of cheers from a thousand voices, the National standard was planted upon them. When darkness fell, General Grant knew that his plan, so suddenly conceived in a moment of anxiety, had secured a solid triumph — that the rich fruit of victory was ripe and ready to fall into his lap. There was joy in the National camp that night, while terror brooded over the imprisoned Confederates.

“ How shall we escape?” was the important question anxiously considered by the Confederate leaders that night, especially by Floyd and Pillow; the former terror-stricken, because of the danger of falling into the hands of the Government, against which he had committed such fearful crimes; and the latter suffering unnecessarily for the same reason, his vanity magnifying his own importance much beyond its true proportions. A Council of War was held at Pillow's Headquarters, in Dover, at midnight, to consider the matter. There were criminations and recriminations, and Floyd and Pillow seemed to think of little else than the salvation of themselves from the power of their injured Government. Buckner, too, desired to escape, and it was resolved to effect it, if possible, by cutting their way through the supposed weak right of the National lines, at five o'clock in the morning, and press on toward Nashville.

Colonel Forest was ordered, at about two o'clock, to ascertain the position of the Nationals, and the practicability of escaping by the river road. He reported, that the position from which the Confederates had been driven by Wallace in the afternoon, on the left, by which lay their projected course of [219] escape, was held by a large body of troops, and that the back-water above Dover could not be crossed except by cavalry. Again the council deliberated, when is was agreed that the cost of an attempt to cut their way out would probably be the loss of the lives of three-fourths of the troops. “No commander,” said Buckner, “has a right to make such a sacrifice.” Floyd agreed with him, and quickly said, “Then we will have to capitulate; but, gentlemen,” he added, nervously, “I cannot surrender; you know my position with the Federals: it wouldn't do, it wouldn't do.” Pillow then said to Floyd, “I will not surrender myself nor the command; will die first.” --“Then,” said Buckner, coolly, “I suppose, gentlemen, the surrender will devolve upon me.” The terrified Floyd quickly asked, “General, if you are put in command, will you allow me to take out, by the river, my brigade?” --“If you move before I shall offer to surrender,” Buckner replied. “Then, sir,” said Floyd, “I surrender thy command.” Pillow, who was next in rank, and to whom Floyd offered to transfer the command, quickly exclaimed, “I will not accept it — I will never surrender.” While speaking, he turned toward Buckner, who said, “I will accept, and share the fate of my command.” 26

When the capitulation was determined upon, Floyd and Pillow, who, it has been justly remarked, had already disgraced the name of American citizens, proceeded to disgrace the character of a soldier also,27 by stealing away under cover of the night, deserting, in the most cowardly manner, the soldierly Buckner and the brave men who had defended the post. In order to aid their flight, the latter allowed Forest to attempt to cut his way out with his cavalry. In too much haste to save himself, Floyd did not wait for all of his Virginians to get ready to escape with him, but with a few of them, hastily collected, he embarked on a steamer at Dover, followed by the curses and hisses of thousands on the shore, and fled to Nashville.28 Pillow sneaked away in the darkness, and, in perfect safety at his home in Columbia, in Middle Tennessee, he sat down a few days afterward to write a report to his indignant superiors. Forest and his horsemen, about eight hundred in number, also escaped. There is not in all history a meaner picture of the conduct of traitors than that afforded by the Council of War at Dover, on Sunday morning, the 16th of February, 1862.

That Sunday morning dawned brightly upon the Union army. At day-break, Wallace prepared to storm the Confederate intrenchments, and while making dispositions for that purpose, a bugle in the direction of the fort sounded a parley. Dimly seen in the morning twilight was an officer with the bugler, bearing a white flag, and at the same time a similar flag was seen waving over the fort, in token of a willingness to surrender. Wallace immediately rode to Buckner's quarters. The latter had posted a letter to Grant, asking for the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of [220] capitulation, and suggesting an armistice until noon. Wallace immediately sent word to Grant that Dover was surrendered, and his troops were in possession of the town. This made Grant's reply to Buckner short and explicit. He considered Buckner and his troops as simply rebels in arms, with no right to ask any terms excepting such as humanity required, so he said, “No terms other than unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.”

Grant's reply irritated the helpless Buckner, and, with folly equal to his chagrin, he answered, “The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an unexpected change of commanders, and the overwhelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success

Camp Douglas.

of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.” This was followed by the speedy surrender of the fort, with thirteen thousand five hundred men, as prisoners of war (including the sick and wounded), a large proportion of whom were sent to Camp Douglas, near Chicago ;29 also three thousand horses, forty-eight field-pieces, [221] seventeen heavy guns, twenty thousand muskets, and a great quantity of military stores.30 On the following day, two regiments of Tennessee

Plan of the siege of Fort Donelson.

troops, that came up to re-enforce the garrison, in ignorance of the surrender, were also made prisoners. During the siege, the Confederates had lost, it [222] was estimated, two hundred and thirty-seven killed, and one thousand and seven wounded. The National loss was estimated at four hundred and forty-six killed, one thousand seven hundred and forty-five wounded, and one hundred and fifty prisoners. The latter had been sent across the river, and were not re-captured.31

The victory at Fort Donelson was of the greatest importance to the National cause, and the official announcement of it,32 spreading with speed of lightning over the land, produced intense joy in every loyal bosom. Cities were illuminated, heavy guns thundered forth National salutes; and every — where the flag of the Republic was flung to the breeze, in token of profound satisfaction. The news filled the conspirators with despair, and terribly depressed the spirits of the soldiers of the Confederate army. By it Europe was made to doubt the success of the rebellion; and at some courts it produced the first serious thoughts of abandoning the cause of the conspirators. Its effect, in all relations, was similar to that of the capture of Burgoyne and his army at Saratoga, in 1777. So powerful was the impression, that the Confederate Commissioners abroad felt compelled to do all in their power to belittle the event, and, by taking advantage of the general deficiency of knowledge of American geography,33 to satisfy the ruling class that it was of no military importance whatever. In that effort the Commissioners failed.

At Richmond the fall of Fort Donelson caused emotions of mingled anger and dismay. The loss of Roanoke Island, a few days before, had greatly alarmed and irritated the conspirators; and now the chief of the Confederates, [223] with as much dignity as possible, commented seriously on their calamities in a message to his “Congress.” Official information had not reached him. “Enough is known,” he said, “of the surrender of Roanoke Island to make us feel that it was deeply humiliating.” Of the disaster at Fort Donelsonl, he said: “I am not only unwilling but unable to believe that a large army of our people has surrendered without a desperate effort to cut its way through the investing forces, whatever may have been their numbers, and to endeavor to make a junction with other divisions of the army.” 34 A little later, in transmitting to his “Congress” the reports of Floyd and Pillow, he said they were “incomplete and unsatisfactory. It is not stated,” he said, “that re-enforcements were at any time asked for; nor is it demonstrated to have been impossible to have saved the troops by evacuating the position; nor is it known by what means it was found practicable to withdraw a part of the garrison, leaving the remainder to surrender; nor upon what authority or principle of action the senior generals abandoned responsibility by transferring the command to a junior officer.” Notwithstanding General Johnston attempted to gloss the cowardice of Floyd and Pillow,35 Davis, in the communication we are considering, said: “I have directed, upon the exhibition of the case as presented by the two senior Generals, that they should be relieved from command, to await further orders, whenever a reliable judgment can be rendered on the merits of the case.” 36

Davis himself, it has been charged since the close of the rebellion (for all spoke of him during the war with bated breath), was continually interfering in military affairs, and with the action of skillful commanders most mischievously.37

Generals Grant, McClernand, and Wallace38 issued orders congratulating their victorious troops ;39 and General Halleck, who had drawn from General [224] Hunter's Kansas Department some of the re-enforcements which he had sent to Grant, said, in a letter to him,

Feb. 19, 1862.
“To you, more than to any other man out of this Department, are we indebted for our success at Fort Donelson. In my strait for troops to re-enforce General Grant, I applied to you. You responded nobly, placing your forces at my disposition.” The Secretaries of War and of the Navy also issued congratulatory orders. The Government and people were satisfied that a withering blow had been given to the rebellion, and that henceforth its proportions would be less, and its malignity not so dangerous to the life of the Republic.

At Forts Henry and Donelson was successfully begun that army mail-service which was so admirably organized and so efficiently executed during the war by Colonel A. H. Markland. It was suggested to General Grant by Colonel Markland, who was the special agent of the National Post-office Department. It was immediately adopted, and was ever afterward warmly cherished by that sagacious commander; and to him is justly due much of the credit of making it practically effective in blessing the officers and soldiers of the armies of the Republic during the great struggle. The perfection of the system was exhibited even so early as at the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, and it never failed to give ample satisfaction to all, until the end of the war.40

The peculiar army mail-service organized under the auspices of General Grant was finally extended to all Departments, and was managed by Colonel Markland, who was made the general superintendent of the mails of the armies of the Republic. Soldiers in camp or on the march, and even under the fire of the enemy, received letters from home with as much regularity as if they had been residents of a large city. That system was not introduced into the Army of the Potomac while McClellan commanded it. One much less perfect and efficient, which he found in operation, was continued. That was established when the troops under the first call began to assemble around Washington, in April and May, 1861. The chaplain of each regiment was recognized as “regimental post-master,” and he usually called at the Washington City Post-office for the army mail. When the army was increased [225] and fully organized, the commanding officer of each regiment selected a reliable man from the non-commissioned officers or privates to act as mail messenger, and that system was continued until the troops were called to the field in the spring of 1862. Then the mails were “brigaded,” placed in canvas bags, labeled and addressed to the brigade, and forwarded to their destination by steamer or railway, under military authority. The Post-office Department had no further control of the army mail after it left the post-office at Washington City.

During the Peninsula campaign, the mail for the Army of the Potomac was forwarded from Washington by way of Baltimore and Old Point Comfort, the Potomac being blockaded by shore batteries. At the same time, the troops in the Shenandoah Valley were supplied with a mail service by way of Harper's Ferry, the mails being sent under military control to that place, over the Baltimore and Ohio railway, and there furnished to the brigades when called for. Owing to the peculiar condition of affairs in that region, much of the time there was very little regularity in the delivery of the mails, and communication between the army and home was at times very uncertain.

The mails for these armies, and also for the Army of the James, were all distributed in the Post-office at Washington City, where they were assorted into regiments, batteries, and independent commands. Rosters, for the guidance of the postmaster at Washington, were furnished when troops changed localities. In his office boxes were prepared and labeled for the respective regiments; and at one time no less than eight hundred regiments and batteries, which extended over the seaboard to New Orleans, and the entire Shenandoah Valley, had the mail matter for them thus prepared for distribution. After being thus sorted, these mails were delivered to authorized military agents, who attended to their transmission. In this way hundreds of thousands of letters passed to and from the army daily.41

The regularity with which the great armies of Grant, Sherman, Thomas, and others in the West were supplied with mails, under the general superintendence of Colonel Markland, was marvelous. He and his assistants seemed to be almost ubiquitous. No danger was so appalling, and no obstructions were so apparently insurmountable as to deter these messengers of good. They endured all that the army endured-perils, fatigues, and privations. The mail was nearly always in advance of the armies, or moving in a direction to meet them, and yet Colonel Markland never lost one, by capture, over which he had personal control. When Sherman reached tide-water, after his march for the sea, the mail for his army was in readiness for distribution; and the [226] first vessel to reach King's Bridge, on the Ogeechee River, was the mail steamer. Subsequently, when Sherman marched through the Carolinas, and after the hard-fought battle of Bentonville, he met the mail for his army on the evening of the day of that battle.42

That army mail-service presents to the contemplation of those who comprehend its extent and usefulness, one of the moral wonders of the great conflict; and in its salutary influence and value seems second only to the Sanitary Commission or the Christian Commission. It kept entire armies in continual communion, as far as possible, with home and kindred — a circumstance of incalculable benefit to the soldier and the service. It prevented that terrible home-sickness with which raw troops are often prostrated. It also exercised the affections, and, in a remarkable degree, brought the sweet influences of the domestic circle to bear most powerfully in strengthening the men against the multiform temptations of the camp, and the yearnings for family joys which so often seduce the less favored soldier to desert; while courage and patriotism were continually stimulated by heroic words from patient and loving ones at home.

The writer visited the theater of events recorded in this chapter, early in May, 1866. He left Nashville in the steamer Tyrone, toward the evening of the 5th. Most of his fellow-passengers, as far as Clarksville, sixty miles down the Cumberland River, consisted of about two hundred colored soldiers, who had just been paid off and discharged from the service. The few white passengers on board, and the officers and crew of the Tyrone, who were mostly secessionists, were greatly relieved when these soldiers debarked at midnight, for the fearful massacre of negroes at Memphis had just occurred, and they did not know what might be the temper of these troops on that account. They were in dread of personal danger. But there was no occasion for alarm. The preparations made for surrendering the steamer to the soldiers, on demand, and taking the women and children ashore in the yawl-boat, as well as the more belligerent one for giving the negroes a shower of hot water from the boiler, in the event of an uprising, were quite unnecessary. The writer, who mingled among and conversed with many of the soldiers, never saw a more orderly and well-disposed company of men, just loosed from military discipline, than they. There was only one intoxicated man among them. They were too full of joy to think of mischief. The shores of the Cumberland resounded with their songs and laughter, for [227] they were all happy in the thought of money in their pockets, and the greetings of friends at home.

The Tyrone lay at Clarksville until daylight, when the writer had the opportunity to make a sketch of Fort Bruce and its vicinity, events at which will be considered presently. We left there while breakfasting; and nearly all of that beautiful day we were voyaging on that winding and picturesque river, whose bosom and shores have been made historical by great events. At about two o'clock in the afternoon we passed the ruins of the Cumberland Iron Works, and at three o'clock we landed at the site of Dover. The little village, with its church, court-house, and almost one hundred dwellings and stores, when Fort Donelson43 was built, had disappeared. The public buildings and most of the private ones had been laid in ashes during the war, and only a few dilapidated structures remained.

At Cooley's tavern, near the landing-place (in which General Tilghman had quartered), the writer was introduced to Captain James P. Flood, the commander of the famous Flood's Second Illinois Battery, who performed gallant service at Dover, in repelling an attack by the cavalry of Forest and Wheeler. He had settled there as a lawyer, and was familiar with every foot of the battle-ground. He kindly offered to accompany the writer to the points of interest in connection with the battle, and took him to the house of G. M. Stewart, near the fort, an old and leading citizen of Stewart County, who had been faithful to the old flag, and had suffered much for its sake during the war. Mr. Stewart and his son (who had been in the Union service) kindly offered to go over the field of conflict with us. He furnished saddle-horses for the whole company, and at twilight we had traversed the entire line of works, in front of which the divisions of McClernand and Wallace fought, and visited the Headquarters of General Grant. Near McClernand's extreme right, in Hysmith's old field, we found the grave-yard of the Illinois troops, delineated on page 217. We followed the lines toward the center in their devious way through the woods, and clearings covered with sprouting oaks, and came to the burial-place of the dead of the Eleventh Illinois Regiment, similar in appearance to the other, and having a board in the center with the names of the killed upon it. Every — where the trees were terribly scarred by bullets, and cannon-shot and shell, giving evidence of the severity of the battle. All through these woods and openings, we found the detached lines of the Confederate intrenchments half concealed by the already rank growth of grass, and bushes shoulder high, and blackberry shrubs and vines, then white with blossoms. Nature was rapidly hiding from view these evidences of man's iniquity.

Grant's Headquarters, as we have observed, were at the house of Mrs. Crisp, a short distance from the road leading from Dover to Fort Henry. Mrs. Crisp, a stout, kind-hearted, good-natured old lady, was still there, and refreshed us with a draught of the finest spring water. She did not approve of National troops in general, but had most pleasant recollections of General Grant and his staff. She committed to our keeping kind [228] compliments to the General, and then, at almost sunset, we bade her farewel, and galloped back toward Dover, diverging to the left to visit Fort Donelson, and sketch the scene of the battle on the river between the armed vessels and the water-batteries. The sun was just setting behind some thin clouds when we arrived there, and it was soon too dark to allow the use of the pencil. So we rode to Dover, supped with Mr. Stewart, and lodged at Cooley's.

Wishing to take passage on the first steamer that should pass up the Cumberland the next morning, the writer arose at dawn, and found Mr. Stewart, as previously arranged, ready, with two saddle-horses, to visit the fort. We breakfasted before sunrise, and then rode over the lines of the famous stronghold on which the Confederates had spent so much labor, and placed so much dependence. These, too, were half hidden by shrubbery and vines, and in the course of a very few years it will be difficult to trace the

View at Fort Donelson.44

outlines of these fortifications. Between these and Dover, we visited a strong work on a commanding eminence, built by the National troops under the direction of Captain Flood and others, but which was never made use of. From the hill overlooking the water batteries I made the accompanying sketch, and had just finished it when a steamer came in sight below, at the point where Foote's armored vessels, ranged in a line, assailed the Confederate works. Remounting our horses, we hurried back to Dover, reaching [229] there just as the steamer was moored at the gravelly bank. It was the Emma Floyd, one of the most agreeable boats on the Cumberland, and with its intelligent pilots, John and Oliver Kirkpatrick, and their wives and children, the writer spent most of the day in the pilot-house, listening to the stories of the adventures of these men while they were acting as pilots in the fleets of Farragut and Porter, during those marvelous expeditions on the Mississippi, its tributaries, and its mysterious bayous, carried on in connection with the armies of Grant and Banks. After a delightful voyage of twenty-four hours, we arrived at Nashville, where the writer was joined by his former traveling companions, Messrs. Dreer and Greble, of Philadelphia, with whom he afterward journeyed for six weeks upon the pathways and battle-fields of the great armies in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

The aspect of Nashville, and especially its surroundings, had materially changed since the author was there in 1861. The storm of war had swept (over the country in its vicinity with fearful effect. The city itself had not suffered bombardment, yet at times it had been in imminent danger of such calamity; first on the approach of the forces of Grant and Buell, and after-ward when it was held by the National troops and was threatened by the Confederates. The hills had been stripped of their forests, pleasure-grounds had been robbed of their shade-trees, and places of pleasant resort had been scarred by trenches or disfigured by breastworks. Buildings had been shattered by shot and shell or laid in ruins by fire; and at every approach to the city were populous cemeteries of soldiers who had fallen in defense of their country.

In the Capitol were stores of correspondence and other papers captured from Pillow and his fellow-traitors, and these were placed at the disposal of the author, who also had the good fortune to meet in Nashville General Ewell, one of the most estimable of the Confederates who took up arms against the Government, as a man and as a military leader. He kindly allowed him to make abstracts of his later reports, in manuscript, concerning operations in the Shenandoah Valley, in which he and “Stonewall Jackson” were associated, and also furnished him with information relative to the evacuation of Richmond, and the destruction of a great portion of it by fire immediately succeeding that event, when Ewell was in command of the post. That subject will be considered hereafter.

Tail-piece — bomb-shell.

1 “The first one fired,” says Lieutenant Phelps, in his report to Commodore Foote, “had on board a quantity of submarine batteries; the second one was freighted with powder, cannon-shot, grape, balls, &c. Fearing an explosion from the fired boats, I had stopped at the distance of a thousand yards; but even there our skylights were broken by the concussion.” The boat was otherwise injured; and he said, “the whole river for half a mile round about was completely beaten up by the falling fragments and the shower of shot. grape, balls, &c.” He also said that the house of a reported Unionist was blown to pieces. It was believed that the vessels were fired in front of it for the purpose of destroying it.

2 Report of Commodore Foote, Feb. 6th, 1862.

3 He was a son of Senator Samuel Foote, of Connecticut, whose resolution concerning the public lands occasioned the famous debate in the Senate of the United States between Daniel Webster and Robert Y. Hayne.

4 The congregation were disappointed by the non-appearance of their pastor at the proper time, and Foote was invited to conduct the religious services of the occasion.

5 this represents a mortar-boat. They were constructed for strength and steadiness of position. On a broad float were walls of wood, about eight feet in height, plated with iron on the outside, and sloping, so as to more easily ward off shot. In each was a single heavy mortar, with ammunition below water-mark, a tent for shelter, and other conveniences.

6 The following named officers composed General Grant's personal Staff at this time: Colonel J. D. Webster, Chief of Staff; Colonel J. Riggin, Jr., Volunteer Aid; Captain J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captains C. B. Logan and W. S. Hillyer, Aids; and Lieutenant-Colonel V. B. McPherson, Chief Engineer. According to the report of the Adjutant-General, Grant had under him in the district of Cairo, on the 10th of January, 1862, 26,875 men, officers and privates.

7 See page 516, volume I.

8 His commission was dated September 3d, 1861.

9 A carronade is a short piece of ordnance, having a large caliber, and a chamber for the powder like a mortar. It is similar to the howitzer. Its name is derived from Carron, a place in Scotland, where it was first manufactured.

10 These consisted of thirteen regiments of Tennessee troops, two of Kentucky, six of Mississippi, one of Texas, two of Alabama, four of Virginia, two independent battalions of Tennessee infantry, and a regiment of cavalry, under the afterward famous leader Colonel A. B. Forest. With these were artillerymen for manning six batteries of light cannon, and seventeen heavy guns.

11 Letter of General Johnston to “CongressmanBarksdale, at Richmond, March 18, 1862.

12 See page 102.

13 This regiment, armed with the Henry rifle, were organized as sharp-shooters by General Fremont. Each man was chosen because of his skill as a marksman. The regiment first appeared in action in the siege now under consideration. They were afterward conspicuous at the battle of Shiloh, and the siege of Corinth. They were also in active service in Sherman's Campaign in 1864, where they were highly complimented by Generals McPherson and Logan, for having held a ridge at Resaca against a brigade of Confederates. I am indebted to Lieutenant A. W. Bill, of the regiment, for the sketch from which the engraving on page 210 was made.

14 This division consisted of two brigades, commanded respectively by Colonels Cruft and John M. Thayer. The first brigade (Cruft's) was composed of the Thirty-first Indiana, Colonel Osborn; Seventeenth Kentucky Colonel McHenry; Forty-fourth Indiana, Colonel Reed; and Twenty-fifth Kentucky, Colonel Shackelford. The second brigade (Thayer's) was composed of the First Nebraska, Colonel McCord; Seventy-sixth Ohio, Colonel Woods; and Fifty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Steadman. Three regiments (Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis; Fifty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Baldwin; and Fifty-eighth Illinois, Colonel Lynch) came up the next day during the action, and were attached to Colonel Thayer's command.

15 That diversion was more in the form of a reconnaissance, and the operations of the gun-boat were extremely useful. The Carondelet lay behind a jutting promontory, secure from the heavier shots from the shore, and hurled shot and shell into the fort and on the water batteries with great effect. The commander of these batteries afterward declared that the fire of the Carondelet did more actual damage to his guns than the heavy bombardment on the following day. A shot from the Carondelet, on the morning of the 13th, killed Captain Dixon, one of the best of the Confederate engineers, and that vessel was specially singled out for injury on the 14th, for, as a Confederate officer (Paymaster Nixon) said, “She was the object of our hatred;” and added, “Many a gun was leveled at her alone.”

16 I am indebted to the courtesy of Commander Walke, of the Carondelet, for the above sketch showing the position of the flotilla at the beginning of the attack on the water batteries.

17 Fifty-nine shot struck the St. Louis, thirty-six hit the Louisville, twenty-six wounded the Carondelet, and twenty shot were received by the Pittsburg.

18 Report of Commodore Foote to the Secretary of the Navy, on board his flag-ship, Feb. 15th, 1862.

19 Pillow's report to Captain Clarence Derrick, “Assistant Adjutant-General,” written at his home in Columbia, Tennessee, on the 18th of February, 1862.

20 General Pillow's first Report

21 Report of General Wallace.

22 Report of General Buckner.

23 On the strength of this, Johnston sent a dispatch to Richmond, announcing a great victory, and on Monday the Richmond Enquirer said: “This splendid feat of arms and glorious victory to our cause will send a thrill of joy over the whole Confederacy.”

24 General Sherman says that General Grant told him that, at a certain period of the battle, “he saw that either side was ready to give way if the other showed a bold front, and he determined to do that very thing, to advance on the enemy, when, as he prognosticated, the enemy surrendered.” --Sherman's Letter to the Editor of the United States service magazine, January, 1865.

25 this is from a sketch made by the author early in May, 1866. this burial-place, surrounded by a rude wattling fence, was in Hysmith's old field, in the edge of a wood, near where McArthur's troops were posted. The trees and shrubbery in the adjoining wood showed hundreds of marks of the severe battle.

26 Sworn statements of Colonel Forest, Major Gustavus A. Henry, Major W. H. Haynes, and Hunter Nicholson, who were present at the council.

27 Coppee's Grant and his Campaigns, page 66.

28 An epigrammatist of the day wrote concerning Floyd's escape, saying:--

The thief is a coward by nature's law;
Who betrays the State, to no one is true;
And the brave foe at Fort Donelson saw
Their light-fingered Floyd was light-footed too.

29 Generals Buckner and Tilghman, who were captured at Fort Henry, were sent to Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor. Leading Unionists of Kentucky asked for the surrender of Buckner to the civil authorities of that State, to be tried for treason against that commonwealth. The application was refused, and he was afterward exchanged.

Camp Douglas was so named in honor of Senator Douglas, and was situated on land that had belonged to him. regiments, that performed such signal service, were drilled. It was converted into a prison, and early in April, 1862, after the battle of Shiloh, it contained full 8,000 captives, most of whom were from Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. The passage of these prisoners through the country to their destinatiog produced a profound sensation. A St. Louis journal mentioned al e arrival there of ten thousand of them, on ten steamers.

Prison at camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio.

A large number of the captives at Forts Henry and Donelson were also sent to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, which was so named in honor of the Secretary of the Treasury. The prison there was in the southeast corner of the camp. The strong inclosure was about sixteen feet in height, built of two-inch pine plank, with scantling well bolted and braced. The picture shows the exterior of the prison and the guard-houses.

30 A participant in the scenes at Fort Donelson wrote as follows concerning the surrender: “One of the grandest sights in the whole siege, and one which comes only once in a century, was the triumphal entry into the Fort on Sunday morning. . . . The sight from the highest point in the fort, commanding a view of both river and camp, was imposing. There were on one side regiment after regiment pouring in, their flags floating gayly in the wind; some of them which had been rent and faded on the fields of Mexico, and others with ‘Springfield’ emblazoned on their folds; one magnificent brass band pouring out the melodies of ‘Hail Columbia,’ ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ ‘ Yankee Doodle,’ etc., in such style as the gazing captives had never heard, even in the palmy days of peace. On the other was a spectacle which surpasses all description. The narrow Cumberland seemed alive with steamers. First came the gun-boats, firing salutes; then came little black tugs, snorting their acclamations; and after them the vast fleet of transports, pouring out volumes of black smoke, their banners floating gayly in the breeze, firing salutes, their decks covered with people sending deafening shouts in response to those from the shore. The scene was sublime, impressive, and will not easily be forgotten.”

31 Reports of Generals Grant, McClernand, Wallace, and subordinate officers; and of Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner, and their subordinates. Also written and oral statements to the author by participants in the action.

32 Commander Walke, in the Carondelet, carried the first news of the victory to Cairo, from which it was telegraphed to General McClellan by General George W. Cullum, Halleck's Chief of Staff, then at Cairo, saying: “The Union flag floats over Donelson. The Carondelet, Captain Walke, brings the glorious intelligence. The fort surrendered at nine o'clock yesterday (Sunday) morning. Generals Buckner, Bushrod R. Johnston, and 15,000 prisoners, and a large amount of materials of war, are the trophies of the victory. Loss heavy on both sides. Floyd, the thief, stole away during the night previous with 5,000 men, and is denounced by the rebels as a traitor.” He then spoke of the good conduct of Commodore Foote, and announced the fact that, notwithstanding his sufferings from the wound in his foot, he would immediately make an attack on Clarksville, an important post about forty miles above. He concluded by saying, “We are now firing a National salute from Fort Cairo, General Grant's late post, in honor of the glorious achievement.”

The women of St. Louis, desirous of testifying their admiration of General Halleck, in whose Department and by whose troops these victories had been achieved (and because of his energy in suppressing secession in Missouri), ordered an elegant sword to be made by Tiffany & Co., of New York, to be presented to him in their name. This was done in the parlor of the Planters' Hotel, in St. Louis, on the evening of the 17th of March, 1862, by Mrs. Helen Budd, who spoke in behalf of the donors. In his brief reply, General Halleck assured the women of St. Louis that it should be “used in defense of their happiness, their rights, and their honor, and solely in behalf of justice.” The weapon was an elegant one, richly ornamented with classical designs.

Halleck's sword.

33 The amazing territorial extent of the United States is but little comprehended in Europe, and the relative position of places mentioned in connection with the war seemed to be very little understood, even by some of the best informed writers and speakers. This lack of exact information led writers on American affairs into the most absurd speculations as well as serious blunders. An illustrative example was found in the summary of war news from America in the Paris Moniteur, at about the time we are considering. Speaking of the capture of Roanoke Island, and of Elizabeth City, in Eastern North Carolina

Feb., 1862.
the writer observed: “The Federal army landed, and proceeded toward Elizabeth City, which it found evacuated and burned by the Southern troops. From there a detachment advanced as far as the Tennessee River, and thus occupies the principal road between Memphis and Columbus. This movement establishes the troops of General Burnside in the rear of the great army of the Potomac.” Elizabeth City, on the Atlantic coast, and the Tennessee River, at the point indicated, are fully 750 miles apart, in an air line, and at least 1,200 miles by any route troops might be taken.

34 Message of Jefferson Davis to the Confederate Congress, Feb. 28th, 1862.

35 General Johnston said in a private letter to Jefferson Davis: “Although the command was irregularly transferred, it was not apparently to avoid any just responsibility, or from any lack of personal or moral intrepidity.” Johnston could not have been aware of the disgraceful scene in the midnight council at Pillow's quarters in Dover, when he wrote that apology. The temper of the Conspirators in Richmond was in no mood to receive an apology. They had been elated beyond measure by Pillow's premature boast of victory, and now the disappointment was of corresponding force.

36 Jefferson Davis's message to his “Congress,” March 11th, 1862.

37 So say military experts, and those most intimately acquainted with his official conduct. “Twenty years hence,” says a politician of Mississippi, who was a fellow-worker in rebellion with Davis in Richmond, “no one will be heard to deny that to the direct and unwise interferences in great military movements, on the part of Davis, are to be attributed nearly all the principal disasters of the war. In the gross mismanagement of the War Department, under the supervision and control of Mr. Davis himself, may safely be charged the calamitous occurrences at Forts Donelson and Henry, and at Roanoke Island.” --War of the Rebellion, by Henry S. Foote.

38 For their services in the siege of Fort Donelson. Generals Grant, McClernand, and Wallace were each promoted to Major-General of volunteers, the commission of the former bearing the date of the surrender (February 16, 1862), and the other two of March 21st, 1862.

39 Grant said (February 17th), after congratulating his troops on their “triumph over the rebellion, gained by their valor,” that “for four successive nights, without shelter during the most inclement weather known in this latitude, they faced an enemy in large force in a position chosen by himself. Though strongly fortified by nature, all the additional safeguards suggested by science were added. Without a murmur this was borne, prepared at all times to receive an attack, and with continuous skirmishing by day, resulting ultimately in forcing the enemy to surrender without conditions. The victory achieved is not only great in the effect it will have in breaking down rebellion, but has secured the greatest number of prisoners of war ever taken in any battle on this continent. Fort Donelson will hereafter be marked in capitals on the map of our united country, and the men who fought the battle will live in the memory of a grateful people.”

McClernand, in a field-order (February 18th), said: “ You have continually led the way in the Valley of the Lower Mississippi, the Tennessee, and the Cumberland. You have carried the flag of the Union farther South than any other land forces, marching from the interior toward the seaboard.

Being the first division to enter Fort Henry, you also pursued the enemy for miles, capturing from him, in his flight, six field-pieces, many of his standards and flags, a number, of prisoners, and a great quantity of military stores. Following the enemy to this place, you were the first to encounter him outside of his intrenchments, and drive him within them.

” After recounting their exploits, he said: “The battle-field testifies to your valor and constancy. Even the magnanimity of the enemy accords to you an unsurpassed heroism, and an enviable and brilliant share in the hardest-fought battle and most decisive victory ever fought and won on the American continent.” . . . . . “The death-knell of rebellion is sounded; an army has been annihilated; and the way to Nashville and Memphis is opened.”

40 The origin and general efficiency of that service is stated in the following letter to the author, dated, “Headquarters Armies of the United States, Washington, D. C., July 30th, 1866:” --

Dear Sir :--Among the subjects that occupied my mind when I assumed command at Cairo, in the fall of 1861, was the regular supply of mails to and from the troops; not only those in garrison, but those on the march when active movements should begin. When I commenced the movement on Fort Henry, on Jan. T, 1862, a plan was proposed by which the mails should promptly follow, and as promptly be sent from the army. So perfect was the organization, that the mails were delivered to the army immediately upon its occupation of the fort. Within one hour after the troops began to march into Fort Donelson, the mail was being distributed to them from the mail wagons. The same promptness was always observed in the armies under my command, up to the period of the final disbandment. It is a source of congratulation that the postal service was so conducted, that officers and men were in constant communication with kindred and friends at home, and with as much regularity as the most favored in the large cities of the Union. The postal system of the army, so far as I know, was not attended with any additional expense to the service. The system adopted by me was suggested and ably superintended by A. H. Markland, special agent of the Post-office Department.

Respectfully, &c.,

U. S. Grant, General.

41 “ For months,” says Mr. S. J. Bowen, the postmaster of Washington City, in a letter to the author, on the 22d of July, 1866, “we received and sent an average of 250,000 military letters per day. It is believed that this number was exceeded after General Sherman's army reached Savannah, and up to the time of the review of the troops in this city in the month of May, 1865.”

“Taking into consideration,” continues Mr. Bowen,

the quantity of mail matter, consisting of letters, newspapers, packages of clothing, and other articles of every conceivable kind that passed through this office to and from our armies, it is surprising that so few losses occurred. Almost every package reached the person to whom it was addressed, and the failure of letters to find their owners in “ due course of mail ” was extremely rare. Indeed, I think the armies were provided with mails with just about as much certainty as people are in large cities, and with about as little delay.

The only loss of any moment that occurred to the Post-office Department, on account of this heavy mail service, was in mail-bags. It is estimated that at least thirty thousand of these were sent out which never found their way back to this office, although every effort was made by us to have them returned.

42 Letter to the author by General Markland, August 20, 1866. In a letter to Colonel Markland, written in May, 1865, General O. O. Howard says: “For more than a year the Army of the Tennessee has been campaigning in the interior of the Southern States, a great portion of the time far separated from depots of supplies, and connected with home and friends only by a long and uncertain line of railroad, that was, for the most part, overworked to supply provisions, or, moving off without base or lines of communication, the army only touched at points not always previously designated. During all this time, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Savannah, and in the homeward campaign across the Carolinas, you, my dear Colonel, have received the warmest thanks from officers and men for your interest, energy, and uniform success in bringing to them the mail, often immense from accumulation, forwarding it promptly, by sea or by land, for distribution. During the campaign of four months against Atlanta, the mail was received with great regularity. On the 13th December, the very day our communication was opened on the Ogeechee River with Admiral Dahlgren's fleet, the mail-boat, with your personal charge, was the first to pass the obstructions and greet the Army of the Tennessee. When our army arrived at Goldsborough, having been marching 500 miles without communication, it found letters from home in waiting, and you were there to welcome us again. From this time till we left Raleigh, en route for Washington, all mail matter was regularly received, and you still provided for us while the army was encamped in sight of the capital.”

General Sherman, in a letter to General Markland, bore similar testimony.

43 This fort was so named in honor of Andrew Jackson Donelson, the adopted son of President Jackson, and who at that time was occupying the “Hermitage,” a few miles from Nashville. He warmly espoused the cause of the conspirators.

44 this is a view looking down the river, in which the remains of the upper water battery are seen in the foreground. In the distance, on the left, near which is seen a steamboat, is the promontory behind which the Carondelet lay while bombarding the Confederate works on the 18th. The Fort lay on the top of the hill on the extreme left. Across the river is seen the shore to which Pillow escaped when he stole out of the Fort.

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