: Enclosed I send you my order for the attack upon Fort Henry
Owing to despatches received from Major-Gen. Halleck
, and corroborating information here, to the effect that the enemy were rapidly reinforcing, I thought it imperatively necessary that the Fort
should be carried to-day.
My forces were not up at ten o'clock last night, when my order was written, therefore I did not deem it practicable to set an earlier hour than eleven o'clock to-day, to commence the investment.
The gunboats started up at the same hour to commence the attack, and engage the enemy at not over six hundred yards. In little over one hour all the batteries were silenced, and the Fort
surrendered at discretion to Flag-Officer Foote
, giving us all their guns, camp and garrison equipage, etc. The prisoners taken are Gen. Tilghman
and staff, Capt. Taylor
and company, and the sick.
The garrison, I think, must have commenced their retreat last night, or at an early hour this morning.
Had I not felt it an imperative necessity to attack Fort Henry
to-day, I should have made the investment complete, and delayed until to-morrow, so as to secure the garrison.
I do not now believe, however, the result would have been any more satisfactory.
The gunboats have proven themselves well able to resist a severe cannonading.
All the iron-clad boats received more or less shots — the flag-ship some twenty-eight--without any serious damage to any, except the Essex
This vessel received one shot in her boiler, that disabled her, killing and wounding some thirty-two men, Capt. Porter
among the wounded.
I remain your obedient servant,
headquarters District of Cairo, camp in field, near Fort Henry
, Feb. 5, 1862.
General orders, No. 1:
The First division, Gen. McClernand
Commanding, will move at eleven o'clock A. M., to-morrow, under the guidance of Lieut.-Col. McPherson
, and take a position on the roads from Fort Henry
It will be the special duty of this command to prevent all reenforcements to Fort Henry
or escape from it. Also, to be held in readiness to charge and take Fort Henry
by storm, promptly on the receipt of orders.
Two brigades of the Second division, Gen. C. F. Smith
Commanding, will start at the same hour from the west bank of the river, and take and occupy the heights commanding Fort Henry
This point will be held by so much artillery as can be made available, and such other troops as, in the opinion of the general commanding the Second division, may be necessary for its protection.
The Third brigade, Second division, will advance up the east bank of the Tennessee River
, as fast as it can be securely done, and be in readiness to charge upon the Fort
, or move to the support of the First division, as may be necessary.
All the forces on the west bank of the river, not required to hold the heights commanding Fort henry, will return to their transports, cross to the east bank, and follow the First brigade as fast as possible.
The west bank of the Tennessee River
, not having been reconnoitred, the commanding officer entrusted with taking possession of the enemy's works there, will proceed with great caution, and such information as can be gathered, and such guides as can be found in the time intervening, before eleven o'clock to morrow.
The troops will receive two days rations of bread and meat in their haversacks.
One company of the Second division, armed with rifles, will be ordered to report to Flag-Officer Foote
, as sharpshooters, on board the gunboats.
The gunboats under my command, the Essex
, Commander Porter
; the Carondelet
, Commander Walke
; the Cincinnati
, Commander Stembel
; the St. Louis
; the Conestoga
; the Tyler
; and the Lexington
, after a severe and rapid fire of an hour and a quarter, have captured Fort Henry
, and taken Gen. Lloyd Tilghman
and his staff, and sixty men as prisoners.
The surrender to the gunboats was unconditional, as we kept an open fire upon the enemy until their flag was struck.
In half an hour after the surrender, I handed the Fort
and prisoners over to Gen. Grant
, commanding the army, on his arrival at he Fort in force.
The Essex had a shot in her boiler after fighting
most effectively for two thirds of the action, and was obliged to drop down the river.
I hear that several of her men were scalded to death, including the two pilots.
She, with the other gunboats' officers and men, fought with the greatest gallantry.
The Cincinnati received thirty-one shots, and had one man killed and eight wounded--two seriously.
The Fort, with twenty guns and seventeen mortars, was defended by Gen. Tilghman
with the most determined gallantry.
I will write as soon as possible.
I have sent Lieut.
and three gunboats up after the rebel gunboats.
sir: I have the honor to report that on the sixth instant, at half-past 12 o'clock P. M., I made an attack on Fort Henry
, on the Tennessee River
, with the iron-clad gunboats Cincinnati
, Commander Stembel
, (the flag-ship;) the Essex
, Commander Porter
; the Carondelet
, Commander Walke
; and the St. Louis
; also taking with me the three old gunboats Conestoga
; the Tyler
; and the Lexington
, as a second division, in charge of Lieut.
, which took a position astern and in-shore of the armed boats, doing good execution there in the action, while the armed boats were placed in the first order of steaming, approaching the Fort
in a parallel line.
The fire was opened at one thousand seven hundred yards distance from the flag-ship, which was followed by the other gunboats and responded to by the Fort
As we approached the Fort
, slow steaming till we reached within six hundred yards of the rebel batteries, the fire both from the gunboats and the Fort
increased in rapidity and accuracy of range.
At twenty minutes before the flag was struck, the Essex
unfortunately received a shot in her boilers, which resulted in the wounding and scalding of twenty-nine officers and men, including Commander Porter
, as will be seen in the enclosed list of casualties.
The Essex then necessarily dropped out of line astern, entirely disabled and unable to continue the fight, in which she had so gallantly participated until the sad catastrophe.
The firing continued with unabated rapidity and effect upon the three gunboats, as they continued still to approach the Fort
with their destructive fire, until the rebel flag was hauled down, after a very severe and closely contested action of one hour and fifteen minutes.
A boat containing the Adjutant-General
of Engineers came alongside after the flag was lowered, and reported that Gen. Lloyd Tilghman
, the commander of the Fort
, wished to communicate with the flag-officer
, when I despatched Commander Stembel
, with orders to hoist the American
flag where the rebel ensign had been flying, and to inform Gen. Tilghman
that I would see him on board the flag-ship.
He came on board soon after the Union
had been substituted for the rebel flag on the Fort
, and possession taken of it. I received the General
and his staff, and some sixty or seventy men, as prisoners, and a hospital-ship, containing sixty invalids, together with the Fort
and its effects, mounting twenty guns, mostly of heavy calibre, with barracks and tents capable of accommodating fifteen thousand men, and sundry articles, which, as I turned the Fort
and its effects over to Gen. Grant
, commanding the army, on his arrival, in an hour after we had made the capture, he will be enabled to give the Government
a more correct statement of than I am enabled to communicate from the short time I had possession of the Fort
The plan of the attack, so far as the army reaching the rear of the Fort
to make a demonstration simultaneous with the navy, was frustrated by the excessively muddy roads and the high stage of water, preventing the arrival of our troops until some time after I had taken possession of the Fort
On securing the prisoners, and making the necessary preliminary arrangements, I despatched.
, with his division, up the Tennessee River
, as I had previously directed, and as will be seen in the enclosed order to him, to remove the rails, and so far render the bridge of the railroad for transportation and communication between Bowing Green
useless, and afterwards to pursue the rebel gunboats and secure their capture, if possible.
This being accomplished, and the army in possession of the Fort
, and my services being indispensable at Cairo
, I left Fort henry in the evening of the same day, with the Cincinnati
and St. Louis
, and arrived here this morning.
The armed gunboats resisted effectually the short of the enemy, when striking the casemates.
The Cincinnati, the flag-ship, received thirty-one shots; the Essex
, fifteen; the St. Louis
, seven; and the Carondelet
, six; killing one and wounding nine in the Cincinnati
, and killing one in the Essex
, while the casualties in the latter from steam amounted to twenty-eight in number.
and St. Louis
met with no casualties.
The steamers were admirably handled by their commanders and officers, presenting only their bow-guns to the enemy, to avoid the exposure of the vulnerable parts of their vessels.
, with his division, also executed my orders very effectually, and promptly proceeded up the river in their further execution after the capture of the Fort
In fact, all the officers and men gallantly performed their duty, and, considering the little experience they have had under fire, far more than realized my expectations.
Fort henry was defended, with the most determined gallantry, by Gen. Tilghman
, worthy of a better cause, who, from his own account, went into the action with eleven guns of heavy calibre bearing upon our boats, which he fought until
seven of the number were dismantled, or otherwise rendered useless.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The killed and wounded on board the Cincinnati.
sir: I have the honor to report that the casualties on board this vessel, during the bombardment of Fort Henry
, from the effects of the enemy's fire, were: Killed, one; wounded, nine; total, ten.
To A. H. Foote
, Commanding Naval Forces Western Waters:
sir: As Capt. Porter
is unable to write, he has advised me to send you a list of killed, wounded and missing on this vessel:
W. D. Porter
, commander, scalded.
J. H. Lewis
, paymaster, scalded.
T. P. Perry
, third master
, scalded badly.
S. B. Brittan
, master's mate, killed by cannon-shot.
, pilot, killed by scalding.
William H. Ford
, pilot, killed by scalding.
, quartermaster, badly scalded.
A. D. Waterman
, captain of forecastle, missing.
, fireman, missing.
, fireman, scalded badly.
, fireman, missing.
, seaman, killed by scalding.
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, killed by scalding.
, seaman, scalded badly.
, seaman, scalded badly.
, seaman, scalded slightly.
W. H. Maxey
, seaman, scalded badly.
, seaman, scalded badly.
, seaman, missing.
J. P. Beers
, seaman, killed by scalding.
John O. Hara
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, scalded.
J. J. Phillips
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, missing.
, seaman, scalded.
, seaman, badly scalded.
In addition to the above, we had nineteen soldiers injured, of which several have since died.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
, February 10, 1862.
The officers and crew of that portion of the gunboat flotilla, which was engaged in the capture of Fort Henry
, on the sixth instant, already have had their brilliant services and gallant conduct favorably noticed by the Commanding General
of the Western army, and by the Secretary of the Navy
, conveying the assurance that the President
of the United States
, the Congress
, and the country, appreciate their gallant deeds, and proffer to them the profound thanks of the Navy Department for the services rendered.
In conveying these pleasing tidings that our services are acknowledged by the highest authorities of the Government
, you will permit me to add that in observing the good order, coolness, courage, and efficiency of officers and men in the memorable action between the gunboats and the fort, that I shall ever cherish, with the liveliest interest, all the officers and men who participated in the battle, and, in the future shall, with increased hope and the greatest confidence, depend upon all officers and men attached to the flotilla, in the performance of every duty, whether in the fight or the laborious work of its preparation.
Cincinnati Gazette account.
Three times three cheers, and another, and yet another, and one cheer more!
The soldiers of the Union
have won another victory, and an important rebel stronghold has fallen into our hands.
, one of the most extensive and important fortifications in the confederacy, and, in fact, the key to the whole chain of fortifications which the rebels had stretched across the country from the Potomac
to the Mississippi
, is now ours, and the Star-Spangled Banner now floats where for many months the rebel “stars and bars” have flaunted in traitorous defiance.
For more than three weeks, very quiet but unmistakable preparations for a movement of some kind had been visible at Cairo
, and other points within Gen. Grant
's military jurisdiction, and although no flaming telegrams this time announced the fact in advance to a startled public, it was evident to a close observer that some event of more than ordinary gravity was in contemplation.
So very secretly were the preparations conducted, that no intimation of the destination, size, or probable time of the expedition could be obtained from those supposed to be in the secret, and we could only watch and wait.
From certain indications, I had for several days concluded that Fort Henry
, on the Tennessee River
, near the boundary line dividing the States of Kentucky
, was the point aimed at; indeed, I believe I intimated as much in some of my previous letters, and I was not surprised to learn, on Saturday, the first of February, that some ten regiments of infantry, together with artillery and cavalry, then at Cairo
, had received orders to be in readiness to embark next day, with three days rations in their haversacks.
But the embarkation of such a force, with horses, wagons, baggage and equipments, is no slight labor, and it was not until afternoon of Monday that the last of the transports left Cairo
, and steamed up the Ohio
in the direction of Paducah
Arriving at this point during the same evening, the boats halted for a short time, while some changes
were made in the disposition of the troops on board, and soon the whole fleet, under convoy of the gunboats Essex
, St. Louis
, were ploughing their way swiftly up the muddy Tennessee
, toward the Fort
When morning dawned, it revealed the transports safely moored to the bank, within ten miles of the rebel fortification.
The Fort is situated on the right bank of the Tennessee
, about seventy miles above its junction with the Ohio
, and about ten miles south of the State
Soon after our arrival, three of the gunboats, under orders from Gen. Grant
, proceeded cautiously toward the fort, shelling as they went, the woods on either side, to discover any concealed batteries, which might exist there, and afterward the Fort
itself, to draw its fire, and ascertain the range of its guns.
In the course of this reconnoissance, the Essex
received a shot from a thirty-two-pound rifled gun, penetrating a corner of the Captain
's cabin, which was not protected by sheathing, and splintering the woodwork to some extent, but doing no other damage.
The aim of this gun was generally very accurate, the shots falling always in line of our boats, and frequently very close to them.
The other guns of the Fort
were less skilfully handled.
Having ascertained thus the nearest distance within which it would be safe to disembark, the transports again started, and moved up to within about four miles of the Fort
, where the troops were landed, and prepared to encamp for the night.
The next day was consumed in making the necessary disposition of the troops for the attack, which was set for Thursday, the sixth inst.
During the day the gunboats Tyler
went up the river, and succeeded in removing six torpedoes, or infernal machines, which the rebels had sunk in the channel below the fort, in the hope of blowing up or disabling our fleet when it should attempt to approach them.
These instruments were constructed of boiler-iron, were about five feet in length, and contained sixty pounds of powder each.
Had they been suffered to remain and explode, as they were intended to do, they would doubtless have inflicted serious damage to the boats; but Capts. Phelps
succeeded in removing them without injury.
During this time, a small river steamer, which had been employed by the rebels as a ferry-boat, between the Fort
and the railroad, which crosses the river fifteen miles above, came out several times, from behind the shelter of an island, where she was ensconced, to take observations of our proceedings, but retired again before our boats could get a shot at her.
That night our troops, with the exception of Gen. Smith
's brigade, which had crossed to the west side of the river, encamped on a ridge of hills parallel with the river, and about half a mile from it. Their camp-fires, scattered all along the sides of the ridge among the trees, for more than a mile, presented that night one of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed, and no doubt being observed by the enemy, gave the impression that our force was much larger than was really the case.
Probably this might have had something to do in causing their precipitate flight afterward.
During the night a tremendous storm arose, accompanied with thunder and lightning, thoroughly soaking the soft clay soil, and rendering locomotion, especially in the low grounds, almost impossible.
In spite of this impediment, however, early the next morning order was given to prepare to march, and the forces were soon formed in four divisions, as follows: the First and Second brigades, comprising the Eighth, Eighteenth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first; Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-eighth Illinois regiments, with one regiment, (the Fourth Illinois,) and four independent companies of cavalry and four batteries of artillery, the whole under command of Brig.-Gen. McClernand
, were to move across the country to a point on the road leading from the Fort
to the town of Dover
, on the Cumberland
, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from receiving reinforcements from that direction, or of making their escape by that route, should the gunboats succeed in driving them from their intrenchments.
The Second division, comprising the Seventh, Ninth, Twelfth, Twenty-eighth, and Forty-first Illinois regiments, the Eleventh Indiana, the Seventh and Twelfth Iowa, the Eighth and Thirteenth Missouri, with artillery and cavalry, under the command of Gen. Smith
, were to move up the west bank of the river, take possession of and occupy a hill overlooking the Fort
, which the enemy had begun to fortify; and then a portion of the force was to re-cross the river and reinforce Gen. McClernand
Meantime, the gunboats, under command of the veteran Con. Foote
, were directed to shell the Fort
, and, if possible, drive the rebels from their guns.
Thus surrounded and attacked on three sides at once, it was hoped that the enemy might be driven from their strong intrenchments and fall into our hands.
An unconquerable determination held the minds of all, from the General
commanding to the lowest private, not to return until our object was accomplished; but still, it was with much anxiety and caution that at the appointed hour of eleven the troops commenced to move forward.
The forces of the enemy had been reported as probably fully equal in number to our own; they were well acquainted with the country and the facilities it afforded for attack or defence, and possessed the advantage of fighting under cover, upon ground cleared of all obstructions, while our attack must be made upon ground ill adapted by nature for the movement of troops, and rendered almost impassable by the timber which the rebels bad felled for some distance on every side.
I had taken my own position with the advance of Gen. McClernand
's column, thinking that the place for obtaining a view of the affair, and by noon the whole column was in motion.
Our route was along a rough cart-path which twisted and turned about among the high wooded hills,
in a most perplexing manner.
The storm of the previous night had soaked the soft alluvial soil of the bottoms, until under the tread of the troops it speedily became reduced to the consistency of soft porridge of almost immeasurable depth, rendering marching very difficult for the infantry, and for artillery almost impassable.
For some three hours we thus struggled along, when suddenly the roar of a heavy gun came booming over the hills, and another and another, told us that the gunboats had commenced the attack.
For an instant the entire column seemed to halt to listen, then springing forward, we pushed on with redoubled vigor.
But mile after mile of slippery hills and muddy swamps were passed over, and still the Fort
seemed no nearer.
We could plainly hear the roar of the guns, and the whistle of the huge shells through the air, but the high hills and dense woods completely obstructed the view.
Suddenly the firing ceased.
We listened for it to recommence, but all was still.
We looked in each other's faces, and wonderingly asked: “What does it mean?
Is it possible that our gunboats have been beaten back?” --for that the rebels should abandon, this immense fortification, on which the labor of thousands had been expended for months, after barely an hour's defence, and before our land troops had even come in sight of them, seemed too improbable to believe.
Cautiously we pressed forward, but ere long one of our advance scouts came galloping back, announcing that the rebels had abandoned the Fort
, and seemed to be forming in line of battle on the hills adjoining.
With a cheer our boys pressed forward.
Soon came another messenger, shouting that the enemy had abandoned their intrenchments completely, and were now in full retreat through the woods.
On we went, plunging through the deep mud and fording swollen creeks, until, on the summit of a hill higher than any we had previously surmounted, we came upon the outer line of the rebel fortifications.
An earthen breastwork, defended by an immense long rifle-pit, stretched away on either side until it was lost to sight in the thick woods.
Outside this the timber had been felled in a belt of several rods in width, forming a barrier very difficult for footmen, and utterly impassable for cavalry.
This breastwork inclosed fully a square mile.
Crossing it and pushing onward, we came soon to another similar line of defence, and further on still another before we reached the Fort
itself — and crossing a deep slough which protects it on the land side, we stood within the rebel stronghold.
The Fort is of the class known as a full bastioned earthwork, standing directly upon the bank of the river, and encloses about two acres. It mounts seventeen heavy guns, including one teninch Columbiad, throwing a round shot of one hundred and twenty-eight pounds weight, one breech-loading rifled gun, carrying a sixty pound elongated shot, twelve thirty-two-pounders, one twenty-four-pounder rifled, and two twelve-pound-or siege-guns.
Nearly all the guns are pivoted and capable of being turned in any desired direction.
The Fort is surrounded by a deep moat, and, when fully garrisoned, would be almost impregnable against any force which could be brought against it from the land side.
Evidently its designers did not anticipate so formidable an attack from the river, and, certainly, nothing less well defended than our iron-clad gunboats, could have attacked it with any hope of success.
The Fort showed fearful evidence of the accuracy of our fire, and the terrible force of our heavy guns.
Every port facing the river was knocked out of shape; several of the enemy's guns had been hit by our shells--one had been completely dismounted and two more disabled by our shot.
The flag-staff was hit, and every one of the small log cabins which stood thickly in the centre of the open space, was riddled through and through by shot and shells.
The earthen embankment, some fourteen feet in thickness, was pierced completely through in several places, but the tenacious character of the earth prevented it from forming such breeches as would ordinarily occur.
All about the guns spots of clotted gore and fragments of human flesh, showed that many lives must have been sacrificed before the Fort
finally surrendered, but only four dead bodies were found within the Fort
It is believed, however, that a number of bodies were carried off by one of the rebel boats before the surrender.
During the action the rifled sixty-pound gun burst, scattering its fragments in all directions, and greatly disheartening the rebels.
This was the most effective gun in the Fort
, and the one which had inflicted the shot on the Essex
, on the day previous.
This gun had been made at the Tredegar Works in Richmond, Virginia
, the same establishment which cast the great gun that burst at Columbus, Ky.
, some time ago, by which Gen. Polk
nearly lost his life.
In addition to the guns found in the Fort
, nine field pieces were afterwards found by our troops, at different places along the road, where they had been abandoned by the rebels in their hurried retreat.
The particulars of the attack and capture, as I afterwards learned them, were as follows:
Soon after noon the gunboats, according to the previous plan, advanced in two divisions up the river, passing on either side of a little island lying about a mile and a half below the Fort
, so as in a measure to throw a cross fire upon it.
As soon as the boats appeared in sight, the Fort
opened upon them fiercely.
The boats advanced slowly up the river, firing moderately, until within about a mile of the Fort
, when they opened their full batteries and the battle commenced in earnest.
The scene is described as being terrifically grand.
The air seemed filled with the flying missiles.
The heavy boom of the guns and the shrieking of the shells as they tore through the air, were echoed back from the surrounding hills, till the whole space, for miles around, seemed filled with one confused roar.
The Fort was soon wrapped in a cloud of smoke, which rose lazily up and floated away over the
hills, and through it, the flashes of her guns broke like successive bursts of lightning.
For more than an hour this fierce conflict continued, the boats gradually approaching nearer and nearer, until within a few hundred yards of the Fort
, when the rebels' fire slackened, and suddenly a white flag was raised on the ramparts; but the dense smoke prevented its being seen by the boats, and the firing still continued.
In a few moments more, the rebel flag, which had been proudly flaunting from a tall pole, in the centre of the Fort
, was hauled down, and Fort Henry
, of the gunboat Conestoga
, was immediately ordered by the Commodore
to land and take possession.
On arriving at the shore, Capt. Phelps
was met by an officer wearing the uniform of a Brigadier-General
in the Confederate army, who announced himself as General Lloyd Tilghman
, acting Commander
of the district, and who formally surrendered the Fort
and the adjacent camps, with himself and about sixty others as prisoners of war. When the foremost of bur cavalry reached the spot, they found Capt. Phelps
standing alone, surrounded by his prisoners, waiting for some one to come and occupy the Fort
Sixty-three prisoners were found inside the Fort
, and twenty-seven others were afterward captured by our cavalry in pursuing the enemy.
Among them are a very large proportion of officers of rank, who will prove very serviceable as exchanges for some of our own valued officers now in the enemy's hands.
The list of officers, so far as I have been able to learn it, is as follows:
Brig.-Gen. Lloyd Tilghman
, of Kentucky
, commanding the district; Capt. Jesse Taylor
, of Tennessee
, Chief of artillery
of the Fort
; Lieut. W. O. Wotts
, artillery; Lieut. G. R. G. Jones
, artillery; Capt. Miller
, engineer-corps; Capt. Hayden
, engineer-corps; Capt. Wm. Jones
, Brigade-Quartermaster; Dr. A. H. Voorhies
, Brigade — Surgeon
; Dr. Horton
Tenth Tennessee Regiment; Capt. J. McLaughlin
Tenth Tennessee; Major McCormick
, Asst. Adj.-Gen.
is a large, stout man, rather prepossessing in appearance, and gentlemanly in manner, after the Southern
idea of a gentleman, but rather inclined to pomposity, like most of the rebel officers that I have seen.
He is a graduate of West-Point
, and was formerly in the United States Army.
He is regarded as an excellent officer, and his capture will prove a severe loss to the Confederates
, I am informed, is also a West-Point graduate.
The manner of their capture, as related by themselves, is somewhat curious.
At the commencement of the fight, Gen. Tilghman
had posted a guard at the gate of the Fort
, with orders to let no one pass out, but to fire upon any who attempted to escape.
After the bursting of their rifle gun, and the disabling of two or three others by our shots, and while the shells were falling thickly around, the General
himself, with some of his officers, attempted to make their escape, but were stopped by the sentinels, who, strictly obeying their orders, threatened them with death should they attempt to pass.
Soon after, the flag was hauled down.
This is the story told by the guard, who claim to have been impressed into the rebel service, and who thus retaliated.
This may account for the fact of so many officers being captured within the Fort
, while the entire force in the camp outside succeeded in making their escape.
It may seem a matter of surprise, at first, that the entire force of the rebels, except the garrison of the Fort
, succeeded in making their escape; but certainly the last thought in the mind of any one, was that they would abandon their complicated and formidable intrenchments, without making a single attempt to defend them, especially as they had occupied the two days intervening between our arrival and the attack, in strengthening their position and bringing in reenforcements.
The very night preceding their flight, they had thus been strengthened by the arrival of a thousand cavalry, which they had sent for from Dover
when our approach was first known.
That they intended to fight, up to the very day of attack, is evident, and the sudden change in their plans can only be accounted for on the supposition that the approach of the gunboats struck them with a sudden panic, similar to that of our own troops at Bull Run
That this was really the case, the appearance of their camps amply proves.
Had they remained and fought, as was anticipated, although there is little doubt that we could ultimately have succeeded in defeating them, it must have been at the expense of severe loss on our part.
These give ample evidence, first, that they were intended for permanent occupation; and secondly, that they were abandoned in the greatest haste.
On a piece of rising ground, immediately in the rear of the Fort
, were constructed a series of log-cabins, capable of accommodating three thousand men. In addition to these, tents were pitched in different parts of the encampment, far more than as many more.
The tents were mostly new, of good quality, and very comfortable.
Judging from appearances, the force of the rebels could not have been less than seven thousand men — perhaps more.
They must have abandoned very hastily, as scarcely anything was taken away.
Arms, clothing, books, papers, letters, daguerreotypes, even watches and money, were left strewn about in the wildest confusion.
In some of the cabins the dishes stood on the table just as they had been left at breakfast.
In others the dinner was still cooking over the fire when our men arrived.
Everything denoted that the flight was the result of sudden alarm, and not of deliberate intention.
The papers found included all the various documents pertaining to the management of a military camp, muster-rolls, reports of all kinds, requisitions, orders, officers' commissions, etc., etc., some of them containing valuable information.
The letters were mostly
, indicating the quarter from which the troops came.
Many of them are written in rather a desponding strain, evincing a rather uncomfortable state of affairs at home.
Some letters I saw, written by officers in the Fort
, which they had not had an opportunity to send.
Nearly all of them were written in the braggadocio strain so common in the rebel newspapers, expressing the utmost confidence in the strength of their position, and proclaiming their ability to whip any number of Yankees which the despot Lincoln
could send against them.
The clothing found was generally of home manufacture, coarse but warm and durable, and they all appear to have been amply provided for in this respect.
In some of the officers' quarters, however, were left fine and costly suits of New-York
manufacture, together with kid gloves
, perfumery and toilet articles
, of the best quality, in readiness, no doubt, against the time when they would make their anticipated triumphal entree
, St. Louis
or some other Northern city.
A large quantity of commissary stores were also found, showing that there was no lack of food of good quality.
Coffee and tea appeared to be scarce, but there was plenty of flour, corn meal
, rice, sugar, and molasses, fresh and salt beef, and bacon sides
Hams I saw none of.
The arms found were a motley variety: old flint-lock muskets, rifles and shot-guns of almost every known style.
Great quantities of cartridges were found made up; for use in their smooth-bore guns, containing three buck-shot and a bullet each.
In the magazine of the Fort
were stored a large quantity of powder and ammunition of all kinds.
Everything was prepared for a vigorous resistance, and had it been attempted, I have no doubt that it would have proved more difficult of capture than all the fortifications of Cairo
, Bird's Point
, and Fort Holt
Perhaps the point which struck us most forcibly with surprise, after entering the works, was the enormous extent of the plan which had been proposed and partially carried out in the fortifications.
As I before stated, the exterior line of breastworks, with their ditches and abattis, enclose at least a square mile.
One single line of rifle-pits extends nearly a mile and a half.
And this is only one of three lines of defence which were to be overcome before the Fort
itself could be approached.
There is ample room within the intrenchments for one hundred thousand men, and at least half that number would be required to properly defend it.
It is evident that the confederates regarded this as one of the most important points in their whole line of defences, and a glance at the map will show it to be such.
By obtaining possession of this post, we have reached a point the most southern of any yet attained by our army away from the seacoast.
We have an easy and uninterrupted communication with the entire North
west, and there is now nothing between us and the Gulf
to prevent an army from marching on to Mobile
, or by a flank movement reaching Memphis
, or Bowling Green
An entrance has been effected into the Confederacy
at a point where they least expected it, and the backbone of the rebellion is broken.
You may be sure that the advantage gained will be immediately followed up. In fact, steps have already been taken to maintain our position, and extend our success.
In a few days you will probably hear of more events of interest.
Boston journal account.
The correspondent of the Boston Journal
gives the following interesting details of the bombardment of Fort Henry
When the rebels took possession of Columbus
, and made a stand at Bowling Green
, they saw the necessity of also shutting the two gates midway the two places, the Cumberland
and Tennessee Rivers
, which open into the heart of the seceded States.
Taking now the map, you will observe that the two rivers are very near together at the dividing line between Kentucky
. Two important points were selected on those rivers, near the State
line, strong natural positions, which military science and engineering had made, it was thought, impregnable to any attack by land or water.
The points selected are below the railroad which connects Memphis
with Bowling Green
, thus guarding against any interruption of communication, matter very important to the rebels, not only in subsisting their armies, but in enabling them to transfer troops from either division, as might be necessary to counteract our movements.
The point selected for fortification on the Tennessee
, is about ninety miles from the Ohio River
, at Pine Bluff Landing
, on the east side, where, in addition to the strong battery commanding the river, there was an entrenched camp, protected on both flanks by creeks and a pond, and on the river by felled trees, for a long distance.
The river at this point runs nearly due north.
A mile and a quarter below the Fort
is Panther Island
, heavily wooded.
The channel on the east side of the island is impassable at low water, the main channel being on the west side.
The rebel engineer, therefore, in constructing the work, arranged the angles and faces to command the main channel, but had taken into account the contingency of high water, and had planted torpedoes in the east passage, which were fished up by Commodore Foote
Three were first taken up, and all but one were found to be so moist that they would not have exploded.
The front face of the Fort
is about twenty feet above the water.
It contains four or five acres, and the intrenched camp about thirty acres.
You can obtain an idea of the relative positions by standing facing the north, and raising your right arm, half bent, till your hand is on a level with your face.
Your arm represents the river; the Fort
is at your elbow, in position to send a raking fire down toward your wrist.
between the wrist, and above the elbow, you are to locate the creeks, which will almost enclose the entrenched camp behind the Fort
Right in front of your face, you are to locate a high bluff, one hundred feet high, with a redan, which commands the Fort
on the opposite side of the river.
I do not know as this description may be intelligible, and I therefore give a diagram, such as your printer can set up with the types, lines and rules at his command:
1 2 3 4--Gunboats commencing attack.
1 1 1 1--Gunboats at time of surrender.
Distance from island to Fort, one and a quarter miles. River opposite Fort, three fourths of a mile wide.
Instead of a right angle, as in this diagram, let it be gentle curve or bend in the river, and you will have a general view of the locality.
The country around is much broken, and intersected by creeks, and covered with forests.
At one angle of the encampment there is a road which leads to the town of Dover
, on the Cumberland
, twelve miles distant. The magazine is in the centre of the work, and is well protected.
The Fort and the camp are both surrounded by ditches.
A combined plan of attack was agreed upon.
was to steam up the western or shallow channel, now containing water sufficient to float the boats over all obstructions, while the force under McClernand
should gain the rear of the camp.
At the same time Gen. Smith
was to move upon the other bank, and attack the redan.
A reconnoissance showed that the largest portion of the rebels were within their intrenchments, and that the force in the redan was comparatively small.
being aware of the condition of the roads, desired Gen. Grant
to move at an earlier hour than that assigned for the gunboats, but Gen. Grant
was confident his forces could reach their positions in time.
In this he was undoubtedly mistaken, as the sequel proved.
The distance was much greater than had been supposed, and the roads were mortar-beds after one regiment had passed.
did not accompany the column, but remained by the river.
assured him that the troops would be behind, informed him that he should proceed at the time fixed upon, and added: “I shall take it before you will get there with your forces.”
The gunboats were anchored four miles below the fort, opposite Gen. Grant
At half-past 10 o'clock a signal was made for them to get under way, and in a few minutes the fires which had been banked up were in full blast.
had prepared his instructions several days previously, and upon mature thought saw nothing to be changed.
They were brief and plain.
The three iron-clad boats were to keep in line with him, steadily advance, and keep bows on — to do just as he did. The three not clad were to follow at a proper distance in the rear, and throw shell over those in advance.
To the commanders and crews he said that in a battle it was very necessary to success that they should keep cool.
He desired them to fire with deliberate aim and not to attempt rapid firing, for three reasons, namely, that with rapid firing there was always a waste of ammunition; that their range would be wild; that the enemy would be encouraged unless the fire was effectual; that it was desirable not to heat the guns.
With these instructions he slowly led his fleet up the shallow channel under cover of the island, thus avoiding long-range shot from the rifled guns which it was known the enemy had in position to sweep the main channel.
He steamed slow to allow the troops time to gain their position.
The columns of troops were in motion.
At starting the bands enlivened the movement, till the horrible condition of the roads compelled them to cease.
The fleet slowly gained the head of the island and came into the following position:
The distance from the head of the island to the Fort
is a mile and a quarter.
As soon as the four boats came into position, the Cincinnati
opened fire at thirty-four minutes past twelve o'clock, with an eight-inch Dahlgren
gun, throwing a shell with a fifteen-second fuse into the Fort
and the St. Louis
each gave the same kind of missile, while the Essex
threw an eighty-pound shell.
The rebels instantly replied, and the firing became general, though not at first rapid.
The commanders obeyed the instructions, kept their boats in a line with the Cincinnati
, and fired with deliberate aim. The consequence was, that almost every shell dropped in the right place.
As only the bow-guns were used, there were only twelve guns brought to bear upon the Fort
, and in return about the same number of guns were brought to bear by the rebels upon the boats.
As soon as the four boats were sufficiently advanced, the Lexington
, and Conestoga
reached the head of the island, elevated their guns and joined in the fight, taking deliberate aim and dropping their shells into the Fort
Steadily onward moved the boats, so nearly equal that at times they were almost in even line, throwing their shells as if practising at a target.
And now there was a visible commotion in the rebel camp.
The first shell from the Cincinnati
threw the troops into disorder, and at the fourth round, unable to stand the terrible hail which was bringing sure destruction, they broke and fled, leaving arms, ammunition, provisions, blankets, tents — everything, and poured out of the intrenchment a motley, panic-stricken rabble, taking the road toward Dover
A portion jumped on board a small steamboat which was lying in the creek above the Fort
, and escaped up the river.
A few shells from the boats would have stopped them, and doubtless would have caused terrible slaughter, but Com. Foote
had a definite purpose in view — the taking of the Fort
, and he was not to be swerved from that.
When the cannonade opened, the troops which were marching to gain the rear of the enemy, impeded by the swollen creeks, were not more than half-way to their designed positions, but with the first gun from the Cincinnati
they gave a loud hurrah, and of their own accord broke into the double-quick, fearing they would be too late to have a hand in it. Their fears were well grounded, and the promise of Com. Foote
to Gen. Grant
was fulfilled, as the sequel will show.
Straight onward moved the boats, swerving neither to the right nor the left.
As they neared the Fort
their fire became more and more destructive.
The sand-bags and gabions were knocked about, covering the guns and smothering those who served them.
At an early moment in the fight the rifled gun of the rebels burst, but they did not slacken fire or seem discouraged.
They fired with great accuracy, as will be hereafter seen, selecting the weakest spots of the gunboats, as their commander, Gen. Tilghman
, said, for their points of sight.
The gunboats were repeatedly hit, and those portions which were not plated with iron were badly riddled.
The fight had lasted fifty minutes with scarcely a casualty on our part, when a twenty-four pound shot entered the Essex
, passed through the thick oak planking surrounding the boilers and engines, and entered the starboard boiler, instantly disabling her, filling the entire boat with steam, and scalding a large portion of her crew.
She at once dropped behind, and floated down with the stream, till taken up by a tug and towed to the encampment.
The rebels were greatly encouraged.
They revived their flagging fire, and evidently felt that victory was still to be theirs.
But not for a moment faltered the fleet.
They kept right on, straight toward the batteries, as if nothing had happened.
They were now in close range.
Their shells tore up the embankments as they exploded directly over the guns.
One eighty-pound shell killed or wounded every person serving one of the guns, while the shots of the enemy which struck the iron plating glanced off, doing no harm.
There was no sign of backing out — none of stopping on the part of Com. Foote
--and those who beheld the fleet supposed from the indications that he was going to run straight on to the shore and pour in his fire at two rods' distance.
Such coolness, determination, and energy had not been counted on by the rebel general, and at forty-six minutes past one, or one hour and twelve minutes from the commencement of the fight, when the gunboats were within three or four hundred yards of the Fort
, the rebel flag came down by the run. In an instant all firing ceased.
The rebels had raised a white flag, signifying a desire for a truce, but the smoke hid it from view, and no one on board the fleet observed it, and the shells were pouring in at such a rate which would not admit of delay, after the thought had once taken possession of the rebels' minds that it was time to give in. Conditions were of minor consideration.
The St. Louis being nearest, immediately sent a boat on shore, and the Stars and Stripes went up with a wild huzzah from the crews.
, who commanded the rebels, asked for Commodore Foote
Word was sent from the Cincinnati
that Commodore Foote
would be happy to receive him on board that gunboat, and the Cincinnati
's gig was sent to the shore.
The rebel General entered it and soon stood before the Commodore
asked for terms.
“No, sir,” said the Commodore
, “your surrender must be unconditional.”
“Well, sir, if I must surrender, it gives me pleasure to surrender to so brave an officer as you.”
“You do perfectly right to surrender, sir; but I should not have surrendered on any condition.”
I do not understand you.”
“Because I was fully determined to capture the Fort
or go to the bottom.”
The rebel General opened his eyes at this remark,
replied: “I thought I had you, Commodore
, but you were too much for me.”
“But how could you fight against the old flag?”
“Well, it did come hard at first; but if the North
had only let us alone, there would have been no trouble.
But they would not abide by the Constitution
assured him that he and all the South
The Essex was formerly a ferry-boat used at St. Louis
She was enlarged and fitted up for the gunboat service, but is very differently constructed from the other boats.
Her boilers are not below the water-line.
They are surrounded by stanchions of white oak plank.
When on board the Essex
, a few weeks ago, I remarked to Capt. Porter
that a shot entering one of the ports might be attended with unpleasant results.
He agreed with me, but said that that was a contingency they could not guard against.
The shot, however, which did the damage, did not come through one of the ports, but struck a few inches above, on the only spot at the bow where there was no plating!
Only one of the boats is wholly plated — the Benton
The others are plated at the bows and at the sides, in part.
The Essex had the least mail of all. It is singular that the ball which did so much damage should have struck at the only vulnerable place at the bows.
The flag-ship Cincinnati
fired one hundred and twelve shot; the St. Louis
one hundred and sixteen; the Carondelet
about one hundred; the Essex
fifty-five; the Conestoga
, a few each; making in all about four hundred shot.
The rebels replied spiritedly and with good aim, which is highly praised by Commodore Foote
They fired over three hundred shot.
The Cincinnati was struck thirty-one times, the St. Louis
seven, the Essex
, I believe, did not receive a shot.
remarked to Commodore Foote
, that “he knew the weak places of the boats, that he had accurate knowledge of their construction, and aimed accordingly.”
But notwithstanding this, all, with the exception of the Essex
, are ready for a fight to-day.
One of the one hundred and twenty-eight pound shots struck an angle of the pilot-house on the Cincinnati
with a force that jarred the entire boat from stem to stern, but did not penetrate the two and one half inch mail, beneath which, at the side of the pilot, stood the Commodore
, his head but a few inches from the place.
The boats have proved a success
When the rebel flag came down from the mast, the troops were a long distance from their assigned positions.
The fight was over, and they had not seen it, and, what was more galling, they had not been able to participate in achieving the victory.
evidently did not understand that Commodore Foote
was a man of his word, who believes in energetic action at close quarters.
In giving me these details, Commodore Foote
incidentally remarked that he was decidedly in favor of close action.
Under ordinary circumstances he should adopt the plan of Commodore Du Pont
, but in this case he was satisfied with the plan he had adopted, and which he had resolved to carry out, no matter what the events of the moment.
He was satisfied that while one casemated gun on shore was equal to five afloat, a gun behind an embankment merely was but little more than one on shipboard.
He received the surrendered property, and two hours later turned it all over to Gen. Grant
, and proceeded to make other arrangements.
The troops, if they had been in position as was designed, would doubtless have bagged the entire rebel force; but being behind time, the fleet-footed rebels were far on their way towards Dover
, when they got possession of the road in the rear of the intrenchments.
A portion of the force was immediately started in pursuit, while another portion was detailed to accompany the three gunboats sent by Commodore Foote
up the Tennessee River
to destroy the railroad at Clarksville
, and get possession of the three rebel gunboats afloat.
The Tyler, Lexington
, all of them fast boats, under the command of Lieut. Phelps
, were sent.
They are not iron-clad, but it is not known that there are any batteries upon the river.
I have upon former occasions made the readers of the Journal
somewhat acquainted with Commodore Foote
, with his personal appearance, his sterling qualities as a man and a Christian gentleman.
He has now shown that he is an able commander — not only able to plan, but to execute.
To him belongs in a great measure the credit ot organizing this formidable naval force, of creating it with scanty materials, and against great difficulties.
When he was informed that the rebels had ten to twenty thousand men in camp, he remarked that he was sorry for it, because if they stood their ground there must be a terrible slaughter, for he should take the Fort
, or his vessels would go to the bottom.
This evening, notwithstanding his onerous duties, he has found time to sit down and give me these details.
To him in particular are the readers of the Journal
indebted for this full account.
Aside from all these qualities of character, he is not afraid to have all men know that he recognises his obligations to his Divine Maker.
A. gentleman remarked to him that he was getting nervous, and was afraid he did not sleep well.
“I never slept better in my life than night before last, and I never prayed more fervently than on yesterday morning; but I couldn't sleep last night for thinking of those poor fellows on the Essex
,” was the reply.
No wonder that under such a commander the victory is ours.
He has done his duty from patriotic and conscientious motives, and a grateful people will reward him.
The other officers and men, one and all, did their duty nobly.
informed me that his instructions were obeyed to the letter.
St. Louis Democrat account.
Three of the gunboats, the Cincinnati
, the Essex
and the St. Louis
, having returned from the capture of Fort Henry
, and having obtained all the particulars from officers and men, I hasten to write you the details which I was unable to transmit by telegraph.
how the attack was conducted.
The attack was begun yesterday noon, the first gun fired from the Federal fleet, just after twelve o'clock. Only four of the gunboats were engaged — the Cincinnati
, (the flag-ship,) the Essex
, the Carondelet
, and the St. Louis
These moving up towards the Fort
abreast — the Conestoga
remaining behind, but within easy hail.
The order of the approach was, the Essex
on the right; next to her the Cincinnati
, then the St. Louis
, and the Carondelet
on the left.
This disposition of the boats commends itself at once as an admirable stroke of Commodore Foote
's undoubted naval genius.
The object was to bring to bear the best guns of the fleet, and, at the same time, to prevent the exposure of the broadside of any of the boats to any of the enemy's guns.
Had there been such exposure, it is easy to imagine the destruction and probable failure which would have occurred, for the boats are extremely vulnerable in their after-parts.
This order of approach having been assumed at the beginning, was preserved throughout the engagement, the fire opening at the distance of about one mile, and continuing with terrible effect until the surrender, when the fleet was not more than five or six hundred yards from the Fort
, it seems, pursued the same tactics that rendered him so famous in his attack upon the China
forts a few years since, the English
firing at a long distance and suffering severely, while he ran immediately under the guns of the Chinamen, and poured such a hot and effective fire into their wooden walls, that they inflicted but little damage to the boats, and were quickly and completely disabled and beaten.
, the rebel commander of Fort Henry
, upon his capture, promptly testified to the splendid manner in which the attack was conducted, saying that when he discovered the purpose of the Commodore
, his chief object was to disable the flag-ship, and by getting the flag-officer
out of the way, to disconcert the other boats, and enable him to pursue his firing with better effect.
This accounts for the hearty manner in which his compliments were paid to the Cincinnati
, she having received thirty-one
shots out of about fifty, of which the whole fleet bear the marks.
complimented Gen. Tilghman
upon his gallant defence of the Fort
, at the same time assuring him that he would have pursued the purpose of his attack, even to the landing of his boat at the very bank under the Fort
, and that the Cincinnati
, had the fight continued, should have kept head on until she was sunk.
Another reason given by the rebel general for the concentration of fire upon the flag-ship, was the fact that she seemed to have got a better range than any of the other boats, and that her fire, just before the surrender, was most terrific.
The Cincinnati bears many honorable scars.
Several shots have left their marks upon her iron-plated sides, showing in each case a shallow and raking dent.
One of her largest guns was struck on the right side of its muzzle, the shot chipping out a piece of the metal as large as a man's two hands, and actually splitting the muzzle eighteen inches down from the mouth.
This will disable the gun entirely.
Another gun, a thirty — two-pounder, I believe, bears a deep dent on its side, about eighteen inches from the mouth.
Just behind the forward port gun, and where the sides of the boat are not covered with iron, several shots have gone entirely through the bulwarks.
One of these completely decapitated one of the gunners; another passed through the bulwarks, scattering the splinters right and left, glancing along the timbers over the machinery, and passing into the wheel, but not doing much damage.
The most terrible effect of the enemy's fire upon the Cincinnati
, is seen on her upper works, the deck seeming to have been swept with the destructive missiles, the smoke-stacks pierced in several places, and the small boats riddled and almost destroyed.
One large shot struck the iron-plated pilot-house, leaving an ugly mark, but doing no damage.
The concussion was violent, and is described by the pilots as surprising the Commodore
and them into a very decided grunt
. But one man was killed outright on the Cincinnati
A few were wounded with splinters, whose name I have sent you. Capt. Pratt
was badly hurt by a spent ball striking his leg. The men describe the crash of the balls through the timbers of the vessel as a terrible sound, but none of them flinched, say their officers, but the party manning the gun at which one of their number was beheaded.
At the ghastly sight they scattered and fell back for a moment, but immediately rallied and stood their ground.
The Cincinnati came into port with the large rebel flag flying under the Stars and Stripes, her appearance being greeted with many cheers and congratulations among the persons on the Cairo
The Essex, which has always seemed an unfortunate boat, notwithstanding the pains taken with her and the admirable naval and fighting qualities of her commander, Capt. W. D. Porter
, and his manly crew, was very unlucky in this engagement.
For half an hour she bore her part in the contest most gallantly, her magnificent armament playing with fearful effect upon the Fort
, when she received a most fearful shot immediately over the forward port-gun.
, at the moment was peering out the port-hole, watching the effect of his firing, and a young man named Brittain
, son of the celebrated Dr. Brittain
, of New York City, was standing by his side, his hand on the Captain
The ball divided his head, completely carrying away its crown, and scattering his brains upon the person of a paymaster who was standing by his side.
This terrible messenger
of death flew along the ship, through the bulkheads which were to protect the machinery of the boat, and crashed into the middle boiler.
Immediately, with a rushing sound, the scalding steam filled every part of the vessel.
The two pilots, both well known in St. Louis
, who were standing nobly at their work, so absorbed, as it seemed, in their duties, that they had neglected to close the trap-door which leads from below to their house, were enveloped by the blistering vapor and almost immediately scalded to death.
They made a desperate struggle to get out of the pilot-house, running their arms through the look-out holes, which were not large enough to pass their bodies, and vainly striving to get their heads through for fresh air. The tars who had stood so gallantly to their guns, were appalled at this new and terrible enemy, and many of them were seen to throw themselves out of the port-holes into the river.
was badly scalded on the face and hands.
At this writing, however, his wounds are said not to be so bad as was first anticipated.
The large number of wounded and missing by this untoward event, 1 have already sent you. At this disaster the Essex
was disabled, and began to fall back, which Commodore Foote
observing, was for the moment perplexed.
He thought first of falling back with her, and by fastening to her, to bring her again into line, but the second thought decided him to let her go; and pressing more eagerly forward with the Cincinnati
, urged on by the plain necessity of close and desperate fighting, bore down upon the Fort
, with a fiercer front than ever, hurling his messengers of death and destruction so rapidly upon the enemy, that all resistance was useless, and they were compelled to capitulate.
The St. Louis and Carondelet
did splendid work, but did not seem to receive so much attention from the enemy.
They are marked in several places, but did not lose a man.
informs me that but eleven of the guns of the four boats were used, and the rebel officers represent that, out of the seventeen guns with which the Fort
was armed, but eleven were brought to bear upon the boats — so that no advantage can be claimed by either side.
The guns of the Fort
were all of heavy calibre, the largest being a one hundred and twenty-eight-pounder — a beautifully finished piece from the Tredegar Works at Richmond
They had one rifled cannon, a thirty-two-pounder, which burst during the engagement, and became useless.
Their guns were most skilfully handled, and all our officers give them the credit of a most gallant and determined defence of their fort.
The rebels report but five killed and eight or ten wounded. The number of prisoners is now stated to be fifty-four.
The disposition of Gen. Tilghman
and staff I have already sent you. They will probably be sent to this place to-day or to-morrow.
When the flag of the Fort
was lowered, it was not quite taken out of sight of the boats, and Commodore Foote
did not know but some trick was about to be played upon him, so he remained quiet for a few minutes, waiting further demonstrations.
Soon a small white yawl put out from the Fort
, containing two officers, and on approaching the Cincinnati
was hailed by Master Hoel.
The officers said they wanted a conference with the Flag-Officer
, which was at once grapted them.
One of our boats then put out for the Fort
, containing Captain Stembel
of the Cincinnati
, and Captain Phelps
of the Conestoga
, which boat had now come up to the scene of the action.
Entering the Fort
, they immediately reared the American
flag and brought off the rebel flag.
and staff then came on board the Cincinnati
, and asked to be shown to Commodore Foote
At the interview, the General
desired to know the terms of the surrender, to which the Commodore
replied: “An unconditional surrender.”
And so it was accepted.
The amount of army plunder which fell into our hands is represented as very large, consisting of cannon, ammunition, tents, baggage, and muskets.
The rebel infantry forces encamped outside of the Fort
, whose numbers are variously estimated from three to ten thousand, quit their position before and during the fight, getting off in such a hurry that much valuable property was left.
, with an advance guard, took possession of the Fort
about an hour after the surrender, Commodore Foote
turning every thing over to him. Whether Gen. Grant
pursued the enemy that night or the next day, I cannot positively learn.
The gunboats Tyler
, and Lexington
passed up the river toward the railroad bridge, and have not been heard from at this writing.
The steamer Golden State
is just in from Paducah
, and brings no later news than that brought by the gunboats, though a boat was hourly expected down the Tennessee
The general comment on the fight at this place is marked by much complaint of General Grant
, though how justly or unjustly such complaint may be made cannot now be ascertained.
It is known that Commodore Foote
desired a brigade of infantry to go along the bank of the river with his boats, but this was not granted.
, it is thought, is much to blame for his inadequate transportation.
He might have had boats enough to have landed all his force at once, and to have surrounded the enemy instantly.
As it is, they have all escaped but those left in the Fort
to man the guns.
It is hoped that the rebel army has been vigorously pursued.
G. W. F.
Results of the victory.
, Friday Night, Feb. 7, 1862.
The reduction of Fort Henry
and the capture of General Tilghman
, staff and men, though they may be justly regarded as comprising one of the most brilliant feats of the war, are not more gratifying in themselves than important in their results.
It is not very difficult to imagine the effect which the affair will have upon the rebel leaders generally, and upon the camp at Columbus
At that impregnable point, as they have been pleased to regard it, they will now have a lively and rather disturbing appreciation of the effectiveness of the gunboat service of the West
has shown what it is in his power to do with but four of his boats, and they bringing to bear but eleven of their guns.
was, perhaps, as strong an earthwork as any yet constructed by the rebels.
It was mounted with seventeen heavy guns, eleven of which, equal in calibre to those on the gunboats, were taxed to their utmost in defence of the Fort
, but yet, in the wonderfully short space of one hour and twenty minutes, were entirely silenced and surrendered into the hands of Commodore Foote
These guns, too, were mounted by some of the finest artillerists of the South
, yet were insufficient.
With this instructive lesson before their eyes, it would seem reasonable to conclude that not even in Columbus
will the rebels venture to dispute the palm with Commodore Foote
, when in command of his full fleet of twelve boats and their full armaments.
If they make the fight, we have a reasonable assurance that that place will meet the same destruction that was so summarily visited upon Fort Henry
In this connection, we may allude to a significant bit of information: that the whole gunboat fleet is to be put in complete readiness at once
, each boat in the late action to repair as well as she can until the order to move is given, which may be issued at any moment.
Another important result of the Fort Henry
victory is the opening of Tennessee
to the army under Gen. Grant
, and the seizure and perhaps the destruction of the Nashville and Memphis Railroad, thus severing the connection between Bowling Green
, and threatening the rear of both these important points.
's division, including the brigade under Gen. Wallace
, which we take for granted has ere this joined him, will number at least twenty thousand men. To this, we learn, additions of a large character will be rapidly made.
A regiment passed up to-day on the Empress
One or two more are coming down the Central Railroad to-night, and will be forwarded immediately.
The railroads in Illinois
, we hear, have been appropriated for twelve days for the transportation of troops.
The Quartermaster's department here is very much hurried, while activity and hopefulness are noticed in all army circles.
All this, I think, is the natural and important result growing out of the reduction of Fort Henry
, and we may justly regard it as the beginning of a development which has for its speedy maturity either the capture of Bowling Green
, or the evacuation of both — more probably the latter.
The spinal column of the rebellion is undoubtedly broken just in the small of the back, at the railroad bridge over the Tennessee River
The great medicine-man, Beauregard
, comes west too late for a cure.
We are looking for important news from above to-night.
A boat may get down before midnight with the rebel prisoners on board, and satisfactory information from Gen. Wallace
G. W. F.
sir: Through the courtesy of Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant
, commanding Federal forces, I am permitted to communicate with you in relation to the result of the action between the Fort
under my command at this place, and the Federal
gunboats, on yesterday.
At eleven o'clock and forty minutes on yesterday morning, the enemy engaged the Fort
with seven gunboats, mounting fifty-four guns.
I promptly returned their fire with the eleven guns from Fort Henry
bearing on the river.
The action was maintained with great bravery by the force under my command until ten minutes before two P. M.; at which time I had but four guns fit for service.
At five minutes before two, finding it impossible to maintain the Fort
, and wishing to spare the lives of the gallant men under my command, and on consultation with my officers, I surrendered the Fort
Our casualties are small.
The effect of our shot was severely felt by the enemy, whose superior and overwhelming force alone gave them the advantage.
The surrender of Fort Henry
involves that of Capt. Taylor
, Lieut. Watts
, Lieut. Weller
, and one other officer of artillery; Capts. Hayden
, of the engineers; Captains H. L. Jones
, Quartermaster's Department; A. A. General McConnico
, and myself, with some fifty privates and twenty sick, together with all the munitions of war in and about the Fort
I communicate this result with deep regret, but feel that I performed my whole duty in the defence of my post.
I take occasion to bear testimony to the gallantry of the officers and men under my command.
They maintained their position with consummate bravery, as long as there was any hope of success.
I also take great pleasure in acknowledging the courtesies and consideration shown by Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant
and Commander Foote
, and the officers under their command.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,