Slike strani

bama we visited. Most affecting instances greeted us almost hourly. Men, women, and children, several times gathered in crowds of hundreds, shouted their welcome, and hailed their National flag with an enthusiasm there was no mistaking; it was genuine and heartfelt. The people braved everything to go to the river bank, where a sight of their flag might once more be enjoyed, and they have experienced, as they related, every possible form of persecution. Tears flowed freely down the cheeks of men as well as women, and there were those who had fought under tu stars and

to be 'pressed' men, and all were badly armed. After consultation with Lieutenants-Commanding Gwin and Shirk, I determined to make a land attack upon the encampment. Lieutenant-Commanding Shirk, with thirty riflemen, came on board the Conestoga, leaving his vessel to guard the Eastport, and accompanied by the Taylor, we proceeded up to that place prepared to land one hundred and thirty riflemen and a 12-pound rifled howitzer. Lieutenant-Commanding Gwin took command of this force when landed, but had the mortification to find the camp deserted. The rebels had fled at one o'clock in the night, leaving consid-stripes at Moultrie, who in this manner erable quantities of arms, clothing, shoes, testified to their joy. This display of camp utensils, provisions, implements, feeling, and sense of gladness at our sucetc., all of which were secured or des- cess, and the hopes it created in the troyed, and their winter quarters of log breasts of so many people in the heart huts were burned. I seized, also, a large of the Confederacy, astonished us not a mail bag, and send you the letters, giv- little, and I assure you, sir, I would not ing military information. The gunboats have failed to witness it for any considwere then dropped down to a point eration. to a point eration. I trust it has given us all a where arms, gathered under the rebel higher sense of the sacred character of press law,' had been stored, and an our present duties. I was assured at armed party, under Second-Master Gou- Savannah, that of the several hundred dy, of the Taylor, succeeded in seizing troops there, more than one-half, had we about seventy rifles and fowling-pieces. gone to the attack in time, would have Returning to Cerro Gordo, we took the hailed us as deliverers, and gladly enEastport, Sallie Wood, and Muscle in listed with the National forces. In Tentow, and came down the river to the nessee the people generally, in their enrailroad crossing. The Muscle sprang thusiasm, braved secessionists, and spoke aleak, and all efforts failed to prevent their views freely; but in Mississippi and her sinking, and we were forced to aban- Alabama, what was said was guarded. don her, and with her a considerable If we dared express ourselves freely, quantity of fine lumber. We are hav- you would hear such a shout greeting ing trouble in getting through the draw your coming as you never heard.' 'We of the bridge here. know that there are many Unionists among us, but a reign of terror makes us afraid of our shadows.' We were told, too, Bring us a small organized force, with arms and ammunition for us, and we can maintain our position, and put down rebellion in our midst.' There were, it is true, whole communities, who, on our approach, fled to the woods, but these were where there was less of the loyal element, and where the fleeing steamers in advance had spread

"I now come to the, to me, most interesting portion of this report, which has already been long; but I trust you will find some excuse for this in the fact that it embraces a history of labors and movements day and night, from the 6th to the 10th of the month, all of which details I deem it proper to give you. We have met with the most gratifying proofs of loyalty everywhere across Tennessee, and in portions of Mississippi and Ala


tales of our coming with firebrands, burning, destroying, ravishing, and plundering.

"The crews of these vessels have had a very laborious time, but have evinced


a spirit in their work highly creditable to them. Lieutenants-Commanding Gwin and Shirk have been untiring, and I owe to them and to their officers many obligations for our entire success."



No sooner, as we have seen, was the dition of large forces to the garrison. comparatively easy conquest of Fort "I determined," says General Johnston, Henry effected than General Grant hast- Confederate commander of the departened back to Cairo, to make preparations ment, "to fight for Nashville at Donelfor the next employment of his flotilla son, and have the best part of my army against the more imposing defences of to do it, retaining only 14,000 men to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland. This cover my front (at Bowling Green) and fortification was situated near the bound-giving 16,000 to defend Donelson."* ary of Tennessee, on the west bank of Fort Henry surrendered on the 6th of the river, about a hundred miles from its February. On the 8th, General Pillow mouth, a short distance below the town took command of Fort Donelson, and imof Dover, where the stream having pur-mediately set to work to improve its desued a westerly course for some miles turns northwardly to the Ohio. It was connected by a direct road with Fort Henry, but twelve miles to the westward, whence it had been reinforced by the retreating soldiery on the capture of that position, and being placed as an outpost or river defence of Nashville, some eighty miles above, was in ready communication by steamboat navigation with that important centre of the enemy's supplies. At Clarksville, an intermediate town thirty miles distant from the Fort, a branch of the Louisville and Nashville railway led in one direction to Bowling Green, in another to Memphis. There was little difficulty therefore in pouring in whatever reinforcements might be thought needed for the defence of Fort Donelson. Sufficient warning had been given of its danger in the fall of Fort Henry, where a strong Union force was gathering on its flank ready to advance. It was accordingly strengthened by various engineering devices and by the ad- March 18, 1862.

fences. This was done under the supervision of Major Gilmer, chief engineer of General A. S. Johnston's staff. The fortifications, thus strengthened and enlarged, consisted of a principal water battery, excavated on the side of the hill on which the work was built, thirty feet above the water at its present stage, mounting eight 32-pound guns and a 10inch columbiad, bored as a 32-pounder and rifled; a second water battery above, mounting a similar rifled gun and two 22-pounder carronades; and on the summit, immediately behind the battery, a fieldwork, intended for the infantry supports, and beyond it to the eastward, at the considerable distance of a mile, a series of defences against an attack from the land, consisting of trenches or riflepits, protected in front of the exterior line by a wide abattis of felled trees and interlaced brushwood. The lines, some

Letter of General A. S. Johnston to Mr. Barksdale, Member of Congress at Richmond. Decatur, Alabama,

a Pennsylvanian by birth, son of the eminent Dr. Samuel B. Smith of Philadelphia, was a graduate of West Point of the year 1825; he had been employed as an instructor in infantry tactics at that institution, and had greatly distinguished himself by his services in the field in the Mexican war. At the breaking out of the rebellion he held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the 3d Infantry. He was greatly esteemed as a disciplinarian, and for his efficiency in the field. His command was well trained and was confidently relied upon for active duty. A third division, under Brigadier-General Lewis Wallace, whose spirited attack the previous summer upon Romney, as Colonel of the 11th Indiana regiment, will be remembered, was sent round to the scene of conflict by the Cumberland.

two miles in the windings, ran along a character and merit, of the regular army, ridge cut through by several ravines running toward the river, the hill-sides rising by abrupt ascents seventy-five or eighty feet. On the elevations batteries of howitzers and field-pieces were stationed. The outworks rested at either extremity upon creeks impassable on account of back water from the river. The fortifications, thus enclosed, were defended at the time of the investment by a force estimated at more than eighteen thonsand. General Floyd, whose proclamation announcing his departure for Kentucky, following close upon his flight from Virginia, will be remembered by the reader, was chief in command, arriving at the fort with reinforcements from Cumberland City on the 13th, when the seige was already begun, when he superseded General Pillow. BrigadierGeneral Buckner and Brigadier-General Bushrod K. Johnson were also in command. The troops at the fort consisted mainly of Mississippians, under General Johnson, with Floyd's brigade of regiments from Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Alabama. There was also a considerable body of cavalry.

A two-fold attack upon the position thus powerfully entrenched and supported, was resolved upon. The water batteries were to be bombarded by Commodore Foote's flotilla of gunboats, and the fortifications were to be invested on land by the army of General Grant. The latter was first on the spot. He left Fort Henry early on the morning of the 12th of February, six days after the conquest of that work, with a force of about fifteen thousand men. They were in two divisions, respectively commanded by Brigadier-Generals McClernand and Charles Ferguson Smith. The former we have already seen in action at BelGeneral Smith, an officer of high


* Report of Colonel E. D. Webster, Chief of the Engi

neer Staff of General Grant's army. Fort Donelson, February 22, 1862. General Floyd's Official Report to General Johnston, February 27, 1862.

General McClernand's 1st division consisted of two brigades, nine regiments, in all, of Illinois troops, with four batteries, and battalions of cavalry, under the command, respectively, of Colonel Oglesby and Colonel W. H. L. Wallace, acting Brigadiers. General Smith's division, the two brigades of which were commanded by Colonel Cook and Colonel J. G. Lauman, numbered, two Illinois, four Iowa, one Missouri, and three Indiana regiments. The weather on the day of the march from Fort Henry was mild and spring-like, and at noon the advance was reported within two miles of the works at Fort Donelson. As the Union troops came up the enemy's pickets were driven in, and a semi-circular line of investment was formed before the fortifications. General McClernand's division. was stationed on the right towards the Dover road; while General Smith, on the left, extended his line to a hill overlooking the creek, to the north of the fort. Gradual approaches were made to the works with occasional sharp skirmishing along the line, the enemy retiring

* Ante vol. i. p. 290




to their defences beyond the ravine, on the right. This regiment advanced which separated the two armies. On in beautiful order down the slope, across Thursday, the 13th, no general attack the valley, and up the opposite steep, was made, General Grant waiting the with skirmishers deployed in front, and arrival of the gunboats, with General were soon warmly engaged. These opWallace's coöperating force by the Cum-erations had given the enemy time to reberland. The investment, meanwhile, inforce their position with strong bodies was drawn closer, and there was sharp of infantry from his reserves in the rear, skirmishing with heavy firing between and field artillery, which opened a dethe enemy's artillery and the Union bat- structive fire on the advancing line. The teries, which were planted on the hills roll of musketry showed the enemy in surrounding the rebel position. Impor- powerful force behind his earthwork; tant service was rendered by a corps of notwithstanding, our forces charged galexperienced riflemen drawn from the lantly up the heights to the very foot of northwest, raised by Colonel Berge. the works, which were rendered impasThese sharpshooters, in wait behind logs sable by the sharp, strong points of and trees, in well selected positions on brushwood in which it was built. the wooded ridges, picked off the ene- the regiments engaged in this daring atmy's gunners and thinned the venture- tempt suffered more or less from the some combatants who appeared above enemy's fire. In the meantime the enetheir breastworks. Early in the after- my began to show in strength in his innoon an attempt was made to capture a trenchments in front of Colonel Oglesby's formidable work of the enemy on the brigade. Schwartz's battery was adright. The movement, which was char- vanced along the road to within three acterized by remarkable bravery, is thus hundred yards of the works, but being narrated in the report of General W. H. without canister range, they were withL. Wallace : "About noon I was or- drawn by General McClernand's order, dered by General McClernand to detach and directed Captain Taylor to throw the 48th regiment, (Colonel Hayne,) to forward two sections of his battery to operate with the 17th Illinois, (Major that position. The position being beSmith commanding,) and the 49th Illi-yond the reach of my lines, the infantry nois, (Colonel Morrison,) of the 3d brigade, in making an assault on the enemy's middle redoubt, on the hill west of the valley, supported by the fire of McAllister's guns. This force was under the command of Colonel Hayne, as senior Colonel. They formed in line and advanced in fine order across the intervening ravines, and mounted the steep heights upon which these works are situated, in the most gallant manner, and under a heavy fire of musketry from the enemy, posted in the lines of the earthwork. They advanced up the hill, delivering their fire with coolness and precision. The line not being long enough to envelope the works, by order of General McClernand, I detached the 45th Illinois (Colonel Smith) to their support

support was to be furnished from Colonel Oglesby's brigade, which was immediately in the rear. These sections took their positions under most galling fire of rifles and musketry from the enemy's lines. The ground was covered with brush, and some time was required to put the army in position, and during this time the enemy's fire was very galling, and Taylor's men suffered somewhat from its effects. As soon as his position was gained, however, the rapid and welldirected fire of the sections soon silenced the enemy. The coolness and daring of the officers and men of these sections, directed by Captain Taylor in person, are worthy of high praise. The 48th, 45th, 49th, and 17th regiments having been ordered to retire from the hill

where they had so gallantly assaulted the enemy's works, the 45th and 48th resumed their position in my line, and Colonel Morrison, commanding the 17th and 49th, having been wounded in this assault, these regiments were temporarily attached to my brigade, and acted under my orders during the subsequent operations, until the noon of the 15th."

they lighted a fire it became a mark for the guns of the enemy. The sufferings of the troops that night will be remembered among the many sharp trials of the defenders of the Union. "The only demonstration of importance on the part of the rebels," we are told, "during the night, was a formidable attempt, on the right wing, to obtain Taylor's battery. On the left an advance was also made The 20th Indiana, lying in the woods beby a portion of Colonel Lauman's brig- low it, however, after a brief skirmish in ade to the ravine at the base of the hill the midnight darkness, sent the intrudon which were the enemy's fortifications. ers back to their fortifications again."* The 15th, under Colonel Veatch, moved On Friday, the 14th, the gunboats steadily up the hill toward the intrench- made their demonstration. When Comments, under a most galling fire of mus-modore Foote returned from Fort Henry ketry and grape, until their onward pro- to Cairo, it was with the expectation of gress was obstructed by the fallen tim- taking with him the new mortar boats to ber and brushwood. They succeeded in the siege of Fort Donelson; but they obtaining an advantageous position, and were not yet quite ready, and it was held it unflinchingly for more than two thought not good generalship to wait for hours, with severe loss, till they were them, however desirable their presence ordered to fall back out of range of the might be, while the enemy was every enemy's fire. The 7th and 14th Iowa day providing more formidable means of with the 25th Indiana coöperated with resistance. General Halleck accordingly this movement. At night the troops fell hastened the preparations for the atback to the position occupied in the tack, and Commodore Foote, with the morning. The occurrences of the first fleet, was speedily engaged in the asday, in fact, after the rapid and success- cent of the Cumberland. A company ful movement at Fort Henry, were not of transports, carrying a large part of the most encouraging. The enemy had General Wallace's division, accompanied a strong position, and were apparently him. He arrived towards midnight of prepared to defend it with resolution. the 13th, in the immediate neighborhood In the evening the gunboats and rein- of the fort. One of the iron-clad boats, forcements arrived, and there was a the Carondelet, which had been sent forprospect of earnest work on the mor- ward by General Grant as a convoy to row. Meanwhile the fair weather under an advance portion of General Wallace's which the army had set out so gaily from troops, had preceded him, and been enFort Henry changed to a wintry severi- gaged that day in a reconnoissance of ty. A heavy rain set in, which turned the works at the fort. Many shots were in the night to a storm of snow and sleet, fired by this vessel, and one damaging overtaking the troops in an almost de- stroke received in return from a ball fenceless condition. Many of them, in which entered her port bow and woundexpectation of an engagement had, in ed a number of men by the splinters. the warmth of the previous day, thrown aside their overcoats and blankets, and being without tents, were exposed to the utmost rigors of the situation; while, if

*Report of Colonel Lauman to General Smith. Fort Donelson, February 18, 1862.

The next morning there was a confer-
ence on board the flag-ship, St. Louis,
between General Grant and Commodore
Foote, which ended in a determination

Fort Donelson Correspondent of the Missouri Democrat,
February 17, 1862.

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