brigades to proceed, with a full complement of ammunition, to the most favorable position on the Cumberland River, to interrupt the navigation as far as practicable.
I overtook the command after it had passed Franklin, and hastened on to the river to ascertain the state of affairs and the most favorable field of action.
I here learned that the enemy, being apprised of our presence on the river, had determined not to send any more bats either up or down the river while we remained in position to interrupt their passage. The scarcity of forage made it impossible for me to remain long on the south side of the river, and all the ferry-boats above Dover had been destroyed. I accordingly had but the alternative to remain idle or attack the force at Dover.
After maturely considering the matter, we concluded that nothing could be lost by attack upon the garrison at Dover, and, from the information we had from spies, citizens, and other sources,w e had good reason to believe the garrison could be easily captured.
We accordingly marched rapidly upon the place by two roads, and arrived in position at about 2 p. m. February 3, and commenced the attack, General Forrest assailing on the east side and General Wharton on the west and southwest sides. I marched to the ground with General Forrest's command, but, after getting him in position, I moved to General Wharton's brigade, which was the largest, to hasten him into the action.
The ground was very favorable to our artillery, as it commanded from all points the town below, and enfiladed two sides of their rifle-pits, besides having a plunging fire into all parts of the work, which enabled us to use it with excellent effect.
After making the necessary details for guarding the approaches from Fort Henry and our rear, the order was that the men should be dismounted and the assault made on foot. Just as I left General Forrest to assist General Wharton, General Forrest, thinking the enemy were leaving the place, and being anxious to rush in quickly, remounted his men and charged the place on horseback. The fire from the enemy was so strong that he was repulsed and obliged to retire. He then dismounted and advanced on foot. His men took and occupied the horses on the east side of the town, and had a plunging fire of musketry on the enemy. At this moment the enemy commenced running out toward the river, and our men in the houses seeing this, and thinking it to be a movement on our held horses, abandoned their favorable position, and rushed back to protect them. But for this accident the garrison would have surrendered in a very few minutes. General Forrest then withdrew and discontinued the action.
On the left, General Wharton's command easily drove the enemy into their works, overrunning a fine battery which was engaging us, killing and wounding many of the enemy, and capturing several prisoners, small-arms, and other munitions and stores. The enemy had cut the harness and stampeded the horses, which prevented our bringing off the entire battery. We succeeded, however, in bringing off the entire battery. We succeeded, however, in bringing off one very fine 12-pounder brass rifled gun, but the other were necessarily left.
Soon after the engagement commenced, several of the regimental commanders reported to me that they were out of ammunition, and before night all the command were in the same condition. Notwithstanding this difficulty, we had by nightfall succeeded in occupying the west side of town, and had a secure position not more than 90 yards from the