expressing a hope that he would be among them again, soon. "I am anxious that my brave countrymen here in arms," he said, "fronting the haughty array and muster of Northern mercenaries, should thoroughly appreciate the exigency." In allusion to the disquietude that was manifested by them because of their long enforced inaction, he said that it was no time for that army "to stack their arms, and furl, even for a brief period, the standards they had made glorious by their manhood." But they were much dispirited by the defeat of their armies at Mill Spring, and this was deepened by the capture of Roanoke Island soon afterward. This feeling amounted almost to despair when a more important reverse to their arms occurred on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers at the middle of February.
A Gunboat Fleet-Expedition against Forts Henry and Donelson-Capture of Forts Henry and Hieman-Naval Expedition up the
Tennessee-Its Discoveries-Army Reorganized-Siege of Fort Donelson-Change in Temperature-Engagements on Land and
Water-A Desperate Measure Attempted-Council of War-Cowardice-Surrender of Fort Donelson-Army Postal Service
Panic at Nashville-Surrender of the City-Provisional Government for Tennessee-Events on the Mississippi River-Siege and
Capture of Island Number Ten-Movement toward Corinth-National Army at Pittsburg Landing-Buell's Army on the March.
When the Confederate line in Kentucky was broken, the National Government determined to concentrate the forces of Halleck and Buell for a great forward movement to push the Confederates toward the Gulf of Mexico. Fremont's plan for providing gunboats for the western rivers, to co-operate with the armies, had been carried out. Twelve of these vessels (some of them covered with iron plates) had been constructed at St. Louis and Cairo, and at the close of January these were armed with one hundred and twenty-six heavy guns and some lighter artillery, and were placed under the command of flag-officer A. H. Foote of the National navy. When everything was in readiness, some feints were made to deceive the Confederates. These were reconnaissances down each side of the Mississippi River from Cairo; and Thomas feigned a movement in force against East Tennessee.
In the meantime an expedition against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, where those streams approach each other to within a distance of about twelve miles, had been prepared. The land troops were placed under the command of General U. S. Grant, assisted by General C. F. Smith. Commodore Foote was called to the Tennessee with his flotilla of gunboats; and at dawn on the 3d of February, 1862, a portion of that flotilla was only a few miles below Fort Henry, on that stream, and the land troops were disembarking from transports. The fort lay at the bend of the stream, on the right bank, and its guns commanded a reach of the river for about two miles. It was armed with seventeen guns, twelve of which could sweep the river. At the time we are considering, the garrison in the fort and troops encamped around it numbered less than three thousand, commanded by General Tilghman, of Maryland, a graduate of the West Point Academy. Grant and