THE "CARONDELET" FIGHTING FORT DONELSON, FEBRUARY 13, 1862.
FROM A SKETCH BY REAR-ADMIRAL WALKE.
THE WESTERN FLOTILLA AT FORT DONELSON, ISLAND NUMBER TEN, FORT PILLOW AND MEMPHIS.BY HENRY WALKE, REAR-ADMIRAL, U. S. N.
ON the 7th of February, the day after the capture of Fort Henry, I received on board the Carondelet Colonels Webster, Rawlins, and McPherson, with a company of troops, and under instructions from General Grant proceeded up the Tennessee River, and completed the destruction of the bridge of the Memphis and Bowling Green Railroad.
On returning from that expedition General Grant requested me to hasten to Fort Donelson with the Carondelet, Tyler, and Lexington, and announce my arrival by firing signal guns. The object of this movement was to take possession of the river as soon as possible, to engage the enemy's attention by making formidable demonstrations before the fort, and to prevent it from being reenforced. On February 10th the Carondelet alone (towed by the transport Alps) proceeded up the Cumberland River, and on the 12th arrived a few miles below the fort.
Fort Donelson occupied one of the best defensive positions on the river. It was built on a bold bluff about 120 feet in height, on the west side of the river, where it makes a slight bend to the eastward. It had 3 batteries, mounting in all 15 guns: the lower, about twenty feet above the water; the second, about fifty feet above the water; the third, on the summit.**
**The armament of the fort consisted of "ten 32-pounder guns (two of them ship carronades), one 8-inch howitzer, two nondescript 9-pounders, one 10-inch Columbiad, and one rifled gun throwing a conical shell of 128 pounds." The garrison was commanded by Colonel J. E. Bailey, the artillery by Captain Joseph Dixon, and after his death by Captain Jacob Culbertson, with Captains Ross, Beaumount, and Bidwell in separate command of the guns of the lower batteries. Captain Dixon was killed in the action of the 13th with the Carondelet by a shot which dismounted one of his guns--"the only damage done to the batteries during the siege." (Captain Culbertson's report.)--EDITORS.