field work of fine bastion front] had been put in a good condition for defense, and seventeen guns mounted on substantial platforms, twelve of which were so placed as to bear well on the river. These twelve guns were of the following description: One 10-inch columbiad, one rifled gun of 24-pounder caliber [weight of ball 62 pounds], two 42-pounders, and eight 32-pounders, all arranged to fire through embrasures formed by raising the parapet between the guns with sand bags carefully laid.
In addition to placing the main work in good defensive order I found that extensive lines of infantry cover had been thrown up by the troops forming the garrison, with a view to hold commanding ground that would be dangerous to the fort if possessed by the enemy. These lines and the main work were on the right hand of the river and arranged with good defensive relations, making the place capable of offering a strong resistance against a land attack coming from the eastward. On the left bank of the river there was a number of hills within cannon range that commanded the river batteries on the right bank. The necessity of occupying these hills was apparent to me at the time I inspected Fort Henry early in November last, and on the 21st of that month Lieutenant Dixion, the local engineer, was ordered from Fort Donelson to Fort Henry to make the necessary surveys and construct the additional works. He was at the same time informed that a large force of slaves, with troops to protect them, from Alabama, would report to him for the work, which was to be pushed to completion as early as possible.
The surveys were made by the engineer and plans decided upon without delay; but by some unforeseen cause the negroes were not sent until after the 1st of January last. Much valuable time was thus lost, but under your urgent orders, when informed of the delay, General Tilhman and his engineers pressed these defenses forward so rapidly, night and day, that when I reached the fort [January 31 last] they were far advanced, requiring only a few days' additional labor to put them in a state of defense. But no guns had been received that could be put in these works except a few field pieces; and, notwithstanding every effort had been made to procure them from Richmond, Memphis, and other points, it was apprehended they would not arrive in time to anticipate the attack of the enemy, which, from the full information obtained by General Tilghman, was threatened at an early day either at Fort Henry or Fort Donelson, or possibly on both at the same time. The lines of infantry cover, however, which had been thrown up were capable of making a strong resistance, even without the desired artillery, should the attack be made on that [the left] bank of the river. Experimental firing with the 10-inch columbiad, mounted in main work, showed a defect in the cast-iron carriage and chassis, which threatened to impair the usefulness of this most important gun. With the ordinary charge of 16 pounds of powder the recoil was so great as to cause most violent shocks against the rear hunter, threatening each time to dismount the piece. With the aid of an ingenious mechanic clamps were finally made, which served to resist, in some degree, the violence of the recoil. With this exception the guns bearing on the river were in fair working order.
After the batteries of the main work were mounted General Tilghman found much difficulty in getting competent artillerists to man them, and he was not supplied with a sufficient number of artillery officers.
Impressed with the great deficiency in the preparations for defending the passage of the river at Fort Henry, the commanding officer ex-