War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0133 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT HENRY, TENN.

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pressed to me his fears that it might cause disaster if the place were vigorously attacked by the enemy's gunboats. This he thought his greatest danger.

In conjunction with General Tilghman I made every effort during the three days I remained at Fort Henry to get all the works and batteries in as good condition for defense as the means at hand would permit. February 3 we went over to Fort Donelson to do the same. The works there required additions, to prevent the enemy from occupying grounds dangerous to the river batteries and the field work which had been constructed for the immediate defense landward. It was also important that better protection should be made for the heavy guns [mounted for the defense of the river] by raising the parapet with sand bags between the guns to give greater protection to the gunners.

The 3rd and 4th days of February were devoted to making preparations for this work and locating lines of infantry cover on the commanding ground around the fort.

In the midst of these labors, on the 4th, heavy firing was heard in the direction of Fort Henry, which warned General Tilghman that the enemy had made his attack upon that work. This was soon confirmed by a report from Colonel Heiman, to the effect that the gunboats had opened fire and that troops were being landed on the right bank of the river 3 1/2 to 4 miles below the fort. The general decided to return to the Tennessee River at once, and expressed with some anxiety a wish that I would accompany him. I finally took the responsibility of doing so, with the hope that my professional services might possibly prove useful during the defense.

On arriving at Fort Henry we found the enemy had landed additional troops below, and that every preparation was being made to attack by land and water. The necessary dispositions for defense were at once entered upon, by making a special organizations for defense were at once entered upon, by making a special organization of the troops and assigning commands to the officers.

Early the next morning, February 5, the troops were drawn out under arms, and marched to the respective points each body was to defend-this with a view to insure order in case it became necessary to form promptly in face of the enemy. The main body of the forces was assigned to the defense of the advanced lines of infantry cover, where they were in a measure beyond the range of shot and shell from the gunboats, and the troops inside of the main fort were to be limited to the men who had received some instructions in the use of heavy guns and such additional force as could be useful in bringing up full supplies of ammunition. Those assigned to the fort were practiced at the battery under the immediate supervision of the commanding officer, and each one taught with as much care as possible his duty in anticipation of the threatened attack.

In such preparations the day was consumed, and it was only at nightfall that the troops were relieved to seek food and rest, it being quite apparent that the enemy would not attack until next day.


During the early part of the day preparations of the enemy for an advance with his gunboats could be observed from the fort; also the movements of troops at their encampments along the bank of the river below, making it evident that we were to be attacked by land as well as by water.

About 11.30 o'clock one of the gunboats had reached the head of the