at 9,000 men. These forces were advancing to cut off the communications with Fort Donelson. Probably the movement would have proved a success had the garrison remained a few hours longer. Our force at Fort Henry was about 3,200, of which less than 100 were surrendered with the fort.
The fall of Fort Henry and the power of the enemy to strike at once with an immense force at Fort Donelson, made it necessary that the army at Bowling Green should be withdrawn to a point which would secure a prompt passage of the Cumberland River. The vicinity of Nashville seemed the proper position. If the enemy were defeated at Donelson, with prompt re-enforcements there was still a hope that your army might resist the invader and defend that city; if Donelson fell, it could be promptly passed to the south bank of the river.*
* * * * *
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers, and Chief Engineer Western Department.
Colonel W. W. MACKALL,
Assistant Adjutant-General Western Department.
No. 7. Report of Major General Leonidas Polk, C. S. Army, commanding at Columbus, Ky.
COLUMBUS, KY., February 8, 1862.
General S. COOPER
I am officially advised as follows
FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 7, 1862.
Fort Henry has fallen. General Tilghman, Major Gilmer, and about 80 officers and men were surrendered with the fort. Colonel Heiman brought the rest of the command in good order to this point. About 3,000 in the aggregate arrived at 11 o'clock last night. Owing to the bad state of the roads and the high water of the various water-courses between the two forts, as well as to the fact that they were attacked in the rear by the enemy's cavalry, Colonel Heiman says it was a physical impossibility to save the field batteries. Nothing saved but the small-arms. Colonel Heiman will assume command here this morning until the arrival of General Pillow, who, we learn, will be down in a few hours. The telegraph line from Cumberland City is down. Colonel Heiman does not expect a fight here until to-morrow. I remain here by order of General Tilhman, and shall still do so, offering my services as volunteer aide to whoever is in command.
I am just advised the bridges on the Memphis and Bowling Green road over the Tennessee River are not destroyed, as report. Three of the enemy's gunboats have gone up the Tennessee River as far as Florence. The bridge over Bear Creek, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, threatened. I have sent six companies of Colonel Looney's regiment and one section of artillery with Deshler's Arkansas battery [Chalmers' regiment] from Corinth. Active preparations on the part of the Government for the defense of this frontier seem now indispensable.
*Portion of report here omitted will be found in the report of the siege of Fort Donelson.