sideration. Every moment I knew was of vast importance to those retreating on Fort Donelson, and I declined, hoping to find men enough at hand to continue a while longer the fire now so destructive to the enemy. In this I was disappointed. My next effort was to to try the experiment of a flag of truce, which I waved from the parapets myself. This was precisely at 1.50 p.m. The flag was not noticed, I presume, from the dense smoke that enveloped it, and leaping again into the fort continued the fire for five minutes, when, with the advice of my brother officers, I ordered the flag to be lowered, and after an engagement of two hours and ten minutes with such an unequal force the surrender was made to Flag-Officer Foote, represented by Captain Stembel, commanding gunboat Cincinnati, and was qualified by the single condition that all officers should retain their side-arms, that both officers and men should be treated with the highest consideration due prisoners of war, which was promptly and gracefully acceded to by Commodore Foote.
The retreat of the main body was effected in good order, though involving the loss of about 20 prisoners, who from sickness and other causes were unable to encounter the heavy roads. The rear of the army was overtaken at a distance of some 3 miles from Fort Henry by a body of the enemy's cavalry, but, on being engaged by a small body of our men, under Major Garvin, were repulsing and retired.
This fact alone shows the necessity of the policy pursue by me in protracting the defence of the fort as long as possible, which only could have been done by my consenting to stand by the brave little band. No loss was sustained by our troops in this affair with the enemy.
I have understood from the prisoners that several pieces of artillery also were lost, it being entirely impossible to move them over 4 or 5 miles with the indifferent teams attached to them.
The entire absence of transportation rendered any attempt to move the camp equipage of the regiments impossible. This may be regarded as fortunate, as the roads were utterly impassable, not only from the rains, but the backwater of Tennessee River.
A small amount of quartermaster's and commissary stores, together with what was left of the ordnance stores, were lost to us also.
The tents of the Alabama Regiment were left on the west bank of the river, the gunboats preventing on opportunity to cross them over.
Our casualties may be reported strictly as follows: Killed by the enemy,2; wounded severely by the enemy [one since dead],3; wounded slightly by the enemy,2; killed by premature explosion,2; wounded seriously by premature explosion,1; slightly wounded,1; temporarily disabled by explosion of rifled gun,5. Making total killed,5; seriously wounded,3; slightly wounded,3; disabled,5; missing,5. Total casualties,21.
The total casualties of the enemy were stated in my presence on the following morning to be 73, including 1 officer of the Essex killed, and Captain Porter, commanding the Essex, badly scalded.
The enemy report the number of shots that struck their vessels to have been 74,28 of which struck the flag-ship Cincinnati, so disabling her as to compel her to return to Cairo. The Essex received 22 shots, one of which passed, we know, entirely through the ship, opening one of her boilers and taking off the head of Captain Porter's aide-de-camp. Several shots passed entirely through the Cincinnati, while her outer works were completely riddled. The weak points in all their vessels were known to us, and the cool precision of our firing developed them, showing conclusively that this class of boats, though formidable, cannot stand the test of even the 32-pounders, much less