War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0147 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT HENRY, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the river to a stable I found a horse without saddle or bridle, and, mounting him, I rode by the fort and passed up the bank of the river, and swam the sheet of backwater a mile above the fort, and soon afterwards came up with our forces en route for Fort Donelson, they having been withdrawn under cover of the cannonade, in obedience to General Tilghman's order, before General Grant's force had surrounded their position.

the light battery under Lieutenant Culbertson had been abandoned, he being unable to drag it through the muddy sloughs which he had to cross. His men and horses were then with the retreating army. The enemy's cavalry were hanging upon our rear, occasionally firing at and picking up those who lagged behind.

At 2 a.m. our forces reached Fort Donelson, with the loss of only a few men, having marched 22 miles, and forded Standing Rock Creek at five deep and rapid fords.

Colonel Heiman, having withdrawn from the fort at the close of the action, conducted the retreat in good order, constantly ready to engage the enemy if he had pursued us.

I considered the defense of Fort Henry a military necessity, in order to cover the retreat of our small army. Its defense was made by one small company of artillery, commanded by Captain Jesse Taylor, General Tilghman and other officers taking part in the action. The whole force numbered, rank and file, less than 70 men, not enough to man all our guns.

Throughout the action General Tilghman displayed cool and manly courage, which commanded admiration and inspired our men with noble enthusiasm, which made them scorn the dangers by which they were surrounded.

All officers present, whether of the artillery or not, participated actively in the engagement, and all deserve praise for their conduct in the action, and Captain Taylor especially, for the skill, promptness, and courage of the officers and men of his company.

Fort Henry was of necessity compelled to surrender; if not to the gunboats, certainly to General Grant's investing army. The fault was in its location, not in its defenders.

The officers who surrendered were General Lloyd Tilghman, commanding Fourth Division; W. L. McConnico, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain Charles Hayden, of the Engineers; Dr. Voorhies, assistant surgeon, C. S. Army; S. H. McLaughlin, assistant quartermaster; Captain Jesse Taylor, commanding Tennessee Artillery, and Second Lieutenant F. J. Weller and 50 non-commissioned officers and privates, of whom 10 or 12 were wounded.

Major J. F. Gilmer, of the Engineers, C. S. Army; Colonel A. Heiman, commanding Tenth Tennessee Regiment, and myself, and two privates, wounded, effected their escape, separately-Major Gilmer on foot.

We lost ten pieces of heavy artillery, six field pieces, and a large supply of ordnance and quartermaster's stores-in fact, everything but honor.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,

MILTON A. HAYNESS,

Lieutenant Colonel of Art., and Chief of Tenn., Corps of Vol. Art.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General C. S. Army.