Heiman did not amount to more than 2,600 effective men. There were also at Fort Henry the steamers Dunbar, Captain Fowler; Lynn Boyd, Captain Smedley; Appleton Belle, Captain Hefferman [regular packet from the fort to Danville]; the Samuel Orr and the Patton. The latter two boats were used for hospitals.
General Tilghman's division headquarters being at Fort Donelson, where he was untiring in his exertions to complete the defenses of that post, Fort Henry during his absence was under my command.
On the morning of the 4th instant, at 4.30 o'clock, the sentinel at our 3-gun battery announced a rocket signal from the picket at Bailey's Landing, which was immediately answered by a rocket from the fort, when three more rockkets went up from the picket, announcing the approach of three of the enemy's gunboats. The eleven guns bearing on the river were immediately manned and shorted and everything held in readiness for an attack. The steamers were all moved out of range of the enemy's gunboats, and the Dunbar and Boyd were dispatched to Paris Landing for the two regiments stationed there. I sent a courier to General Tilghman, at Fort Donelson, informing him of these facts.
Shortly after daylight the pickets on both sides of the river reported a large fleet coming up, and the smoke from several gunboats now became visible over the island. I directed Captain Ellis, of the Tenth, with a small escort of mounted men, to proceed down on the right bank of the river, and Captain Anderson, of the same regiment, on the opposite bank, to reconnoiter and ascertain whether the enemy was landing troops. I directed Captain Milner, with his company of cavalry, to occupy the several roads leading from Bailey's Landing to the fort, and throw forward a sufficient number of pickets and vedettes. I directed Colonel Drake to send two companies of his regiment and a section of Culbertson's battery to the rifle pits for the defense of the Dover road, about three-quarters of a mile from the fort, while Major Garvin occupied the rifle pits across the road leading to Bailey's Landing. Twelve torpedoes were sunk in the chute of the river at the foot of the island. For want of powder and time none were sunk in the main channel. Those sunk were rendered utterly useless by the heavy rise in the river.
At about 9 o'clock the gunboats commenced throwing shells at the quarters of our pickets and other buildings in the neighborhood of Bailey's Landing.
Captain Ellis returned, reporting eight gunboats and ten large transports in the river, and that they were landing their cavalry. He also stated that he had seen two light batteries or barges, but that no troops were at that time landing on the opposite side of the river. I again sent a courier to General Tilghman, informing him of these facts. During all this time he had a large force at work on the epaulements and trying to keep the water out of the fort. The lower magazine had already 2 feel of water in it, and the ammunition had been removed to a temporary magazine above ground, which had but very little protection, but we had been at work day and night for the last week to cover it with sand bags and to protect it by a traverse.
At about 12 o'clock five gunboats came in sight in the main channel. All the troops, except the heavy artillery force, were marched out of range of the enemy's guns. The gunboats formed in line of battle across the channel about 2 miles below the fort, beyond the range of our 32-pounders. I gave positive orders that none of these guns should be fired unless the boats came within their range; therefore we had only to depend on the 24-pounder rifled gun and the 10-inch columbiad; the