then ordered out a battalion of the Tenth Tennessee, a battalion of the Fourth Mississippi, and Milner's cavalry, and proceeded in person with them to the scene of the skirmish, but the enemy had retired.
During the night Colonel Milton A. Haynes, of the artillery, arrived from Fort Donelson, to give his aid in the coming engagement, and brought information that, in obedience to orders from General Tilgham, Colonel Head would send two regiments to Kirkman's Furnance from Fort Donelson next morning, which is half way between the forts, to act as a reserve.
Early on the morning of the 6th heavy volumes of black smoke rose over the island, manifesting that the fleet was not to remain idle long; and, judging from the number of transports in the river, they must have landed a very large force during the two days and nights, and, as it was afterwards ascertained, General Grant had 12,000 men between the fort and Bailey's Landing, and General Smith 6,000 men on the opposite bank of the river.
At about 10 o'clock in the morning General Tilghman and Major Gilmer came in a small boat from the steamer Dunbar, which was lying during the night at Fort Heiman, and prepared for the engagement on hand.
At 11 o'clock the gunboats made their appearance in the chute, seven in number, and formed in line of battle 2 miles from the fort. General Tilghman ordered the troops to be marched out of range of the enemy's guns. None were permitted to remain in the fort but those on duty with the artillery, who were under the command of Captain Taylor.
General Tilghman, with his staff, took position at the center battery, to observe the movements of the gunboats and direct the firing of our batteries. The enemy opened fire with shot and shell, which was returned by our 10-inch columbiad and 24-pounder rifled gun until they came in range of the lighter guns, when the whole eleven guns bearing on the river opened fire. The enemy's practice improved as they advanced. The firing on both sides was without a moment intermission.
Shot after shot was exchanged with admirable rapidity and precision, and the enemy's shell struck and exploded in every direction. Unfortunately, our most reliable gun, the 24-pounder rifled gun until they on the river opened fire. The enemy's practice improved as they advanced. The firing on both sides was without a moment's intermission.
Shot after shot was exchanged with admirable rapidity and precision, and the enemy's shell struck and exploded in every direction. Unfortunately, our most reliable gun, the 24-pounder rifled, busted, wounding all the men who served it. Shortly afterwards the vent of the 10-inch columbiad closed, and could not be opened. Our reliance was now on the 32 and 42 pounders, and, I regret to state, for the latter we had not the proper ammunition. Shortly afterwards a premature explosion of one of the guns killed 2 men. By this time we had lost the use of five guns, but a constant fire was kept up on both sides, the gunboats while we had to depress our guns and change our range after every shot. This unequal fire was kept up with an energy which does great credit to the officers and men at the guns.
This fearful cannonading had lasted now over an hour, and it was evident the fort could not hold out much longer. Major Gilmer called my attention to the state of affairs, requesting me to state to General Tilghman that it was useless to hold out longer; to keep up this unequal contest would cost the lives of many more, without any possible advantage to the result. I replied to Major Gilmer that these were my views, but that I would not like to make any suggestions to the general; that he must be his own judge in regard to this affair. When General Tilghman was shortly after reminded of the state of affairs he would not entertain the idea of a surrender, stating that he had as yet lost but