few men, and inquired the reason why some of the guns had ceased firing. He was told that several of the men were killed, many wounded, and all the rest exhausted, and that we had no men to relieve them. The general threw off his coat, sprang on the chassis of the nearest gun, stating that he would work it himself, ordering, at the same time, 50 men of my regiment to the fort to assist the gunners. Seeing nobody whom I could send for them, I started myself, the bombardment still going on unabated; but before I could reach the command the boats were so close to the fort that further resistance was impossible. The flag was hauled down and the firing ceased.
I returned in person immediately to the fort for further orders. General Tilghman informed me that he had surrendered, believing that it was his duty to do so, as every military man would see the impossibility of holding the fort against such fearful odds, and stating to me that I was not included in the surrender, as I was not in the fort at the time orders, to Fort Donelson by the upper road, having gained all the time necessary for a safe retreat. Owing to bad roads, the high water, and the close pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, I found it a physical impossibility to save the light artillery.
About 3 miles from the fort our rear was attacked by the enemy's cavalry. Their fire was handsomely returned by Colonel Gee and Major Garvin. Major Lee, of the Fifteenth Arkansas, and Captain Leach, of the Alabama Battalion, were surrounded and made prisoners. We sustained no other loss.
I may be permitted to state that the self-sacrificing heroism displayed by General Tilghman in this terrible and most unequal struggle challenges the admiration of all gallant men and entitles him to the gratitude of the whole people of the Confederate States. The tact, skill, and untiring energy which characterized his whole course while in command of the defense of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers proved him a most skilful and gallant leader.
During the bombardment of Fort Henry General Tilghman was ably assisted by Major Gilmer, Colonel Haynes, Major McConnico, Captains Miller and Hayden (Engineers), Captain Taylor, Lieutenants Watts and Weller, and Captain G. R. G. Jones, and the men under their command deserve particular credit for the effective and energetic manner in which they managed their guns.
My thanks are eminently due to Colonel Drake and the regimental and detachment commanders for the able and orderly manner in which they conducted their commands.
The events which followed so closely upon the fall of Fort Henry --- the surrender of the troops at Fort Donelson and my oven imprisonment, from which I have just been released-have prevented me from forwarding this report at an earlier date.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Tilghman's Division.
Colonel W. W. MACKALL,