from escaping in that direction, and only required our lines to be about half as long as they otherwise would have been in order to invest the works.
Thursday it was decided best to send a detachment from Fort Henry up to the railroad bridge at Danville and destroy one span, which was done, for we were apprehensive, as all the gunboats were required in the Cumberland River, that the enemy might repair the trestle work which had been destroyed, and send over re-enforcements to Donelson, or make a diversion by trying t recapture Fort Henry.
Thursday evening the gunboats and re-enforcements sent by water arrived, and it was arranged that the gunboats should move up about 2 o'clock Friday afternoon, silence the water batteries, take a position opposite and near the town of Dover, and shell the rebels out of their entrenchments near the river, we at the same time sweeping around with our right and taking possession of a portion of their works, cutting them off from the greater part of their supplies, and driving them back upon our center and left, which were strongly posted to prevent their escape. This movement, however, was destined not to be carried into effect, on account of the failure of the gunboats to silence the water batteries, and their being compelled to withdraw after a bombardment of a couple of hours, having experienced considerable damage. After this failure, and on consolidation with Flag-Officer Foote, it was thought probable that it might be necessary to partially intrench our position and await re-enforcements which were coming, and repairs to some of the gunboats, and orders were about being given to have all the entrenching tools brought up from the boats Saturday morning, when the enemy, evidently not liking the gradual contracting of our lines, concentrated the greater part of his force against our right, and made a most desperate attempt to cut his way out and effect h is escape, in which he was frustrated by the determined bravery of General McClernand's division, which, though forced to fall back after several hours of the most severe fighting, did, it, contesting every foot of ground, and the opportune arrival of a portion of General Wallace's division, which had been sent to General McClernand's aid, and which succeeded in checking the advance of the enemy, and finally forcing him to fall back. Word was now sent to General C. F. Smith to carry the works on the enemy's right by assault, which was most gallantly executed by a portion of his division at the point of the bayonet, and our flag soon waved triumphantly from the rebel entrenchments. This news was borne along our lines, cheering and stimulating the men.
Our right was now re-enforced and ordered to advance and recover the ground which had been lost in the morning. Nobly was the task executed. Not only was the lost ground more than regained, but the battery taken from us in the forenoon was recaptured. While the contest was still at its height on our left General Smith's aide came galloping down in great haste, stating that the general wanted some more pieces of artillery. I immediately ordered the captain of a battery to take two 10-pounder Parrott guns and report tot he general as soon as possible and then went to join him myself, sending word to you that I had done so, for I thought I could be of more service there than any where else at that particular crisis.
Having carried the advance works on the enemy's right and effected a lodgment in his entrenchments, we had secured a key to his position. We had obtained a point having about as great an elevation as any portion of his works, and where we could plant our artillery to silence his and enfilade a portion of his defenses, at the same time making use of