War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0165 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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general idea of them. The water batteries, upper and lower, which were intended to subserve the primary object of the position-the control of the river navigation-were well located for the purpose. At the lower and principal one were mounted nine 32-pounder guns and a 10-inch columbiad; at the upper, one gun of the exterior form and dimensions of a 10-inch columbiad, but bored as a 32-pounder and rifled. Both these batteries are sunken, or excavated, in the hill-side. In the lower an enfilading fire. Their elevation above the water, say 30 feet at the made the task of attacking them in front and arduous one. The range of the guns in arc was, however, quite limited. The main fort is shown in rear of these batteries. It occupies a high ridge, cloven by a deep gorge opening towards the south, the entrance being in the valley. The strength of the profile of their work is shown by the cross-section on the margin. At the least exposed places it is weaker, like the rifle pits of the exterior defenses. The outworks are shown by the irregular line extending from the enemy's right at R to their left at L, both these points being on creeks impassable on account of the backwater from the river.

These defenses consisted in the main of what have come to be called rifle pits-shallow ditches, the earth from which is thrown to the front-affording them a shelter from the fire of an attack. The strength of profile of this work, which had evidently been very hastily executed, varied at different points. A general idea of it is given by the cross-section on the margin of the sketch. Along the front of this exterior line the trees had been failed, and the brush cut and bent over breast-high, making a wide abatis, very difficult to pass through. The line runs along a ridge, cut through by several ravines running toward the river. The hill rises by abrupt ascents to a height of perhaps 75 or 80 feet. Our army approached the place with very little knowledge of its topography. Our first line of battle was formed on the 12th instant in some open fields opposite the enemy's center. On the 13th we were established on a line of heights running on general parallelism with the enemy's outworks, and extending a distance of over 3 miles. Various elevations and spurs of the hills afforded positions for our artillery, from which we annoyed the enemy, but which were not of such commanding character as to enable us to achieve decisive results. The ranges were long and the thick woods prevented clear sight. During the next two days our line was gradually extended both to the right and left, our skirmishers thrown out in front, keeping up an active and, as we since learn, an effective fire upon the enemy's outworks. On the 13th a gallant charge was made against them at the point marked M, and was probably only prevented from being successful by the fall of the colonel leading it, who was severely wounded.

Up to the 15th our operations had been chiefly those of investment, but we had not gained a position from which our artillery could be advantageously used against the main fort. On the 15th the enemy seemed to grow uncomfortable under the contracting process, came out of his entrenchments, and attacked our right with great force and determination, achieving considerable success in the forenoon. This active movement necessitated and active retaliation. On the left wing an attack was ordered on the outworks, and the right was re-enforced and ordered to retake the ground lost in the morning. How well both orders were executed need not here be stated. On the right our former position was regained and passed, and on the left a successful assault at A