War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0175 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

well as by the shouts of the enemy that the gunboats had been disabled in their attack upon the fort and had fallen back and would require time for repairs, and that all aggressive operations on our part must be avoided, the day passed away without any other important incident than occasional interchanges of shots between the sharpshooters and batteries of the opposing forces. Night followed, again bringing with it intermingled snow and rain, during which a fatigue party, with all the implements at my command, unceasingly labored in throwing up on the crest of the ridge already referred to, near the Winn's Ferry road, and earthwork for the protection of a battery intended to open fire in the morning. Two of the 20-pounder Missouri parrott guns and two of McAllister's 24-pounder howitzers (the third one having been disabled by its own recoil) were placed under cover of this earthwork in the morning. A want of additional implements prevented me from carrying into effect my design to intrench the right of my line.

The morning of the 15th dawned clear and hopeful, and both officers and men, unshaken by another night of intense suffering, stood to their arms, ready for the work of an eventful day. Already three days of skirmishing, cannonading, and mutual assaults had transpired. Already three days of skirmishing, cannonading, and mutual assaults had transpired. Already the enemy had dismantled his fort of its field pieces and planted them within range of my right, and at early dawn this morning he was discovered rapidly moving in large masses to my extreme right, all clearly indicating the purpose to open his way for escape by a concentrated and overwhelming attack on that part of my line, or, if successful beyond his expectations, turn my right flank and attack me in reverse.

At the moment of my attack (6 o'clock a. m.) the forces under my command were formed in line of battle as follows:Colonel McArthur's brigade, consisting of the Forty-first, Twelfth, and Ninth, in the same order, with two 10-pounder Parrott guns, on the extreme right; Colonel Oglesby's brigade, comprising the Eighteenth, Eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first, next on the left; the Thirtieth, soon after being detached from the line by Colonel Oglesby, was moved to the rear of the Eighth as a reserve; the Eighth and Twenty-ninth, supporting Schwartz's battery of four guns, posted in their front; Colonel Wallace's brigade, comprising the Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth and Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth, next on the left; McAllister's two 24-pounder howitzers and a section of the Missouri battery were posted under cover of the earthworks before referred to, in front of the Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth; Taylor's battery of four 6-pounder and two 12-pounder howitzers was posted in front of the Seventeenth; Dresser's battery of three James rifled 6-pounders was posted on the extreme left, in front of redan Numbers 2; Schwartz's battery of two 6-pounder and two 12-pounder howitzers was posted in front of the Twenty-ninth, on the right; three pieces pointing towards redan Numbers 3, ad one piece disposed to protect the rear.

The Seventeenth Kentucky, Thirty-first Indiana, and Twenty-fifth Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Charles Cruft, coming up between 9 and 10 o'clock a. m., was hailed by members of my staff with encouraging words, and formed as a reserve in the rear of the Twenty-ninth, Eighth, and Thirtieth. The Forty-fourth Indiana, Colonel H. B. Reed, followed about an hour after, and formed in the rear of the Thirty-first. This re-enforcement was generously brought forward by Colonel Cruft upon his own responsibility, in the absence of General Wallace, his division commander,in compliance with my request, borne by Major Brayman, assistant adjutant-general of my division. In the mean time the Eighteenth, after a protracted struggle of alternating advantages, hav-