War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0180 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

[CHAP. XVII.

the welcome intelligence that the enemy had retired before the gallant and chivalrous assault of General Smith, and that he was already leading his men into this redan, which he firmly held. Colonel Webster also brought your order to press upon the enemy at all points. General Wallace, reporting through one of his officers that he had met the enemy and was pressing him with success, requested me to send forward five or six regiments to his right for the purpose of re-enforcing him. I immediately ordered forward a corresponding detachment. The vigor of this movement gave evidence of the shill and gallantry of the general commanding and the spirit and courage of his men. At the same time I ordered the Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis, to move forward to the right and near to the road already referred to to support General Wallace's left, and also ordered Colonel Ross, with the Third Brigade of my division, to advance directly in the same road, the object being to command the space between General Wallace's left and my former position on the ridge in front of the enemy's entrenchments. Colonel Ross boldly pushed forward to the point occupied by McAllister's battery in the morning, retaking the former position of the Second Brigade and throwing forward his skirmishers, who drove straggling parties of the enemy to the cover of his works. The loss of this brigade in killed, wounded, and missing during the siege was 149.

The forces of the enemy engaged by General Wallace had been driven back by his spirited assault, their desultory fire indicating the direction of their flight and sounding the termination of a battle which had continued the greater portion of ten hours.

The field, with its dead and wounded, was now in our possession,and the entrenched position of the enemy again invested, cutting off his hope of escape. While holding the ground thus regained, your order for the withdrawal of the First and Third Division to a compact position on the enemy's left and encamp for the night was received. Night had set in before compliance by my division with this order had transpired.

Early on the morning of the 16th, in obedience to your order of the evening before I commenced preparations for a renewed attack upon the receipt of which I immediately led my division down to the water battery and the main landing at the fort. In the mean time Captains Stewart and Schwartz, of my staff, had been the first of the Federal arms to enter the town of Dover.

In celebration of our success a national salute was fired by Taylor's battery and the American flag planted within the fort. Encamping my command near the town of Dover, and in front of my first line of the previous day, it welcomed the opportunity for the repose which its exhaustion and suffering so much required.

Seldom has a contest of such obstinacy and protracted duration occurred. The victory, though complete and signal, cost us a dear and mournful price. Bearing the brunt and burden of the battle, my division sustained much the greatest loss. Of 8,000 men brought into action 1,519 were found to have been killed, wounded, and missing, making a percentage of nearly every fifth man, the missing in all amounting to only 74. On the other hand, the loss of the enemy engaging my command, admittedly large, was probably much greater. Our trophies corresponded with the magnitude of the victory; 13,300 prisoners, 20,000 stand of small-arms, 60 pieces of cannon, and corresponding proportions of animals, wagons, ordnance, commissary and quartermaster's stores