War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0201 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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command occurred during the day. Towards evening I was ordered to move to the right and took position on a ridge facing the outworks of the rebels' left, the Eleventh Illinois being on my right and the Forty-eighth Illinois on my left. Shortly after taking position it commenced raining, turning in a short time into snow, and bitterly cold. My regiment was under arms nearly the whole night, the frequent skirmishes between our pickets and those of the enemy leading me to fear an attack at any moment. At daylight on the morning of the 14th I ordered fires started and coffee made for my command, our close proximity to the enemy forbidding the use of fires during the night. Most of this day was spent in watching the movements of the enemy and employing my sharpshooters in picking off the rebels as they exposed themselves above the breastworks. This night was passed very similarly to the preceding one, my men bearing the exposure to the cold and the fatigue with exemplary patience.

At daybreak on the morning of the 15th instant repeated volleys of musketry on the right caused me to form in line of battle. I soon ascertained that the firing was caused by the enemy's attacking the First Brigade, Colonel Oglesby, posted on the extreme right of our line. I immediately strengthened my skirmishers, whom I had kept out all night, giving instructions to report from time to time the movements of the enemy, and, if attacked, to endeavor to drive back their advance, and not retreat until forced to do so by superior force. Matters continued thus for some two hours, the firing on the right being without intermission. At this time the officers in command of the skirmishers informed me that the enemy were advancing in my front. In a few moments my advance were driven back, and almost immediately the rebels appeared, coming over the brow of the hill. Not waiting to receive their attack, I ordered my command to advance, which they did in admirable order, driving the rebels steadily before them till they broke and ran. Advancing in pursuit, I was suddenly met by a fresh force of the enemy, who at once opened fir upon me. Still moving forward, I succeeded in forcing them to retreat, and, following them up till running short of ammunition, I drew back in good order to my first position, and sent back for a fresh supply of ammunition. I remained here without further molestation from the enemy till ordered to march to the left. Shortly after taking my original position the Eleventh Illinois, on my right, became engaged, and at the time of my being ordered off the field were still fighting bravely. Had I received a fresh supply of ammunition I would gladly have gone to their assistance.

I may be pardoned for speaking with pride of the behavior of my entire command, officers and men. During the action the fine order and the coolness and courage with which they advanced in the face of a terrible and continued fire meets my hearty commendation. My every order was promptly and correctly executed and to my complete satisfaction.

Could my record end here I would be indeed happy, but the painful duty yet remains to report the loss of many of my brave men. My lieutenant-colonel, William Erwin, was killed quite early in the action, being struck in the breast by a round shot from one of the enemy's guns. A cool, brave officer, a noble man, he gloriously fell in the execution of his duty, adding in his death new laurels he long since won on the bloody field of Buena Vista. His commander sadly regrets the occasion which calls forth this feeble tribute to his memory. Color-Sergeant Newton and his entire color-guard, except one corporal, were either