War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0207 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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which merited and received my highest admiration, prepared themselves for any emergency of the occasion. Our arms were all put in good order, and each man remained with his arms ready and expecting an attack during the night or early next day. Our skirmishers were continually deployed during the night, and occasionally exchanged shots with the skirmishers of the enemy.

In the morning, just after day and before early breakfast, firing began up to the right and soon after extended itself towards our position. I ordered the regiment to be formed and in line of battle. The men and officers responded promptly and formed at once. It was but a short time after we were formed and ready before we were fired upon by the enemy, who came up in force on the opposite side of the hill. Our skirmishers were compelled to retreat and formed upon the left. While in retreat Lieutenant Stephenson, of Company B, who had command of the skirmishers, was wounded seriously, but not fatally. Immediately the firing began and became general along the whole line of the Forty-eighth until the enemy in our front were driven back in confusion and compelled to retire behind their works. During all the action a battery of two guns to our left and two from our front were playing rapidly upon the point we occupied, and, although seemingly well worked, we escaped with but few wounded from their shot or shell. Our ammunition in the mean time was nearly exhausted; still we remained here after the enemy were repulsed at our front until, I think, near 1 p. m., when orders were received to retire by the left flank. This was done by my regiment in the best possible order and without any appearance of fear or panic.

During the action on this day we lost 7 killed, 31 wounded, and 3 missing. Among those killed I deeply regret to report the death of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Smith, who received a mortal wound early in the action and died within an hour. He fell gallantly urging the right wing forward to the position from which we repulsed the enemy. His loss was deeply felt by me during the day and will be profoundly lamented by all who knew him. He was a brave and gallant officer, a firm friend, a generous enemy, and an upright and honorable man.

In obedience to the order to retire by the left flank we proceeded to a point about one mile towards the west and halted. The enemy, thinking that we were in retreat and not supported, made another attack at this point, but were repulsed. My regiment, with the balance of the brigade, retired to the position assigned us - to the south of the enemy's works about 1 mile - and there remained for the night.

On the following morning, about 10 o'clock, the fort having surrendered, the Forty-eighth, with the other regiments of the Second Brigade, marched into the enemy's fortifications.

I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of my officers and men (with one exception, and his resignation I herewith inclose for your approval) during the entire time of the several actions we were in. I have not failed to have them at any time entirely subject to my control. The utmost coolness, presence of mind, and daring was manifested by them all.

Major W. W. Sanford especially, by his coolness and ability during the action, rendered me very great aid, as did all the officers of the line who were not wounded, and I commend them all to your favorable notice and consideration.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, yours, & c.,


Colonel, Commanding Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteers.

Colonel W. H. L. WALLACE,

Commanding Second Brigade, First Division, Illinois Volunteers.