the hill, I was directed by you to form on the hill-top and engage immediately whatever force might oppose me. The high ground being reached, a few camp fires were the only lingering evidences of the presence of an opposing force. From this point we marched directly to the front, passing from one to another of the many ridges, until the one overlooking Fort Donelson was reached, encountering no portion of the enemy's forces. From thence descending the hill, in obedience to your order to that effect, I took my position in line of battle, immediately on the left of the First Brigade, thus forming the center of your first division, and slept for the night upon our arms in front of the enemy's works and within range of his guns.
With Thursday morning, 13th, you commenced, or rather continued, gradually to close in upon the right with your first (Colonel Oglesby's) brigade, which was supported by the Third Brigade, under my command, until about 10 o'clock, when I was directed to take a position in the valley below and in range of the enemy's guns, where I took a position assigned by your direction, with instructions to await orders, unless attacked by the enemy. Finding my left (of the Seventeenth), which extended up the ridge, exposed to a fire now being provoked by McAllister's battery from the enemy's guns upon the main fort (enemy's right), I caused the left flank to be thrown back behind the ridge, and rested upon our arms, awaiting orders, until about 12.30 o'clock p. m., up to which time we had been greeted with occasional shot and shell from the enemy, but no casualty had occurred. Here I received intelligence that you desired me to make the first assault upon the enemy's works, with an order to move against the enemy's redoubts to my right as soon as Colonel Haynie, of the Forty-eighth Illinois, who, I was informed was ordered to support me, should report to me. I was notified in a very few minutes by Colonel Haynie that he had formed on my left, and that he believed he ranked me. Knowing that this was no time to dispute about a question of rank, I observed to Colonel Haynie that I would conduct the brigade to the point from which the attack was to be made, when he could take command, if he desired to do so. That point being reached, and the line of battle in which order you had directed me to move against the enemy's works being formed, I reported to Colonel Haynie, who, neither declining nor assuming the command, said, "Colonel, let us take it" (meaning the enemy's redoubt) "together." Supposing myself then to be in command of the brigade assigned to me (Forty-ninth and Seventeenth Regiments), skirmishers were quickly thrown forward and the column ordered to advance, the Forty-ninth forming the right, the Seventeenth the center, and the Forty-eighth the left. Having more confidence in the Seventeenth (not in their superior courage, but in their power for efficiency in an assault, acquired by length of service and consequent skill in the use of arms, as well as in evolutions and movements in the field, and having entire confidence in the ability and courage of Major Smith, commanding, and Captain Harding and Adjutant Ryan, in charge of the right and left flanks of that regiment), I took immediate command of my own (Forty-ninth) regiment.
The troops moved forward with much spirit and eagerness, sweeping down the hill some 200 yards through the thick brush in perfect order, at once commencing the ascent of the opposite ridge or mound upon the top of which the redoubt was situated. For some distance from its base a portion of the timber had been removed from the hill-side to be passed over by the troops on the right, and the Forty-ninth were therefore enabled to advance with greater speed than the other forces. Approach