War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0217 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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During the march my command occupied the extreme left of the column. At dark we camped 3 miles from Fort Donelson. Near midnight I received an order to move 1 1/2 miles nearer to the enemy's lines. The next morning, with balance of the brigade, I was moved up to support Major Cavender's artillery, consisting of three batteries. In the afternoon I was ordered to a point still nearer the lines, where I remained twenty-four hours, assisting during the night in planting two field pieces on a hill in front of my camp. In the evening of Friday, the 14th, I was ordered to the support of the First Division (General McClernand's), and camped for the night near the right of our lines. The Ninth and Forty-first Illinois occupied a hill immediately in front of me. I had at this time 612 effective men besides my officers.

The next morning at 7 o'clock the Ninth Illinois was attacked by a large body of skirmishers. I was ordered to move to the right of the brigade and to the extreme right of our lines. When I reached the ground assigned me and had formed in line of battle the engagement had become general along the line to my left for some distance. Finding that the enemy in large numbers was trying to force in the right of our line, I sent out Company A, Captain Fisher, and Company B, Captain Hale, to my front and right as skirmishers. They became engaged at once. Captain Hale was killed while getting his men in position. Soon after I sent Company C, Captain Chesley, to some vacant buildings in front of the lines, and one-half of Company D, under Lieutenant Koehler, to a fence immediately to his right. The fire of the enemy at my right became heavy and very destructive. At the end of twenty to twenty-six minutes Companies A and B fell back, literally cut to pieces. Company C, whose captain was severely wounded, was suffering from the enemy's fire and ordered to fall back, together with Company D. Ascertaining that the rest of my command, though lying down - brought in that position to escape the enemy's fire - was suffering severely; that the Forty-first Illinois, at my left, had fallen back; that the enemy were coming up in great force; that the ground I occupied was very unfavorable, I ordered a retreat, detailing Company E, Captain Van Sellar, and Company F, Captain Campbell, to cover my retreat. The retreat was effected in good order. Another position was selected some 600 yards to the rear, and was held until I was moved to another part of the field. In the afternoon I was ordered to the extreme left of the line in the Second (General Smith's) Division, and there kept my men in position, all sleeping on their arms till next morning, when the enemy surrendered.

During the whole of the engagement my officers and men acted with admirable coolness and bravery. In the hottest of the battle every man stood his ground until ordered to retreat. Captain Fisher and Lieutenant MacLean, of Company A; Lieutenant Towner, Company B, Captain Chesley and Lieutenant Jones, of Company C, and Lieutenant Koehler, of Company D, deserve great praise for their fearlessness and efficiency. All of the above companies suffered severely, especially the first two, who came out of the engagement with nearly half of their men killed or wounded. The officers of Companies E and F acted with great efficiency when covering our retreat. Captain Campbell and Lieutenant Randolph with half their company did fine execution while exposed to a severe fire. Major Ducat, who had charge of the left wing of the battalion, acted with great efficiency. I am under obligations to my aides, Lieutenant McArthur, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant Wetmore, regimental quartermaster, for valuable services during the engagement. The officers of Companies G, H, I, and K stood up to their work manfully, and deserve much praise.