Numbers 35. Report of Colonel George F. McGinnis, Eleventh Indiana Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH INDIANA REGIMENT,
Fort Heiman, Ky., February 19, 1862.
SIR: I beg leave to make the following report of the operations of the Eleventh Indiana, under my command, in the battle at Fort Donelson, on the afternoon of the 15th instant:
At about 1 o'clock the order was given to prepare for action. Our regiment was immediately formed in line of battle under a heavy fire from the enemy, and advanced in good order to sustain the Eighth Missouri, which, being on the right, was the first engaged. As the enemy occupied a very advantageous position on a hill covered with a thick undergrowth which almost hid them from our view, I directed Captain N. R. Ruckle, of Company E, to deploy his company as skirmishers so far as to cover our whole line, advance as rapidly as the nature of the ground would permit, and find out the position of the enemy; and nobly was this duty performed. After a few well-directed rounds from our men the enemy began to retire, and the Eleventh, gallantly supported by the Eighth Missouri, advanced rapidly, driving the enemy before them, and soon occupied a position in advance of that from which a portion of our forces had been compelled to retire in the morning and within 500 yards of the enemy's entrenchments. We held that position under a heavy f ire from the enemy's guns until ordered to fall back and take position for the night. The night was one of the coldest of the season, but being within 800 yards of the enemy's guns, we were not, of course, permitted to build fires, although greatly needed. All, however, submitted willingly and cheerfully and without a word of complaint, expecting to meet the enemy again in the morning.
On the morning of the 16th we were again formed in line of battle, and advanced to within 400 yards of the enemy's lines, expecting every moment to be attacked, when we heard the glorious news that Fort Donelson had surrendered.
I cannot close this report without sincerely thanking every company officer engaged in the action for the gallant manner in which they performed their duties, and especially First Lieuts. John P. Megrew, of Company B, and John L. Hanna, of Company F, who, being the only commissioned officers with their respective companies, controlled them to my entire satisfaction. Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, Major Elston, and Adjutant Macauley behaved with great gallantry, always at the post of greatest danger, encouraging all and cheering on to the conflict. To them I am much indebted for valuable assistance. Second Lieutenant Henry McMullen, of Company C, while gallantly performing his duty, was disabled during the early part of the engagement, and was compelled to retire from the field.
Surgeon Thompson and Assistant Surgeon Brown are deserving of especial mention for their unremitting attentions to the wounded and dying, not only of our own command, but of all others who came under their observation. They labored incessantly for twenty-four hours, attending to all that were brought to their notice, thereby setting an example that it would have been well for other surgeons that could be mentioned to have imitated.
GEORGE F. MCGINNIS,
Colonel Eleventh Indiana.
Colonel MORGAN L. SMITH,
Commanding Fifth Brigade, General C. F. Smith's Division.