War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0247 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Twenty-fifth Kentucky, formed in line at the foot of the hill occupied by your brigade in its new position. In the change of position a few men with Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn became detached from the regiment and were unable to rejoin it during the day.

From this position a most effective fire was poured into the enemy's ranks, which was interrupted by Colonel Logan, who stated that we were firing into his brigade from our right. To ascertain the correctness of the statement your ordered me to deploy the first company, Captain Smith, as skirmishers. He soon reported that it was the enemy in force which we had been firing upon, and that their line extended a considerable distance beyond our right.

In accordance with your order I then moved the line farther to the right, the movement being executed with the greatest coolness and order. From this position the enemy's fire was replied to with such precision that they soon gave way. You then ordered two companies to be deployed forward as skirmishers. I ordered Companies I and C to deploy in front of our line, which was promptly executed, and the woods and bushes were soon cleared of the enemy. At this time, the report reaching us that the enemy were forming in a hollow leading to the hospital in our rear, your ordered me to move with the brigade to the hill immediately in rear of the hospital. No further attack being made, the regiment was kept in this position till about 4 o'clock p. m. At this time I was ordered to march the regiment into the ravine below the fort, on the extreme right of our lines, and support the Eleventh Indiana and Eighth Missouri Regiments, which were ordered with us to assault the hills and drive the enemy within their works. I formed the regiment on the left of the Seventeenth Kentucky, and charged over the hills until we reached a ravine immediately below the enemy's batteries, where we were exposed to a terrible fire of grape, shrapnel, and shells. To avoid this, I moved the regiment by the right flank farther up the ravine, when, the enemy having retreated within their works, we were ordered back to the position from which we charged.

I cannot speak too highly, colonel, of the coolness and bravery of the men and the gallant behavior of the officers who were with the regiment during the day. Where all were so prompt in performing their duty as brave soldiers it would be unjust to particularize. Although brought into action for the first time, under a terrible fire from an enemy concealed in a dense undergrowth of leafy oak bushes, they never for a moment lost coolness and presence of mind. They used their arms with the greatest deliberation, retaining their fire until they could procure a deliberate aim. In the afternoon engagement they exhibited, if possible, even more daring, not flinching in the least from the storm of iron which raked the bushes and plowed the ground around them.

In conclusion, colonel, permit me to congratulate you upon your escape from the terrible fire to which you exposed yourself continually during both actions without receiving any dangerous wounds, and also to thank you for giving your brigade and our regiment an opportunity to assist so materially in the consummation of the great victory.

I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,

FRED. ARN,

Major Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers.

Colonel CHARLES CRUFT,

Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.