War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0262 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN, N.ALA., AND S.W.VA. Chapter XVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Immediately on his arrival the general took active measures to inform himself as to the character of the defenses and had the additional works pressed forward with the greatest activity. Having received re-enforcements and others being expected daily the lines of infantry cover were extended so as to embrace the town of Dover, where many of our munitions were stored. The lines for these works being decided upon, they were at once pressed to completion and the batteries for the defense of the river strengthened.

By the night of the 12th these were in readiness and the heavy guns recently received at the fort were mounted. To provide an ample force of artillerists to work the heavy guns through a long-continued attack General Pillow detailed Captain R. R. Ross and his company of well-drilled men from his battery to aid in the river defense. The selection of this officer and his command proved most fortunate, as in the obstinate attack that was made by the gunboats they performed noble and effective service.

Brigadier-General Buckner arrived at Fort Donelson on afternoon of the 12th.

In the mean time the enemy had landed in large force on the bank of the river below and other troops were brought over from Fort Henry. The smoke of his gunboats was seen in the distance, warning us that a combined attack was to be expected. Skirmishes were frequent between our pickets and the enemy's forces advancing to meet us.

On the 13th the besiegers opened with artillery upon our land defenses, and their sharpshooters annoyed our men constantly whenever exposed above the infantry covers, as at the filed batteries. One of the gunboats commenced firing upon the river batteries early in the day, throwing shot and shellac long range. The same morning General Floyd arrived with re-enforcements, including three batteries of field artillery, which were placed in position as promptly as possible. The enemy's fire was kept up throughout he day and responded to with spirit by our artillery and infantry. IN the afternoon an attempt was made to storm the entrenchments on the heights near our center but failed, the assailants being handsomely repulsed. One of the guns in the river batteries was struck by a heavy shoot from the gunboat, disabling the carriage and killing Lieutenant Joseph Dixon, hte local engineer officer. Our total loss during the day was considerable, but I am unable to report numbers.

The contest of the day closed. The enemy had gained no footing on our works nor produced any important impression upon them. But our forces were much fatigued, having been under arms all day, and this after three or four days' hard labor upon the entrenchments. To add to their sufferings it turned suddenly cold in the afternoon and at dark commenced snowing, and so continued the greater part of the night. Inclement as was the weather, it was necessary (to guard against surprise) that the troops should be all night in position along the lines of infantry cover. The next day, the 14th, the besiegers brought up large re-enforcemeNts, just landed from numerous transports, and extended their lines in great strength towards their right, enveloping or extreme left. They took positions that placed in in their power to plant batteries on the river bank above and cut off our communications. Such appeared ot be their design. In consequence of these movements the firing of the enemy was less frequent than on the provisos day.

Early on this afternoon the gunboats were observed to be advancing to attack the river batteries, and at 3 o'clock a vigorous fire was opened from five boats approaching en echelon. Our gunners reserved their fire