War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0267 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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Numbers 48. Reports of Brigadier General John B. Floyd, C. S. Army.


SIR: Your order of the 12th of this month, transmitted to me from Bowling Green by telegraph to Cumberland City, reached me the same evening. It directed me to repair at once, with what force I could command, to the support of the garrison at Fort Donelson. I immediately prepared for my departure, and effected it in time to reach Fort Donelson the next morning (13th) before daylight. Measures had been already taken by Brigadier-General Pillow, then in command, to render our resistance to the attack of the enemy as effectual as possible. He had, with activity and industry, pushed forward the defensive works towards completion.

These defenses consisted in an earthwork in Fort Donelson, in which were mounted guns of different calibers to the number of thirteen. A field work, intended for the infantry support, was constructed immediately behind the battery and upon the summit of the hill in rear. Sweeping away from this field work eastward, to the extent of nearly 2 miles in its windings, was a line of entrenchments, defended on the outside at some points with abatis. The entrenchments were occupied by the troops already there and by the addition of those which came upon the field with me. The position of the fort, which was established by the Tennessee authorities, was by no means commanding, nor was the least military significance attached to the position. The entrenchments, afterwards hastily made, in many places were injudiciously constructed, because of the distance they were placed from the brow of the hill, subjecting the men to a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters opposite as they advanced to or retired from the entrenchments.

Soon after my arrival the entrenchments were fully occupied from one end to the other, and just as the sun rose the cannonade from one of the enemy's gunboats announced the opening of the conflict, which was destined to continue for three days and nights. In a very short time the fire became general along or whole lines, and the enemy, who had already planted batteries at several points around the whole circuit of our entrenchments, as shown by a diagram herewith sent,* opened a general and active fire from all arms upon our trenches, which continued until darkness put an end to the conflict. They charged with uncommon spirit at several points along on the line, but most particularly at a point undefended by entrenchments, down a hollow, which separated the right wing, under the command of Brigadier-General Buckner, from the right of the center, commanded by Colonel Heiman. This charge was prosecuted with uncommon vigor, but was met with a determined spirit of resistance-a cool, deliberate courage-both by the troops of Brigadier-General Buckner and Colonel Heiman, which drove the enemy, discomfited and cut to pieces, back upon the position he had assumed in the morning. Too high praise cannot be bestowed upon the battery of Captain Porter for their participation in the rout of the enemy in this assault. My position was immediately in front of the point of attack, and I was thus enabled to witness more distinctly the incidents of it.

The enemy continued their fire upon different parts of our entrenchments throughout the night, which deprived our men of any apportu-


*Not found.