"2nd. The failure of an attempt to save the army by evacuating the post when found to be untenable.
"3rd. Why they abandoned the command to their inferior officer, instead of executing themselves whatever measures was deemed proper for the entire army.
"4th. What was the precise mode by which each effected his escape from the post and what dangers were encountered in the retreat?
"5th. Upon what principle a selection was made of particular troops, being certain regiments of the senior general's brigade, to whose use all the transportation on hand was appropriated.
"6th. A particular designation of the regiments saved and the regiments abandoned which formed part of the senior general's brigade."
In obedience to this order I am directed by General Johnston to request your compliance with the wishes of the President in these particulars with as little delay as possible, and forward the report to these headquarters.
Under the same direction General Johnston has required a report from Colonel Forrest, detailing particularly the time and manner of his escape from Fort Donelson, the road he took, the number of enemies he met or saw in making his escape, and the difficulties which existed to prevent the remainder of the army from following the route taken by him in his escape with his command.
I give at once the additional information which seems to be asked for in the communication of the Secretary of War to which you refer.
The first charge is as follows:
The failure to give timely notice of the insufficiency of the garrison of Fort Donelson to repel attacks.
I presume the general knew, before I was ordered to Fort Donelson, that neither the works nor the troops sent there could withstand the force which he knew the enemy had in hand and which could be brought speedily to that point. I knew perfectly well that if the whole force under General Johnston's command at Bowling Green had been the advance of the enemy up the Cumberland River. General Johnston's entire force, including the troops at Donelson, as I understood it, did not exceed 30,000 men. I knew what I believe everybody else did, for it was made public through the newspapers, that the enemy had in Kentucky alone one hundred and nineteenth regiments, and that he had nearly if not quite s many at Cairo, Saint Louis, and the towns near the mouth of the Cumberland. It was also known that the enemy had unlimited means of transportation for concentrating troops. How, then, was it possible for General Johnston's whole army to meet that whole army to meet that force, which was known to be moving towards the mounts of the Tennessee and cumberland Rivers? The sequel proved that this information was correct, for not only were the troops occupying Kentucky sent up the Cumberland, but large additions were made to them from Missouri and Illinois, as stated by prisoners and by the official reports of their own commanders. I could not, under a sense of duty, call for re-enforcements, because the force under General Johnston was not strong enough to afford a sufficient number ot hold the place. I consider the place illy chosen, out of position, and entirely indefensible by any re-enforcements which could be brought there to its support. It had but thirteen guns, and it turned out that but three of these were effective against iron-clad steamers. I thought the force already there sufficient for sacrifice, as well as enough to hold the place until Bowling Green could be evacuated, with its supplies and munitions of war. This I supposed to be the main object of the movements to Donelson, and the only good that could be effected by desperately holding that post with the entirely inadequate means in hand for defense of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.
With a less force than 50,000 men the position at Fort Donelson was, in my judgment, quite untenable, and even with that force it could have been for only a short time, unless a force of 20,000 men was sup-