War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0279 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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The selection of the site for the work was an unfortunate one. While its command of the river was favorable, the city was commanded by the heights above and below on the river and by a continuous range of hills, all around the works to its rear. A field work of very contracted dimensions had been constructed by he garrison to protect the battery; but the field works were commanded by the hills already referred to, and lay open to a fire of artillery from every direction except from the hills bellow.

To guard against the effects of fire of artillery from these heights a line of defensive works, consisting of rifle pits and abatis for infantry, detached on our right but continuous on our left, with defenses for our light artillery, were laid off by Major Gilmer, engineer, of General A. S. Johnson's staff (but on duty with me at the post), around the rear of the battery and on the heights from which artillery could reach our battery and inner field work, enveloping the inner work and the town of Dover, where our principal supplies of commissary and quartermaster's stores were in depot.

These works, pushed with the utmost possible energy, were not quite completed, nor were my troops all in position, though nearly so, when Brigadier-General Floyd, my senior officer, reached that station. The works were laid off with great judgment and skill by Major Gilmer, and were well executed nd designed for the defense of the rear of the work; the only objection being to the length of the line, which, however, was unavoidable from the surroundings. The length of the line and the inadequacy of the force for its defense was a source of embarrassment throughout the struggle which subsequently ensued in the defense of the position.

I had placed Brigadier-General Buckner in command of the right wing and Brigadier General B. R. Johnson in command of the left. By extraordinary efforts we had barely got these works indefensible condition when the enemy made an advance in force around and against the entire line of outer works.


The assault was commenced by the enemy's artillery against the center of our left wing, which was promptly responded to by Captain Green's battery of field artillery. After several hours of firing between the artillery of the two armies the enemy's infantry advanced tot he conflict all along the line, which was kept up and increased in volume from one end of the line to the other for several hours, when at last the enemy made a vigorous assault against the right of our left wing, the position assaulted being a height commanded by Colonel A. Heiman and defended by his brigade, consisting of the Tenth Tennessee, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel R. W. Mac Gavock, Colonel [W. M.] Voorhies', Colonel [A. A.] Hughes',* and Colonel [J. W.] Head's regiments Tennessee Volunteers, and defenses by Captain [Frank] Maney's field battery.

This assault was vigorously made and the position as vigorously defended, and resulted in the repulse of the enemy here and everywhere around the line. The result of the day's work pretty well tested the strength of our defensive line, and established beyond question the gallantry of the entire command, all of which fought gallantly their portion of the line.

The loss sustained by our forces in this engagement was not large, our men being mostly under shelter in the rifle pits; but we neverthe-


*Hughes' regiment was the Twenty-seventh Alabama.