War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0281 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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little effect. They struck and rebounded, apparently doing but little damage; but I am satisfied, by close observation, that the timbers of the frame-work did not and could not withstand the shock of the 10-inch columbiad or 32-pounder rifled gun.

These gunboats never renewed the attack. I learned from citizens living on the river below that one of the injured boats sand and that the others had to be towed to Cairo. This information may or may not be true, but it is certain that all of the boats were repulsed and driven back after a most vigorous and determined attack, and that two of the boats were badly damaged and a third more or less injured.

It is difficult to overestimate the gallant bearing and heroic conduct of the officers and men of our batteries who so well and so persistently fought our guns until the enemy's determined advance brought his boats duty so well it is almost impossible to discriminate. The captains already named and their lieutenants (whose names, for want of official reports, I cannot give) all deserve the highest commendation. Lieutenant George S. Martin, whose company is at Columbus, Ky., but who was ordered to that post by Major-General Polk, commanded one of the guns, particularly attracted my attention by his energy and the judgment with which he fought his gun. The wadding of his gun having given out, he pulled off his coat and rammed it down his gun as waning, and thus kept up the fire until the enemy were finally repulsed.

On the evening of this day we received information of the arrival of additional re-enforcements of infantry, cavalry, and light artillery by steamboat, all of which were disembarked a short distance below our position.


On the 14th instant the enemy were busy throwing his forces of every arm around us, extending his line of investment entirely around our position and completely enveloping us.

On the evening of this day we ascertained that the enemy had received by steamboat additional re-enforcements. We were now surrounded by an immense force, said by prisoners whom we had taken to amount to fifty-two regiments, and every road and possible avenue of departure cut off, with the certainly that our sources of supply by river could soon be cut off by the enemy's batteries placed upon the river above us.

At a meeting of general officers, called by General Floyd, it was determined unanimously to give the enemy battle next day at daylight, so as to cut open a route of exit for our troops to the interior of the country, and thus save our army. We had knowledge that the principal portion of the enemy's forces were massed in encampment in front of the extreme left of our position, commanding the two roads leading to the interior, one of which we must take in retiring from our position.

We knew he had massed in encampment another large force on the Wynn's Ferry road, opposite the center of our left wing, while still another was massed nearly in front of the left of our right wing, his fresh arrival of troops being encamped on the bank of the river two miles and a half below us, form which latter encampment a stream of fresh troops were constantly pouring around us on his line of investment, and strengthening his general encampment on the extreme right. At each of his encampments and on reach road he had in position a battery of field artillery and 24-pounder iron guns on siege carriages. Between these encampments on the roads was a thick undergrowth of brush and