War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0289 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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stood it. In prof of this, General Floyd, under his agreement with General Buckner, actually withdrew with a large portion of his brigade by setting them across the river in the steamer General Anderson, that arrived just before daylight. In further proof of this I embody in this report an order of General Buckner's to General B. R. Johnson after he had assumed command.

The following is a copy of the order:

HEADQUARTERS, Dover, Tenn., February 16, 1862.

SIR: The command of the forces in this vicinity has devolved upon me be order of General Floyd. I have sent a flag to General Grant, and during the correspondence and until further orders refrain from hostile demonstrations with a view to preventing a like movement on the enemy's part. You will endeavor to send a flag to the posts in front of your position, notifying them of the fact that I have sent a communication to General Grant from the right of our position, and desire to know his present headquarters.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. B. BUCKNER,

Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

In addition to this, General Floyd was my senior, and of fight character and acknowledge ability. General Buckner, though my junior in rank, possessed high reputation as an officer of talent and experience. With the judgment of both against my position, if I had acted upon my own convictions and had failed or involved the command in heavy loss, I was apprehensive it would be regarded as an act of rashness, and brought upon me the censure of the Government and the condemnation of the country. Besides, without their assistance in command and with the moral weight of their opinions with the troops against the step, I did not regard it practicable to make a successful effort to cut out. I declined to assume command when turned over by General Floyd, because it was against my convictions of duty to surrender the command, and under the decision of Generals Floyd and Buckner (a majority of the council) I could do nothing but surrender it. It is proper to say that the difference of opinion between Generals Floyd, Buckner, and myself upon this branch of the subject consisted in this, viz: They thought that it would cost three-fourths of the command to cut out. I did not think the loss would be so great. If it had been settled that the sacrifice would be as much as three-fourths, I should have agreed with them that it was wrong to make the attempt.

Again, I believe we could have maintained our position another day, and have saved the army by getting back our boats and setting the command across the river; but, inasmuch as General Buckner was of opinion that he could not hold his position half an hour and I could not possibly do more than hold my own portion of the line, I had no alternative but but to submit to the decision of a majority of my brother general officers.

While I thus different with them in opinion, I still think I did right in acquiescing in opinion with them. We all agreed in opinion that we could not long maintain the position against such overwhelming numbers of fresh troops as were daily arriving. We all agreed that the army had performed prodigies of valor, and that, if possible, further army had performed prodigies of valor, and that, if possible, further sacrifice should be avoided. Men will differ or agree according to their mental organizations. I censure into their opinions nor do I claim merit for my own. The whole mater is submitted to the judgment of the Government.

Since my original report was prepared I have seen and reach the official reports of General Grant and Commodore Foote. From these reports I learn that the damage done the enemy's fleet of gunboats on the 13th [14th] was greater by far than was represented in my original report.

19 R R-VOL VII