War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0299 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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Morgan County, ss:

Personally appeared before me, Levi Sugars, intendant of the town of Decatur, and ex officio justice of the peace, Major W. H. Hayness, who makes oath that the statements herein made, relating to what was said in the council of officers on the morning of February 16, 1862.



[Inclosure Numbers 6.]

Hunter Nicholson's statement.

I was present at the council of war, held at Brigadier-General Pillow's headquarters, in Dover, on Saturday night, February 15, 1862. I came into the room about 2 o'clock. There were present Generals Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner, Major Gilmer, Colonel Forrest, and several staff officers, among whom I distinctly remember Major Henry and Colonel Burch, of General Pillow's staff.

The generals were discussing the necessity and practicability of marching the forces out of the entrenchments and evacuating the place. Major Rice, a resident of Dover, and aide-de-camp of General Pillow, was describing the nature of the country and character of the roads over which the army would have to pass. He referred to some citizen-I think a doctor, but do not remember his name-whom he represented a sore familiar with the roads. In a little while, or perhaps during the conversation of major Rice, the gentleman referred to was announced. He gave a description of the rods which, from my ignorance of the locality, I am unable to repeat. The substance was, however, that, thought exceedingly difficult, it was possible to pas the roads with light baggage trains. General Pillow asked most of the questions propounded ot this gentleman, as also those to Major Rice.

At this point I was called into an adjoining room, where I remained but a few minutes. When I returned Major Jones, brigade-quartermaster, was just entering the room. General Pillow at once approached him, and taking him a little one side, explained to him that it had been determined to evacuate the place, and that he must prepare to burn the quartermaster's stores in his hands. Major Jones inquired at what time. General Pillow replied, "About daybreak; about 5.30 o'clock."Major Jones left very soon, and I did not see him in the room afterwards, that I recollect. In a few minutes Major Haynes, brigade commissary, entered the room, and received similar instructions as to the commissary stores under his charge.

About this time a scout was ushered in, who answered that the enemy had reoccupied the lines from which they had been driven during the fight on Saturday. General Pillow doubted if the scout was not mistaken; so another was sent out. About half an hour had elapsed when Major Haynes returned and remained near me in the room during the remainder of the discussion. Just as he entered General Buckner remarked, "I am confident that the enemy will attack my lines by eight, and I cannot hold them for half an hour." General Pillow replied quickly, "Why so; why so, general?" General Buckner replied, "Because I can bring into action not over 4,000 men, and they demoralized by long and uninterrupted exposure and fighting, while they can bring