War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0307 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OR FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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to the facts, I took the sworn testimony of five officers, who were present at the council of general officers on the night of February 15, these fully verifying the statement of the facts contained in my supplemental report and my answers to the Secretary's interrogatories. More than a month since I prepared and forwarded to you by Major Nicholson, of my staff, a dispatch to the Government, briefly reviewing the case as it was made out, and respectfully calling the attention of the President to the case and asking his decision. To this communication I have received no reply.

I have now been suspended from my command nearly four months. I am accused of no crime. No charges have been preferred against me. I have never been informed that ny answers to the interrogatories of the Secretary of War were not satisfactory, nor in what my conduct was censurable. I know of no statement is sustained by the sworn testimony of Colonels Forrest, and Burch, Majors Henry, Haynes, and Nicholson. They all testify that I opposed from first to last and earnestly the surrender of the command at Donelson; that I urged the duty of cutting our way through the enemy's lines, but that Generals Floyd and Buckner were of opinion that the command could not be saved; that its surrender was a necessity of its condition, and that General Floyd turned the command over to General Buckner to make terms of capitulation with the enemy.

If the facts be that way, I do not understand how the decision of a council of war (the senior general being present and approving and afterwards taking measures, according to his convictions, to carry into effect that decision) can be regarded otherwise than a military order of that commander; nor do I understand how I could have attempted to defeat the execution of that purpose (viz, to surrender the command) without a violation of all discipline and subjecting myself to arrest for insubordination. Certainly I saw no alternative, but acquiesced in what I could not avert. I cannot suppose it will be maintained that before any capitulation took place or war agreed upon I could honorably retire from a garrison whose surrender was determined upon and in violation of my expressed convictions. To have voluntarily surrendered myself into the power of the enemy under such circumstances would have looked to me like treachery to the Government whose commission I bore. It should be borne in mind that I was not in chief command. How could the responsibility of the surrender rest on me when I was opposed to it? My command was at Columbus, Ky., and I was only ordered by General A. S. Johnston to that post for special duty, and, when that was ended by General Floyd's determination to surrender the command, I felt it a duty I owed to my Government no less than to myself not voluntarily to place myself in the power of the enemy. That the command was not turned over to me is proven by the telegram of General Floyd to General A. S. Johnston on the morning of February 16. General Buckner's order to General B. R. Johnston, of the same date, after he had assumed command, proves the same thing. If, however, it had been turned over to me under the circumstances as they are proven, it is difficult to see how I could have done otherwise than to have carried out General Floyd's determination to surrender the garrison, for the decision of the council and General Floyd's approval and his turning over the command for the purpose of surrender would have been, in all military usage, equivalent to an order to capitulate. It is, however, proven that the command was not-in fact, was never intended to have been-devolved upon me. If the surrender was an unavoidable necessity (as Generals