was explained to General Floyd he unhesitatingly approved it. I did not prevail upon him or use any arguments or persuasive measures to induce him to approve of it. He at once saw its necessity, and countermanded the order which he had given upon the field for General Buckner's command to occupy the open field in front of our line and from which we had driven the enemy on the Wynn's Ferry road.
This order of mine did not prevent the command from retiring from the position on the retreat towards Charlotte and Nashville, for the reason that it was not ready nor in condition to assume the march. I solemnly aver before God that I never understood it to be there purpose, object, or determination of the general officers, or of any of them, to march in retreat from the battle-field if we won it. So far from it, and a an evidence that we all so understood it, the command went into the action without the necessary subsistence and covering for a long march over a country scarcely practicable for infantry and deemed impracticable for anything else, covered as it was with a deep snow and sheered over with sleet. The army could not have taken the field for battle, encumbered with the necessary rations, blankets, knapsacks, &c., for the march.
Neither in the council of the night of the 14th nor at any other time was it understood or even suggested that we should march from the field of battle on retiring from Donelson. General Buckner seems to have understood it differently, but he never explained to me this view of his, and I did not know that he so understood it until I rear d his official report. I was in the midst of his troops several times during the after part of the battle and after they returned into the work, and I am satisfied they had not the rations and other necessary preparations for the march.
It will be recollected that the first purpose was to have fought the enemy on February 14; but it was deferred, at my suggestion, as being too late in the day. General Buckner never reported himself ready for the march nor intimated to me after the battle that my order had interfered with his views or intended action. No orders had been issued to the command, either written or verbal, to march from the field; no preparations had been made for that purpose.
The battle of the 15th was fought to cut up the investing force before the fresh forces could get in position to open the way to Charlotte, but it never entered into my head that we were to march from the field of battle without any subsistence, blankets, or knapsacks, leaving all the our wounded upon the field of snow, with the different regiments and brigades broken, mixed, and scattered, leaving behind the artillerists in the river bottoms, the two regiments at that place as a protecting force, the four regiments of Heiman's brigade left in its position in the line of works to protect General Buckner's right flank, and all the pickets along our whole line then drawn back into the works to hold them, while the main army contested the field outside of the works. To none of these forces had orders been given. Neither had any of our field artillery been taken outside of our works before the battle was won. Its participation in the conflict was from the inside of the works. General Buckner's artillery was left in his part of the works, and the piece ordered by him into the field after the battle was fought was taken from my portion of the works.
I feel confident General Floyd will sustained me in this view of the subject. This point (deemed to involve error on my part) is raised by General Buckner's report; was unknown to me until I read his report, and I am persuaded that upon a full view of all the circumstances the Gov-