Accordingly on the morning of the 12th he left me temporarily in command and proceeded himself in a steamer to Chamberland City. Before leaving he informed me that he had directed a reconnaissance to be made by Colonel Forrest's cavalry, with instructions in no event to bring on an engagement should the enemy approach in force.
General Pillow left me under the impression that he did not expect an immediate advance of the enemy, and regarded their approach from the direction of Fort Henry as impracticable. During the morning Forrest reported the enemy advancing in force, with the view of enveloping our line of defense, and for a time he was engaged with his usual gallantry in heavy skirmishing with them, at one time driving one of their battalions back upon their artillery.
About noon General Pillow returned and resumed command, it having been determined to re-enforce the garrison with the remaining troops from Chamberland City and Clarksville.
The defenses were in a very imperfect condition. The space to be defended by the army was quadrangular in shape, being limited on the north by the Chamberland River, on the east and west by small steams now converted into deep sloughs by the highs water, and on the south by our lien of defense. The river line exceeded a mile in length. The line of entrenchments consisted of a few logs rolled together and but slightly covered with earth, forming an insufficient protection even against field artillery.
Not more than one-third of the line was completed on the morning of the 12th. It had been located under the direction of that able engineer officer Major Gilmer near the crests of a series of ridges, which sloped backwards to the river, and were again commanded in several places by other ridges at a still greater distance from the river. This chain of heights was interfered with communications between different parts of the line. Between the village of Dover and the water batteries a broad and deep valley, extending directly back from their river and flooded by the high water, intersected the quadrangular area occupied by the army and almost completely silted the right wing. That part of the line which covered the land approach to the water batteries, and constituted our right wing, was assigned to me, with a portion of my division, consisting of the Third or Colonel John C. Brown's brigade, which was composed of the Third Tennessee Volunteers (which was Colonel Brown's regiment); Eighteenth Tennessee Regiment, Colonel Jos. B. Palmer; Thirty-second Tennessee Regiment, Colonel [E. C.] Cook; half of colonel Baldwin's Second Brigade (temporarily attached to Colonel Brown's); Second Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel R. W. Hanson; Fourteenth Mississippi Volunteers, Major [W. L.] Doss; Forty-first Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel [Robert] Farquharson; Porter's battery of six field pieces, and Graves' battery of six field pieces.
The remaining regiments of Baldwin's brigade, the Twenty-sixth Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel [John M.] Lillard, and the Twenty-sixth Mississippi Volunteers, Colonel [A. E.] Reynolds, together with the brigade commander, were detached from my command by Brigadier-General Pillow, and assigned a position on the left of the line of entrenchments.
The work on my lines was prosecuted with energy and was urged forward as rapidly as the limited number of tools would permit, so that by the morning of the 13th my position was in a respectable state of defense.