War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0333 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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open, that the first part of our purpose was fully accomplished, and I thought we should at once avail ourselves of the existing opportunity to regain our communications. These seemed to be his own views; for he directed me to halt my troops and remain in position until he should have conversed with General Pillow, who was now within the entrenchments.

After that consultation he sent me an order to retire within the lines and to repair as rapidly as possible to my former position on the extreme right, which was in danger of attack. The enemy made no attempt at pursuit. I secured the section of artillery which has been captured, and covered my retrograde movement by Hanson's and Farquharson's regiments. My troops were already much exhausted, but returned as rapidly as possible, a distance of 2 miles, to their positions. But a small portion of my division had reached their position when a division of the enemy, under command of General C. F. Smith, assaulted the extreme right of my position, falling upon Hanson's regiment before it had reached its rifled pits. This gallant regiment was necessarily thrown back in confusion upon the position of the Eighteenth Tennessee. At this period I reached that position, and, abided by a number of officers, I succeeded in hastily forming a line behind the crest of the hill which overlooked the detached works which has been seized by the enemy before Hanson had been able to thrown his regiment into them. The enemy advanced gallantly upon this new position, but was repulsed with heavy loss. I re-enforced this position by other regiments as they successively arrived and by a section of Graves' battery, while a section of Porter's battery was placed in its former position. During a contest of more than two hours the enemy threatened my left with a heavy column and made repeated attempts t storm my line on the right, but the well-directed fire of Porter's and Graves' battery and the musketry fire of the infantry repelled the attempts, and finally drove him to seek shelter behind the works he had taken and amid the irregularities of the ground. There was probably no period of the cation when his force was not from three to five times the strength of mine. Towards the close of the action I was re-enforced by the regiments of Colonels Quarles, Sugg, and Bailey. Generals Floyd and Pillow also visited the position about the close of the action.

In a council of general and field officers, held after night, it was unanimously resolved that if the enemy had not reoccupied in strength the position in front of General Pillow the army should effect its retreat, and orders to assemble the regiments for that purpose were given by General Floyd; but as the enemy had late in afternoon appeared in considerable force on the battle-field of the morning, a reconnaissance was ordered, I think by General Pillow, under the instructions of General Floyd. The report of this reconnaissance, made by Colonel Forrest, has been fully stated by Generals Floyd and Pillow, and, from what I have been able to learn since, I am satisfied the information reported was correct.

Among other incidents showing that the enemy had not only reoccupied their former ground, but extended their lines still farther to our left, is the fact that Overton's cavalry, following after Forrest's, was, cut off from retreat by an infantry force of the enemy at the point where Forrest had crossed the stream on the river road. When the information of our reinvestment was reported, General Floyd, General Pillow, and myself were the only members of the council present. Both of these officers have stated the views of the council, but my recollection of some of the incidents narrated differ so materially from that of General Pil-