War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0335 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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necessity of our position, and I could not reconcile it with my sense of duty to separate my fortune those of my command.

It is due to General Pillow to state that some time after the command had been transferred to me, and while preparations were making for his departure, he returned to the room and said to General Floyd and myself that he wished it understood that he had thought it would have been better to have held to fort another day, in order to await the arrival of steamers to transport the troops across the river. I again recapitulated my reason for thinking it impossible to hold our position; and, whatever may have been General Pillow's opinion, he certainly impressed me with the belief that he again acquiesced in the necessity of a surrender.

It was now near daylight of Sunday morning, the 16th. I ordered the troops back to their position in entrenchments, and addressed a note, a copy of which is inclosed, to the Federal commander, Brigadier General U. S. grant. His reply is also transmitted.* When it was received, but a small portion of the troops had returned to their lines. A portion of my field guns had been spiked when the troops had been withdrawn under General Floyd's order. The gunners had not yet returned to the water batteries. A degree of confusion, amounting almost to a state of disorganization, resulting from the knowledge of our position, pervaded a considerable portion of the troops. A corps of not less than 15,000 of the enemy, with fifteen pieces of artillery, were in position to assault the extreme right of the line, which was effectually turned and the water batteries exposed to assault, without the power of resisting the attack. At the point most strongly threatened I could not have opposed at the time a thousand men. Every road leading from the lines was effectually closed. Even the river, by which the cavalry had left and which was impassable by infantry, was closed by a force of the enemy within fifteen minutes after Forrest had passed, and Overton's cavalry was forced to return to the lines. The troops were broken down by unusual privations. Most of them had labored or fought almost incessantly for a week. From Thursday morning until Saturday night they had been almost constantly under fire. From Thursday evening until Sunday morning they had suffered intensely in a heavy snow-storm and from intense cold, almost without shelter, with insufficient food, and almost without sleep. They had behaved a with a gallantry unsurpassed, until the power of further endurance was exhausted. The supply of ammunition was very small.

The aggregate of the army, never greater than 12,000, was now reduced to less than 9,000 men after the departure of General Floyd's brigade. The investing force of the enemy was about 50,000 strong, and considerably exceeded that force by the following morning. Under these circumstances no alternative was left me but to accept the terms demanded by our ungenerous enemy. A copy of the order of General Grant, fixing the terms of surrender, is herewith inclosed.

I do not seek to avoid any responsibility which in the judgment of the President may attack to my action, which was guided in every instance by a feeling of duty. My chief wish is that the will find it consistent with the public interest to permit me still to unite my fortunes in the content for independence with those of the brave men whose gallantry I have witnessed, whose dangers and hardships I have shared, and in common with whom I have endured the privations of imprisonment among a vindictive and tyrannical foe.

I cannot close this report without calling special attention to the gal-


*This correspondence follows Grant's report, p. 160.