Numbers 53. Report of Colonel William E. Baldwin, Fourteenth Mississippi Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
FORT WARREN, BOSTON HARBOR, March 12, 1862.
SIR: Left by General Buckner at Cumberland City on February 11, on the night of the 12th ultimo I received orders by telegraph from Brigadier-General Pillow, commanding at Fort Donelson, to hasten to that place with two regiments of my command. The Twenty-sixth Tennessee, Colonel Lillard, and the Twenty-sixth Mississippi, Colonel Reynolds, were immediately embarked, and arrived at Dover about 1 a. m. Thursday, the 13th. These regiments were at first posted immediately on the left of the center of our lines of rifle trenches, as a support to one of our batteries. This disposition was changed after daylight the same morning; the Twenty-sixth Mississippi being placed in the trenches on the extreme left and the Twenty-sixth Tennessee placed in reserve as a support to the former.
About 9 a. m. the enemy commenced a brisk artillery fire apparently on our whole line. This fire, kept up with but little intermission throughout the entire day, produced but little effect upon the left until late in the evening, when, the enemy having reduced his charges, several of the shells, which has previously passed to high, fell in our midst, mortally wounding one man and slightly wounding two others in Colonel Lillard's regiment.
On the 14th the fire was not renewed. About noon General Pillow directed the left wing to be formed in the open ground to the left and rear of our position in the lines, for the purpose apparently of attacking the enemy's right. My command, to which the Twentieth Mississippi,. Major Brown, was temporarily attached, constituted the advance, inthe following order: 1st, the Twenty-sixth Mississippi; 2nd, the Twenty-sixth Tennessee; 3rd, the Twentieth Mississippi.
Formed in column by platoon, we advanced in a road leading from a point about 200 yards from the left of our trenches, and approaching nearly perpendicularly the enemy's right. We had proceeded not more than one-fourth of a mile, when General Pillow ordered a counter march, saying that it was to loathe in the day to accomplish anything; and we returned to our former position in the lines.
Late that night commanders of brigades wee summoned to a council at General Pillow's headquarters, where, after being duly advised of our perilous situation, enveloped by a largely superior force, which was being constantly increased, and our communications already at the mercy of the enemy, it was unanimously determined to endeavor to extricate the army by a bold and vigorous attack on the right of the Federal lines early on the morrow.
The regiments composing our left wing were to form at 4 a. m. on the same ground and in the same order as on the previous evening, and to advance, under command of General Pillow, to attack the extreme right of the enemy, supposed to be posted in force at a distance of 1 1/2 or 2 miles.
This movement was to be supported by our right wing, under General Buckner, who was to move from the lines at a later period, follow up the first blow, and, should the combined movement not prove successful in creating a panic in the enemy's ranks, a way might at least be opened, by turning his right, for the grass of our whole force. In anticipation of thus attempting our escape, the men were directed to take