War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0367 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

see, Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock; Forty-second Tennessee, Colonel Quarles; Forty-eight Tennessee, Colonel Voorhies; Fifty-third Tennessee, Colonel Abernathy; Twenty-seventh Alabama, Colonel Hughes, and Captain Maney's light battery, amounting in all to an aggregate of about 1,600 men.

This brigade formed the right of General Pillow's division, and was in line on the left of the division of General Buckner, who commanded the right wing.

The ground I occupied in line of defense was a hill somewhat in the shape of a V, with the apex at the angle, which was the advance point as well as the center of my command, and nearly the center of the whole line of defense. From this point the ground descended abruptly on each side to a valley. The valley on my right was about 500 yards in width, and divided my command from General Buckner's left wing. The one on my left was about halt that width, and ran between my left wing and the brigade commanded by Colonel Drake. These tow valleys united about half a mile in the rear. The ground in front of my line (2,600 feet in length) was sloping down to a ravine and was heavily timbered.

We commenced digging rifle pits and felling abatis on the 11th, and continued this work during the following night, under the directions of Major Gilmer and Lieutenant Morris, engineers, the latter belonging to General Tilghman's staff. The pits were occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock's regiment on the right, Colonel Voorhies' regiment on the left, Colonels Abernathy's and Hughes' regiments and Maney's battery in the center. Colonel Quarles' regiment I held in reserve, but several of his companies also had to occupy the pits, the other regiments not being sufficient to cover the whole line. Colonel Head, of the Thirtieth Tennessee Regiment, occupied the valley between my command and Colonel Drake's brigade. I was afterward informed that this regiment was also placed under my command, but, the colonel not having reported to me, I did not know it.

In the mean time the enemy commenced forming his line by investment and his pickets were seen in every direction. Early on the morning of the 12th he had two batteries placed in range of my position, one on my left and front, and the other on the other side of the valley, on my right. Both were in the edge of the woods and under cover, while Captain Maney's battery, on the summit of the hill, was entirely exposed not only to the enemy's artillery, but also to their sharpshooters. No time could yet have been spared to protect his guns by a parapet; besides, we were ill-provided with tools for that purpose. However, our battery had some advantage over the battery on my left in altitude, and had also a full range of a large and nearly level field to the left, which the enemy had to cross to attack Colonel Drake's position or my own from that direction. In that respect and some other points the position of my battery was superb.

The enemy's battery on my right had only range of part of my right wing, but was in a better position to operate on General Buckner's left wing. Both batteries opened fire at 7 o'clock in the morning and kept it up until 5 o'clock in the evening, firing at any position on our line within their range. Their fire was returned by Maney's battery, Graves' battery of Colonel Brown's command, and a battery at Colonel Drake's position. The enemy's guns were nearly all rifled, which gave them a great advantage in range and otherwise. However, with the exception of the loss of two artillery horses, my command met with no other serious casualties on that day.