War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0369 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

which I was actively assisted by Major Grace, of the Tenth Tennessee. This hard and most unpleasant labor was chiefly performed by Colonel Quarles' regiment. It was a horrible night, and the troops suffered dreadfully, being without blankets.

Next day (14th), finding the enemy again in line across the valley, and believing that he would attempt to force my line on my right, I directed Captain Maney to move a section of his battery down the hill, in range of the valley. The advance of the enemy towards this direction would then have been checked by Graves' and Maney's batteries, and the fires of MacGavock's and Cook's regiments from the right and left; but no demonstration was made in that direction, although I considered it the weeks point in our line.

During the whole day my command was exposed to a cross-fire of the enemy's batteries and were much annoyed by their sharpshooters.

At 11 o'clock at night I was summoned to attend a consultation of general officers at General Floyd's headquarters. The general opinion prevailed that the place could not be held against at least treble the number of our forces, besides their gunboats, and that they could cut off our communication at any time and force a surrender; therefore it was agreed to attack the enemy's right wing in force at 4 o'clock in the morning, and then to act according to circumstances, either to continue the fight or to cut through their lines and retreat towards Nashville. General Buckner was to move a little later and attack the enemy's flank at the moment he gave way to our forces in his front. I was directed to hold my position. Colonel Bailey was to remain in the fort (near the river), and Head's regiment was to occupy the vacated rifle pits of General Buckner's command. I doubted very much that these positions, isolated as they were from each other, could be held if attacked,a nd I stated my fears to General Floyd, who replied, if I was pressed to fall back on the fort or act as circumstances would dictate.

At the appointed hour on the 15th the different brigades moved to their assigned positions. Major Rice, aide-de-camp to General Pillow, brought an order to me from General Buckner to send a regiment forward and hold the Wynn's Ferry road until the arrival of General Buckner's division. This duty I assigned to Colonel Quarles' regiment, which returned after the fulfillment of this order. Major Cunningham, chief of artillery (directed by General Floyd), reported to me that two light batteries were at my disposal. Having more guns than I could use to an advantage, and not a sufficient number of gunners to work them, I respectfully declined the offer, but requested him to send me efficient gunners for at least one battery. This was done. Major Cunningham came with them and remained with me for some time. During the day my guns were used to the best advantage, and at one time with excellent effect, against the enemy's cavalry, who immediately after were pursued by Forrest's cavalry.

About noon I was directed by an aide-de-camp of General Buckner to guard the fire of my battery, as he intended to send a column to charge one of the enemy's batteries. Seeing these regiments pass my left in the open field, and being aware that my left wing could not ba attacked at that time, I sent two regiments from my left (Colonel Voorhies' and Colonel Hughes') to their support; but before they reach the ground the three attacking regiments were withdrawn. The battery was not taken, and my regiments returned. Early in the evening the different troops were ordered back to their respective rifle pits, but the fighting continued at different points until night.

At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 16th Lieutenant Moorman, aide-