Numbers 68. Report of Colonel John Gregg, Seventh Texas Infantry.
RICHMOND, VA., August 8, 1862.
MAJOR: In the absence of any one who was in command of the brigade or division of which my regiment was a part at the time of the battle of Fort Donelson, I make my report of the action of the regiment to General S. B. Buckner. I hope this will be considered proper, as it is the only method by which I can give to the brave men under my command the tribute which I think due to their behavior in that battle.
The regiment was assigned its place in the line designated as our line of defense on Wednesday, February 12; cleared away the timber in our front, and completed the digging of our rifle pits during the day and night. The enemy began to cannonade our entrenchments at 9 a. m. on Thursday and kept it up until 4 p. m., during a greater part of the time making an enfilading fire with shells, which was well directed, and by which Lieutenant E. B. Rosson, of Company A, was killed, and Thomas Jordan, a private in Company G, was slightly wounded.
On Friday we were not engaged, but on Saturday morning, about half an hour before sunrise, we set out, with other regiments, to make the sortie upon the enemy's right wing. After filing around the base of the hill upon which the enemy were drawn up we came to our position, at the distance of half a mile, upon the right of our line. I caused the regiment to front and advance up the hill-side under a fire from the enemy's skirmishers. Just before reaching the crest of the hill, their line, drawn up behind it, delivered fire, and a most galling one it was. Here fell Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Clough, Captain William B. Hill, of Company H, and Lieutenant J. W. Nowlin, of Company A, neither of whom spoke after being shot; and here also quite a number of our non-commissioned officers and privates were killed and wounded. But our line continued to advance, pouring a most destructive fire into the enemy's ranks.
In about half an hour their line broke, and we pursued them to the next ridge, upon which a fresh line was drawn up. I caused the regiment to continue our forward movement and to keep up a continuous fire, and in a short time the second line broke and fled, leaving in our hands one 6-pounder, with ammunition and horses. We continued to press them until a third force was seen drawn up in a ravine near a clearing; and upon this we pressed and continued to fire until it also broke and fled, and, although the slaughter of the enemy had before been very great, their difficulty in getting through the felled timber caused our fire to be much more destructive upon them at this place.
For more than the distance of a mile through the woods the earth was strewn with the killed and wounded of the enemy. George Blain, a private in Company G, captured and brought to me Major Post, of the Eighth Illinois Infantry, and there were other prisoners taken. But all this was not done without severe loss to ourselves. Of the 350 or 360 officers and men whom I led into the fight, 20 were killed on the field and 34 were disabled by wounds.
I must acknowledge the very efficient assistance of Major Granbury in the management of the regiment throughout the entire day. When all behaved with such coolness and courage it is hardly admissible to name particular individuals, but the conspicuous gallantry of Lieutenant-Colonel Clough, of Captain Hill, and of Lieutenant Rosson and