War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0378 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter

Search Civil War Official Records

XVII.

About 2 p. m. the forces of General Buckner commenced arriving at their encampments from the conflict with the enemy on their right wing, my regiment still occupying the pits. About 4 p. m., and before the regiment of Colonel Hanson could be arranged in the pits, the enemy, in heavy force, attacked the three companies under Major Turner on the extreme right. They held their position with great gallantry, pouring a destructive fire into the ranks of the enemy until he passed between the pits and overpowered them. They then fell back across a ravine on the next hill, and, in connection with other forces, resumed the fight. I immediately reported the facts to General Buckner, who ordered out a part of his command to sustain us. Seeing that the soldiers of General Buckner's command were greatly exhausted from the severe conflict they had been engaged in with the enemy in the forenoon,k and that a bold and desperate effort was being made to force us back, I ordered the Forty-ninth and the right wing of the Fiftieth Regiments from the fort to sustain us. This I was forced to do without consultation with or orders from General Buckner, in consequence of his position, rallying and bringing his men into the engagement. The left wing of the Fiftieth was left in the fort, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lockhart, with orders to report promptly the first demonstration against the fort. I also ordered the companies of Captains Jones and Lovell, of the Thirtieth, from their position in the trenches, it being out of the range of the enemy, to sustain their comrades on the right. The remainder of the Thirtieth were in position and engaged in the fight.

Lieutenant Colonel Robb, of the Forty-ninth, was mortally wounded while aiding in bringing the regiment into the fight. He was an officer of high moral worth, beloved by his command, and acted with commendable courage. His death was a serious loss to the service. Colonels Bailey and Sugg gallantly led their commands into the action. Their men fought with great coolness and courage, and contributed very materially in repulsing the enemy. Indeed, all the officers and men under my command, although imperfectly drilled, discharged their duty, and are entitled to the thanks of the country. They suffered much from exposure in the sleet and snow, for want of sleep and food, but they bore it without a murmur. Lieutenant-Colonel Murphy, of the Thirtieth, was confined during the greater part of the week to his bed from sickness, but when able was with the command and rendered efficient service.

Company A, of the Thirtieth, commanded by Captain Bidwell, was in charge of one of the river batteries, and both officers and men won for themselves the praise of all who witnessed their heroic conduct.

During the engagement I also ordered two of the heavy guns in the fort to open upon the enemy. About 11 o'clock Saturday night I received orders to march my brigade into Dover immediately, to join the army in the evacuation of the place.

By 2 a. m. I was in Dover with my command, but was then ordered back to camp, information having been received that the place was surrounded. I was also advised that a surrender was determined upon, and that the command had been transferred to General Buckner. I was suffering from exposure and threatened with pneumonia. When it was known that a surrender was determined upon, the surgeon of the Thirtieth advised me that if I was taken prisoner in my condition it might cost me my life. I called upon General Buckner, stated the facts to him, and asked his advice as to the propriety of my escaping. He replied that it was a matter that I must determine for myself; that the felt it his duty to remain and share the fate of his men. Feeling that