I could be of no service to my command or to the country by a surrender, I left the encampment and made my escape up the river. On my return I reported myself to General A. S. Johnston, at Murfreesborough, for duty. He assigned me none. I was unwilling to retain my commission under the circumstances and tendered my resignation, the acceptance of which was, as I was advised, recommended by General Johnston.
JOHN W. HEAD,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Numbers 70. Report of Major William N. Brown, Twentieth Mississippi Infantry.
RICHMOND, VA., April 12, 1862.
I am directed by his excellency President Davis to make to your Department a report of the part taken by the Twentieth Mississippi Regiment in the engagement with the enemy at Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 13, 14, and 15; also all other facts concerning the investment and subsequent surrender of that post.
The regiment was assigned to the command of Brigadier General John B. Floyd, in Western Virginia, during the past summer, and went to Kentucky, and from thence to Fort Donelson, as part of his "immediate command," arriving at that place at daylight February 13.
By sunrise we were ordered into position as a reserve immediately in rear of a point which was said to be our center. During the day heavy cannonading was kept up by both sides, mostly of shells and shrapnel, which resulted in killing 1 man and wounding slightly 3 or 4 others.
At night we bivouacked in position until 12 o'clock, when an order came from General Pillow to relieve the Seventh Texas Regiment, commanded by Colonel John Gregg, then in the trenches. At that time a brisk firing was going on, supposed to be induced by the enemy's scouts and sharpshooters. The breastworks were thought insufficient from the test of the preceding day, so the remained of the night was occupied in strengthening them and cleaning out the trenches, now partially filled with water and snow.
The next day (Friday) was spent in occasional engagements with the enemy's sharpshooters. The fort was actively engaged in repelling an attack of the gunboats of the enemy. My position did not afford me a view of the proceedings, which have been fully reported by others.
About 1 o'clock I received an order to form my regiment on the extreme left, in an open field, for the purpose of making a sortie on the enemy, which formation was executed in a very short time. By order of General Pillow, the Twentieth Mississippi was attached to the brigade of Colonel William E. Baldwin, Fourteenth Mississippi Regiment, for this occasion. Before the order to advance had been given a few guns of the enemy were heard, and by the time we had advanced 100 yards a private of Company D was shot down, showing that the enemy was close at hand. We continued the march for 100 yards more, when the order to halt was given-said to come from General Floyd-with the explanation that we did not have time to accomplish what he wanted, and, the order to countermarch being given, we did so in proper order and retook our position in the trenches.
About 1 o'clock on that night (Friday) I received an order to form