My first squadron as skirmishers, having been dismounted, were hotly engaged with greatly superior numbers. The enable them to withdraw, the second squadron was ordered to charge, hearing which, Major Kelly, by my request, commanding the left (now center) of my line, ordered an advance of the three squadrons under his command. the enemy gave back at the point where the charge was made, and the cavalry wheeling out of the way on their flank opposite Major Kelly, the infantry rose from the ground and poured in at short range a terrific fire of musketry, accompanied by a volley of grape. I was now able to mount and drawn off in good order my skirmishers, and, finding the enemy in large force, ordered my cavalry to fall back, no infantry being near to support me. In answer to my couriers from the fort, General Buckner (General G. J. Pillow absent at Cumberland City) now ordered me back within our entrenchments.
This skirmish was from about 9 a. m. to near 2 p. m. We killed during the day a hundred men and wounded several hundred more, which so delayed the advance of the enemy that they did not move to the attack that day, satisfying themselves with planting a few cannon and commencing at long range a slow cannonade.
Int he afternoon General Floyd reached the fort, and the whole army, infantry and cavalry, were engaged during the night in throwing up entrenchments, crowning several hills surrounding Dover. The enemy planted their batteries during the night, and commenced a cannonade from their batteries and ten gunboats early on the morning of Thursday. Soon after, our entrenchments were vigorously attacked at all points, and for six hours there was scarcely a cessation of small-arms and artillery. The musketry ceased about 1 p. m., the cannonading continuing until after dark. The gunboats drew off early in the engagement, supposed to be crippled, returning occasionally. The cavalry were but little engaged, acting only as pickets and couriers.
On Friday I was ordered out with the infantry, passing our entrenchments on the left; but after maneuvering a short time and some sharp shooting between the cavalry and the enemy, I was ordered back into the entrenchments. A demand was then made on me for sharpshooters to dislodge the enemy, who were from heights and trees annoying our infantry in the entrenchments, which we accomplished in about two hours, returning to my command about the time the gunboat attack was made on the fort. Of this attack I was an eye-witness, and have never seen a description which did anything like justice to the attack or defense. More determination could not have been exhibited by the attacking party, while more coolness and bravery never was manifested than was seen in our artillerists. Never was there greater anxiety depicted in the face of brave men than during the terrific road of cannon, relieved ever and anon by the slow but regular report of our one single 10-inch gun. Never were men more jubilant than when the victory crowned the steady bravery of our little fort; old men wept; shout after shout went up; the gunboats driven back; the army was in the best possible spirits, feeling that, relieved of their greatest terror, they could whip any land force that could be brought against them.
During the night I was called into council with the generals commanding, when it was determined to bring on the attack the next morning by again passing our entrenchments and attacking the enemy's right.
In the early gray of the morning I moved to the attack, the cavalry on the left and in the advance. I found the enemy prepared to receive us, and were again engaged with the sharpshooters till our infantry