War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0385 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

were formed for the attack, the first gun from the enemy killing a horse in my regiment. General B. R. Johnson commanded the left, which now moved to the front. An obstinate fight of two hours ended in the retreat of the enemy. the undergrowth was so thick that I could scarcely press my horses through it. Finding that the flank of the enemy in retreat was exposed across an open field to my front and left, I immediately led my cavalry to the field, but found the ground a marsh, and we were unable to pass it.

The enemy formed in the edge of a second field to our front and right, and flanking the left of our advancing line of infantry. We could not move to flank them, but by maneuvering to their front and right doubtless prevented their attempting a flank movement on our infantry. Finding that our advancing line of infantry would cut them off, while the cavalry prevented their flanking us, they commenced a retreat, accompanied by their cavalry, which we could now see in the distance, but not partucipating during the day int eh fight. Our infantry had now driven them near a mile, they doggedly disputing the whole ground, leaving dead and wounded scattered through the woods and fields up in the ravine. The enemy, leaving their third position for the first time, retreated in haste, advancing by a road through a ravine. I here passed our line of infantry with my command in moving to the center.

I charged the enemy's battery of six guns, which had kept several of our regiments in check for several hours, killing and slaughtering a great many of our men. I captured the battery, killing most of the men and horses. I then immediately moved on the flank of the enemy, obstinately maintaining their position. They finally gave way, our infantry and cavalry both charging them at the same time, committing great slaughter. Moving still farther to our right, I found a regiment of our infantry in confusion, which I relieved by charging the enemy to their front. Here 64 of the enemy were found in 40 yards square. General Pillow, coming up, ordered me to charge the enemy in a ravine. I charged by squadrons, filing the first company of each squadron to the right, and the second to the left, on reaching the ravine, firing and falling in the rear of the third squadron until the three squadrons had charged. We here completely routed the enemy, leaving some 200 dead in the hollow, accomplishing what three different regiments had failed to do. Seeing the enemy's battery to our right about to turn on us, I now ordered a charge on this battery, from which we drove the enemy, capturing two guns. Following down the ravine captured the third, which they were endeavoring to carry off, gunners and drivers retreating up the hill. In this charge I killed about 50 sharpshooters, who were supporting the guns. I ordered forward a number of scouts, who, returning, informed me that the enemy, with three guns and three regiments of infantry, were moving up by the road from Fort Henry. We had driven the enemy back without a reverse from the left of our entrenchments to the center, having opened three different roads by which we might have retired if the generals had, as was deemed best in the council the night before, ordered the retreat of the army. Informing General Pillow of the position the enemy had taken, he ordered two new regiments and one of the regiments in the field, with one piece of artillery, to attack the enemy.

The fight here ended about 2.30 p. m. without any change in our relative positions. We were employed the remainder of the evening in gathering up the arms, and assisting in getting off the wounded. I was three times over the battle-field, and late in the evening was 2 miles up the river on the road to the forge. There were none of the enemy in

25 R R-VOL VII