War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0399 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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us spirits, all from their regiments. The other garrison regiments aided much also.

Colonel Sugg and others, Lieutenant Robert Cobb, of Tennessee, ordnance officer, together with Sergeant Stone, ordnance sergeant, gave us valuable assistance, the latter remaining with us continually, obtaining and fabricating anything we could ask for.

Early on Friday morning, the 14th, we looked for a renewal of the attack, but for some reason we did not yet understand there was no sign of an advance. About 9 o'clock, however, the delay was accounted for. We discovered the river full of transports below and close to the bend, here almost at right angles, and that heavy re-enforcements were landing under cover of their gunboats. I proposed to colonel Bailey to annoy them with our long-range guns, not caring of ammunition. He finally agreed to send an aide to consult General Floyd on the subject.

We did not get authority from him until after 12 m., when he sent word we might fire on the line of troops falling in our sight. They had all passed, but I did not resist the temptation to fire on their immense fleet of transports. We gave the requisite elevation, placed percussion shells in our splendid rifle, and opened on them with that and the columbiad. Peter Casey, of Kentucky, brother-in-law of General Grant, a citizen with the gunboat fleet, stated afterwards to Mr. Comstock, a friend, that one of our shots tore off the prow of a transport and that we never missed their gunboats at all; that not infrequently would a ball take their gunboats lengthwise, ripping it badly, and carrying away in some cases a whole tier of bunks, bedding, &c.; that he often saw the surface of the water covered with these wrecks, intermingled with arms, legs, and fragments of every from. This is what he stated, but I am satisfied he much overestimated these things.

We had not fired more than two or three rounds apiece at the transports before they all had up steam and were leaving. The gunboat fleet also raised steam and at the same time advanced to the attack. Up to this time I imagined signs of timidity had been shown by the whole fleet, everything appearing to be done with extreme timidity, but now they advanced with much show of resolution. Some time being taken arranging their line of battle, getting up steam, &c., as we could discover by the many columns of black smoke, we ceased firing until they came into view. As was our custom, we opened on the first one before she had half come into view, and from that time cannonaded them with all the vigor and as rapidly as the perfect safety of our rifle would admit. Four large boats swung around the bend, forming the front line, two more formed a second line, and a single one brought up the rear, in company with an undistinguishable number of tugs, hospital boats, &c. All opened fire as they came in view and advanced with the most terrific rain of projectiles conceivable. With only seven 32-pounders, one .32 caliber rifle, and the 10-inch columbiad, the two sea-coast howitzers with their shell and short range being entirely useless, that is, nine guns in all effective and seven of these with only about 1,200 yards effective range, it must be confessed we felt unequally matched with this fleet, armed with ten times or more our number of their best artillery. We had resolved to defend the fort, however, and would not allow ourselves time to become alarmed. The range was yet too great for the columbiad. I selected their left-hand boat, a large one, aiming every time with all my ability. Their guns fired so incessantly that we could no longer screen ourselves at each discharge. I had instructed Lieutenants Sparkman and Bedford, two most gallant officers, to hold their fire until the fleet was certainly in range; they had the