War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0405 Chapter XVII. CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

instructions from the War Department, in regard to the act of surrendering that city into the hands of the enemy?

The reasons for evacuating the city of Nashville are given by General Johnston in his letter of February 25, of which a copy is hereto annexed. In doing this he acted on his own judgment and without instructions from the War department.

15. When General Johnston, about October 1 last, made a call upon several of the States of the Southwest, including the State of Tennessee, for large numbers of troops, why was that call revoked? Was the act of revolution in pursuance of an order of the War Department or upon his own judgment merely?

General Johnston received no orders on the subject the War department; but in a private and confidential letter to him he was informed by the Secretary of War that the Government did approve of calling for unarmed men for a less period than the war; that the Government could procure unarmed men for the war in numbers as large as it could supply with arms; tat it gave the preference to "war" men over "twelve-months" men in distributing arms; that unarmed twelve-months men were the most costly and least useful troops that could be called for, and that it was desirable be should call for no more men for a less period than three years or the war unless they came with arms.

16. Has the department received any official report of the affair at Fort or Donelson or touching the surrender of Nashville? If so, communicate the same.

The department has already communicate all the reports received by it f the above-mentioned affairs, except a copy, unofficially communicated, of a supplementary report of General Pillow to General Jonston, which is retained until the original, as well as submitted are received from General Johnston, so that the whole subject may be submitted together. The only report of the surrender, or rather the evacuation, of Nashville is contained in the letter of General A. S. Johnston above mentioned, and of which a copy is annexed. It is, however, known to the Department that General Johnston is engaged as actively as the exigencies of his command will permit in preparing for Congress full information on all the points suggested in the above inquiries, and it is hoped that the report will be received at a very early day.

Letter of General John B. Floyd to Chairman of Special Committee.

ABINGDON, VA., March 25, 1862.

SIR: Just as I was getting ready to leave Knoxville, where I had been ordered by Major-General Smith to assist with my command in the defenses of that locality, I received your letter, sent back from decatur, whither it had been first sent.

I had the day before received the order from the War Department relieving me from my command, and a letter preferring certain charges against me, for which, I suppose, this punishment was inflicted. To these charges I was required to answer, which i have done; and as they cover the points of inquiry pending before your honorable committee I have through proper to send you, in answer to your inquiries, for the information of your committee, a copy of my answer to the charges of the War department. The delay in responding to these inquiries has grown out of my failure to get the official documents requiring the answer until within a few days past.

I regret that my first report should have proved so unsatisfactory to the authorities of the Confederacy. It was, to be sure, written very hurriedly in my tent at night, after a long days' march, and after the business of that day and preparations for the march of the next were completed. But I supposed that a simple narrative of the transactions which led through the terrible and most sanguinary fight of Fort Donelson