day. The fighting on land ceased about noon, and the gunboats, four in number, opened upon the fort, which returned the fire, resulting, after a conflict of about one hour and a quarter, in but little, if any,m damage to the fort, while all but one of the gunboats were disabled. I will be more particular:
The gunboats commenced the assault when about 1 1/4 miles from the fort, coming up four abreast and, continuing their fire until they were opposite the fort. The fort kept up a regular fire with guns of a smaller caliber, evidently reserving the heavy guns until the gunboats were within a distance of about 150 yards. The effect, as witnessed by our troops and by the citizens who had gathered on the hills around Dover, was beyond the power of description. After having received a shot from a 128-pounder one of the gunboats rolled towards the opposite bank of the river, silenced, crippled, and apparently unmanageable; a second soon charged the same fate; a third was totally disabled; and the fourth, turning her head, took to a precipitate flight down the river. The excitement at this time among the military and citizen spectators was intense and almost wild, the latter testifying their joy by tossing their hats in the air, and the former by a general huzzah, commencing on the right wing and soon caught up and became universal along the entire line.
With the exception of some random shots from both sides there was no further fighting on that evening. On that night we received orders to cook three days' provisions and be ready for marching the next morning. We did not know whither we were to proceed, but we supposed in the direction of Fort Henry, to which it was believed the enemy were retreating.
On Saturday morning the battle was renewed about sunrise, commencing to-day on our left. At an early hour in the morning we were informed that we were to attack the enemy. This I regard as an indiscreet though a bold movement, as we did not know the force of the enemy or the number and locality of his batteries.
Three of our regiments commenced the attack on the enemy's right, and the fight was kept up until they commenced retreating, when our batteries were brought to bear upon them. We pursued them over a mile, the regiment to which I belonged having been relieved and a fresh regiment having taken our place in the pursuit. From the movements of the enemy this morning I became convinced that when we can get within a hundred yards of the enemy they will not stand wither a close fight or a charge. the result of to-day's fighting was much more disastrous to the enemy than on any of the preceding days, their loss being at least three to one. On each day our army took prisoners, varying in number.
Another result of to-day's battle was the capture by our troops of eleven or more pieces of artillery, five of which I know of myself; the capture of the others I learned from good authority and general belief. This battle continued until between 11 and 12 o'clock, the enemy at this time having been driven over a mile - perhaps a mile and a half - along their camp.
Our army returned, all believing that we had gained a signal victory, but later in the day the fight was renewed by an attack of the enemy on our right wing, with results on both sides more disastrous than at any previous period of the conflict. The disasters on our side were attributed to the fact that, for some cause unknown to me, a portion of our forces. Our greatest loss occurred in connection with a successful and gallant charge, conducted by General Buckner, to dislodge the enemy from the entrenchments.