command rescued from Fort Donelson, consisting of parts if the various regiments from Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, at 7 o'clock on the morning of the 17th of February. Immediately on coming within view of the landing at the city I beheld a sight which is worthy of notice. The rabble on the wharf were in possession of boats leaded with Government bacon, and were pitching ot from these boats to the shore, and carrying what did not fall into the water by hand and carts away to various places in the city. The persons engaged in this reprehensible conduct avowed that the meat had been given to them by the city council. As soon as practicable I reported to General Johnston for duty, and on the same day I was placed in command of the city, and immediately took steps to arrest the panic that pervaded all classes and to restore order and quiet. One regiment, the First Missouri, Lieutenant-Colonel Rich, together with a portion of Colonel Forrest's and Captain Morgan's cavalry, were added to my command, and these were principally occupied in guarding public warehouses and the streets of the city. The only other force which I could use for the purposes above mentioned were the fragments of regiments that I had brought with me, and all of which were well-night totally exhausted from the exertions and fatigues to which they had been subjected on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th days of February.
I immediately stopped the indiscriminate distribution of public stores by placing guards over them, and, having thus secured them from the gaps of the populace, I commenced the work of saving the stores that were in the city. Day and night the work was continued, being only temporarily stopped at times for the purpose of feeding the teams that were at work transporting articles of Government property from the wharves and store-houses to the railroad depot. My men worked incessantly with commendable perseverance and energy under my immediate supervision. Owing to the exhausted condition of the men thus engaged, it became absolutely necessary to force the able-bodied men who were strolling about the city unoccupied to assist in the labor before me. I was greatly assisted in this ardors duty by the energy of Colonel Wharton, whose brigade was principally engaged and who promptly executed the orders issued be my. I likewise would express my appreciation of the valuable services of Major J. Dawson, of General Hardee's command, of Lieutenant-Colonel Kennard, and of Captains Derrick, Ellis, and Otey, of my staff. I finally succeeded in loading all the cars standing at the depot at about 4 o'clock on the evening of the 20th of February.
During the interval between the morning of the 17th and the evening of the 20th of February trains were loaded and dispatched as fact as they arrived. Much more could have been saved had there been more system and regularity in the disposition of the transportation by rail. Several trains were occupied in carrying off sick and wounded soldiers. The weather was exceedingly inclement during the entire time occupied as above mentioned, and there was an excessively heavy rain on the 19th of February.
As the moment for destroying the bridges had been left to my discretion up to a certain period, I allowed them to stand until a large amount of transportation, a large number of cattle, and some troops had been brought from the north side of the river. At 10 o'clock on the evening of the 19th the destruction of the suspension bridge was commenced; the wood work was burned and the cables on the south side were cut. At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 20th the railroad bridge was destroyed. I was greatly aided in this work by Lieutenant Crump and Lieutenant Forsberg, of the Engineers.