War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0432 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

5th. The first report of General Buell's expected advance was proregulated in the city on Sunday morning, February 16, accompanied by intelligence of the surrender of our forces at Donelson and the announcement that General Johnston had determined not to make a stand for the defense of Nashville, which was verified during the day by the movement of masses of Confederate troops through the city in a south-easterly direction, on the Murfreesborough turnpike. The proximity of Buell's forces, as reported, however, was discredited during the day. As before stated, the enemy's advance did not reach the Cumberland at nashville until the 23d.

6th. The citizens of Nashville were started and confounded by the intelligence, and by the announcement, said to have been made as the opinion of General Johnston, that the gunboats would probably arrive in six hours, accompanied, as it was, but his expressed determination not to make a stand for the defense of the city. Large numbers of citizens had been drilling in companies and squads for several days, with the design of aiding the Confederate forces in making such defense as might be resolved on by the general commanding. They could now do nothing by fly from theine homes or submit to the Federal despotism - virtual prisoners within the lines of the enemy, unable to write, speak, or act in any manner not in accordance with the will of their despotic enemies. Thousands chose the former alternative, however hard, and left their beautiful city, "fugitives, without a crime."

7th. I know nothing of the strength of General Buell's army, now at Nashville, but I have heard it estimated, by persons from that vicinity, at 15,000 men.

8th. I do not think that Nashville could have been successfully defended after the surrender of Forts Henry and Donelson, in the incomplete state of the fortifications near the city, and with the rear and flank of General Johnston's forces exposed, in consequence of the enemy having command of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. But I believe that those great disasters might have been prevented by energy and promptness; and, having occurred, that the enemy might have been checked in his advance by a proper demonstration.

No troops ever fought with more gallantry and endurance than the Confederate forces at Donelson, and I have been led to believe that moderate re-enforcements in season would have secured for them the fruits of their valor and patient sacrifices. An early attention to the fortifications on the Tennessee and Cumberland and greater enterprise in panning and perfecting them, I am satisfied, would have insured a different result.

9th. I learned from officers who were with the rear guard of our army at Bowling Green tat large amounts of pork and some unopened boxes of Enfield rifles and Colt's navy pistols were left at that point, in consequence of the enemy shelling the town before they could be removed; but they were burned or otherwise destroyed, as best they could be, by General Hardee. Less than $1,000,000, I was informed, would be the loss of stores at Nashville. General Floyd and Colonel Forrest exhibited extraordinary energy and efficiency in getting off Government stores at that point. Colonel Forrest remained in the city about twenty-four hours, with only 40 men, after the arrival of the enemy at Edgefield. There officers were assisted by the voluntary efforts of several patriotic citizens of Nashville, who rendered them great assistance. Among these I remember Messrs. John Williams, J. J. McCann, H. L. Claiborne, and R. C. McNairy.