War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0035 Chapter XXXV. ATTACK ON FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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out to remove a family from near the rolling-mill to this fort. While this detachment was at the house of the family spoken of, the advance of the enemy's forces made their appearance there, and a citizen who was at the house sized one of the cavalry horses and rode to the fort and gave the alarm. This was about 11.30 a. m. From this time until the appearance of the enemy at our lines these same reports were repeatedly corroborated. I now ordered major Brott to take his forces off the steamer, and the long-roll sounded, and at the same time sent out the remaining cavalry on the different roads approaching the fort, to ascertain the enemy's whereabouts. They soon returned, and reported the enemy's advance within 1 mile of our pickets on two different roads. I immediately got my command in fighting trim and prepared for the contest.

In order to give you a more comprehensive idea of the disposition of my own forces and of the enemy's, I will make the following explanations:As a base of my own operations, I will take three of the principal streets of the site of Dover, forming three sides of a square opn on the east, the north side being 40 rods from [the river], and parallel with the river is a ravine intervening on the west side, and near to and parallel with the street is a deep ravine running into the river and heading near the southwest corner of the supposed square. There is a deep ravine running all around the south and east sides of the encampment, at a distance of about 20 rods from our supposed base. On the other side of the said line, and across the east end, is a line of rifle-pits inclosing an area of about three-fourths of an acre of ground, upon which ground are encamped six companies of my regiment. This piece of ground slopes gradually to the east and south, and, as my encampment is surrounded by a very high semi-circular ridge, running from the river above around the rear and intersecting the river below, my rifle-pits were so constructed that batteries placed upon the ridge could without difficulty pour in a very destructive enfilanding fire. For this reason I did not deem it prudent to dispose my forces in the trenches.

About 12 m. I ordered Captain [P. E.] Reed, with his company (A) of my regiment, to deploy his men as skirmishers on the ridge southward near my outposts. At the same time I ordered Captain [J.] McClanahan, with his company (B), to deploy his men on the ridge eastward, near the outposts there, thus guarding the two main approaches to my position.

At about 1 o'clock Company B began to engage the enemy's skirmishers. It will be remembered that only nine companies of my regiment were present, Company G having been sent to Nashville as a guard to a transport, thus leaving me with nine companies of the Eighty-third, Flood's battery of four rifled cannon, and from 10 to 15 mounted men; and as these detachments all had heavy sick-lists, I cannot estimate my force engaged above 750 men.

At about 1.30 o'clock Generals Wheeler, Forrest, and Wharton sent in a flag of truce, demanding the surrender of my command, which I respectfully declined. I now ordered gun Numbers 2, of Flood's battery, supported by Company I, Captain [J. B.] Donley, and Company F, Captain [J. T.] Morgan, of the Eighty-third Regiment Volunteer Infantry, to take position on the hill, near the graveyard, 300 yards from the southwest corner of my base, and on the Fort Henry road, which position overlooks my encampment as well as the surrounding country. I deemed this of great importance; first, because I believed the enemy would cut off my communication toward Fort Henry, and, second, because I believed this point to be the key to my position, from the fact