War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0041 Chapter XXXV. ATTACK ON FORT DONELSON, TENN.

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main rifle-pits of the enemy. While occupying this position, we burned a large boat lying in the river loaded with provisions.

At about this time General Forrest came around and joined General Wharton and myself, leaving his command at some distance from the town. After carefully surveying the works and the garrison, we finally concluded they were too strongly posted to continue the attack any further that night with success. At this time re-enforcements had attacked our guards, and a large force (not less than 5,000 strong) were moving rapidly up the river in transports, guarded big unbolts.

At 8 o'clock, the enemy having ceased firing an hour before, and we being directly in front of their works, concluded, considering all the circumstances, that tit would be better to retire. Accordingly we moved off in an orderly manner, the enemy not firing a gun. After mounting, we moved off slowly, and the gunboats commenced a heavy fire without any effect whatever and without causing a man to increase his gait from a slow walk. We then sent details of dismounted men back, who thoroughly searched the ground close to the enemy's works for wounded men. These details remained on the ground until morning without seeing any enemy on the east or south side of the works. The re-enforcements came in just as our main body left the ground, but did not attempt to follow us outside of their works.

The following day I learned of the force sent out to intercept our return, and after sending out scouts and finding the force was advancing on our front, while the 5,000 men in my rear were enabled to land at any point and attack, we concluded, considering the state of our ammunition, it was our duty to move south of Duck River to replenish. We accordingly sent a scout by way of Charlotte to deceive the enemy, while with the remainder of the command I moved over the river at Centreville.

Our loss in the engagement was about 100 in killed and wounded, the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded being quite equal to ours.* We captured about 80 prisoners, including 3 captains and 2 lieutenants; also 2 wagons and an ambulance, and about 100 horses and mules, a fine 12-pounder brass rifled gun, and destroyed a large boat loaded with provisions.

The unfortunate circumstance of our having so little ammunition I cannot attribute to any want of energy or care on the part of subordinate commanders. After they received my orders to carry the full complement, every exertion was used by them to supply the deficiency, but without success; and afterward receiving orders to march, they thought it better to start as they were rather than to deadly.

Very respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,

JOS. WHEELER,

Major-General, and Chief of Cavalry.

Colonel GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-The force with which we attacked the enemy did not exceed 1,000. The strength of the enemy was quite equal to ours.

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*Nominal list shows the casualties in Wharton's command to have been 1 officer (Lieutenant E. F. Cofee, Third Confederate Cavalry) and 16 men killed, 9 officers and 51 men wounded, and 8 men missing. Aggregate, 85.

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