War of the Rebellion: Serial 035 Page 0040 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

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MURFREESBOROUGH, February 3, 1863.

Colonel S. D. BRUCE, Clarksville:

Wheeler's rebel force attacked Fort Donelson this afternoon. Don't know results. Dispatch messenger to notify fleet of it, and send gunboats down to help if you have them. Fleet left Louisville Sunday night with two brigades. Must be nearly there.


MURFREESBOROUGH, February 3, 1863.

Brigadier-General MITCHELL:

The general commanding directs that you inform General Davis immediately that Forrest with his rebel force attacked Fort Donelson this afternoon. They will probably be driven back, and he wants General Davis to use every possible exertion to intercept them. Communicate with the fleet below, if possible. They left Louisville Sunday night (two brigades), and must be near Donelson by this time.


Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

MURFREESBOROUGH, [February*] 3, 1863.

Brigadier General JAMES B. STEEDMAN,

Commanding Forces at Nolensville (via La Vergne):

The general commanding directs you to start with your whole command to-morrow morning at daylight, by way of Triune and Harpeth, of Riggs' Cross-Roads. You will there be joined by a brigade from General McCook's corps, with which your force will co-operate. That brigade is instructed in regard to the joint operations. Take a forage train along. I have notified General Thomas of this order.


Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS, Franklin, February 3, 1863.

Colonel GODDARD,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

Rained all day yesterday. Roads very bad. Cavalry did little on account of it. Got here early this morning. The last of the enemy left yesterday morning toward Charlotte. Think they are all in that vicinity, with intention of troubling boats on the river. My cavalry is out of rations. Will send to Nashville to-morrow for them. Enemy variously reported 4,000, 5,000, and 10,000. Can whip him with all my force together if the cavalry were not so jaded, and would try then a dash with it alone. The enemy has six pieces of artillery. He may try to escape by the way of Columbia. I will try to stop him. Orders will reach me at this place.



*Probably March. Garfield was appointed chief of staff February 28, 1863. See p. 22.