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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 7, Ch. XVII-Reports.



November 19, 1861-March 4, 1862.
(Mill Springs, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson)


Nov.20, 1861.–Skirmish at Brownsville, Ky.
21, 1861.–Ten thousand volunteers called out in Mississippi for the defense of Columbus, Ky., &c.
Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army, assigned to command of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tenn.
24-Dec 5, 1861.–Forrest’s Expedition to Caseyville, Eddyville, &c., Ky.
Dec.1, 1861.–Skirmish at Whippoorwill Creek, Ky.
Gunboat demonstration on Fort Holt, Ky.
1-2, 1861.–Skirmishes near Camp Goggin, Ky.
1-13, 1861.–Operations about Mill Springs and Somerset, Ky.
4-7, 1861.–Expedition to and destruction of Bacon Creek Bridge, Ky.
5, 1861.–Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee, C. S. Army, assumes command of the Central Army of Kentucky.
5-8, 1861.–Scout in vicinity of Russellville, Ky.
8, 1861.–Skirmish at Fishing Creek, near Somerset, Ky.
12, 1861.–Skirmish at Gradyville, Ky.
17, 1861.–Action at Rowlett’s Station (Woodsonville), Green River, Ky.
18, 1861.–Reconnaissance from Somerset to Mill Springs, Ky.
23-Jan 30, 1862.–Garfield’s and Marshall’s operations in Eastern Kentucky.
25, 1861.–Skirmish at Grider’s Ferry, Cumberland River, Ky.
28, 1861.–Action at Sacramento, Ky.
28-31, 1861.–Expedition to Camp Beauregard and Viola, Ky.
Jan.7, 1862.–Skirmish at Jennie’s Creek, Ky.
8, 1862.–Skirmish at Fishing Creek, Ky.
10, 1862.–Engagement at Middle Creek, near Prestonburg, Ky.
10-21, 1862.–Expedition into Kentucky from Cairo, III.
14, 1862.–Gunboat reconnaissance to Columbus, Ky.
15-25, 1862.–Reconnaissance from Paducah, Ky., to Fort Henry, Tenn.
19, 1862.–Engagement at Logan’s Cross-Roads, on Fishing Creek, near Mill Springs, Ky.
17-22, 1862.–Gunboat demonstrations on Fort Henry, Tenn.
24-30, 1862.–Expedition to the Little Sandy and Piketon, Ky. {p.2}
28-Feb 2, 1862.–Operations near Greensburg and Lebanon, Ky.
Feb.2, 1862.–Skirmish in Morgan County, Tenn.
4, 1862.–Gunboat reconnaissance to Fort Henry, Tenn.
6, 1862.–Capture of Fort Henry, Tenn.
6-10, 1862.–Expedition to Florence, Ala.
7, 1862.–Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, C. S. Army, assumes command at Fort Donelson, Tenn.
9, 1862.–Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, C. S. Army, assumes command at Fort Donelson, Tenn.
12-16, 1862.–Siege of Fort Donelson, Tenn.
13, 1862.–Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, C. S. Army, assumes command at Fort Donelson, Tenn.
Skirmish near Fort Heiman, Ky.
14, 1862.–Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army, assigned to command of the District of West Tennessee.
Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, assigned to command of the District of Cairo.
Skirmish near Cumberland Gap, Tenn.
14-15, 1862.–Bowling Green, Ky., evacuated by the Confederates and occupied by the Union forces.
15-22, 1862.–Expedition from Cairo, Ill., to Eastport, Miss.
19, 1862.–Clarksville, Tenn., occupied by Union forces.
23, 1862.–General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, assumes immediate command of the Central Army.
23-25, 1862.–Nashville, Tenn., evacuated by the Confederates and occupied by the Union forces.
25, 1862.–Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, assigned to command in East Tennessee.
26, 1862.–Scout to Nashville, Tenn.
March1, 1862.–Engagement at Pittsburg, Tenn.
2-3, 1862.–Columbus, Ky., evacuated by the Confederates and occupied by the Union forces.
4, 1862.–Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg, C. S. Army, announces his resumption of the command of Department of Alabama and West Florida.**

* Of some of the minor conflicts noted in this “Summary” no circumstantial reports are on file, the only record of such events being references to them on muster rolls and returns.

** It does not appear, however, that effect was ever given to his order resuming command.

NOVEMBER 20, 1861.– Skirmish at Brownsville, Ky.

Report of Brig. Gen. T. C. Hindman, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. 1ST BRIG., 1ST Div., CENTRAL ARMY KENTUCKY, Oakland, Ky., November 21, 1861.

SIR: As required by dispatch of last night from division headquarters, I submit a detailed report of my expedition to Brownsville on yesterday:

In a dispatch of recent date I informed you of the skirmish between a detachment of Major Phifer’s cavalry battalion, under Captain Chrisman, and a party of Yankees, at Brownsville, and stated my wish to conduct an expedition in that direction. No official response reached me on the subject, and the intention was consequently abandoned. But on yesterday morning Lieutenant Colonel Marmaduke, First Arkansas Battalion reported that Lieutenant Murphy, of his command, with six men of Major Phifer’s battalion, who had been sent out two days previously by my order to procure spirits for hospital use, had not {p.3} returned and had probably been cut off by the enemy. Upon this information I determined to proceed at once to Brownsville, and break up the Yankee camp on the river bank opposite that place. Accordingly I left this post at 8 a.m. yesterday, taking with me Captains Chrisman and McNeill and 50 men of Phifer’s battalion, and First Lieutenant Grim, with one gun of Swett’s battery. The pickets upon the roads leading towards Brownsville were instructed to detain all citizens passing until the return of the expedition, and the advance guard had orders to arrest all male citizens found on the road or in view of it. These precautions enabled me to get within half a mile of the town unobserved. There Captain McNeill was detached, with 25 men, to proceed to the right around the knob south of and overhanging the place, so as to cut off retreat up the river. With the remainder of the force, after delaying long enough to enable Captain McNeill to get equally near the town, I moved along the direct road, which passes between the knob just referred to and another on its left 300 yards distant. It was impossible to get in rear of this last-named knob so as to cut off retreat down the river without being seen from the town. I ascended the right-hand knob on foot and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General Newton the one on the left to reconnoiter. There was no enemy visible on the Brownsville side of the river, but on the opposite side I perceived a body of cavalry, apparently about 50 strong, formed in a narrow road leading across the range of hills that runs parallel to the stream. One hundred yards farther down, near a small log cabin situated in a field, there was a squad of 14 to 15 men on foot, with horses hitched around. Still farther down on the Litchfield road, partly concealed in the timber, there was a mounted party of about 50. It was evident that they had notice of our approach and intended to dispute the passage of the river.

Lieutenant Newton found the river obstructed from the position he had taken. He ascertained from a woman who was passing that a party of between 15 and 20 had been in Brownsville during the day, but had just recrossed the river. Entering the town with the main body as rapidly as possible, I directed Lieutenant Orlin to open fire upon the enemy from the public square. The first discharge scattered the cavalry in the wood; the next dispersed the squad near the cabin and drove 10 or 15 more out of it; the third and fourth took effect upon the cabin, a spherical case shot exploding within it and a round shot piercing the building. At the first Captain McNeill entered the town, having taken one of their pickets; another was subsequently captured by a man of his detachment.

The piece was then moved around to a position nearer the river and commanding the Litchfield road, and fire was opened on the cavalry posted in that road, which was instantly dispersed. The dismounted men of the enemy now commenced firing from behind logs, trees, fences, &c., situated on the opposite bank, which is much lower than the south bank. Their weapons were Minie muskets and the common hunting rifle. The number of those firing were not less than 50.

My men were ordered to dismount, take position as near the river as practicable behind such cover as might be found, and reply to the fire of the enemy. The firing was thus continued for from ten to fifteen minutes, when that of the enemy ceased, except now and then scattering shots, their men running away singly and in squads of two and three through the corn fields and into the woods, and our men firing at them as long as they were visible. I at one time gave the order to Captain Chrisman to cross the river if practicable, but finding it not fordable, the order was countermanded. When dislodged from their position along {p.4} and under the river bank, the enemy collected in small squads at distances from 400 to 800 yards from the stream, and were again scattered by spherical case shot thrown by the 6-pounder, after which they entirely disappeared.

In addition to the two pickets captured, as before stated, a Federal flag hoisted in the town and the United States mail, found at the post-office, were taken. The pickets are citizens, who were compelled to perform that service. [They] were unarmed and I have released them.

The only casualty on our side was the wounding of Private Dugan, of Captain Chrisman’s company, by a Minie ball fired near the close of the engagement. The wound is severe, but not mortal. Upon the side of the enemy I observed 6 men to fall, who remained in view and were doubtless killed.

The information reached me this morning by a man who left Brownsville at daylight that two Union men from the north side of the river were there last night about 2 o’clock in search of lint and medicines, who stated to him that 7 men were found dead on the field, 1 badly wounded and expected to die during the night, and that 4 wounded men were taken off by the cavalry; also that 5 horses were killed by the spherical case shot that exploded in the cabin; 2 other horses were killed by a similar shot at a different place.

The Federal force we engaged was of Colonel Jackson’s regiment, posted at Litchfield.

The firing by Lieutenant Orlin was admirable, approaching almost to the accuracy of rifle practice.

Both officers and men, without exception, deported themselves well. Carelessness of their own safety, by which Private Dugan received his wound, was the only part of their conduct not to be approved.

I ordered sundry articles belonging to P. H. Solman, merchant, who conducted the Yankees into Brownsville yesterday morning, and is known to be in constant communication with the enemy, to be taken for hospital use. They are turned over to the brigade quartermaster and will be regularly invoiced.

Very respectfully,

T. C. HINDMAN, Brigadier-General.

Lieut. D. G. WHITE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


NOVEMBER 24-DECEMBER 5, 1861.– Forrest’s Expedition to Caseyville, Eddyville, &c., Ky.


No. 1.–Col. N. B. Forrest, Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate).
No. 2.–Lieut. Col. James Peckham, Eighth Missouri Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Col. N. B. Forrest, Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate).

REGIMENTAL HEADQUARTERS, Hopkinsville, Ky., December 5, 1861.

Leaving Hopkinsville November 24 with 300 men and their officers, under orders from brigade headquarters, we went to Greenville, where we found some arms and equipments belonging to the enemy, as will {p.5} be seen by a list herewith returned; also a soldier in full uniform, whom we made prisoner and returned to the commander of the post; from thence to Madisonville, where I sent Captain Overton, with 30 men, in the direction of Ashbysburg and Calhoun, who reported that all the troops had left the former place and gone to the latter (Calhoun). I then sent a scout to Henderson, dressed as a citizen, who reported that all the Federal forces had been sent from that town to Calhoun and their sick to Evansville.

I then visited Providence and Claysville and Morganfield, at all of which places the people met us with smiles and cheers, and fed and greeted us kindly.

I then went to Caseyville, on the Ohio River; then up the Tradewater 12 miles, where I crossed and went to Marion, in Crittenden County. When near that place a lady came from her door and begged in the name of her children for help, and representing that her husband (who was a citizen of standing and unconnected with the war) had been captured by Federal soldiers, led on and assisted by citizens of the neighborhood, whose names being given, I deemed it proper to arrest. William Akers was arrested, and when I approached the house of Jonathan Bells he shot the surgeon of my regiment from the door and escaped by a back opening in the house. A noble and brave man, and skillful surgeon, and high-toned gentleman was Dr. Van Wyck, and his loss was deeply felt by the whole regiment. Dispatching the body in care of Major Kelly, with 100 men, to Hopkinsville. I remained in the vicinity of Marion another day, and my scouts arrested one Federal soldier and brought him as prisoner, and killed one Scott, the leader of the band, who had sworn to shoot Southern men from their houses and behind trees, he (Scott) attempting it by wounding three horses with a shot-gun. The scouts found with him three guns and a pistol, which are returned to the Ordnance Department; also two horses of the enemy.

From Marion I went to Dycusburg and Eddyville, where I learned that no boats or soldiers had been on the Cumberland for twelve days at those points. The people at the latter places treated us with the utmost liberality and kindness.

It is believed that the expedition has done great good in giving confidence to the Southern-rights men, destroying the distorted ideas of Union men, who expected every species of abuse at the hands of the Confederate soldiers, many of them expressing their agreeable disappointment and change of views in regard to our army, and not a few assured us that they would no longer use any influence against the cause of the South. Universal kindness was the policy of the officers in command. With me were Captains Overton, May, Fruitt [Trewhitt?], and Hambrick, in command of detachments of their own companies, and Lieutenant Sims, in command of a detachment of Captain Gould’s company, and Lieutenant Gentry, in command of a detachment of Captain Logan’s company, and as guide Lieutenant Wallace, of Captain G. A. Huwald’s company.

A number of hogs and cattle were started from the counties between this and the river and along the river under the auspices of the expedition.

There are no Federal forces remaining on this side the Ohio from the mouth of Green to the mouth of Cumberland, and with the exception of a few scouts none have been there for twelve days.

After I left Madisonville, Jackson’s cavalry visited the place, about 400 in number, but he attempted no pursuit; he might have easily overtaken us. After we were at Caseyville 200 Federal troops came there {p.6} and captured about eighty hogs, became intoxicated on stolen whisky, and left in a row.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

N. B. FORREST, Colonel, Commanding Forrest Regiment Cavalry.

Brig. Gen. CHARLES CLARK, Commanding at Hopkinsville, Ky.


No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. James Peckham, Eighth Missouri Infantry.

CAMP GENERAL SMITH, Paducah, Ky., December 2, 1861.

SIR: In compliance with your order of the 30th ultimo, I proceeded, on board the transports Golden State and Lake Erie No. 3, with three companies of the Eighth Missouri Volunteers and one piece of artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Tobey, of the Chicago Light Artillery, to Cave in Rock, where I awaited the arrival of the gunboat Conestoga. In company with the latter I reached Caseyville, Ky., at daylight on the morning of the 1st instant. The enemy had left Caseyville-the day before my arrival there, and from many reports was at least 20 miles distant and pushing southwards. From all I could learn I submit the following:

It was apparently with no intention of blockading the Ohio that the enemy ventured upon its banks. A very large crop of hogs is now ready for the market, and it is to secure this crop that they are found in the region of the Ohio. They have driven off many already, but a large number still remain. They had in an inclosure, some 3 miles from Caseyville, a lot of 60, which I secured, and turned over to Colonel Cavanaugh, of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, now stationed at Shawneetown. I am led to believe that a large business in salt is being done by the rebels via Caseyville and Cave in Rock. It is known that vast quantities of goods find their way to Nashville through that section of country, of which Caseyville is the leading point. Upon my arrival at the latter place I consulted with Captain Phelps, of the Conestoga, and Colonel Williams, of this place, and concluded to send to Shawneetown for re-enforcements. They arrived, but too late to do any good. I returned here this morning at 5 o’clock, under the conviction that my longer stay at Caseyville could be productive of no good.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,

JAMES PECKHAM, Lieutenant Colonel Eighth Mo. Vols., Comdg. Detachment.

General C. F. SMITH, Commanding U. S. Forces, Paducah, Ky.


DECEMBER 1. 1861.– Gunboat demonstration on Fort Holt, Ky.

Report of Col. John Cook, Seventh Illinois Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, Fort Holt, Ky., Sunday, December 1, 1861.

At 3.15. p.m. Lieutenant Mathie, commanding Company F, Seventh Illinois, officer of the day, reported to these headquarters the approach {p.7} of three rebel gunboats (names unknown), which were allowed to reach a distance of 44 miles from Fort Holt, when, deeming it imprudent to allow them to progress farther, the batteries were ordered to open upon them, the first shot being fired from Fort Holt, on the extreme right of the fortifications, for the purpose of drawing a fire from the enemy, in order to test the power of his artillery, which having been done, the 64-pounder, “Lady Grant,” in battery on the extreme left, returned his fire, dropping the first shot within 200 yards in advance of the boat. The second boat returning our fire plainly showed the inadequacy of both guns and artillerists to cope with us at any shorter distance. The 64-pounders, commanded by Lieutenant Wood (McAllister’s artillery), was managed with marked ability, although laboring under great disadvantages, the piece being only provided with ammunition for 32-pounders.

I am confident that had we been supplied with the ammunition adapted to the caliber of the gun we could have done much damage to the enemy before he could have retreated. To elevate to such an extent as would enable us to reach him with a shot (there being no known rule to establish the angle), caused us in two instances to overshoot him, the shot from the gunboats always falling greatly short of us.

On the approach of these rebel craft a detachment from Captain Delano’s cavalry, together with one company from the Twenty-eighth Illinois, were ordered to proceed, the former as far as Fort Jefferson, as a reconnoitering party, with instructions to report by messenger anything that would reveal the intentions of the enemy, and the latter beyond the picket line, deployed as skirmishers, to guard against an unexpected attack in the rear of the fort, both of which have returned, assuring me of the entire absence of any armed force about or around the camp.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

JOHN COOK, Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding District Southeast Missouri, Cairo, Ill.


DECEMBER 1-13, 1861.– Operations about Mill Springs and Somerset, Ky.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Albin Schoepf, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. Ferdinand Van Derveer, Thirty-fifth Ohio Infantry.
No. 3.–Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Albin Schoepf, U. S. Army.

CAMP GOGGIN, December 2, 1861.

GENERAL: I arrived here yesterday, reconnoitered same day and today. This morning the enemy opened fire from three pieces, one rifled, and infantry on Colonel Hoskins’ camp subsequent to my order for the removal of the camp some distance back.

The strength of the enemy is estimated, by the best accounts we can get, of the following numbers: At Mill Springs, 2,000 infantry and 1,000 {p.8} cavalry at Captain West’s farm, distant from Mill Springs 2 miles, 1,000 infantry; at Steubenville, 2 miles distant from West’s, 2,000 infantry; and at Monticello, 5 miles from Steubenville, 3,000 infantry. Mill Springs is distant from this point 12 miles, at which place they can cross the Cumberland with facility, and 2 miles below that point they can also cross.

Apprehending the probability of their crossing at Mill Springs, I detailed two companies of cavalry to that place. I deem the position east of me safe, but west of me they may cross.

The river is high and not fordable, but by means of flats they can cross anywhere; the troops under my command are not sufficient to keep the river guarded as far as Mill Springs. Should they cross in the vicinity of my camp I can defend my position. The Thirty-eighth Ohio will be with me to day. The Seventeenth will occupy a position on Fishing Creek, to defend against a flank movement should the enemy cross.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. SCHOEPF, Brigadier-General.

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding Eastern Division.

P. S.-The enemy have moved their artillery and opened fire again. I have hardly time to write.


CAMP GOGGIN, December 3, 1861.

GENERAL: The enemy, after keeping up a brisk fire until 1 p.m., retired and took up march towards Mill Springs. I ordered Colonel Connell’s Seventeenth Ohio Regiment from Somerset to that point; also three pieces of artillery and one company of cavalry. Should the enemy make an attempt to cross, we could be able to keep them in check.

Twenty reliable Union men crossed the river yesterday evening, and gave me information that Zollicoffer commands in person, and is at Mill Springs, with eight regiments of infantry, three of cavalry, and eight pieces of artillery.

My troops can be provided with beef and fresh pork; therefore I would suggest that only small stores and bread should be sent.

Captain Prime arrived here to-day. We will go to work as soon se the tools arrive.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. SCHOEPF, Brigadier-General.

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding Eastern Division.



GENERAL: We met the enemy’s scouts this evening about 3 miles to the west of the village; the collision took place between the Thirty-fifth Ohio and the enemy’s cavalry. Our loss was 1 killed and 1 wounded; the enemy’s, 1 officer killed and 3 men wounded. We captured 1 horse and killed 5. The cavalry under my command, as usual, behaved badly. They are a nuisance, and the sooner they are disbanded the better. They are scouring the country on their own account, lounging about {p.9} the villages and drinking establishments, a nuisance and disturbance to the quiet citizens of the country. Captain Everett has just joined me, and reports a series of irregularities by stragglers of this regiment as having passed under his notice in the several villages through which he passed.

Is there no such thing as obtaining a regiment of reliable cavalry? Such a regiment is indispensable with this brigade at this time. The absence of such troops has kept me in the saddle until I am nearly worn down with fatigue.

I very much need a brigade commissary of subsistence, who could have the means to purchase such articles as it may become necessary to purchase. The system of making purchases by regimental commissaries and giving promise to pay is open to abuse, and has become a great annoyance.

The two Tennessee regiments will be here to-morrow. I shall, no doubt, need them by the time they arrive.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. SCHOEPF, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


P. S.-I regret to add that Major Helveti, of the Kentucky Cavalry, and Captain Prime, Engineers, are both missing, and have been, I now learn, captured by the enemy. These officers left camp with me on Wednesday on a reconnaissance, but, taking a different road, fell into the hands of the enemy. An earlier report would have been made of this, but I had looked for their return until after the departure of the Saturday’s mail, my last reliable means of communicating with you. I deem it useless now to send a dispatch by a cavalry express.


No. 2.

Report of Col. Ferdinand Van Derveer, Thirty-fifth Ohio Infantry.

CAMP NEAR SOMERSET, KY., December 8, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that at 2 o’clock this afternoon rapid firing was heard from our advance picket, 30 strong, stationed on the Fishing Creek road, about 2 miles from our camp.

The battalion was immediately formed, and two companies went quickly to the relief of the picket. The enemy had been checked and were scattered through the woods.

The picket was first alarmed by several of Captain Dillon’s cavalry, who had been posted a few miles in advance, rushing past. They could not be stopped, and in a few moments the whole company came rushing along, refusing to halt to assist our men, and so ran on to camp. Had they rendered any assistance the enemy would have been routed with considerable loss.

Our picket, under the direction of Lieut. W. C. Dine, of Company D, being in an open field, formed and delivered three volleys, retreating while loading to the woods, which they reached, and then came on to camp in small parties.

We killed 1 of their officers in command of the advance, 1 of their horses, and captured 1 horse. Our own loss was 1 killed, 1 wounded, and 15 missing.


The force of the enemy appears to have been 150 cavalry, chiefly armed with sabers and pistols.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

FERDINAND VAN DERVEER, Colonel Commanding Thirty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. ALBIN SCHOEPF, Commanding First Brigade Kentucky Volunteers.


No. 3.

Reports of Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer, C. S. Army.

BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, Mill Springs, Ky., December 2, 1861.

SIR: Yesterday, with a small detachment of infantry and cavalry, I proceeded to reconnoiter from the left bank a camp of the enemy, 9 miles above, on the right bank of the river. Many of their tents were in full view, and they came out and fired on us with small-arms and one 12-pounder howitzer. We returned the fire, but the distance was too great for our guns to be of material service. To-day I took up four pieces of artillery and soon shelled them out of their encampment, causing them to strike tents precipitately and retire out of sight. I doubt whether they have more than one regiment there.

Captain Sheliha, with a scouting party, has examined Creelsborough and Burkesville, lower down the river, and reports three regiments of the enemy at the former and a small force at the latter, both on the right bank.

One of our picket parties reports a small force also at Rowena, on the same side of the river.

The river is now very high. I am now building transports to enable me to cross, but I fear there will be several days’ delay.

Very respectfully,

F. K. ZOLLICOFFER, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Lieutenant-Colonel MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.


BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, Mill Springs, Ky., December 9, 1861.

SIR: Having been disappointed in having ferry-boats captured by the force sent on in advance with that object, I have had to have boats built, and have been much delayed in crossing the Cumberland River. Five regiments, seven cavalry companies, and four pieces of artillery are now across. The position on both sides of the ferry is naturally strong, and I am rapidly strengthening the defenses on the right bank. The whole force with me is seven and one-half regiments, eighteen cavalry companies, and one 6-pounder battery of eight guns.

There is a force of the enemy at Columbia, the strength of which I am not able to ascertain. Three regiments of it were at Creelsborough, 18 miles above Burkesville, ten days ago. It is certain that there are now not less than five regiments at Somerset, possibly more.

On the 1st I reconnoitered from the left bank a camp of the enemy, a {p.11} part of which was in view on the right bank of the river at Waitsborough. On the 2d I took up four pieces of artillery and shelled them out, compelling them to move their encampment hurriedly. They had but two pieces of artillery. On the 4th I threw over the first small cavalry picket at this place. They met a cavalry picket of the enemy a mile from the ferry and drove them back, capturing some trifling equipments. The Seventeenth Ohio Regiment, with orders to prevent our crossing, had advanced to within 24 miles of the ferry. It fled precipitately to the neighborhood of Somerset.

On the 5th our cavalry pickets captured Major Helveti (supposed to be of General Buell’s staff). Captain Prime, engineer officer, under orders from General Buell, and a corporal of Colonel Hoskins’ regiment, after a chase of several miles, severely wounding the 2 officers.

Fishing Creek runs south into the Cumberland, 5 miles above here, and lies between our position and Somerset. It is more than 30 miles long, runs in a deep ravine 200 to 300 feet deep, and its summit-level on the east ranges from a half mile to one and a half miles distant from that on the west. There are two crossings from here to Somerset, 7 and 11 miles from here. The more distant, the enemy fortified on the eastern bank, and they had a force near the latter crossing. On the 7th our cavalry detachments crossed at both places, and found the enemy had fallen back to a camp 3 miles north of Somerset. They rode through their fortifications and returned. Yesterday our cavalry crossed at the upper ford and reconnoitered the enemy’s camp and the town of Somerset. In the fortifications at the creek they found an infantry picket and a cavalry picket in advance. They were also fired on from the bushes this side of the creek. They charged upon all they met, pursued the enemy 5 or 6 miles, killed 10, and captured 16, one of whom is badly wounded. All are of the Thirty-fifth Ohio Regiment, except one of Wolford’s regiment. There were 2 of our horses killed and 1 more wounded. The prisoners say their regiment reached Somerset only the evening before, and they know but little of what regiments are there, except that four of them are from Ohio, the Thirty-fifth, Thirty-eighth, Seventeenth, and Thirty-first. Hoskins’ Kentucky regiment is certainly there, perhaps others. Our cavalry are to-day picketing both towards Harrison and Somerset.

Very respectfully,

F. K. ZOLLICOFFER, Brigadier-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel MACKALL, Bowling Green, Ky.


BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, BEECH GROVE, Ky., North of the River opposite Mill Springs, December 14, 1861.

SIR: On the 2d instant I informed you that I had, from the south bank of the river, shelled the enemy out of their camp on the north bank, and was rapidly constructing boats at Mill Springs with which to cross the river. On the 3d I threw over a few cavalry pickets, who drove back the enemy’s pickets, found a mile from the ferry, capturing a pistol, a saddle, and some other trappings. The Seventeenth Ohio Regiment, 24 miles distant, fled 12 miles. On the 4th, our cavalry pickets captured. 6 miles north of the river, after a chase of more than a mile, Major Helveti, of the First Kentucky Cavalry, Captain Prime, of New York, engineer officer, of General Buell’s staff; and a corporal of Colonel Hoskins’ Kentucky regiment. The major and captain were {p.12} both severely wounded. On the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th we were employed crossing, by aid of a few boats we had constructed (finding a strong position in the bend of the river on the north side), leaving two regiments, some cavalry, and two pieces of artillery on the south bank. On the 5th we found that the enemy were intrenching a strong position on the east bank of Fishing Creek, 11 miles north of us. The bed of the creek is a deep ravine, 200 to 300 feet deep, the summit-level on one side being distant from that on the other side from three-quarters of a mile to one and a half miles. They also had a force at a lower crossing, 7 miles from us. Both crossings were on roads leading to Somerset. On the 7th we found that they had fallen back from both positions, and learned that they were intrenching 2 miles beyond Somerset. On the 8th our cavalry pushed across the creek at the upper crossing, met a cavalry and infantry picket at the fortifications, drove them to the enemy’s camp near Somerset, killing 10 or 12 and capturing 17 prisoners, all of the Thirty-fifth Ohio Regiment, except 1 of the First Kentucky Cavalry. Our loss, 1 man wounded and 2 horses killed. Our party captured a number of muskets, pistols, accouterments, articles of wearing apparel, &c.

On the south side of the river I have had the ferries patrolled with cavalry from the forks of the Cumberland down to Burkesville. On the - our picket at Creelsborough was fired at across the river and by some men in a boat. They killed 2 in the boat, and lost a horse. On the 9th and 10th the enemy on the north bank fired across the river at our cavalry patrolling Rowena, 30 miles below here. I determined to punish them, and sent down an expedition on the north bank on the 11th, which dispersed the enemy, killing 3 and capturing 11. Our only loss was man drowned in attempting to cross the river. Last night a party of our cavalry, who had crossed the South Fork of the Cumberland, were fired on, losing 1 man killed and 1 wounded. It being difficult to keep them here safely, I to-day sent 33 prisoners of war to Nashville, retaining 1 too badly wounded to move at present. General Johnston has ordered a steamboat to Gainesborough on the 18th, loaded with supplies for this brigade, on which the prisoners will take passage. This country is abundant in flour, pork, beef, and many other supplies. There are from eight to ten regiments of the enemy at Somerset, five at Columbia. I have four and a half regiments on this side intrenched-flanks and rear protected by the river-and two regiments on the south bank. Major-General Crittenden has assumed command of this district, and is at Knoxville.

Very respectfully,

F. K. ZOLLICOFFER, Brigadier-General.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.


DECEMBER 4-7, 1861.– Expedition to and destruction of Bacon Creek Bridge, Ky.

Report of Capt. John H. Morgan, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate).

CAMP BURNAM, December 7, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of orders, I left camp on Wednesday last, at 4 p.m. with 105 men, and reached Green {p.13} River at 6 o’clock Thursday night, December 5. Crossed 6 men, 4 of whom were to dash through Munfordville and take a position upon the turnpike leading to Bacon Creek, 4 miles from town, to prevent any information being carried to the enemy’s pickets, the other 2 to take position in the town and remain until the command had crossed the river. When they got into the town saw several men armed, 2 whose names were Berry Eaton and Luther Shackleford, who it seems had just returned from [the] Federal camp, where they had been to take a Southern-rights man, whom they had captured. My advance guard discovered them and ordered them to give up their guns. They dismounted, one immediately firing both barrels of his gun at my men, who returned the fire without doing any execution. The 2 men who were left in town caught one of the horses, which is now in my camp.

Reached Bacon Creek bridge at 9 o’clock. Found it in perfect order, with the exception of one rail, which was lying ready to be laid. There were five columns of uprights. All were completely burned, with the exception of the one which was in the creek. The bridge is a complete ruin.

The command left Bacon Creek at 1.05 o’clock. The rear guard of 4 men remained until within a few minutes of 3 o’clock.

General McCook’s advance is at Upton’s, his main body a short distance this side of Nolin. Was informed by Union men that the bridge on Rolling Fork has been washed away, entirely interrupting rail communication with Louisville.

On my way to Green River met a wagon loaded with goods purchased in Louisville. Had it guarded until my return. The wagon was claimed by Mrs. Ritter who had purchased the goods with which it was loaded. Mrs. Ritter is believed by the people of that neighborhood to be an employé of the enemy. Upon my return, finding that a portion of the goods were to be delivered in Bowling Green, I released the wagon. One of my horses becoming exhausted, left it at Ritter’s, and mounted the man upon one of his.

Upon the morning of the 7th one of my men was disabled from the accidental discharge of his gun. Reached camp at 11 a.m. December 7.

Respectfully, &c.,

JOHN H. MORGAN, Commanding Squadron.

General S. B. BUCKNER Commanding Division.

DECEMBER 5-8, 1861.– Scout in vicinity of Russellville, Ky.

Report of Capt. I. F. Harrison, Mississippi Cavalry.

WIRT ADAMS’ CAVALRY, Camp Hardee, December 8, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to report to Major-General Hardee, commanding, the result of my scout in the vicinity of Russellville:

Pursuant to instructions I left Bowling Green at midnight on the 5th instant, with a command of 45 men of this regiment, and reached Russellville at 2.30 a.m. on the 6th. Here I was detained three hours, procuring horses for my men. Upon procuring a mount I started to join Captain Pope, who had engaged the enemy the day before. I came {p.14} up with him about 16 miles from Russellville, assumed command, and started in pursuit of the enemy. I found his trail, and learned he was two hours ahead of me. A short distance from here, the advance guard having reported the presence of the enemy in front, I ordered a charge. Upon advancing I could discover but 3 men, 2 of whom were armed, making their escape and concealing themselves in the mountains. The third, who was engaged in cutting wood, I regret to say, was shot and badly wounded by one of the citizens who had joined me. The shooting was done after I had passed some distance beyond the point where the man was standing. Other firing occurred here on the part of the citizens. I was delayed one hour in attending to the wounded man.

Shortly after resuming the march I met the citizen who had been forced to guide the enemy across the country. He reported them as pressing forward rapidly, having heard the firing. I continued the pursuit, and when night prevented any further pursuit the trail not being visible, we were within fifteen minutes of them. I made a circuit and encamped with a view of cutting them off in the morning, but they escaped during the night across the mountains in the direction of Green River, having no doubt received accurate information as to our movements.

Upon the march back to Russellville I recovered the 8 muskets that the enemy had taken at the bridge and also 1 Colt’s rifle belonging to them.

The 4 wounded of the enemy are concealed in the neighborhood, and I have no doubt that Captain Pope will he able to find them.

I regret very much to report [that] of the $35 or 40 citizens who accompanied my command with the exception of Captain Pope and some 5 or 6 others, deserted me when their services were the most required.

I reached Bowling Green on my return at 2 o’clock this morning, with my command in good order.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

I. F. HARRISON, Captain Wirt Adams’ Cavalry.

Lieut. Col. R. C. WOOD, Jr., Commanding Wirt Adams’ Cavalry, Camp Hardee, Ky.


DECEMBER 17, 1861.– Action at Rowlett’s Station (Woodsonville), Green River, Ky.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, with congratulatory orders.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook, U. S. Army.
No. 3.–Col. August Willich Thirty-second Indiana Infantry.
No. 4.–Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, C. S. Army, with congratulatory orders from Major-General Hardee.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, with congratulatory orders.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., December 17, 1861-12 p.m.

McCook’s division is at Munfordville, General Mitchel at Bacon Creek. We are doing pretty well. Zollicoffer is either retiring across {p.15} the Cumberland River or is prepared to do so at the approach of any superior force. Any more formidable demonstration against him would only harass my troops and derange my plans. I am letting him alone for the present.

McCook reports the rebels attacked my pickets in front of the railroad bridge at 2 p.m. to-day. The picket consisted of four companies of the Thirty-second Indiana, Colonel Willich, under Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra. Their forces consisted of one regiment Texas Rangers, two regiments infantry, one battery, six guns. Our loss, Lieutenant Sachs and 8 enlisted men killed and 16 wounded. The rebel loss, 33 killed, including Colonel Terry, of Texas, and about 50 wounded. The rebels ingloriously retreated.

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General.



HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, February 8, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith the official report of a skirmish at Rowlett’s Station, south of Green River, Kentucky, on the 17th of December, 1861, between a portion of Colonel Willich’s Thirty-second Regiment of Indiana Volunteers (German), and a brigade of the enemy under General Hindman. The gallantry displayed by the Thirty-second Indiana on the occasion has been noticed in general orders from these headquarters, a copy of which is inclosed for file with this letter and the report. Colonel Willich was at the time on other duty, and the troops engaged were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra, whose skill and gallantry on the field merit the distinction of the brevet rank of colonel.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding Department.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., December 27, 1861.

The general commanding takes pleasure in bringing to notice the gallant conduct of a portion of Colonel Willich’s regiment, Thirty-second Indiana, at Rowlett’s Station, in front of Munfordville, on the 17th instant.

Four companies of the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra, on outpost duty, were attacked by a column of the enemy, consisting of one regiment of cavalry, a battery of artillery, and two regiments of infantry. They defended themselves until re-enforced by other companies of the regiment, and the fight was continued with such effect that the enemy at length retreated precipitately.

The attack of the enemy was mainly with his cavalry and artillery. Our troops fought as skirmishers, rallying rapidly into squares when charged by the cavalry, sometimes even defending themselves singly and killing their assailants with the bayonet.


The general tenders his thanks to the officers and soldiers of the regiment for their gallant and efficient conduct on this occasion. He commends it as a study and example to all other troops under his command, and enjoins them to emulate the discipline and instruction which insure such results.

The name of “Rowlett’s Station” will be inscribed on the regimental colors of the Thirty-second Indiana Regiment.

By command of Brigadier-General Buell:

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.


No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Alexander MCD. McCook, U. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: Please find inclosed the official report of Col. August Willich, Thirty-second Indiana, of the affair in front of the railroad bridge over Green River. I would respectfully call the attention of the general commanding to the gallantry and good judgment of Lieutenant Colonel Von Trebra, of said regiment, during the action. The regiment behaved well; all present distinguished themselves.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. MCD. MCCOOK, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Second Division.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.


No. 3.

Report of Col. August Willich, Thirty-second Indiana Infantry.

CAMP GEORGE WOOD, December 18, 1861.

My regiment had, as usual, two companies on the south of Green River for the protection of the repairing of the railroad bridge across the Green River. The bridge built by our pontoniers being finished on the evening of the 15th instant, the former order to defend our work in case of an attack principally from the north side of the river was changed in such a manner that four companies, deployed as skirmishers, should form on the north side of Green River, while the remaining four should advance over the bridge to the south side as support of our pickets.

At 12 o’clock on the 17th of December the right wing of our picket chain (Company B Captain Glass) was annoyed by skirmishers of the enemy. Captain Glass sent out a patrol that drove them back and followed them up with the balance of his company. About a mile from the picket chain he met a company of the enemy’s infantry, whom he saluted a volley, upon which they retreated in haste. Owing to the arrival of large forces of infantry, who had by this time made their appearance, he was obliged to retreat, executing the same in good order, until re-enforcements {p.17} arrived. During this maneuver Company C advanced on the left of the pike from Woodsonville in a southward direction. There they were attacked by a company of Texas Rangers, whom they drove back. At the same time the signal of alarm was given to the remainder of the regiment and was answered with astonishing alacrity. In their anxiety to hasten to the relief of the companies that were in danger the company commanders failed to obey the instructions given by me, and all of them rushed over the bridge and up the hill, there forming in our usual position at alarm-in close column. The undersigned being at the time of the general alarm at the headquarters of the division, Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra ordered Companies K, G, and F to the support of Company B on the right wing, and Companies A and I to the support of Company C on the left wing, and Companies E and H and a few men of Company D as reserve to follow along the pike, under command of Major Schnackenberg, in the usual distance. The infantry of the enemy on both wings were thrown by the mere advance of our lines of skirmishers. But now ensued the most earnest and bloody part of the struggle.

With lightning speed, under infernal yelling, great numbers of Texas Rangers rushed upon our whole force. They advanced as near as 15 or 20 yards to our lines, some of them even between them, and then opened fire with rifles and revolvers. Our skirmishers took the thing very coolly and permitted them to approach very close, when they opened a destructive fire on them. They were repulsed under severe loss, but only after Lieutenant Sachs, who left his covered position with one platoon, was surrounded by about 50 Rangers, several of them demanding of him three times to give up his sword and let his men lay down their arms. He firmly refused, and defended himself till he fell, with 3 of his men, before the attack was repulsed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra now led on another advance of the center and left flank, when he drew down on his forces a second charge of the Rangers in larger numbers, charging into the very ranks, some dashing through to the rear, which might have proved disastrous to Companies C and I had not Company H, commanded by Lieutenants Cappell and Levy, and ordered forward by Adjutant Schmitt from the reserve on the pike, advanced with a hurrah towards the Rangers and repulsed them. At this moment the artillery of the enemy with six guns commenced its well-directed but not damaging fire. Their balls and shrapnels were thrown with great precision towards the reserve companies and skirmishers near the pike, but only a few men were hurt, and those by splinters from trees and fences. Among others, our undaunted and ever-attentive Assistant Surgeon Jeancon was struck by the branch of a tree and stupefied for a short time.

While this happened, the struggle on the right flank was not less severe. Companies F, K, and B were thrown out as skirmishers, Company G in column as support. The Rangers advanced within 15 yards, and then fired with shot-guns and revolvers. Our skirmishers made great havoc among them, but finally retreated behind the square formed by Company G, Captain Welschbillig. Now a fight ensued such as seldom occurs. The Rangers, about 150 to 200, thinking they could ride over that small squad of 50 men, attacked them in front and left flank. Captain Welschbillig suffered them to approach within 20 yards, and then fired a deadly volley at them. They retreated, but only after having discharged their guns and rifles at our men. They charged a second time, and engaged in front and both flanks. Several of them came close to our bayonets. A well-aimed volley sent them back again. They made a third but weak charge, which resulted more disastrously to them than {p.18} the former. They now disappeared in wild disorder from the battleground. In their place a regiment of infantry, the band playing, advanced against the small squad. Captain Welschbillig fell back before them with his men in good order, to form with Companies I and B, Company K holding the rear. At this moment the undersigned arrived and took command of the right wing. Seeing the danger that threatened the regiment in case the enemy’s infantry (two regiments) would throw our right wing and advance on the line of retreat on the left wing, I ordered the signal “fall back slowly” to be given and formed the companies. Companies B and G fell in quickest. Company K guarded the rear. The forming of Companies B and G very likely gave rise to the enemy’s belief of a re-enforcement on our right. At the same time Company A, till then delayed by their flanking movement, appeared on the enemy’s right wing, on our left, when their artillery retreated in haste. The cavalry had disappeared from the battle-ground, and the infantry followed in double-quick time. Company A took an advanced position, holding it until the undersigned, Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra, a company (B) of the Forty-ninth Ohio, and Adjutant Schmitt, with a squad of men from my regiment, arrived to collect the dead and wounded, which were carried home under the protection of said forces. I cannot pass this without expressing my heartfelt thanks to Colonels Gibson and Harrison and their regiments, who volunteered to assist us in searching for our dead and wounded, and who took position against the enemy, giving our men help and protection.

In the fight participated 3 field, 1 staff, and 16 officers of the line, 23 sergeants, and 375 men. The force of the enemy consisted of one regiment Texas Rangers, two regiments infantry, and one battery, consisting of six guns. Our loss is, 1 officer and 10 men dead, 22 wounded, and 5 missing. The latter I hope to be able to report as wounded, and after whom I have to-day sent Lieutenant Mank, Company A, with a flag of truce.

According to the reports of our surgeons several of the wounded are beyond the hope of recovery. Yesterday the enemy reported his loss 40 killed and ours 200 killed. I venture to say that he lost in same proportion more than 40 as we lost less than 200.

It would be difficult for me to distinguish special names for their brave conduct, as this might be interpreted that others did not deserve the same praise. Every officer actually engaged distinguished himself by his coolness, courage, and judgment. Lieutenant Sachs gave way too much to his courage and advanced too hastily and too soon, which caused our mourning over his loss and that of several brave soldiers of his platoon.

As stated above, our assistant surgeon, Jeancon, was on the battleground, while our first surgeon, F. Krauth, discharged his duties faithfully at the hospital. Captains Giegoldt and Kodalle, Lieutenants Schutz, Trenck, and Kimmel were on the sick list. Lieutenant Knorr was on guard duty, and Lieutenant Pietzuch guarding the bridge with his pontoniers.

The noble conduct of some surgeons of the rebels I cannot pass with silence, although I am unable to give their names. They dressed the wounds of 3 of our men and sent them back to us in a farmer’s wagon. On our part, Lieutenant Mank, of Company A, permitted 4 men of the rebel force to carry off the corpse of Colonel Terry, of the Texas Rangers, and several wounded men.

If I take into consideration that my regiment engaged successfully a force at least seven times as strong as our own, consisting of the selected {p.19} troops of the enemy, I think I have reason to say that everybody has done his duty faithfully.

A. WILLICH, Colonel Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers.

P. S.-Although I did not intend to mention any one individually, I feel myself induced to state that Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra has gained and confirmed, not only the admiration, but the love and confidence of every man in the regiment by the skill and gallantry with which he led them to the attack.

I have to mention also Lieutenant Pietzuch and his pontoniers, who by their unceasing efforts succeeded in constructing a bridge across Green River with the poor tools and scanty material furnished them in incredibly short time. Without this bridge it would have been impossible for me to cross the river with the regiment to support our pickets and frustrate the designs of the enemy by defeating them.

In conclusion, I most respectfully call the attention of the general commanding to the report which I laid before you in regard to strength and number of my regiment, and would ask you to take it in favorable consideration.

I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

A. W.


HEADQUARTERS SIXTH BRIGADE, Camp Wood, Ky., December 18, 1861.

Respectfully forwarded. By direction of the general commanding the division I threw two regiments across the river to the assistance of the Thirty-second, though they did not reach the ground until after the enemy had been put to flight. All praise is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra and the men under him for the gallant manner in which they repulsed the picked troops of the enemy. As only a portion of the Thirty-second was engaged I forward the report of its colonel as a full and complete report of the affair.

R. W. JOHNSON, Brigadier-General.


No. 4.

Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, C. S. Army, with congratulatory orders from Major-General Hardee.

HEADQUARTERS ADVANCE GUARD, Cave City, Ky., December 19, 1861.

SIR: At 8 a.m. on the 17th instant I moved towards Woodsonville, for the purpose of breaking up the railroad from the vicinity of that place southward. My force consisted of 1,100 infantry, 250 cavalry, and four pieces of artillery. When within 2 1/2 miles of Woodsonville, concealed from the enemy’s view, I halted the column and ordered forward Colonel Terry’s Rangers to occupy the heights to my right, left, and front, and Major Phifer’s cavalry to watch the crossings of Green River, still farther to my left. These orders having been executed and no force of the enemy or pickets seen, I advanced the column until the right reached the railroad. This brought me within three-quarters of a mile of the river and the enemy, but still concealed, except a small body of cavalry {p.20} upon the extreme right. Here a company of Rangers was detached to observe the enemy from Rowlett’s Knob, which was to my right, across the railroad. A strip of timber bordered the river parallel to the line held by my cavalry. Fields were between. A body of the enemy’s infantry, as skirmishers, moved through the timber by their right on my left. They were fired upon by a small body of my cavalry and retired.

The firing ceased for about half an hour, and I went in person to select a suitable place for camp, leaving Colonel Terry in command, with instructions to decoy the enemy up the hill, where I could use my infantry and artillery with effect and be out of range of the enemy’s batteries. Before returning to the column the fire from the skirmishers recommenced. The enemy appeared in force upon my right and center. Colonel Terry, at the head of 75 Rangers, charged about 300, routed and drove them back, but fell mortally wounded. A body of the enemy of about the same size attacked the Rangers, under Captain Ferrill upon the right of the turnpike, and were repulsed with heavy loss. The enemy began crossing by regiments and moving around on my right and left flanks. Three companies of Colonel Marmaduke’s (First Arkansas) battalion were thrown out as skirmishers on my left, engaged the enemy’s right, and drove them to the river. I now ordered forward Captain Swett’s battery and the Second Arkansas Regiment to support it, holding the Sixth Arkansas Regiment in reserve. The artillery opened fire upon the enemy in the field adjacent to the railroad and drove them to the banks of the river. Firing now ceased on both sides. The enemy made no further attempt to advance, but knowing that he had already crossed in force, more than double my own, and had the means of crossing additional forces, I withdrew my command by way of the turnpike two miles and a half and took position to meet the enemy if disposed to advance. There being no indications of any such intention, I returned to my camp here, reaching this place at 8 p.m.

My loss in this affair was as follows: Killed-Colonel Terry and 3 men of his regiment; dangerously wounded-Lieutenant Morris and 3 men of Texas Rangers; slightly wounded-Captain Walker and 3 men of Texas Rangers and 2 men of First Arkansas Battalion.

I estimate the enemy’s loss at 75 killed and left on the ground; wounded unknown. I have 7 prisoners; other prisoners were too badly wounded to be moved, and were left at citizens’ houses.

The troops under my command who were engaged displayed courage in excess. The others were as steady as veterans.

Very respectfully,

T. C. HINDMAN, Brigadier-General.

Lieut. D. G. WHITE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division, &c.




On the 17th instant our-forces, under Brigadier-General Hindman, partially engaged a superior force of the enemy at Woodsonville.

In the action we sustained a loss of 4 killed and 9 wounded.

The enemy was driven back and lost about 50 killed and 9 prisoners.

The conduct of our troops was marked by impetuous valor. In charging the enemy Colonel Terry, of the Texas Rangers, was killed in the moment of victory. His regiment deplores the loss of a brave and beloved commander; the Army one of its ablest officers.


The general commanding returns his thanks to Brigadier-General Hindman and his command for their conduct in the initiative of the campaign in Kentucky, and he hails the brilliant courage shown in the affair as a bright augury of their valor when the actual hour comes for striking a decisive blow.

By order of Major-General Hardee:

D. G. WHITE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


DECEMBER 23, 1861-JANUARY 30, 1862.– Garfield’s and Marshall’s operations in Eastern Kentucky.


Dec.23, 1861.–Union forces advance from Louisa.
Jan.7, 1862.–Skirmish at Jennie’s Creek.
10, 1862.–Engagement at Middle Creek, near Prestonburg.
24-30, 1862.–Expeditions to the Little Sandy and Piketon.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with instructions to Colonel Garfield, and congratulatory orders.
No. 2.–Col. James A. Garfield, Forty-second Ohio Infantry, commanding brigade, with instructions to subordinates.
No. 3.–Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall, C. S. Army, commanding brigade, with instructions from War Department. No. 4.-Col. A. C. Moore, Twenty-ninth Virginia Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with instructions to Colonel Garfield, and congratulatory orders.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, January 14, 1862.

Colonel Garfield, commanding Eighteenth Brigade, reports that on the 7th instant he attacked and drove the enemy from his intrenchments at Paintsville, killing 3 and wounding several; our loss 2 killed and 1 wounded. On the 10th he attacked the main body of the enemy, under Humphrey Marshall, posted on the hills at the Forks of Middle Creek. Skirmishing commenced at 8 a.m.; engaged from 1 p.m. until dark. The enemy was driven from all his positions, and in the night burned most of his stores and fled precipitately. Our force was 1,800 infantry and 300 cavalry. The enemy had 2,500 infantry, three pieces of artillery, and six companies of cavalry. Our loss at Prestonburg, 2 killed, 25 wounded. The enemy’s loss at Prestonburg, 27 found dead on the field. He carried off his wounded and many of his killed.

We took 25 prisoners, 10 horses, and a quantity of stores.

Colonel Garfield had crossed the Big Sandy to Prestonburg on the 11th.

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington.



HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., December 17, 1861.

Colonel GARFIELD, Forty-second Ohio Regiment, Commanding Brigade:

SIR: The brigade organized under your command is intended to operate against the rebel force threatening, and indeed actually committing, depredations in Kentucky, through the valley of the Big Sandy. The actual force of the enemy, from the best information I can gather, does not probably exceed 2,000 or 2,500, though rumor places it as high as 7,000. You can better ascertain the true state of the case when you get on the ground. You are apprised of the position of the troops placed under your command. Go first to Lexington and Paris, and place the Fortieth Ohio Regiment in such position as will best give a moral support to the people in the counties on the route to Prestonburg and Piketon, and oppose any further advance of the enemy on that route. Then proceed with the least possible delay to the mouth of the Sandy, and move with the force in that vicinity up the river, and drive the enemy back or cut him off. Having done that, Piketon will probably be the best position for you to occupy to guard against further incursion. Artillery will be of but little if any service to you in that country. If the enemy have any, it will encumber and weaken rather than strengthen them.

Your supplies must necessarily be taken up the river, and it ought to be done as soon as possible, while the navigation is open. Purchase what you can in the country through which you operate. Send your requisitions to these headquarters for funds and ordnance stores, and to the quartermaster and commissary at Cincinnati for other supplies. The conversations I have had with you will suggest more details than can be given here. Report frequently and fully upon all matters concerning your command.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., December 28, 1861.

Colonel GARFIELD, Commanding Eighteenth Brigade, Louisa, Ky.:

The following dispatch was sent this day to Lieut. M. L. Benham, Forty-second Regiment Ohio Volunteers, Catlettsburg, via Portsmouth:

The arms for Lindsey’s regiment were forwarded by Adams Express on the 19th to Greensburg Ascertain whether they have gone through Cincinnati. Tell Colonel Garfield I have been unable to get the howitzers for him or I would send them, but I think he will find his infantry more efficient than the enemy’s artillery. Tell him to report frequently.

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., January 3, 1862.


Yours of the 2d instant* has been received. The general would send you two mountain howitzers, but he is under the impression that from {p.23} the nature of the country and the season of the year you would find them more of an incumbrance than an advantage, and he hopes and expects that you will be able to accomplish important results without them. You can, however, give more in detail your views on the subject. I presume you have received my letter of the 31st* giving you information in relation to the enemy near you and my telegram requiring secrecy in regard to same.

Efforts are being made to start Colonel Lindsey, in compliance with your orders, and it is presumed he will [soon] be with you. Report frequently.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., January 20, 1862.

Colonel GARFIELD, Commanding Eighteenth Brigade, Prestonburg, Ky.:

COLONEL: Your dispatches of your attack upon the enemy at Paintsville and Prestonburg on the 7th and 10th instant have been received, and the general commanding directs me to express his gratification at the perseverance, fortitude, and gallantry displayed by yourself and your command in the campaign in which you are engaged. Your original instructions were to proceed as far as Piketon (or Pikeville), and it is inferred from the activity and energy displayed up to the date of your dispatches that you have not permitted the enemy to rest this side of that point. As it is not known here what direction Marshall has taken, it is not practicable to give you any definite instructions. He may have gone into Western Virginia or taken the road from Prestonburg or Piketon to Hazard in Perry County or Whitesburg in Letcher, and may even attempt to make his way to Cumberland Gap. You are directed in any case to drive him from the soil of Kentucky and, having done this, to act as circumstances may require, keeping this office informed of your movements and your whereabouts, that instructions may reach you. Colonel Marshall’s Kentucky regiment, from Maysville, Ky., was this day ordered to report to you, and if you should find it necessary to move to the south beyond Piketon, a force must be left at that point. It is a place which must be held, and Marshall’s regiment might receive orders from you for that purpose. It would be well for you to put yourself in communication with him as soon as practicable.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. D. GREENE, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, January 24, 1862.

Col. JAMES A. GARFIELD, Paintsville, Ky.:

SIR: Your official report of the battle of Middle Creek has been received and your success will be duly noticed in orders.

The general is expecting to receive from you more detailed information in reference to the retreat of the enemy, the direction taken by {p.24} him, his probable whereabouts and condition; of his intentions, probable and future objects and movements. These points were not touched in your report.

You have probably ere this received my letter of the 20th instant, repeating the general’s wish for you to establish your force at Piketon and be sure that the enemy does not again get a foothold on Kentucky soil.

Your difficulties in reference to supplies are appreciated, but the general trusts you will overcome them. The commissary of subsistence in Cincinnati has been directed to forward two months’ supply of provisions as soon as practicable, the intention being to get a supply to you while the Big Sandy is up and before navigation ceases. The general desires you to take advantage of the high water to get your supplies of all kinds (ammunition and forage, if necessary) up-the river while opportunity is favorable.

If Eastern Kentucky is entirely freed from the enemy and Out of danger of annoyance, it is possible that yourself and part of your command may be called to other duties.

Capt. Ralph Plumb, quartermaster, was ordered to join you, on your application, from Lexington. Is he on duty with you?

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., January 20, 1862.

The general commanding takes occasion to thank Colonel Garfield and his troops for their successful campaign against the rebel force under General Marshall on the Big Sandy and their gallant conduct in battle. They have overcome formidable difficulties in the character of the country, the condition of the roads, and the inclemency of the season, and without artillery have, in several engagements, terminating with the battle on Middle Creek on the 10th instant, driven the enemy from his intrenched position and forced him back into the mountains with the loss of a large amount of baggage and stores and many of his men killed or captured. These services have called into action the highest qualities of a soldier-perseverance and courage.

By command of General Buell:

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Chief of Staff.


HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, January 21, 1862.

Brig. Gen. D. C. BUELL, U.S.A., Commanding Department of the Ohio, Louisville, Ky.:

SIR: Your dispatch of the 14th instant, reporting the success of Colonel Garfield against the enemy’s forces under Humphrey Marshall at Paintsville and Prestonburg, on the 7th and 10th instant, has been received. Major-General McClellan, commanding the Army, congratulates Colonel Garfield and his brigade upon this handsome achievement {p.25} against forces superior in number and having the advantage of three pieces of artillery.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


No. 2.

Reports of Col. Junes A. Garfield, Forty-second Ohio Infantry, commanding brigade, with instructions to subordinates.

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, George’s Creek, December 26, 1861.

I arrived here last night with 900 men, Twenty-five hundred rebels are at Paintsville, 18 miles distant, with four guns. They are fortifying. The Fourteenth Kentucky can furnish only 500 effective men. They will be here soon. Colonel Lindsey has no equipments and but 600 effective men. I have ordered him to join me as soon as possible. Send me four small howitzers, with shell and shrapnel, if possible. I can get them here by boat and haul them with our mule teams, Lieut. M. L. Benham, Forty-second Regiment, awaits answer at Cincinnati.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. D. O. BUELL.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, George’s Creek, December 26, 1861.

SIR: I advanced from Louisa on the 23d instant, with nine companies of the Forty-second Ohio, three companies of the Fourteenth Kentucky, and Major McLaughlin’s squadron of cavalry, and reached this place, 18 miles from Paintsville, on the evening of the 24th, bringing our tents and subsistence by a flat-boat, as our train, in charge of one company of the Forty-second Ohio, had not yet arrived from Catlettsburg.

Nine companies of the Fourteenth Kentucky were allowed to remain at Louisa to await the arrival of their equipments. I expect them here to-morrow.

Colonel Lindsey has informed me that his command cannot be ready for service for an indefinite time. I herewith inclose you a copy of his communication.* I have not yet heard from Colonel Wolford’s cavalry. The roads along this valley are almost impassable; they were never more than tolerable, and in the distracted condition of the country no repairs have been made. It required four days’ hard labor to bring our train of 25 wagons, nearly empty, a distance of 28 miles. I am therefore bringing our stores to this point by the river. When we leave here we shall go back from the river up George’s Creek, and shall take our train with us. It will reach us to-morrow. I think I am now able to give you a reliable statement of the strength of the enemy in the vicinity of Paintsville at least.

I have collected and compared statements from citizens, scouts, and prisoners, and find that Colonel Williams returned about three weeks {p.26} ago with the force that retreated before General Nelson; and about ten days ago a regiment of troops from some neighboring State, probably Virginia, passed to Prestonburg, via Piketon, with a train of 55 wagons and four iron guns; one of large caliber, the others probably 6-pounders.

These two forces, amounting to from 2,000 to 2,500 men, increased by irregular bands of local rebels, mostly mounted, are now in Paintsville, and are throwing up works for defense, and sending out marauding parties in various directions, who are committing frequent murders, driving off cattle, and destroying the property of Union men. I inclose a map of the route from my camp to Paintsville.** I send a request by telegraph for at least four small howitzers.

Without a strong re-enforcement my command can hardly dislodge the enemy without the means of shelling their camp. I can furnish teams for hauling the guns, which can be sent here by the river. I earnestly hope you will be able to furnish them. I shall hope to strike a blow at an early day. I have not yet been able to send you consolidated morning reports in consequence of the separation of the parts of my command and the want of proper blanks. Requisitions have been made, but a supply has not yet been received.

I have not yet heard from the Fortieth Ohio Regiment, but have no doubt it has reached and is occupying McCormick’s Gap.

Respectfully submitted.

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.

** See p. 35.



DEAR SIR: Shortly after the date of my last report to you, of December 26, I received intelligence that the enemy had retreated to a hill 3 miles from Paintsville, on the road to Prestonburg, where he is throwing up earthworks. About the same time 300 or 400 cavalry came in from West Liberty and encamped at the mouth of Jennie’s Creek, where they still remain and are actively engaged in marauding and foraging expeditions. Judging from the position of the enemy that he intended to make a stand, I dispatched a messenger to Colonel Cranor, ordering him to proceed to Prestonburg via Hazel Green and Burning Spring, sending a strong party of cavalry via West Liberty and Licking Station to drive in the rebel forces on that route and protect Colonel Cranor’s flank, and join him again before he reached Prestonburg. He was then to move down the river and hold himself in readiness to attack the enemy’s position or cut off his retreat. I herewith inclose a copy of my instructions to him.

The messenger was expected to return on Monday evening, December 30, but did not reach me till Wednesday. On Tuesday, December 31, I moved up George’s Creek 8 miles, with the Forty-second Ohio, five companies of the Fourteenth Kentucky, and McLaughlin’s squadron of cavalry, and encamped at the foot of Brown’s Hill. I there waited one day the arrival of Colonel Moor’s [Cranor’s?] train, part of which reached me January 1. Six of his wagons have not yet arrived. On the evening of {p.27} January 1 my messenger from Colonel Cranor arrived, informing [me] that his regiment arrived at McCormick’s Gap on Sunday, December 29, and would leave there in conformity with my orders on the following morning. It consumed the whole of January 2 and 3 and required a working party of 100 men to get our train over Brown’s Hill to this point, on the headwaters of Tom’s Creek, a distance of but little more than 3 miles from our former place of encampment. To-day our scouts encountered and drove back a hundred of the enemy’s cavalry from Tom’s Hill, 2 1/2 miles on the route to Paintsville. Our advance guard is holding the position to-night.

In view of the exceedingly bad condition of the roads, made worse by the heavy rains of the last two days, I have dispatched a second messenger to Colonel Cranor, appointing Monday next as the time when I hope to drive in the enemy’s cavalry and occupy the mouth of Jennie’s Creek. I am exceedingly perplexed by the non-arrival of Lindsey’s regiment. When I first arrived at Catlettsburg I ordered him to join me as soon as he could obtain the requisite outfit. On Saturday last he broke up his camp and moved to Ashland, as I supposed, on his way up the valley. On Wednesday I heard that he had not yet left Ashland. I then sent him a peremptory order to move forward, but up to this time I have not heard from him. The two companies of Colonel Wolford’s cavalry, which were ordered to join me, I have never heard from.

I stated in my last report that Major McLaughlin’s [cavalry] had no carbines. I turned over to them the rifles belonging to such of the Forty-second Ohio as were sick and on detached duty, and they still use them. The major received a full supply of pistol cartridges a few days ago, but no caps came with them.

The squadron has but very little drill and cannot be relied on for much service, except scout and messenger duty. But, notwithstanding these drawbacks, I shall advance, and shall hope we may at least narrow down the limits of the enemy’s depredations. Since my last report we have had 4 men from Major McLaughlin’s cavalry captured by the enemy’s scouts. We have taken 1 of his men, and Colonel Cranor has taken several more.

I was much in hopes I could have had a howitzer battery. Still, if I had an infantry force in this column equal to the enemy’s I should have no doubt of being able to capture him. I shall try his strength as soon as I can draw him down from his position. I have not yet received any blanks, and hence have forwarded no morning reports. I inclose maps.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Eighteenth Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Not found.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Paintsville, Ky., January 8, 1862.

DEAR SIR: On Sunday, January 5, I drove in several small scouting parties of the enemy, killing 1 of them. On Monday, January 6, I moved on to the mouth of Muddy Branch. The enemy came down the {p.28} same evening from his intrenched hill, with one 12-pounder and two regiments of infantry, and occupied the southern bank of Paint Creek. When his scouts were drawn in they reported the advance of my whole column, and immediately Marshall broke up his camp, burned many of his wagons, and a large amount of corn, oats, meal, sugar, rice, and other provisions, and during the night of January 5 and all the following day he was hurrying his trains and infantry away on retreat. His cavalry remained behind, kept up a show of resistance, and thus kept their retreat a secret. Colonel Bolles, of the Second Virginia Cavalry, had been ordered by General Cox, commanding Department of the Kanawha, to co-operate with me, in view of the fact that bands of rebels were coming in from the Virginia side of the Sandy, and joined me on Monday at noon. We then moved forward, with the Forty-second Ohio, Fourteenth Kentucky, and 800 of Colonel Bolles’ cavalry, and occupied this place. The rebel pickets were still on the opposite side of Paint Creek and retreated as we advanced. I immediately sent Colonel Bolles, with his 300 cavalry, to attack and drive back the rebels at Jennie’s Creek, while I advanced with 1,000 men to attack General Marshall’s position. I was obliged to construct a pontoon bridge across Paint Creek, and did not get my column in motion until sunset. We then advanced along an unfrequented road, and at 8 o’clock occupied the rebel fortifications 4 miles above here. We found his camp-fires still burning, and his whole camp showed signs of panic and most disorderly retreat. I then marched down Jennie’s Creek to sad Colonel Bolles. Before we reached him his advance of 60 men had attacked 200 rebel cavalry, killed 6, wounded several, and scattered them among the hills. Colonel Bolles had 2 killed and 1 wounded.

To-day we have occupied all their works and sent out cavalry scouts to learn the direction of their retreat. Colonel Bolles has given me very efficient aid, but his orders will not permit him to remain with me longer. To-morrow morning I start in pursuit with 1,000 infantry and 400 cavalry.

Colonel Cranor, Fortieth Ohio, and six companies (300 men) of Wolford’s cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, have joined me to-day. They had construed the enemy’s retreat into an intended attack, and not being able to resist the whole rebel force, which has been increased by late re-enforcements to over 4,000 men, came down Paint Creek instead of going on to Prestonburg.

We have taken 15 prisoners, which I have this day sent to Newport Barracks. The vicinity of the rebel camps presents a scene of utter desolation. They have appropriated and destroyed an immense amount of property.

The transportation for our stores has been a work of extreme difficulty. But now that we have reached the river, we will hurry them up by boats. I shall hope to occupy Prestonburg to-morrow evening. I fear we shall not be able to catch the enemy in a “stern chase,” but we shall try. Since he has left his stronghold I think I shall not need any artillery.

The health of my command is very good, considering the hard service they have been engaged in. I send you a sketch of Marshall’s defenses. The extent and character of the works indicate a larger force than I had supposed they had. I regret to say I have not received any blanks and have not made out any brigade morning reports. I have the materials for them, and will forward them as soon as the blanks arrive.


Your telegram of the 2d instant, instructing me to keep secret the facts in your letter of the 31st ultimo, was duly received, but the letter referred to has not yet reached me.

From all the indications I am led to believe the enemy is retreating in a southwest direction from Prestonburg toward the Cumberland Gaps. How tar in that direction shall I be permitted to follow him?

Very truly, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Prestonburg, Ky., January 11, 1862.

I left Paintsville on Thursday noon with 1,100 men, and drove in the enemy’s pickets 2 miles beyond Prestonburg. The men slept on their arms. At 4 o’clock yesterday morning we moved toward the main body of the enemy at the Forks of Middle Creek, under command of Marshall. Skirmishing with his outposts began at 8 o’clock, and at 1 o’clock p.m. we engaged his force of 2,500 men and three cannon posted on the hill. Fought them until dark. Having been re-enforced by 700 men from Paintsville, drove the enemy from all their positions. He carried off the majority of his dead and all his wounded. This morning we found 27 of his dead on the field. His killed cannot be less than 60. We have taken 25 prisoners, 10 horses, and a quantity of stores. The enemy burned most of his stores and fled precipitately.

To-day I have crossed the river, and am now occupying Prestonburg. Our loss 2 killed and 25 wounded.

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


PAINTSVILLE, January 8, 1862. (Via Portsmouth, Ohio, 14th.)

I entered this place yesterday with the Forty-second Ohio and Fourteenth Kentucky and 300 Second Virginia Cavalry. On hearing of my approach the main rebel force left their strongly-intrenched camp and fled. I sent my cavalry to the mouth of Jennie’s, where they attacked and drove the rebel cavalry, which had been left as a vanguard, 5 miles, killing 3 and wounding a considerable number. Marshall’s whole army is now flying in utter confusion. He has abandoned and burned a large amount of his stores. We have taken 15 prisoners. Our loss was 2 killed and 1 wounded. I start in pursuit to-morrow morning.

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Camp Buell, Paintsville, January 14, 1862.

DEAR SIR: At the date of my last report (January 8) I was preparing to pursue the enemy. The transportation of my stores from George’s Creek had been a work of so great difficulty that I had not enough provisions here to give my whole command three days’ rations before starting. One small boat had come up from below, but I found it had only enough provisions here for three days’ rations of hard bread for 1,500 men. Having issued that amount, I sent 450 of Colonel Wolford’s and Major McLaughlin’s cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, to advance up Jennie’s Creek, and harass the enemy’s rear if still retreating. At the same time I took 1,100 of the best men from the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio and the Fourteenth and Twenty-second Kentucky (three companies of Colonel Lindsey’s regiment, the Twenty-second Kentucky, had arrived the evening before), and at noon started up the Big Sandy towards Prestonburg. After advancing 10 miles the enemy’s pickets fired on our advance and retreated.

At 8 o’clock we reached the mouth of Abbott’s Creek, 1 mile below Prestonburg. I then found that the enemy was encamped on the creek 3 miles above, and had been supplying himself with meal at a steam-mill in the vicinity. I sent back an order to Paintsville to move forward all our available force, having learned that another boat load of stores had arrived. I then encamped on the crest of a wooded hill, where we slept on our arms in the rain till 4 o’clock in the morning, when I moved up Abbott’s Creek 1 mile and crossed over to the mouth of Middle Creek, which empties into the Big Sandy opposite Prestonburg. Supposing the enemy to be encamped on Abbott’s Creek, it was my intention to advance up Middle Creek and cut off his retreat, while the cavalry should attack his rear. I advanced slowly, throwing out flankers and feeling my way cautiously among the hills. At 8 o’clock in the morning we reached the mouth of Middle Creek, where my advance began a brisk skirmishing with the enemy’s cavalry, which continued till we had advanced 2 1/2 miles up the stream to within 1,000 yards of the forks of the creek, which I had learned the enemy were then occupying.

I drew up my force on the sloping point of a semicircular hill, and at 12 o’clock sent forward 20 mounted men to make a dash across the plain. This drew the enemy’s fire, and in part disclosed his position. The Fifty-fourth Virginia Regiment (Colonel Trigg) was posted behind the farther point of the same ridge which I occupied. I immediately sent forward two Kentucky companies to pass along this crest of the ridge, and one company Forty-second Ohio, under command of Capt. F. A. Williams, together with one under Captain Jones, Fortieth Ohio, to cross the creek, which was nearly waist-deep, and occupy a spur of the high rocky ridge in front and to the left of my position.

In a few minutes the enemy opened a fire from one 6 and one 12 pounder. A shell from the battery fell in the midst of my skirmishers on the right, but did not explode. Soon after the detachment on the left engaged the enemy, who was concealed in large force behind the ridge. I sent forward a re-enforcement of two companies to the right, under Major Burke, of the Fourteenth Kentucky, and 90 men, under Major Pardee, of the Forty-second Ohio, to support Captain Williams. The enemy withdrew his Fifty-fourth Virginia across the creek, and sent strong re-enforcements to the hills on the left. About 2 o’clock I ordered Colonel Cranor, with 150 men from the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky, to re-enforce Major Pardee, {p.31} Meantime the enemy had occupied the main ridge to a point nearly opposite the right of my position, and opened a heavy fire on my reserve, which was returned with good effect. In order more effectually to prevent his attempt to outflank me I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Monroe, of the Twenty-second Kentucky, with 120 of his own and the Fourteenth Regiment, to cross the creek a short distance below the point I occupied, and drive back the enemy from his position. This he did in gallant style, killing 15 or 20. Inch by inch the enemy, with more than three times our number, were driven up the steep ridge nearest the creek by Colonel Cranor and Major Pardee.

At 4 o’clock the re-enforcement under Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, of the Forty-second Ohio, came in sight, which enabled me to send forward the remainder of my reserve, under Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, to pass around to the right and endeavor to capture the enemy’s guns, which he had been using against us for three hours, but without effect. During the fight he had fired 30 rounds from his guns, but they were badly served, as only one of his shells exploded, and none of his shot, not even his canister, took effect. At 4.30 he ordered a retreat. My men drove him down the slopes of the hills, and at 5 o’clock he had been driven from every point. Many of my men had fired 30 rounds. It was growing dark, and I deemed it unsafe to pursue him, lest my men on the different hills should fire on each other in the darkness. The firing had scarcely ceased when a brilliant light streamed up from the valley to which the enemy had retreated. He was burning his stores and fleeing in great disorder. Twenty-five of his dead were left on the field, and 60 more were found next day thrown into a gorge in the hills. He has acknowledged 125 killed and a still larger number wounded. A field officer and 2 captains were found among the dead. Our loss was 1 killed and 20 wounded, 2 of whom have since died. We took 25 prisoners, among whom was a rebel captain. Not more than 900 of my force were actually engaged, and the enemy had not less than 3,500 men.

Special mention would be invidious when almost every officer and man did his duty. A majority of them fought for five hours without cessation. The cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, did not reach me until the next morning, when I started them in pursuit. They followed 6 miles and took a few prisoners, but, their provisions being exhausted, they returned. A few howitzers would have added greatly to our success.

On the 11th I crossed the river and occupied Prestonburg. The place was almost deserted. I took several horses, 18 boxes quartermaster’s stores, and 25 flint-lock muskets. I found the whole community in the vicinity of Prestonburg had been stripped of everything like supplies for an army. I could not find enough forage for my horses for over one day, and so sent them back to Paintsville. I had ordered the first boat that arrived at Paintsville to push on up to Prestonburg, but I found it would be impossible to bring up our tents and supplies until more provisions could be brought up the river. I therefore moved down to this place on the 12th and 13th, bringing my sick and foot-sore men on boats. I am hurrying our supplies up to this point. The marches over these exceedingly bad roads and the night exposures have been borne with great cheerfulness by my men, but they are greatly in need of rest and good care.

I cannot close this communication without making honorable mention of Lieut. J. D. Stubbs, quartermaster of the Forty-second Ohio, and senior quartermaster of the brigade. He has pushed forward the transportation {p.32} of our stores with an energy and determination which have enabled him to overcome very many and great obstacles, and his efforts have contributed greatly to the success of the expedition and the health and comfort of my command.

In a subsequent report I will communicate some facts relative to my command and also in regard to the situation of the country through which the enemy has been operating.

Very truly, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Camp Buell, Paintsville, Ky., January 17, 1862.

DEAR SIR: In my last report to you reasons were given why I did not move forward to Prestonburg with my whole force.

In this I desire to submit some further facts relative to the condition of my command and the situation of the country in which the enemy has been operating. The Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio Regiments are in good condition, considering the hard service they have rendered. The Fourteenth Kentucky is composed of excellent material, but is in a wretched state of discipline. Very few of its members have been drilled in the school of the soldier, much less that of the company and battalion. It can be considered but little better than a well-disposed, Union-loving mob, which, if its scattered fragments can be gathered up, may be converted into a very serviceable regiment.

The Twenty-second Kentucky I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing together. Three companies (200 men) joined me just in time to aid in the fight at Middle Creek. The remnant, about the same number, I have left at Louisa to guard our stores. I shall hope to get them here soon. From what I have seen I am encouraged to hope they are in a tolerably good state of discipline.

The six companies (300) of the First Kentucky Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, have been very hard-worked, and have a sick list of 207 men, as reported to me by their surgeon. A large number referred to refused to come into the mountains, and many that started deserted by the road.

Colonel Letcher is an admirable gentleman, but a more demoralized, discouraged body of men I have never seen. Major McLaughlin’s squadron of cavalry are in a better state of discipline, and a few weeks of drill will make them quite serviceable. I shall do what I can to better the condition of the brigade as opportunity offers. I venture to suggest that the removal of Colonel Letcher’s detachment of cavalry and the supplying of its place by another in better condition Would be very serviceable both to Colonel Wolford’s command and to this brigade.

From the best information I can obtain the upper part of the Sandy Valley is almost deserted. The expedition of General Nelson, followed by Marshall’s, has swept away almost everything on which an army could subsist. Indeed, the late re-enforcements which joined Marshall’s army came from the Gap by way of the Kentucky River, because they could find neither food nor forage between Piketon and Prestonburg. On the day following the fight I sent my cavalry back to this place, because I could not find forage for even a single day.


The enemy retreated after the battle to the Forks of Beaver Creek, 20 miles southwest of Prestonburg, and seems to be making his way towards the valley of the Kentucky River. Our prisoners say he intends to winter at Whitesburg or join the rebel forces towards the Cumberland Gap. The uncertainty of transportation by the river and the impossibility of finding subsistence for my force at Prestonburg or Piketon seem to me to indicate this as the most eligible place for winter quarters.

For the last five days no boats have been able to come up the river in consequence of the exceeding high waters, while they have been kept from coming up a much longer time since I arrived in the valley in consequence of low water.

I respectfully solicit instructions in regard to my future movements.

Very truly, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Paintsville, Ky., January 10, 1862.

Citizens of the Sandy Valley:

I have come among you to restore the honor of the Union, and to bring back the old banner which you all once loved, but which by the machinations of evil men and by mutual misunderstandings has been dishonored among you. To those who are in arms against the Federal Government I offer only the alternative of battle or unconditional surrender. But to those who have taken no part in this war, who are in no way aiding or abetting the enemies of the Union-even to those who hold sentiments averse to the Union, but yet give no aid and comfort to its enemies-I offer the full protection of the Government, both in their persons and property.

Let those who have been seduced away from the love of their country to follow after and aid the destroyers of our peace lay down their arms return to their homes, bear true allegiance to the Federal Government, and they shall also enjoy like protection. The Army of the Union wages no war of plunder, but comes to bring back the prosperity of peace. Let all peace-loving citizens who have fled from their homes return and resume again the pursuits of peace and industry. If citizens have suffered from any outrages by the soldiers under my command I invite them to make known their complaints to me, and their wrongs shall be redressed and the offenders punished. I expect the friends of the Union in this valley to banish from among them all private feuds, and let a liberal-minded love of country direct their conduct towards those who have been so sadly estranged and misguided. Hoping that these days of turbulence may soon be ended and the better days of the Republic soon return, I am, very respectfully,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Camp Buell, Paintsville, Ky., January 30, 1862.

SIR: On the 24th instant I sent out two detachments, one of 150 infantry, which has just returned from the headwaters of Little Sandy, {p.34} where it dispersed two companies of rebels, who were engaged in plundering; the other (110 cavalry) proceeded to the head of John’s Creek and thence to Piketon. Both expeditions have terminated successfully. Ten prisoners were taken and a number of horses. There is now no enemy nearer than Whitesburg, where Marshall is encamped with the remnant of his brigade. His two Virginia regiments went home soon after the battle, and over 40 deserters have voluntarily given themselves up to me. I shall immediately move forward.

Very respectfully,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


CAMP BUELL, Paintsville, January 30, 1862.

DEAR SIR: Since the date of my last report (January 17) we have had the heaviest and longest-continued rains that have been known in this valley for many years. The roads, which were very bad before, have been ruined, and it will require a great amount of labor to render them again passable for wagons.

For nearly ten days the river was so high that boats could not run up, in consequence of the overhanging trees almost meeting in the middle of the stream. It is now at a good stage, and we are getting our supplies in abundance.

I have obtained reliable information of the late operations of the enemy. Immediately after the battle of Middle Creek he retreated 20 miles, to Beaver Creek, at which place his brigade organization seemed almost to have dissolved. A re-enforcement of one infantry regiment and a battery of artillery from Virginia, which was within two days’ march, hearing of Marshall’s flight, turned back and retired through the Pound Gap. The two Virginia regiments, under Colonels Trigg and Moore, left him at Beaver Creek, and went back to Virginia by the same route. I had prepared an expedition to move up the river by boats and get above his camp on Beaver, when I learned the remnant of his brigade had gone to Whitesburg, though his Kentucky regiments were decimated by desertions. One squad of 42 threw down their guns and deserted in a body. I am every day discharging on parole numbers of deserters, who voluntarily give themselves up.

A few days since I sent a detachment of 110 mounted men to Piketon, who dispersed a marauding band and captured several leading and active rebels, whom I have sent to Newport Barracks. In the pursuit Judge Cecil, of Piketon, was killed, and a Dr. Emmet severely wounded.

About one week since I learned that a predatory band of 150 men had gone out from Marshall’s brigade a short time before his flight, and were encamped among the cliffs of Little Sandy, where they were raising recruits and committing depredations upon the property of citizens. I sent a party of 150 men, who dispersed them, taking a number of prisoners and horses. I believe there now is no enemy in Eastern Kentucky nearer to me than Whitesburg.

In my last report I asked for instructions in regard to my future movements. I have not yet received them. I have, however, ventured to order one regiment to move forward to Piketon, to watch the enemy and protect the border until I receive further instructions.


Hoping that I may be permitted to pass the gates of the mountains and strike at the great rebel railroad, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, George’s Creek, December 28, 1861.

Col. JONATHAN CRANOR, Commanding Fortieth Ohio Volunteers:

DEAR SIR: We now have reached a point from which we can begin to act in concert. I have advanced to within 18 miles of the enemy, who has just retired to a point 2 or 3 miles back of Paintsville, where he seems to be fortifying. He has two full regiments, under Humphrey Marshall, a brigadier-general in the rebel army, and an irregular force of local rebels, which makes their force about 2,500 men. They have four small guns, probably 6-pounders, and a considerable part of their force is cavalry. They seemed to be somewhat surprised, and about 300 came in from West Liberty a day or two since in some confusion, which leads me to suspect that they have heard from your scouts. My information is of such a character as to induce me to believe it is reliable.

The plan of our joint operations will be understood from the accompanying map.* My messenger will reach you on Sunday morning. You will at once take up your line of march toward Prestonburg, by the way of Hazel Green and Burning Spring. Send a sufficiently strong force by way of West Liberty and Licking Station to protect your flank, and hold itself in readiness either to join you from the latter place or to proceed directly to Paintsville, according to the necessities of the case. You will advance with the greatest dispatch to Prestonburg, and if the enemy continues to hold his present position, 9 miles north of Prestonburg, as indicated on the inclosed map, you will advance toward him along the road from Prestonburg, to attack him in the rear or cut off his retreat, while my force attacks him from the Paintsville road. I shall hope you will be able to reach Prestonburg by Wednesday or Thursday. I shall leave this point on Monday; shall advance by easy marches; shall endeavor to keep his attention directed this way, and shall hope to offer him battle on Thursday or Friday. Our hope of success depends upon the celerity, promptness, and unity of our movements. Not having heard from you, I am left in some doubt of your being able to carry out the part of the programme assigned to you. There may also be enemies on your route that I do not know of. Make a full report of your situation to me by the express rider who delivers this, and he will return your answer to me in time to make any change in the plan which may be necessary. The opportunity is now before us, and I shall expect every effort will be made to improve it. The messenger will report to you verbally our strength and condition.

Very respectfully, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

P. S. We shall be able to communicate with each other at several points on your route.

* Not found.



Col. JONATHAN CRANOR, Commanding Fortieth Ohio Volunteers:

DEAR SIR: My messenger, who was sent to you, did not reach me till Wednesday evening. Fearing he had been captured, I halted at the end of one day’s march, and dispatched another, who met the first one 18 miles on the way, and returned with him. I then moved on to this place, and have this evening succeeded in getting my trains here, over almost impassable roads. From what I have learned of the country through which you are to pass I am quite sure you cannot have made more than half or two-thirds the distance to Prestonburg. I send a messenger to apprise you of the present posture of the enemy and of my force.

The main body of his force is encamped on Hagar’s farm, about 3 miles from Paintsville, on the road leading to Prestonburg. He has a force of from 300 to 400 cavalry encamped at the mouth of Jennie’s Creek, 2 miles above Paintsville, on Paint Creek.

It is rumored that he has re-enforcements coming in from Virginia by way of Piketon. This is only a rumor, to which I do not give much credit, but which you will need to inquire into.

The tardiness with which my Kentucky forces are coming up, together with the ascertained character of the roads over which you are to pass, leads me to delay the time of our attack. You will advance as rapidly as possible, but with great caution as you approach the vicinity of the enemy. I shall probably be at the mouth of Jennie’s Creek on Monday night.

We must immediately open and maintain a line of safe communication between our two columns. Let me hear from you very often.

Very truly, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.



Capt. P. BUNKER, Commanding Post, Louisa, Ky.:

DEAR SIR: Your report of yesterday, containing an intercepted letter of Dr. Shelton, is just received.* I am very much gratified with the intelligence that you have killed or disabled Smith and captured some of his associates. Send away all such men as fast as possible. You are doing good service in your present position, as the enemy is evidently anxious to outflank me and, if possible, cut off my supplies. Make frequent reports of your operations and give me any information you may obtain which will forward the success of our expedition. I sent you full orders a few days since, which I hope have reached you before this.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

* Not found.




Brig. Gen. J. D. Cox, Commanding Division of Kanawha:

DEAR SIR: I am now within 5 miles of Paintsville. The main force of the enemy is entrenched on two hills, 3 miles back of the town, on the road to Prestonburg. Five hundred of his cavalry are encamped at the mouth of Jennie’s Creek, 2 miles west of Paintsville. We are skirmishing with his scouts daily. He has lately been re-enforced by 400 of Jenkins’ cavalry and a few hundred men who were driven in from West Liberty by the Fortieth Ohio, which is advancing toward Prestonburg. My Kentucky forces are very slow in coming up, and I have but 1,300 men here, though I expect 500 of the Twenty-second Kentucky to reach me in a few days. I am also exceedingly glad to hear that Colonel Bolles, of your department, is coming with 500 cavalry to join me. For this I am under great obligations to you.

By examining the position of our own and the enemy’s forces, I believe if the force which you have sent to Logan County could be sent westward, and act in concert with our forces here, the enemy’s retreat could be completely Cut off, and his whole army, which now amounts to from 4,000 to 5,000, could be captured. I have learned that there is a feasible route from Logan County to the Big Sandy down the valley of John’s Creek, or, in case the enemy should retreat, your column could head him off on his route from Prestonburg to Piketon.

If it is consistent with the interests of your command, I hope you will allow that column to act in concert with me.

Very truly,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.



Capt. JACOB HEATON, Acting Assistant Commissary Subsistence:

DEAR SIR: My messenger has just returned, bringing your dispatches.* I am exceedingly grateful for the very prompt and energetic manner in which you have pushed our interests in regard to re-enforcements. It took nearly two days for us to get our own train over the mountains to this place, 3 miles from our former camp. Here I have waited two days to hear from our re-enforcements. We are now within 5 miles of Paintsville and 6 1/2 miles from the mouth of Jennie’s Creek, where the rebel cavalry are encamped. We have had two slight skirmishes with their pickets within the last twenty-four hours. They have been re-enforced within the last few days, and I have some reason to believe that Jenkins has joined them with 400 of his men.

I am exceedingly anxious to reach the river, where we can get stores by boat, and also I desire to occupy the mouth of Jennie’s Creek. I expect to move to-morrow, and if Colonel Bolles’ cavalry reaches me I shall be able to accomplish both these purposes soon.

From a messenger just arrived I learn that part of Colonel Lindsey’s force has reached Louisa, and part of the rest will be there this evening. Now the river has so raised that I think his regiment can be taken up {p.38} the river to the mouth of Muddy Branch, a little below the mouth of Paint Creek; at any rate, they can be taken to the mouth of George’s Creek. I hope you have succeeded in getting Colonel Lightburn’s regiment to come up and co-operate with us. The enemy is rallying for a desperate effort, and the expedition is growing up to proportions that I did not at first expect, but if our friends come up to the work our prospect is very good. I have sent by the messenger who bears this a dispatch to General Cox, asking him to move his expedition to Logan Court-House westward, and help cut off the enemy’s retreat. Please send forward the dispatch.**


Very truly, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

* Not found.

** Some matter of detail omitted.



Maj. J. J. HOFFMAN, Commanding Squadron Second Virginia Cavalry:

DEAR SIR: Your messenger has just arrived (11 o’clock p.m.) with your letter, inclosing a letter from Colonel Bolles.* I can answer your inquiries in no better way than to state my own and the enemy’s positions, which you will understand from the inclosed maps.*

The main body of the rebel force is occupying a fortified hill 3 miles back of Paintsville, on the road leading to Prestonburg. At the mouth of Jennie’s Creek, 4 or 5 miles from the main camp, there are from 400 to 500 rebel cavalry encamped. They are actively engaged in arresting Union men and plundering Union property. Our scouts have had two or three skirmishes with them within the last two days. I have only two companies (175) of cavalry, and they have not yet obtained their full outfit, and have had but little drill. I cannot rely upon them for much more than scout duty.

I am exceedingly glad to hear that Colonel Bolles’ command is on the way to assist me; and it is my purpose to move on toward Paintsville, via the month of Muddy Branch, to-morrow, and send Colonel Bolles, in connection with my squadron of cavalry, to attack the rebel cavalry, and cut them off or drive them back as soon as his force arrives. I was greatly in hopes that he would reach here to-morrow, and advance upon the enemy at the same time that my column moves down another route to occupy Paintsville. I hope you will find it consistent with your orders from superior officers in your department to join me at once, and I hope Colonel Bolles will come on as soon as possible. I am informed that he can pass around by the headwaters of the Blaine and reach this point as soon as he could by the way of Louisa. He can take that route with safety.

By the united efforts of all our forces I have strong hopes that we may capture the whole army under General Marshall.

Hoping to see you soon, I am, dear sir, very respectfully yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

* Not found.



HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE, Mouth of Muddy Branch, January 6, 1862.

Major MCLAUGHLIN, Commanding Squadron Cavalry:

DEAR SIR: Information has just been received that the enemy has broken up his camp and retreated precipitately. It is of the utmost importance that we know the truth of this report, and, if true, that we know the direction he has taken. You will therefore send forthwith a part of your command, under a discreet officer, who shall proceed to Jennie’s Creek and learn whether the enemy is still there, and, if so, whether he has been re-enforced. If he has left, try to discover the route he has taken. I leave the number subject to your discretion, but would suggest 40 or 50. I shall expect a report from you at an early hour in the morning. A messenger from George’s Creek tells me that Colonel Bolles will not reach you till to-morrow noon.

Very truly, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.



Lieut. Col. J. R. BROWN, Fourteenth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers:

SIR: You are ordered to take command of a detachment of 130 men, with a complement of company officers, and start to-morrow morning, at as early an hour as practicable, to the cliffs of Little Sandy. The object of your expedition is to capture or disperse a body of the enemy who are occupying that vicinity and are committing depredations upon the property of citizens. If in your judgment the success of your enterprise demands it, you are authorized to detach a commissioned officer and a squad of men to guard such passes as the enemy would be likely to escape through.

You are hereby empowered to arrest and bring to these headquarters all persons who are aiding or abetting the rebellion, and who in your judgment are dangerous to the Union cause. I have ordered the quartermaster of the Fourteenth Kentucky to send with you a commissary sergeant, who will provide by purchase such provisions as the forces under your command are entitled to by law, but are unable to take with them. Your command will take three days’ cooked rations in their haversacks, and will carry nothing in their knapsacks but their blankets. Each man must have 30 rounds of ammunition.

I shall expect you to return at the end of five days. If the success of your expedition requires it, you are authorized to extend the time to six days, but no longer, without orders from me.

Very truly, yours,

J. A. GARFIELD, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.



No. 3.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall C. S. Army, commanding brigade, with instructions from War Department.


GENERAL: I had the pleasure to receive your favor of the 10th instant* on last evening. In reply permit me to express my gratification that the misapprehension by my friend Major-General Crittenden of the extent of his jurisdiction and your prompt rectification of what seemed to circumscribe vastly my sphere of proposed usefulness have left me nothing to complain of in regard to the matter and nothing to regret, except the hope it seems to have inspired Colonel Stuart’s regiment with, that the field of its operations would be one more agreeable than the mountains.

I have been compelled to arrest Colonel Moore, of the regiment from Virginia, to be called the Twenty-eighth when organized, and I have directed him to remain at Abingdon (his home) until you order a court to try his case. I shall hereafter forward the charges and specifications, if I shall consider it absolutely essential to press the matter to a hearing. For the present I merely remark that I have been trying to move his command forward to Prestonburg since the 6th day of November. I telegraphed to him from Wytheville at that time, directing him to move. I saw him there on the 9th of November, and explained to him the apprehensions I entertained for Colonel Williams’ safety; urged him to move his regiment. I then gave him written orders to move immediately on receiving arms and ammunition. I left Wytheville in person and went forward to the Richlands, in Tazewell (62 miles), crossed over to a point only 20 miles back of Abingdon, and thence to this place. From Pound Gap I urged Colonel Moore to come forward with his command. I wrote to him, demanding some explanation of his conduct. He rendered it and set a day to start, but he did not start at the time appointed; and when he did start, he only moved 3 or 4 or 5 miles per day, and finally halted between Abingdon and Clinch River, on the ground that he had promised his men not to move them across Clinch River until their wages were paid. Officers of this command came and went by his column; some of them made speeches to Colonel Moore’s men. I bore all this in silence, but disapprovingly. The command was finally brought forward to the other side of Cumberland Mountain last Saturday (eight days ago), and there it halted again, and the colonel sent me a message that he was doing all he could to get forward, but his men would not come, and he had to go back after some he had permitted to go home to prepare wood for the winter for their families, &c., and expected to be detained for some seven or eight days, but would do his best; and I heard that the command was in a terrible condition, so far as discipline is concerned; and this last news and message seemed to leave me no alternative but to try to bring the command forward under the charge of the lieutenant-colonel or the major. Therefore I ordered Colonel Moore in arrest, and directed him to return to his home until you could order an investigation of his case. My sole object is to get his men into the field; I don’t believe he ever will. I can’t say that he does not desire to do so, but it is plain that if he keeps his own illegal promises to his soldiers at the expense of peremptory orders from his superior officer, {p.41} and at the risk of others whose safety might be dependent on his movements, he is a very unsafe depositary of military trust; and if he wants to do right, yet can’t command his men to march after more than thirty days of experiment he should yield place to somebody who can.

I make this explanation to you because I am aware I ought to send forward charge and specification now, but I have no desire to push Colonel Moore into any place from which he cannot recover, and I want to leave myself a little room to observe whether the arrest alone will not answer without a trial.

I am here, 33 miles above Louisa and about 60 miles from the Ohio River. Below me are several large towns: Louisa, 900 population; Catlettsburg, 1 000, at the mouth of the Sandy. Four miles below Catlettsburg is Ashland, 1,200 population; 20 miles below is Greenupsburg; at 7 miles below, on the Ohio side, is Ironton, with 4,500 population, and this is the terminus of a railroad running to the interior of Ohio. At 25 miles from Catlettsburg and directly back of Ashland is Grayson, the county site of Carter County, Kentucky, with a few hundred population. The whole range is supported mainly by working coal and iron, and the capital employed is mainly belonging to Ohio men. The population is generally against the South. I have taken position here, and have arrested one man within 10 miles of Louisa, the only arrest I have sanctioned. I sent him to the post at Pound Gap, to be detained there until further orders. He ought to have been shot; he is a native of Tennessee, and I found him with an Enfield rifle in hand, a Lincoln uniform on his back, orders in his pockets, and the proof was positive that he was in company when two Southern-rights men were killed by Lincoln bands, and when a store was robbed, and that he was here with Nelson’s command, vaporing through these streets, conducting himself towards old, respectable, and defenseless females in the most brutal and insolent manner; in one instance making an old lady named Preston (the wife of a very respectable old man whom they bailed at $25,000) cook for a mess of Irish and Dutch soldiers for a whole week in her own house. I felt like having him shot, but thought imprisonment was probably the best course to take with him.

The President has released, unfortunately, at least three very bad men, whom Colonel Williams sent to Richmond before my arrival on this frontier. I have a battalion of those special-service men in Pound Gap, and I will send my prisoners there until they have been reported at Richmond. My policy is conciliatory to the people, and I think is having a good effect, but when I arrest a man against whom the proof is plain and whose guilt is startling, I shall secure him so certainly that nothing but superior authority to mine can relieve him. I have with me here Trigg’s and part of Williams’ regiment, and Jeffress’ battery of four pieces, and 30 mounted men; in all about 1,100 men. The mounted battalion, about 400 men, is at Licking Station, 16 miles from this place covering the roads which lead in from the direction from Lexington and Paris. My scouts report about 1,200 men at Catlettsburg and 400 of Rosecrans’ cavalry at Louisa. They have made no demonstration in this direction as yet. Zeigler’s regiment is at Ceredo, 3 miles above Catlettsburg.

Knowing that Colonel Stuart has not left Abingdon, and that Moore has not crossed the Cumberland, I am somewhat embarrassed about putting anything into motion which is not strictly defensive. However, I sent forward a detachment of mounted men as far as West Liberty, in Morgan County, and covered the march of about 50 unarmed recruits to {p.42} my camp, collecting at the same time a drove of about 130 hogs, and making contracts for about 30,000 weight of bacon for my command.

The Union men stampeded in every direction, for it was reported that I had an army pouring from the hills and numbering at least 10,000. Some of my men were thrown out in advance of West Liberty, and actually went down to Mount Sterling, within 20 miles of Paris. The Union men were absconding even from Mount Sterling. I formed a military plan thereupon, which I should have about 1,500 cavalry to execute, and it is to sweep down on the railroad from Lexington to Cincinnati and destroy it. I could have done it before this time if I had 1,000 cavalry. I can do it before a month passes if I have the number mentioned, and my opinion is that your column would find your adversary in retreat directly or so detaching force to assail me that you could march directly on Louisville. I think I shall be able, as it is, to employ some 6,000 or 8,000 of them, and can occasionally whip them when circumstances favor me.

Very respectfully, &c.,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General, &c.


* See” Correspondence, etc.-Confederate,” post.



GENERAL: I wrote you a few days ago when I supposed I should be engaged with the enemy during the day. Word was sent to my headquarters, just before day on Christmas morning, that the enemy was firing on Colonel Williams’ pickets, but this proved a false alarm. I have seen no enemy as yet, though I hear daily reports of the manner in which he is surrounding me. I suppose it is true that there is to be an effort to circumvent and to destroy this column, but I take great pleasure in declaring to you that I am cheered by the hope that it will grow so strong with the people as to foil our enemies. Since my last, Colonel Moore has actually arrived at my camp with a battalion of about 450 men. He passed the courier who conveyed my order of arrest, and as he had come I determined not to press it upon him; better to make out fair with what I have than to commence with a court-martial.

I take pleasure in informing the Department that the business of recruiting is now going on elegantly. I have received for the last three days new recruits from the interior of Kentucky at the rate of 60 per day, and my information is that a great number will join me. May I beg the Department to send me without delay arms to place in their hands. It is now for the Department to settle the question of raising an army in Kentucky by its answer to this request. I have informed you that the people have been disarmed by the Unionists, and therefore they cannot bring arms out here. I have adopted this plan: I arm about 20 and send in after the recruits, and this armed party gathers the boys and places arms in their hands, and then the whole march to me. None have been attacked as yet. I have placed all who have yet come in Colonel Williams’ regiment, so as to fill it. That regiment now has full 1,000 men in the field. I have commenced the formation of the second regiment of infantry, and I think from present appearances that I shall have a second regiment formed in a short time, and as the matter progresses and the volume increases it will accelerate in movement, unless it shall appear that there are no arms and ammunition to distribute. I am aware {p.43} of the existing law. I have so far placed in the hands of the men the arms I received from Governor Letcher. I transferred the Belgian rifles to the men who were the best drilled, and have old flint-lock muskets to place in other hands, but these will soon be exhausted. You ought to have other arms furnished, and let me issue them to the men who will enlist for the year. No man comes for an enlistment for a longer period, but I believe nearly all will serve again after this term is out should the war continue.

I send you inclosed a slip from one of my friends at Paris.* It is not signed, lest it might expose him if it fell into the hands of the enemy, but it is from a gentleman named Richard Lindsay, of Bourbon, and who is well posted. It will give you an idea of the feeling of the people who are under the rod of the oppressors, but who are powerless because disarmed. I must have arms, and it is useless to go in until I have them. My men here are anxious to march for the interior as we are, but I know that would be madness. I must have a mounted force raised in some way; must then dash forward with it, break up the railroad from Cincinnati to Lexington, deploy it as foragers through the country, and then follow with my infantry and artillery, and organize my force as I go. This is my plan in brief. When I do go, I must have arms to give to those who flock to my standard, otherwise they can but encumber me. My idea has always been to have an army effective when I reached my own section, and there its operations could be combined with the operations of other corps, under the general control of General A. S. Johnston, and to be directed by him, I hope, upon Cincinnati and the enemy’s country.

I learn from a well-informed person that three regiments from Ohio were seen to pass Maysville a few days ago en voyage for the mouth of the Sandy, and that it was said three others were coming down from Wheeling or Pittsburgh. I shall not be surprised to be pressed upon by columns of from 6,000 to 10,000 men in the aggregate.

I estimate my own force this morning as equal to 3,000. Say, Williams, 1,000; Trigg, 550; Moore, 450; mounted battalion, 400; battery of four pieces, equal 600 men-total, 3,000.

I regret that Colonel Stuart has not moved from Abingdon yet. I learn that both officers and soldiers of that regiment are very averse to this service, and I suggest that in such mood they will be of very little service. I have no inclination to command men who pick soft places, and I would prefer regiments that are willing to sacrifice comfort to the cause they serve. It is not with me the best sign to know that a regiment loiters on the way-side when its absence endangers the safety and efficiency of a whole command. I would be willing, so far as I am concerned, to exchange Colonel Stuart’s regiment for any other the Department may think proper to send me, but I hope some one will be sent without delay. Really, I think that if affairs in East Tennessee will admit of it, this column would be rendered very potent by the deployment of the force now there upon this line as a base. To strengthen me disturbs Cincinnati awfully; they call on General Buell at once for help, and draw away from Nashville and Bowling Green. It is the application of a counter-irritant to their tender spot instead of to ours. It has the advantage of enabling me to move forward where they are exposed, and they will be compelled to let me bring the population to our side and arm it in their rear, or detach enough from their main body to maneuver with me.


My present purpose is to remain here until I hear from you in response to these views. If I retreat, I shall retreat directly upon the interior of Kentucky, so as to draw the enemy away from his facilities of water transportation and to fall myself into the midst of friendly populations. I regard West Liberty, in Morgan County, as the great center of Eastern Kentucky, and shall make it my main depot hereafter when I do move. It is 75 miles from Maysville, 76 miles from the mouth of the Sandy, 65 miles from Irvine and 78 miles from Pound Gap, and 70 miles from Paris. If you a put the center at West Liberty and describe the circle, you will see it passes nearly through all the points mentioned. The distances I give axe by the roads.

I hear that changes of popular opinion very favorable to us are going on between this and the mouth of the Sandy. Indeed, prominent men have made overtures to me indirectly, which I shall try and improve into a well-cemented friendship. Nor am I without some hope that the Kentucky regiments below me in the enemy’s lines will become disaffected to their cause; but these matters, general, have not taken such shape as yet as to authorize me to speak of them more definitely now.

I have directed civic administration to be instituted in the counties along this frontier upon the basis of allegiance to the Confederate States. This must form an issue at once or will transfer the people, for it is impossible that when magistrates, constables, sheriffs, clerks, recorders, and judges are sworn in under the provisional government and revenues are collected by our officers another system can occupy the same space at the same time.

I sent to Pound Gap as a prisoner one Dr. Chilton, and have him there in custody. He ought to have been shot, for he is one of the very worst men in this country and has been a scourge to our friends. I propose to send my prisoners to Pound Gap, where the battalion stationed there can easily guard them, and the winds of the Cumberland Heights can ventilate them properly. I have a log house erected there for their especial accommodation. Mr. Chilton is the only tenant a’s yet. Mr. Diltz would have been better there, I fear, than at large. One Mr. Filson (a deputy United States marshal) ventured to Paintsville yesterday, and I had him arrested last night, but have not seen him yet. He is represented as bold and sagacious, and is probably here as a spy from the interior. I shall look to his case after daybreak. I am gratified to inform you that my topography of this country promises to be so minute as to be very valuable to the Department, as it has been already to me.

The line of couriers established by me works very well, arriving regularly Wednesdays and Saturdays from Abingdon and departing next day. It runs along my line of transportation, and serves to warn me of any interruption between this and my point of supply. In an emergency, by telegraphing to Abingdon, you can express to me from Richmond in thirty hours.

I shall have to determine for myself the question of subsistence referred to you from Jeffersonville, Va., in November, unless I shall be favored with a speedy reply.

I am, your obedient servant,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector-General.

* Not found.



CAMP HAGAR, Three Miles from Paintsville, Johnson Co., Ky., Jan. 3, 1862.

GENERAL: I am yet in camp at the same point from which my last was dated, but in much closer proximity to the enemy. I suppose that I shall certainly be engaged to-day or to-morrow, for if he does not, I will. The force in front of me numbers some 4,000 as nearly as I can ascertain it, and I have had their encampments inspected. They have Garfield’s Ohio regiment, from Mansfield, Ohio, which is 1,000 strong; it passed Catlettsburg 1,020 strong; a regiment from Parkersburg, Va., Laban T. Moores Kentucky regiment, and Lindsey’s Kentucky regiment, as nearly as I can learn the commanders, McLaughlin’s Ohio cavalry, 200 strong, and what artillery I cannot learn. They have intrenched at Peach Orchard, 17 miles below this place, but Garfield and Moore and their cavalry have advanced to Sycamore Creek, which is 7 miles from Paintsville. Their reserve was expected to come up last night and I suppose they will advance to-day on Paintsville. If they do not, I will make a close reconnaissance in force of them to-morrow myself. I would await them in position (for I, too, have intrenched), but there is a heavy force advanced from Mount Sterling, which approaches me on the other side, consisting of Cranor’s Ohio regiment, 750 strong Las it passed Paris), and another regiment, supposed to be Mundy’s Kentucky regiment, with 500 cavalry and a battery; say, in all, 2,500 men. I must retreat or fight them before they combine, and I prefer the latter.

Since my last, Colonel Moore has arrived with about 330 men. He did not receive my order of arrest, and as he bad actually come up I determined to try him again, and so pretermitted the arrest altogether. Colonel Stuart’s [regiment] is still at Abingdon-himself sick at Richmond-the regiment having only about 200 fit for duty, and these trifling with the question of transportation. I have sent the most positive orders for them to march with such transportation as they can get, but to march at once, and they have received the like order direct from the Department of War, “to march what they have, if it is but ten.”

I have no forms upon which to make up the monthly brigade report and have just called on my adjutant-general for it. I hope to forward it by the next courier, and shall then be able, I hope, to report my condition after a fight, as I now do, in abstract, before it:

Trigg’s regiment, Fifty-fourth Virginia669
Moore’s regiment, Twenty-ninth Virginia330
William’s regiment, Sixth Kentucky (nine companies)756
Simms’ mounted battalion375
Worsham’s company (Williams’ regiment)50
Jeffress’ battery (four pieces)60

But these are not all fit for duty; measles and mumps have played sad work among the men. The field report of yesterday shows noncommissioned officers and men present and fit for duty:

Trigg’s regiment578
Williams’ regiment594
Mounted battalion360
Jeffress’ battery58
Moore’s regiment327
Add Worsham’s company (at Petersburg) 50

Thus you see the force I command, which I supposed when I came here would be 5,000 to commence on. This return is accurate as exhibiting the actual strength, but many of Colonel Williams’ men are undrilled; some of the companies have not been in camp more than a week. I flatter myself the enemy is as green as my force. They have blocked up the roads and stopped my chance of recruits again. If I can I will open them, and if I retreat I shall retreat upon Paris and rouse the country as I go or fall in the effort, for I know that if I am driven over the mountains again our cause in Kentucky is lost.

Since my last, our pickets and those of the enemy have come into contact. We took 5 horses and a sergeant and 3 men; they belong to McLaughlin’s squadron. They were well mounted and finely armed-sabers and navy revolvers in sword belt, and Sharp’s breech-loading carbine rifled. I put the arms and horses in my mounted battalion, as some of the men were dismounted, and I wished to stimulate them to catch more of the adverse party. They caught the horse of the guide, but not the guide. The picket consisted of about 30, and my party was about 25, under Captain Thomas. He cut off the vedettes of the picket and returned to camp for force to take the whole party, but when he returned they had gone, leaving one or two dragoon hats behind and the horse of their guide indicating on their part a speedy movement. I have the prisoners, and will send them on to Pound Gap by the first opportunity.

The people hereabouts are perfectly terrified or apparently apathetic. I imagine most of them are Unionists, but so ignorant they do not understand the question at issue. I suggest through you to Governor Johnson to send me blank commissions for magistrates, sheriffs, and constables, clerks and county judges, so that civic order may be reinstituted; also to send a commission of circuit judge to Harvey Burns, that courts may be holden at proper times. The people should learn that they belong to the Southern Confederacy, and the State provisional government by its operations should be seen and not merely heard of:

I am, truly, &c.,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.



CAMP AT MARTIN’S MILL ON BEAVER CREEK, Floyd County, Kentucky, January 14, 1862.

GENERAL: When I reported last the enemy was gathering in considerable force to my front and upon my left flank, near Paintsville, in Johnson County. The force in my front advanced to the mouth of Sycamore Creek, 5 miles from my position at Paintsville, and remained in camp there several days. This force was about 4,000 strong. It was stated in the Cincinnati Enquirer of December 28 to consist of five full regiments of infantry, 200 cavalry, and two batteries of field artillery, the whole under Colonel Garfield, of Ohio, acting as chief of brigade.

It was my purpose to wait the attack of this force at Hagar’s farm, near Paintsville, but I intercepted a letter from Colonel Garfield, addressed to Colonel Cranor, commanding the Fortieth Ohio Volunteers, by which I learn that the latter, with a cavalry force of 400 to 500, was advancing from West Liberty upon Prestonburg. My scouts having reported their count of this force at 1,300 at Salyersville, 16 miles upon {p.47} my left, I presumed that the object of the enemy was to mass large forces in my rear while he attacked with superior force in my front.

My determination was at once formed to mask my front with my cavalry battalion, so as to prevent communication between the country people and the enemy, and by a lateral movement to the Prestonburg road, leading to Salyersville, to intercept and fight Colonel Cranor before his arrival at the post he was expected to occupy. I found the roads nearly impassable. With great labor my battery was moved 6 miles, but some of my wagons could not move 4 miles. It was the second day before I passed from the State road leading from Salyersville to Prestonburg.

On January 9 I had sent a detachment to the mill, 1 mile below Prestonburg, near to which I was compelled to draw (to make bread for my men), and the enemy drove them away during the night.

On the morning of the 10th I learned from my pickets that the enemy was passing in force from Abbott’s Creek to Middle Creek, and were apparently pursuing me, the Fortieth Ohio having effected a junction with the rest by passing down Paint Creek. I was on my way to this place because it is the nearest point to my camp of January 8 at which I could get meal to make bread. I permitted my transportation train to move along the road I was traveling, and I halted and formed my command for battle.

The enemy came in sight about 10 a.m. and we engaged about 12 m. He was very slow in making his advance and general dispositions. I send inclosed a sketch of the ground upon which the battle took place,* from which you will see that my battery was at first placed in the gorge of the mouth of the Left Fork of Middle Creek. Williams’ regiment, Moore’s regiment, and part of the mounted battalion, fighting on foot, occupied the spurs and heights upon my right; Trigg’s regiment occupied the height covering the battery; Witcher’s and Holliday’s companies in reserve in rear of the battery; Thomas’ and Clay’s companies, dismounted and armed with Belgian rifles, thrown forward on the opposite side of Middle Creek to the heights commanding the plain of main Middle Creek, and resisted any advance of skirmishers from the opposite heights.

The enemy, having come through a defile to the left of main Middle Creek, first deployed a large force on the heights to his right, then advanced a regiment to the middle of the plain, covered by cavalry, and rested his left and his reserves at the base of the hills, which were manned by my right. Our lines thus rested at an acute angle to each other. He first advanced his cavalry and center, but three discharges of artillery put the cavalry to flight, and if they did anything more during the day it was done on foot. We plainly heard the command to “Force the cavalry forward,” but the cavalry did not make its appearance again. The enemy charged up the points above-the mouth of Spurlock’s Branch three times, but were repulsed with great loss.

In the evening I shifted our smooth-bore 6-pounder, so as to bring it to the summit of the dip in the hill occupied by Trigg’s regiment, and obtained a fair flank fire at the enemy, while occupying a piney point in front of Moore’s regiment. This soon attracted a hot fire upon the gun, but no further damage than the shooting of one of the artillery horses through the head.

After an action which lasted about four hours the enemy withdrew his force, it then being night, and retired down Middle Creek, on the route to Prestonburg, whence, the next day, he retraced his steps to Paintsville.


I submit herewith Colonel Moore’s report, and will send others as soon as the officers make them out. They have been called for, but are not yet prepared. I send Dr. Duke’s report of casualties. I think our loss will amount to 11 killed and 15 wounded; not more.** The loss of the enemy was very severe. I understand he will report 1 killed and 10 or 12 wounded; his usual practice. We suppose his loss to be over 250 killed and about 300 wounded. These are the estimates of the neighbors. We saw his dead borne in numbers from the field, and the embarkation of his wounded was attested by several, who place these estimates upon the number. The field itself bears unerring testimony to his severe loss.

I can only say to you, general, that my troops acted firmly and enthusiastically during the whole fight; and, though the enemy numbered some 5,000 to our 1,500, they were certainly well whipped. If I had had bread for my men (some of whom had had nothing to eat for thirty hours) I should have renewed the action after night; but an enemy greater than the Lincolnites (starvation) summoned me to reach a point where we might obtain food for man and home.

I pursued next day my march to this place, distant from the scene of action some 16 miles, which I accomplished in three days. My scouts informed me the enemy was at the same time returning to the points on the Sandy whence he came to disperse the “rebel force” I have the honor to command.

This is the first mill where I could get bread. I halted here and pitched my camp, perfectly satisfied that unless the enemy shall be strongly re-enforced he will not seek to renew our acquaintance.

In closing this account of my condition here I must let you know that this service cannot be advantageous to the Confederacy as it is now established. My force should be much greater or it should be withdrawn from this frontier altogether. Referring to the map, you will perceive that the Sandy River traverses from Piketon to its mouth about 100 miles, all of which is navigable by small steamers at high stages of water, and is navigable to Louisa at nearly all stages of water, and nearly at all seasons of the year. Emptying into the Ohio directly in front of the rich valley of the Scioto, and with a direct connection with the Ohio River navigation, the line of the Sandy as a military line demands a corps d’armée, simply because you must have a force sufficient to hold the point of its confluence with the Ohio, or your adversary can use the water transportation for his troops and land them in a few miles of your position fresh and ready for action. So he can in a night re-enforce them until he has a number sufficient to assure his success. I have found this objection to the line, and it has therefore been one of my purposes to draw away from the Sandy River and to compel him to use transportation by land and to march his troops over the same kind of roads I travel. This has a tendency to bring us upon a platform of equality.

But, sir, this country will not furnish subsistence for even the troops I now have; therefore we must advance or we must retire. The snow is now upon the ground and the roads nearly impassable. Indeed, the roads are made through very narrow valleys-the water-courses-and frequently these water-courses are so swollen as not to be fordable, yet they cannot be avoided without traversing high and steep mountains, now covered with ice and inaccessible for horses.

My troops now subsist by going to the fields, shucking the corn, {p.49} shelling it, taking it to the mill, grinding the meal, and then taking it to camp. This has been the only way they could be fed. The people of the country will do nothing. They will not assist to gather the corn nor to shell it, nor will they let us have the use of their horses, or anything that is theirs-nothing, either for love or money. They will not enter the army on either side, and seem to be actually terror-stricken. I have tried to shame them into a sense of what was due to themselves and their families, but it is of no use.

The one regiment now commanded by Colonel Williams has been raised in the mountain country, but the limit seems to have been reached, and the fact is those who have not yet taken part, who are poor, will not leave their families to starve in order to fight anybody’s battles on any side.

I am told by the commissaries that this country will be exhausted of all supplies in two or three weeks at furthest. What am I then to do?

If I had a force sufficient to probe the country and press to the foot of the hills in spite of opposition, the problem would be at once solved.

I think that if such force cannot be supplied it would be better to retire this force from the line of the Sandy, and either place the command in winter quarters in some part of the Confederacy where they can be supplied with sufficient food or transfer it to some other theater of the war.

I cannot war against nature. She demands food for men, and if it can only be had by subjecting the men to great exposure and toil, the service cannot be profitable to the Government. There would be some compensation for the wastage of our own force if the enemy were subjected to the same exposure, but men on foot cannot walk as fast as steamers can shift their position.

I regret to say that these facts are apparent to everybody here, and they have produced a decided effect upon the Virginia troops in this column, as you will see by a memorial to me I inclose for your consideration. I have merely replied to this memorial that I did not feel authorized by my orders to go into winter quarters in Virginia, nor did I deem it politic to retire from this section of Kentucky so long as there is a hope of obtaining a force sufficient to advance into the country.

I would add the suggestion, that if the Fifty-fourth Virginia, which is a capital regiment, is to be indulged in the wish expressed through its officers,*** the First Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Taylor, might be sent to its own State, to supply the place of that which retires.

I was inspired with hope that the business of recruiting would go on rapidly from the manifestations made for a few days; but the activity of the enemy seems to have established a surveillance over the interior more strict than ever. I have recruiting parties out in the adjoining counties, but I now receive no new levies from the interior. Unless I can force my way in, they will not be able or willing to come out. I made some suggestions on this head to the President. If they can be indulged, I am of the opinion most important consequences will flow from their immediate adoption, and I shall be enabled by that means to accomplish great good; but if they are not adopted, then I must observe that the wastage of energy and life in this column will not be compensated by any result the force at present under my charge can effect.

I write freely because I feel sincerely. I am willing to expose my own life to any hazard or to undergo any hardship for the cause. My observations you must regard as the views of one who calculates the {p.50} general good which will probably flow from the application of a given force. I am most anxious to redeem Kentucky from the thraldom which now paralyzes her energy and seems to have chilled her courage. I think her own sons should perform the task; but, as she is now one of the Confederate States, her interests become matters of general concern and her laches must be supplied by vigilance from other quarters.

I desire to be informed of the views of the Government as speedily as possible, for I am in a country where I am compelled to subsist upon means which the people in the neighborhood will certainly require for their own support.

I do not think it sound policy to abandon the State or to break up this column if you can possibly re-enforce it, but you are aware, as well as I am, that 1,500 men cannot penetrate far before they must be overpowered and compelled to retreat. I came here to commence with 5,000 men. I have never had 1,800 present and fit for duty. My men are now diseased with measles and mumps, and yet have no hospital accommodations; exposed to snow and wet weather, yet have no overcoats and but few blankets. They do not murmur, but I know they feel the sacrifice they make, and I feel for them.

I hope that at the Department of War, and engagements that press, my wants will not be forgotten, and that you, general, will have a determination formed at once, which shall result either in giving me an effective force for winter operations, according to the plan submitted by me to President Davis, or that you will settle the minds of my Virginia friends who are with me, by letting them go into winter quarters and giving me Kentuckians in their place, or let them know it cannot be done. Please telegraph me to Abingdon on receipt of this.


H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General.

* See p. 51.

** The nominal list shows 9 killed and 14 wounded.

*** See p. 52.




CAMP ON MIDDLE CREEK, Ky., January 9, 1862.

As officers of your brigade, who have willingly rendered the promptest obedience to your orders, in no manner desiring to dictate to you as our superior officer, but feeling, with you, the deepest interest in the success of your command, we nevertheless feel constrained to make known to you, in the most respectful manner, our views and wishes, and solicit your earnest attention to them. We started from Virginia with but part of our men, leaving more than 200 sick, and since the first day’s march we have left all along the way our sick and disabled soldiers. The men now doing duty-and doing it without a murmur-have been necessarily subjected to hardships, exposure, and the deprivation of regular and adequate supplies of food, which are every day exhausting their energies and breaking down their health. Besides the ordinary inflammatory diseases incident to a winter campaign, fully one-half our men have been for more than a week suffering from dysentery and diarrhea. These men are first-rate soldiers, whose term of enlistment does not expire until next fall, and whose strength and energies should be preserved for the more active and efficient duties of the coming summer and fall; but we feel much more interested in the preservation of their health as our neighbors and friends who have at our solicitation entered into the service, and whose friends and families look tons for their safety and preservation. While we would be willing to make any sacrifice to advance our cause, we feel satisfied that we can accomplish no good result this winter. The people among whom we have come have not appreciated our cause to the extent of quitting their homes to unite with us, and we are now in midwinter, in a country poorly provided with the means of subsistence, exposed to an enemy more than double or treble our number, with roads which, if not now entirely impassable, must shortly become blocked up with snow and ice. This condition of things must necessarily increase the exposure of our men and render their supplies of food more uncertain, and thus every day aggravate the causes which are now wasting their energies and strength.

We do therefore most earnestly and respectfully solicit you to order our regiment to such point that we can go into winter quarters without the apprehension of being harassed by our enemies; where supplies can be procured and conveyed without the chance of failure, and the health and lives of our men can be preserved and protected.

With due deference to your judgment, we suggest some point in Virginia or Tennessee, contiguous to a line of railroad, where we can, during the winter, be subject to your orders, and from which we can move out in the spring strong, healthy, and able to do efficient service in the cause we all have so much at heart.

Most respectfully submitted.

BURWELL AKERS, W. J. JORDAN, Captain Company I. Captain Company F. GEORGE H. TURMAN, A. DICKERSON, Captain Company G. Captain Company A. JACKSON GODBEY, H. SLUSHER, Captain Company B. Captain Company D. JNO. J. WADE, JAS. C. TAYLOR, Captain Company E. Captain Company C. JNO. S. DEYERLE, S. H. GRIFFITH, Captain Company K. Captain Company H.

Brig. Gen. HUMPHREY MARSHALL, Commanding First Brigade, Army of Eastern Kentucky.


MARTIN’S MILL, FLOYD COUNTY, KY., January 20, 1862.

GENERAL: It seems the enemy and I have parted company for the present, he having fallen back to Paintsville and Louisa, I having come to this place for food, which is to be obtained in very limited supply.

I have commenced and will execute a movement with the view of subsisting my command and of offering another front and line to the enemy, on which we shall both have marching to do, and on which he will be compelled to draw off from his water transportation. It is the occupation of the line of the Kentucky River above the three forks of that stream. With this view, I have sent Colonel Trigg, with the Fifty-fourth Virginia and Jeffress’ battery, to the head of Rock House Creek, to descend that stream to the Kentucky at Brashearsville-Moore and a part of Williams’ regiment to Carr’s Fork of the Kentuck, to descend that fork; Colonel Williams, with the other battalion of his regiment and 200 mounted men, up Jones’ Fork to Beaver Creek, with orders to descend Troublesome Creek, pass through Breathitt County, and to ascend the Kentucky and join me at Hazard, in the county of Perry, where I propose to concentrate my whole force, and to be ready to receive any re-enforcements it may be in your power to send or to receive such instructions as the Department may choose to give.

The force under my command is in bad condition. The Virginians, instructed, I incline to think, by the success of Colonel Stuart and others in getting away from this mountain service, are hopeful and really impatient to go into winter quarters and beyond the mountains. Their argument has great force in it. He who undergoes the task of gathering the corn from the fields and preparing it himself for bread finds little time for military maneuver, and I can attest that the wastage of energy and health is enormous. But my Kentucky troops, though suffering under measles, mumps, and fever, and nearly reduced a half by the diseases incident to their severe exposure through the fall and winter, are as impatient, whenever a transfer to any point out of the State is mentioned. Here in Kentucky they want to serve, and here they want to keep the field. From this quarter they want to be led forward “to the blue-grass” before they are anxious for any repose at all.

I suggested in my letter two or three days since that in the event the Department should decide to withdraw the Fifty-fourth Virginia from the mountain service, I thought the First Kentucky Infantry, under Colonel Taylor, might supply its place, and so let me increase the Kentucky force in the column. I think it now proper to add that personally my feelings coincide with those of my Kentucky comrades; but I have thought it a duty to lay before the Department the wishes and views of the Virginia troops under my command, as also the difficulty of this service, and leave the Department to judge. I hope and wish and ask that I may have the re-enforcements to carry out views I have heretofore submitted to the President, and which, I am informed by Major Hawes, you have been put in possession of. I feel a thorough conviction that it will exercise more influence upon grand results in Kentucky than any other movement that can be made with 2,000 cavalry anywhere, and that the result will be a general rising of our friends in the State. If this is not the result, I shall despair of rousing them at all. I hear that the enemy expects to post about 6,000 men at the base of the mountains, to keep me out and the young men of the State in. This is their programme, and they perfectly know my effective strength. I have felt it due to myself to tell you that I cannot move down with a force of 1,500 or 1,600 men; if I do, I shall but march in to be marched out again, and {p.54} so do our cause more harm in this State than good. If I can get the force in any way, I want to move forward; if it is stated that the force cannot be supplied, then I will remain here, to divert their force and peril my own reputation for the sake of our cause so long as the Government may think it advantageous to demand the duty at my hands. The move I am now making will throw me farther into the interior than I have yet been, and I hope, as I keep up my connections with Pound Gap and keep eastward of Cumberland Gap, it will not be considered beyond my orders “to protect and defend this frontier.” There is no enemy on this frontier this side of Paintsville; there is scarcely a friend between that and the mouth of Sandy River near the line of the river.

If you can give me the regiments I have asked for, to increase this column to 5,000 infantry, and give me 1,500 cavalry and a good artillery company (I have the guns at Pound Gap), I confidently advance the opinion that I can go to Lexington. But it must be done quickly and silently. It is the service I want. I further advance the opinion that it will result in great good to the general cause, even if I have to retreat from the country afterwards.

Major Hawes has explained to me the reason why Charles E. Marshall (being my brother) could not be appointed a disbursing officer to my command. I consider the rule a sound and good rule, and yield a ready submission to it. I commend him, however, in the strongest terms to the position in some other command, and request that the President will select for this command some man of equal capacity as my brigade quartermaster. My brother is a man of high business capacity, but not in very good health. If he will accept the position in any other command, devoted to the cause as I know he is and has been, I think he will prove a fine acquisition to the service wherever he may go. The only reason I wanted him was my knowledge of his energy, capacity, and integrity. I would name Ed. S. Crutchfield as a man who would make a good quartermaster, but really I don’t know whether he would accept the place. He is at present at Bowling Green, I believe. I can commend his sound judgment and energy, but I don’t know much of his facility as an accountant, which is so very needful in the position.

To turn from these to some minor points of detail: Yesterday Captain Stratton offered himself a first and third lieutenant, 4 corporals, and 15 privates, being, as he said, part of a mounted company raised in Virginia for my command; that his other lieutenant, sergeants, and some 25 men were on the way; that his company was completely formed, but he did not know when his men could get out, as those he had were fired upon in Logan County, Virginia, in coming out. They propose to enlist for three years or during the war. I accepted the men and administered the oath, after subjecting them to the usual medical examination. I told the officers I would accept them also, but could not promise them commissions or pay unless the company should be filled in a reasonable time to the legal standard. I have another squad of about 40, and still another, about 35, mustered by General Zollicoffer, and transferred to this column-incipient companies, which are in the same situation. After a reasonable time I think these had best be consolidated; but I did not think it prudent to turn off 20 recruits for the war merely because a full company was not presented. I hope the approbation of the Department will cover the course I have taken.

Major Thompson, at Pound Gap, informs me that he believes he can raise two full companies out of the five companies of special-service men at that place who will mount and enlist for the war, if I will permit transfers so as to put the right men together. Some in one company {p.55} will go, others will not. I have told him to make the transfers and present the two companies, and I will muster them in for the war, under his command. I propose then to attach the remaining three companies to Colonel Moore’s regiment, so as to complete the Twenty-ninth Virginia according to your order, and I will assign the command of the post at Pound Gap to Major Giles (who is willing to accept it), and take Thompson into the field as an active officer. He is from the Mounted Rifle Corps, late of United States Army, and seems to be a competent officer for active service. I hope this arrangement, securing as it does two permanent companies to the service, will meet your approbation, if it can be effected.

Lieutenant-Colonel Simms, having been appointed senator, will not accept the place offered to him, I presume. I will cause the battalion to be reorganized and a new and judicious selection to be made. I think I can probably make a full battalion of mounted rifles, and yet have a full squadron of light cavalry, armed with the shot-gun or carbine and saber. I received and valued all the double-barreled shot-gnus in the command belonging to individuals and placed them in Shawhaus’ and Cameron’s companies, promising the owners that they should be paid for or returned to them. Thus I made the arms of separate companies homogeneous. Will you authorize me to have these guns paid for? I do not think them efficient except for cavalry proper, nor the best arms for these; but the case-must be disposed of.

In conclusion, let me say that I write into details because I want to keep in accordance with the wishes of the Department, and to have no difficulty springing out of my administration. If there are irregularities you will be kind enough to overlook them, for you cannot appreciate the difficulties I encounter in such a country and with raw levies such as I control and must bring into military shape.

I am, your obedient servant,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.


CAMP IN LETCHER COUNTY, KY., January 23, 1862.

GENERAL: Since I last wrote the enemy assailed me in largely-superior force, and was effectually and gallantly repulsed by the troops under my command.

My loss in the action of January 10 is accurately stated at 10 killed and 14 wounded.

The loss of the enemy was severe, estimated by the officers of my command, who had an opportunity to see their dead, at over 200 killed and more than that wounded.

The firing was kept up, with some intervals, for about four hours, and was occasionally very sharp and spirited.

My troops behaved remarkably well, had decided advantage in the situation, and maintained it throughout the day.

The enemy came into the valley of main Middle Creek below the mouth of the Left Fork of Middle Creek. I occupied the mouth of the Left Fork, my artillery in the gorge, my right wing below, and my left wing above the mouth. The enemy did not move me from any one position I assumed, and at nightfall withdrew from the field, leaving me just where I was in the morning. After he had withdrawn I called my troops down from the hills and pursued the march which I was executing when the enemy came in sight.


I see by the telegraphic dispatches that the enemy represents his achievement of a victory over me upon the occasion to which I am referring, and says that my troops fled in confusion, &c. I state that this is not only false, but it is an afterthought, for it can be proved by many that the enemy’s troops represented themselves as having retired from the field because they were whipped; but the reporting officer, finding next day that I also had withdrawn from the battlefield, for the first time thought of establishing a claim to victory. Let a few facts decide that question. He came to attack and did attack, and he was in force far superior to mine. He did not move me from a single position I chose to occupy. At the close of the day each man of mine was just where he had been posted in the morning. He came to attack, yet came so cautiously that my left wing never fired a shot, and he never came up sufficiently to engage my center or my left wing. His force was fired upon by the 12-pounder howitzer and at once cleared my front, but, concealed by a point of the hills from my artillery, confined his further efforts to assaults upon my right wing, by which he was repulsed three times. Finally I found that he was re-enforcing heavily, and I ordered Trigg’s regiment to pass over the creek and to make the work short and decisive, with the bayonet, if necessary; but before the Fifty-fourth Virginia could climb one side of the hill the enemy had entirely withdrawn from the scene of action, leaving my force in full and quiet possession. He withdrew from sight, and did not then dispute the ground on which we had fought. Not only I personally, but every officer and soldier in my entire command, without one exception, then understood that the enemy had been signally and unmistakably whipped, and that the repulse was final. It proved final, for he has never since that day sought in any manner or form to re-engage.

The enemy had some 4,500 or 5,000 men on the field and at least 500 cavalry, for that number was counted. I had some 1,600 men fit for duty and present on the field. He engaged 2,500 or 3,000 of his men; I about 900 to 1,000 of mine. A natural inquiry will be why he did not pursue, if my force fled before him. I moved from the battle-field up the Left Fork of Middle Creek, and at 7 miles from the field of battle came to the foot of a very lofty mountain, which it was necessary for me to cross, and the road from the field of battle to that point was a valley road all the way. I did not cross that mountain until the night of January 12, and the enemy did not come to see what had become of me. On the contrary, by that time he had fallen back to Paintsville, whence he came in mass to drive me out of the State. He returned without accomplishing his mission.

Why did I not pursue if I thought I had the victory? My reasons are simple and straightforward:

First. I could not renew the engagement that night because it was too dark, had I been so inclined. I did not know how far the enemy had gone, and would not have followed under any circumstances with the inferior force.

Second. I did not follow because my men were exhausted from hunger, having had nothing to eat all that day, and they were weak, and would not have been capable of service another day without food.

Third. I did not follow because I did not know the strength of the enemy in reserve, and had no idea of risking by rashness what my troops had gained by gallantry. I had fought superior numbers with the advantage of position on my side; I had no intent to renew the engagement, giving superior numbers the advantage of choice of the ground.

But, general, the controlling, present, and moving reason was that my {p.57} men had nothing to eat, and I could not tell that they could obtain it by returning with a fight against heavy odds between us and our chance of fond. By sending horses forward to Martin’s mill, on Beaver [Creek], I procured meal and brought it back to my troops, who were engaged in crossing my train over the mountain dividing Middle Creek from Beaver Creek. The fact is I could not pursue the enemy, and the enemy, being already repulsed, never had any idea of pursuing me.

The enemy represents that he took several prisoners. I assure you he never took one upon the field of battle. He did take Captain Conner a prisoner afterwards at Prestonburg, and that achievement should not be permitted to pass without its history. Captain Conner was ill with fever. He had been sick for some time and left Paintsville in a wagon. He had become delirious, and was in that situation two or three days. The physicians, after consultation, determined that it must cost his life to carry him farther in a wagon, and he was therefore carried by them to Prestonburg and committed to the care of an estimable lady, who promised to nurse him, and whose husband is our friend. Sick almost unto death and probably out of his mind with the disease, Captain Conner was in his sick bed made a prisoner and was taken off in a steamboat to Paintsville. The other prisoners taken were people not in the Army and who had never been in the Army, but who have been running ever since the war began like frightened hares, afraid to take arms, afraid to offer a single effort of resistance, and who, if pressed to it, would submit to having their ears cropped to show they have a master. Were I to make such conquests I might fill a gazette with them every week. The impression such representations make on my mind is as unfavorable to the chivalry of the officer who can make them as it is to his departure from truth. I hope I have your confidence sufficiently for you to know that I give no hue to the transactions of my command that is not properly belonging to them.

I think one of two things must occur-I must be re-enforced or I must retire from this part of the State, for my command cannot procure subsistence in the mountains. Forward it becomes plenty and cheap; but to go forward I must have 5,000 men. I have not 2,000 fit for duty. I want 2,000 cavalry in addition to the 5,000 infantry, and, in my judgment, I can with that force accomplish a work which will have a most material bearing on the fortunes and destiny of Kentucky and of the grand result of the war. I have heretofore delineated that idea to the proper authority. I ask the service if the force can be given.

I believe, sir, this comprises nearly all I have to communicate. My command is now in very bad health. Measles and mumps are passing through Williams’ regiment. I think some 400 of that corps are now on the sick list. I shall have to be as quiet as possible until the diseases have run their course.

I am, general, your obedient servant,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General.

General A. SIDNEY JOHNSTON, Bowling Green, Ky.


RICHMOND, January 24, 1862.


Fall back to Pound Gap and report dispositions there made. Letter will go by Captain Wade.

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.



RICHMOND, January 24, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HUMPHREY MARSHALL, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I am directed by the Secretary of War to advise you that, in view of the inability of this Department to re-enforce you at present, it is deemed best that you should fall back to Pound Gap, there making such dispositions as may be deemed most expedient, and reporting your movements promptly to this office.

Captain Wade reports the route by the Louisa fork to be impracticable for an advance of the enemy in force, and, further, that there is a possibility of his cutting you off, should you take that route, by means of his greater facilities through steamboat navigation to Piketon.

I am, very respectfully, &c.,

R. H. CHILTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.


CRAFT’S, SIX MILES FROM POUND GAP, Letcher County, Ky., February 2, 1862.

GENERAL: Your telegraphic dispatch of the 24th ultimo reached me by courier on the 26th, by which I was ordered to “fall back to Pound Gap, and to report dispositions there made.”

Yesterday Captain Wade delivered me your letter of the 24th, which repeats the direction of the telegram, “in view of the inability of the Department to re-enforce you (me) at present,” and requiring me at Pound Gap to make “such dispositions as may be deemed most expedient,” which are to be “reported promptly to the Department.”

I am extremely embarrassed by this order, for that it indicates a point for me to rest and dispose of the force under my command where it is simply impossible to feed men or animals for two days. The subsistence of the country about Pound Gap for 20 miles is literally exhausted. The supplies for the rifle battalion now at Pound Gap are drawn with great difficulty over that distance (55 miles) and much complaint is made of the precariousness of the supply. Nor can I halt within 20 miles of Pound Gap on this side of the mountains with any chance of obtaining food for man or horse. You can have no conception of the state of affairs here, general; starvation stares these people in the face. They are most averse to parting with a peck of corn or a pound of meat, and daily the women beg for the retention of the means of sustaining themselves and their children. It is no sham or affected apprehension they feel; I much fear they only see what spring-time will startlingly reveal as a stern reality. It cannot advance our cause or make converts to it to starve the best friends we have in this population, and in this county we have many, indeed a considerable majority of the people.

I have reflected upon my duty under your order, especially in view of the reason given for its issuance; and the disposition I shall make of the force will be to pass the mountains and to arrange the regiments as near as they can be to Pound Gap, so as to obtain supplies.

I hear from Captain Wade that the Secretary of War feels solicitous about the invasion of Virginia by the way of Pound Gap and by the way of Piketon. I feel morally sure the enemy is equally solicitous to prevent an invasion of Kentucky by the two routes named. This opinion is based upon his declarations as well as his operations. The presence of a force here, under my command or under the command of any Kentuckian whom the people of the “blue-grass region” know, operates as a {p.59} constant warning to them that they must be ready to resist an invasion, and their fears make constant and heavy drafts upon the Government for troops for this purpose. The exaggerations of rumors are greater than in the inverse ratio of the square of the distance; therefore my force was rarely estimated at Louisville or Lexington as less than 10,000 to 15,000, calling for an opposing force of not less than from six to ten regiments, which at one point or another have been employed to keep me out. I have seen elaborate articles in the Kentucky leading opposing journals on the subject of my invasion, from which I learned that the enemy, when he left the Sandy Valley with General Nelson’s command, supposed it to be impossible for an army to subsist on what he had left behind, and that the leaders of the Lincoln party in Kentucky had resorted to the wholesale spoliation which infamized Nelson’s expedition, upon the idea of preventing our occupation of the valley by troops whose aim might be to assert the rights of Kentucky and to vindicate her true opinion.

The enemy has not attempted now to leave the immediate valley of the Sandy nor to ascend the river in any force beyond the scene of his conflict with me on the 10th of January. On the contrary, he has left only a part of his force at Paintsville, and has only paid a hurried and trembling visit to Piketon with 120 cavalry, which came up John’s Creek, arrived Sunday evening, and left on Monday morning. I hear that the object of the visit was to block up the road leading by the Louisa Branch of the Sandy into Piketon, and that this was accomplished by Captain Childress, near the Kentucky line, to prevent an invasion again by that route or my use of that route to obtain supplies.

You will see from this that the probability is strong that the solicitude on the subject of an invasion is mutual. Should it prove that the object is only to mask preparation, so as to permit an invading force to gather supplies near Piketon, I shall keep myself advised, and will to the extent of my ability prevent its successful accomplishment. I do not think it probable the enemy will ever attempt an entry into Virginia in large force by the way of Piketon while you have a considerable force at Pound Gap, for the reason that the latter position would lie upon the flank of the advancing column and its command might in a day cut the line of transportation used on either side of the Cumberland Mountain range.

In rear of Piketon (Virginia side) the county of Buchanan is mountainous and sterile, bare of supplies, and easily defended; in fact, one passes, as here, along a ridge or the water-courses flanked by mountain ranges. The danger and only danger is from a heavy cavalry force pressing in and destroying as it goes, and then retreating by a different road. This can be prevented by guarding near to the valued points and by having timely notice given at Pound Gap to the force which should be constantly kept there to cover the road which crosses the Cumberland Range at that place. It is a strong place into whosesoever hands it falls and the defenses on both side are equal.

POUND GAP, February 2-evening.

I resume my letter after riding here from my camp of last night. I have ordered the Fifty-fourth Virginia Regiment to fall back to Gladesville, and if supplies cannot be had in that vicinity to cross Clinch River, if requisite to obtain them. Colonel Moore’s regiment is on the march from Whitesburg for the same destination. Simms’ mounted battalion will be here to-morrow, and I shall send it to Clinch River without hesitation. Colonel Williams has not yet moved from the mouth of Rock House Creek, which is 16 miles below Whitesburg, but has been {p.60} ordered to do so, and will be ordered to join the rest of the command at whatever point I can find supplies convenient or indeed possible. I shall not be surprised to have great trouble with this regiment on account of its removal into Virginia, for the men are nearly all from the mountain counties of Kentucky, and they would prefer, I believe, even to be retreating through the mountains of their own State to any rest which could be offered to them in any other part of the country. I regret to say that this spirit of discontent is not quieted or even allayed by the bearing and conversations of those who have them in immediate charge. In my own judgment the future efficiency of the regiment depends upon its opportunity to be drilled, for it is now entirely undrilled, and has been, since the first enlistment of its soldiers, so constantly on the move that the officers of companies, who all are from the walks of civic life, have had no opportunity to drill in the schools of the company or battalion. You will therefore recognize my solicitude before they are put into the plains, where the exercise might be close and severe, to have a chance to instruct them. It occurs to me that this season is the most propitious I shall have for this purpose, and that the existing status of the enemy and myself affords me more opportunity than I shall have again before the Department will be enabled to give me the re-enforcements I had expected to receive in order to accomplish the purposes I have had so much at heart.

I would not advise another entry into Kentucky from this point until about the 1st of May. The grass will by that time be up and the roads, now nearly impassable, will be good. The policy of the Government will be defensive, I presume, until that time, and that then it will in Kentucky become offensive. Sixty or seventy days to organize the trains, to recruit the horses, to rest and reinvigorate the men, many of whom have coughs, resulting from measles and exposure during the attack of disease, to drill the battalions, to establish proper correspondence with the men of interior Kentucky, to arrange supplies for a march, will not leave me idle or in unprofitable employment.

I will not here dwell on these views, but I request leave, when the regiment shall be posted, to visit Richmond for a few days, in order to have these views laid before the proper authority and to understand what I am to look for in the service for the future.

I inclose a written proposition from Mr. Brashers, the owner of the salt-works near Whitesburg, which I regard as very advantageous to the Government, and which I was at some trouble to secure. May I request an early answer to this communication?

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

H. MARSHALL, Brigadier-General.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.


I propose and agree to lease to the Government of the Confederate States of America my tract of land in Perry County, Kentucky, embracing some 4,000 acres, with privilege of using the machinery thereon situated and of making salt there and of cultivating the land, and with the privilege of cutting the timber and mining the coal, for the term of three years, from the 1st day of May next, for the sum of $2,000 for the whole term, payable in equal installments annually, and with power to said Government to assign this lease and to locate troops on the land and otherwise to exercise all acts of ownership for the term through its agents, servants, officers, or assigns.


The acceptance of this proposition by the President or Secretary of War is to be considered as making this contract complete, on my being notified thereof by General Marshall, or any other agent of the Government, and a copy hereof furnished to me, signed by the President or Secretary, at any time prior to the 1st of May, 1862; possession to be given at that time or as much sooner as the other party chooses to take it.

Witness my hand and seal at Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky, this 1st February, 1862.





It is not recommended to decide on this question at present, as it remains open until the 1st of May. Moreover, this department has made preparations for furnishing salt in less precarious localities and sufficient quantities.

L. B. NORTHROP, Commissary-General Subsistence.

FEBRUARY 17, 1862.


No. 4.

Report of Col. A. U. Moore, Twenty-ninth Virginia Infantry.


SIR: The present being the first opportunity which has presented itself since our engagement with the enemy at the Fork of Middle Creek, in Floyd County, Kentucky, on the evening of the 10th instant, I will now give you briefly a hasty report of the part taken and the consequences resulting therefrom to the force under my command. The Twenty-ninth Virginia Regiment was the greater part of the time-that is, during the battle, which lasted some three hours-in the head and front of the fire, and all, without a single exception, so far as my information extends, conducted themselves in the bravest and most gallant manner. The loss to my regiment was 5 killed and 7 wounded.

In this my brief and imperfect report I ought not, perhaps, to make any invidious distinctions by mentioning the names of any of my men or officers, who conducted themselves most gallantly in the battle; but I think my whole command will bear me out in giving to Lieut. Col. William Leigh, Maj. James Giles, and to Lieut. William J. March, of Captain Bryant’s company, great credit for the gallant and daring part acted throughout the entire engagement.

In conclusion, I will say that all acted nobly and achieved for themselves a reputation and a name which old Virginia may and will be ever proud to honor.

A. C. MOORE, Colonel, Commanding Twenty-ninth Virginia Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. HUMPHREY MARSHALL, Commanding First Brigade, Army of Eastern Kentucky.


DECEMBER 28, 1861.– Action at Sacramento, Ky.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Charles Clark, C. S. Army.
No. 3.–Col. Nathan B. Forrest, Forrest’s Regiment, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION, Calhoun, Ky., December 29, 1861.

CAPTAIN: I regret to inform you that on yesterday, as a command of 168 men, under Major Murray, of Jackson’s regiment, were returning from a reconnaissance, they were pursued and surprised by some rebel cavalry at Sacramento. The men made but little resistance, and I am afraid that the gallantry of the officers has cost us the services of several of them. I have not learned that any officer was killed, but when the men fled they fought themselves. Captains Bacon and Davis and Lieutenant Jouett are missing. Major Murray has just reported that 40 men are missing. From the accounts of the fight very few have been killed, and I suspect most of the missing will come in.

I sent Colonel Jackson out with about 500 men, 260 of them infantry, with instructions to gather up stragglers and the wounded, if there were any. I also instructed him that if the enemy were still in the vicinity to beat them up, but not to venture far in pursuit.

Jackson left about 10 o’clock last night. It is now about 10 a.m., and I have not heard from him. The rebels have no doubt rapidly retired, and Jackson is probably hunting his men. I shall ride out in a few minutes with an escort, and will write particulars as I can get them in an official report.

I have written this that you may not be deceived by any exaggerated report, which will doubtless reach you.

Very respectfully,

T. L. CRITTENDEN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. J. B. FRY Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION, Calhoun, Ky., December 30, 1861.

GENERAL: In the fight just beyond Sacramento* we lost 8 killed and 8, perhaps 13, captured.

Over 400 rebel cavalry surprised 168 of Jackson’s cavalry the day before yesterday, as they were returning from a scout to South Carrollton. The rebels attacked and drove in the vanguard, following them rapidly.

Major Murray behaved with great gallantry, and, with the aid of other officers, who will be mentioned when I get an official report, repelled the charge, being seconded handsomely by about 45 men. These men resisted the whole body of the enemy for ten minutes, and, from the accounts I have from many reliable witnesses, would have repulsed them, but at this critical moment some dastard unknown {p.63} shouted “Retreat to Sacramento!” Most of the men fled, of course, without stopping at Sacramento. In this retreat we sustained some loss. Capt. Albert G. Bacon was killed and 7 privates, whose names I will get to-day. Captain Davis, of Jackson’s regiment, was captured. He was conspicuous in the fight for bravery. We do not know the extent of the enemy’s loss. Meriwether (either a major or a lieutenant-colonel) was killed and certainly 4 men. The rebels took away three wagon loads of dead and wounded.

Although outnumbered and partially surprised, I think my men had the best of the fight. I rode out to Sacramento yesterday and found Jackson burying the dead-6 of our men. We have 5 or 6 men so badly wounded that we could not bring them in. They are in good quarters and will be well cared for. The enemy here have every advantage of us. The Union men are generally inactive, while the secessionists are full of activity.

The rebel cavalry reached Greenville Friday morning, and Friday night the scouting party under Major Murray rode to South Carrollton. The rebels were beyond a doubt apprised of Murray’s expedition, and the first intimation I had of their presence was from the fight at Sacramento. Heretofore I have always been promptly notified of their arrival at Greenville. If I had received the information this time I might have captured the entire command. The rebels are thoroughly and well armed, and Jackson’s men are badly armed, and, what is worse, have no confidence in their pistols. I know that you will remedy this as soon as possible.

Most respectfully,

T. L. CRITTENDEN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General BUELL.

* Not found.


HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION, Calhoun, Ky., January 3, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I now inclose you the report of Major Murray of the affair at Sacramento. You will see from Major Murray’s report that the entire command behaved handsomely. Although attacked suddenly, and almost surprised, our men charged and drove back the rebels, and that, when the rebels rallied and were re-enforced, still fought and maintained themselves in a hand-to-hand conflict, until some one unknown called out “Retreat to Sacramento!” As it was, the casualties of the enemy were equal to ours We have, however, to mourn the loss of 8 gallant soldiers, and 3 officers of uncommon bravery and soldierly qualities, Capt. A. G. Bacon killed, Capt. A. N. Davis captured, and Lieut. John L. Walters missing.

It is very gratifying to call your attention, general, to Major Murray’s report of the conduct of all the officers under his command, every one of them perhaps under fire for the first time, and yet every one behaving handsomely.

I will close this letter, and only add that, by the testimony of all, Major Murray’s conduct in the field deserves the highest praise.

I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,

T. L. CRITTENDEN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General.



No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Charles Clark, C. S. Army.


LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for the information of the major-general, the official report of Col. N. B. Forrest of his brilliant and dashing affair at Sacramento on the 28th ultimo:

The report of Colonel Forrest is a modest recital of one of the most brilliant and successful cavalry engagements which the present war has witnessed, and gives a favorable omen of what that arm of our service will do in future on a more extended scale.

The loss of the enemy, it will be seen, is estimated by Colonel Forrest at 65 killed and 35 wounded and prisoners, and from private and unofficial sources I learn that the number is not overestimated.

Our own loss was but 2 killed, but in the death of Capt. C. E. Meriwether, who fell while gallantly leading his command into action, the country and the service have sustained a loss which I most deeply deplore. A brave and chivalrous gentleman, I esteemed him as one of the very best officers of his rank in the service. Colonel Forrest pays what I doubt not is a well-merited tribute to the gallantry and good conduct of his officers and men generally and specially. For the skill, courage, and energy displayed by Colonel Forrest he is entitled to the highest praise, and I take great pleasure in calling the attention of the general commanding and of the Government to his services. I am assured by officers and men that throughout the entire engagement he was conspicuous for the most daring courage; always in advance of his command. He was at one time engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with 4 of the enemy, 3 of whom he killed, dismounting and making a prisoner of the fourth.

The other field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Starnes and Major Kelly, by their coolness, courage, and promptitude, contributed largely to the success of the day.

I have the honor to be, lieutenant, respectfully &c.,

CHARLES CLARK, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Lieut. D. G. WHITE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.


No. 5.

Report of Col. Nathan B. Forrest, Forrest’s Regiment, C. S. Army.

HOPKINSVILLE, KY., December 30, 1861.

Under orders to reconnoiter to the front, especially in the direction of Rochester and Greenville, and if deemed best to continue our observations towards Ramsey, my command left camp Thursday, 26th instant, myself with detachments from Companies A, C, and D, First Lieutenant Crutcher, Captains May and Gould; with a detachment of 25 men of Captain Meriwether’s company, under his command, Major Kelly, with detachments from Companies E, F, and G, under Lieutenants Hampton, Nance, and Cowan, having been ordered to Greenville to await orders.


Leaving the Greenville road 4 miles from Hopkinsville I moved in the direction of Rochester, until fully satisfied that there were no movements of the enemy in that direction.

The next day, on reaching the Russellville and Greenville road, I turned towards Greenville, and on Saturday morning formed a junction with a detachment of 40 cavalry from Russellville, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Starnes and Captain McLemore, who, with Major Kelly, were awaiting my arrival at Greenville. Colonel Starnes had the day before been at South Carrollton, where he had engaged a party of the enemy, killing 3.

Hearing nothing still from the enemy, it was determined to extend our march to the vicinity of Rumsey. The command, about 300 strong, were moved forward in one column, with advance guard under Captain Meriwether and rear under Captain McLemore; the head of the column under my command; the center under Major Kelly, and the rear under Lieutenant-Colonel Starnes. We had moved 8 miles down the Rumsey road when information reached me that the enemy 500 strong had that morning crossed from Calhoun to Rumsey. My men were ordered to a rapid pace, and as the news of the proximity of the enemy ran down the column it was impossible to repress jubilant and defiant shouts, which reached the height of enthusiasm as the women from the houses waved us forward. A beautiful young lady, smiling, with untied tresses floating in the breeze, on horseback, met the column just before our advance guard came up with the rear of the enemy, infusing nerve into my arm and kindling knightly chivalry within my heart.

One mile this side the village of Sacramento our advance guard came up with their rear guard, who halted, seemingly in doubt whether we were friends or foes. Taking a Maynard rifle, I fired at them, when they rode off rapidly to their column. The column moved up the hill and formed just over its brow. I ordered up the head of my column, telling my men to hold their fire until within good range. The enemy commenced firing from the time we were within 200 yards of them. When we had moved 120 yards farther I ordered my men to fire. After three rounds I found that my men were not up in sufficient numbers to pursue them with success, and as they showed signs of fight, I ordered the advance to fall back. The enemy at once attempted to flank our left, and moved towards us and appeared greatly animated, supposing we were in retreat. They had moved down over 100 yards and seemed to be forming for a charge, when, the remainder of my men coming up, I dismounted a number of men with Sharp’s carbines and Maynard rifles to act as sharpshooters; ordered a flank movement upon the part of Major Kelly and Colonel Starnes upon the right and left, and the detachments from the companies under my command, still mounted, were ordered to charge the enemy’s center.

The men sprang to the charge with a shout, while the undergrowth so impeded the flankers that the enemy, broken by the charge and perceiving the movement on their flanks, broke in utter confusion, and, in spite of the efforts of a few officers, commenced a disorderly flight at full speed, in which the officers soon joined. We pressed closely on their rear, only getting an occasional shot, until we reached the village of Sacramento, when, the best mounted men of my companies coming up, there commenced a promiscuous saber slaughter of their rear, which was continued at almost full speed for 2 miles beyond the village, leaving their bleeding and wounded strewn along the whole route. At this point Captain Bacon, and but a little before Captain Burges, were run through with saber thrusts, and Captain Davis thrown from his horse and surrendered {p.66} as my prisoner, his shoulder being dislocated by the fall. The enemy, without officers, threw down their arms and depended alone upon the speed of their horses. Those of my men whose horses were able to keep up found no difficulty in piercing through every one they came up with, but as my horses were almost run down while theirs were much fresher, I deemed it best to call off the chase, for such it had become, leaving many wounded men hanging to their saddles to prevent their falling from their horses. Returning, we found their dead and wounded in every direction. Those who were able to be moved we placed in wagons. Captains Bacon and Burges were made as comfortable as we could, and applied to the nearest farm house to take care of them.

There were killed on the field and mortally wounded, who have since died, about 65; wounded and taken prisoners, about 35, making their loss about 100. Among their killed were two captains and three lieutenants and several non-commissioned officers.

The fight occurred in the woods; the run was principally along lanes. I have the pleasure of stating that Colonel Starnes and Major Kelly acted in the most noble and chivalrous manner, and, indeed, I can say that Captain Gould, Captain May, Captain Meriwether (who unfortunately fell in front of the engagement), Lieutenant Crutcher, in command of Captain Overton’s company; Lieutenant Nance, left in command of Captain Hambrick’s company; Lieutenant Cowan, in command of Captain Logan’s company (he acting as surgeon at the time), and Lieutenant Hampton, in command of Captain Truett’s [?] company, with the men under their respective commands are deserving praise for their conduct.

Our loss was Captain Meriwether and Private Terry, of Captain McLemore’s company, killed, and 3 privates slightly wounded; 2 from Captain May’s and the other from Captain Hambrick’s.

We returned to Greenville the night of the fight (Saturday), and from thence started to camp, and arrived last night.

Before closing this report I most respectfully call your attention to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Bailey, of Captain Gould’s company; Private J. W. Ripley, of Captain May’s company, and Private J. M. Luxton, also of Captain May’s, and Private D. W. Johnson, of Captain Logan’s company, and, indeed, many others, whose horses being not quite so fast, did not come immediately under my own observation. Capt. M. D. Logan (who was acting as surgeon on that occasion) deserves praise for his noble conduct throughout the engagement.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.


N. B. FORREST, Colonel, Commanding Forrest Regiment.



DECEMBER 28-31, 1861.– Expedition to Camp Beauregard and Viola, Ky.

Report of Brigadier-General Lewis Wallace, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE U. S. FORCES, Paducah, Ky., January 1, 1862.

SIR: Under the sanction of General Smith, given on the night of the 28th of December, 1861, with a detachment consisting of 130 men from {p.67} the Second Illinois Cavalry Companies I and C, Regular Cavalry, and 70 men from Thielemann’s dragoons, I left Paducah on the same night, to proceed in the direction of Camp Beauregard, for the purpose of reconnoitering that camp, gaining information as to the strength of the enemy and their whereabouts, and ascertaining whether or not re-enforcements had left Camp Beauregard for Bowling Green. I also understood that I had permission, if opportunity afforded, to attack and cut up a certain corps of marauders commanded by one King.

The night of my departure I halted at Camp Creek and rested until 8 o’clock next morning, and, proceeding then, stopped a couple of hours at Mayfield. Not getting the desired information there I went on towards Camp Beauregard until within 6 or 6 1/2 miles of that camp, where the enemy appeared to have an outpost, guarded by about 75 men, who fled helter-skelter on my approach. At that point I found a farmer of undoubted loyalty, named Gee, from whom I obtained forage for my horses, and the information that all the troops who have been occupying Camp Beauregard for some months past except a battery of artillery and King’s marauders, had been taken to bowling Green, but that their places had been supplied by three or four regiments of what is called “Sixty-days’ men,” green troops, mostly unarmed, and the whole without special organization. Satisfied on this point, I thought it prudent to return, and as there was no water for my cattle (without going off the road) nearer than Viola, I was compelled to come that far back the same night. Accordingly I bivouacked there.

About daybreak in the morning (Monday) one of my pickets galloped in and reported a heavy force of infantry and cavalry upon us and about to attack. I crossed Mayfield Creek immediately and in good order and drew up on the opposite bank to receive the attack, but, the enemy hanging fire, I drew off about a mile and a half on the Paducah road and fed the men and horses, sent Captain Lyman to report to the general, and, with his permission, bring me five companies of infantry, intending to hold the Confederates until I heard from headquarters. I then returned to Viola to engage them in a skirmish, but they had retreated. I remained there for orders, which did not reach me until 3 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Expecting the return of the enemy on Monday night, I recrossed the creek and made preparations to receive them. Quite a party of rebel cavalry appeared early in the morning, but waited only to get a sight of my men, a portion of whom I had dismounted to attack them.

Knowing the general’s disinclination to hazard any of his command I was exceedingly cautious, and would not have engaged the enemy in a serious fight until I was certain of their numbers. I also took every possible care to have my way of retreat open, for which purpose I kept parties in continual motion to and from Plumley’s Station, at which point I ordered all re-enforcements dispatched to me to remain for orders. In obedience to his orders, I returned without loss of time to Paducah on Tuesday.

Three guides whom I had mounted on Government horses were foolish enough, without my knowledge or consent, to sleep outside of my lines on Sunday night and while barely escaping themselves, lost their horses to the enemy. On Monday morning some of the cavalry whom I had armed with rifles-borrowed, a portion from the Twenty-third Indiana and a portion from the Eleventh Indiana carelessly lost or threw away some of those arms and their accouterments. Circumstances very shameful.

It gives me pleasure to say that my command behaved excellently.


Excepting one piece of bacon, not an article of property belonging to a citizen was touched. The country from Viola to Mayfield, and particularly from Mayfield to Camp Beauregard, is of such a character as to render fighting with cavalry almost impossible. It is one long stretch of scrub-oak and dense chaparral, broken now and then by a farm or clearing. On account of the scarcity of water it would be difficult also to march a heavy column through.

Very respectfully,

LEW. WALLACE, General, Second Brigade.

Capt. THOMAS J. NEWSHAM, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Forces, Paducah.


JANUARY 10-21, 1862.–Expedition into Kentucky from Cairo, Ill.

Report of Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO, Cairo, Ill., January 24, 1862.

SIR: Being in temporary command of this district, it becomes my duty to submit the following report of the expedition which left Cairo under orders to penetrate into the interior of Kentucky in the neighborhood of Columbus and towards Mayfield and Camp Beauregard:

The expedition consisted of the Tenth, Eighteenth, part of the Twenty-seventh, the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, Thirty-first, and Forty-eighth Regiments of Infantry, Schwartz’s and Dresser’s batteries of light artillery, under command of Captain Schwartz, chief of artillery; Carmichael’s, O’Harnett’s, and Dollins’ companies of cavalry, attached to regiments; Stewart’s cavalry company, attached to my brigade, and five companies of Col. T. Lyle Dickey’s Fourth Cavalry Regiment, numbering 3,992, of cavalry 1,061, and of artillery 139, rank and file, all under my command, and all Illinois volunteers except Schwartz’s battery of light artillery. The cavalry, which had crossed the river and encamped at Fort Holt on the evening of the 9th, marched on the morning of the 10th to Fort Jefferson, Captain Stewart, with his company, being in the advance. On arriving he detained in custody all persons found at that place, and immediately sent forward pickets to guard the pass at Elliott’s Mill and other approaches from Columbus. The remainder of the forces conveyed by transports, arrived at Fort Jefferson on the same day (10th) and encamped, awaiting further orders. On the 11th I ordered a reconnaissance east to Blandville, by the Hill road, 8 miles; thence south, on the road to Columbus, to Weston’s, 5 miles, and returning by Elliott’s Mill to Fort Jefferson, 9 miles. This reconnaissance was made by Captain Stewart in command of his own company, and Company B (Captain Coffins), of the Fourth Cavalry. No armed enemy was encountered, but captures of L. T. Polk and Daniel Frazer, supposed to be couriers from Columbus, were made. No United States forces having previously approached so near Columbus, the inhabitants uniformly mistook our cavalry for rebel troops.

On the 12th I ordered a demonstration to be made in the direction of Columbus by six companies of cavalry, commanded by Captain Stewart, supported by the Tenth and Eighteenth Regiments of Infantry, commanded respectively by Colonels Morgan and Lawler. The infantry. {p.69} crossing Mayfield Creek at Elliott’s Mill, took position there, while the cavalry advanced until they came within a mile and a half of the enemy’s defenses, driving his pickets into camp and bringing away several prisoners and their horses. It was discovered that an abatis of fallen timber a half mile in width surrounded the enemy’s intrenchments. The rigor of the weather and the non-appearance of any considerable rebel force led to the belief that they were closely collected around camp fires within their intrenchments, and indisposed to take the field. It is believed that with suitable preparation on our part a favorable time was thus afforded for successful attack and the capture of Columbus. From this near approach the cavalry returned by Puntney’s Bend and Elliott’s Mill to Fort Jefferson, communicating with and being joined by the infantry who formed their support. On the 13th, Lieut. H. C. Freeman, engineer, with an escort of cavalry, explored the different roads leading from Fort Jefferson to Blandville, and selected a strong position for an encampment a half mile south of Blandville, on the road to Columbus. On the 14th the whole force, preceded, flanked, and followed by strong guards, moved in two columns by different roads towards Blandville, and encamped in such a manner as to command the approaches from Columbus by both bridges across Mayfield Creek in that vicinity. One of these is known as O’Neal’s Bridge and the other as Blandville Bridge.

The distance of this day’s march was 8 1/2 miles, over difficult roads, covered with sleet. To prevent surprise, strong mounted pickets were thrown forward toward Columbus and to the bridge across Mayfield Creek at Hayworth’s Mill, 3 miles above Blandville. On the 15th we advanced to Weston’s, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry and Dollins’ company, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, making an early movement southwest in the direction of Columbus, and repeating a near approach to that place, while Captain Stewart, with his company, pushed a reconnaissance 8 miles, quite to Milburn, taking the town by surprise and picking up a man just from Columbus, from whom he derived much valuable information respecting the condition of the rebel force at that place. He learned from this source that our demonstrations towards Columbus had excited much alarm, and induced the enemy to call in his forces at Jackson, Beauregard, New Madrid, and other places; two Mississippi regiments, according to report, having burned up their tents before their flight. (Milburn is reproached as a Union town by the rebels.) Joined at Weston’s by the Seventh Illinois, Colonel Cook, our whole force encamped for the night in line of battle 10 miles from Columbus, taking a strong position, commanding the approaches from that place by two roads which here intersect the roads leading from Puntney’s Bend and Elliott’s Mill to Milburn; General Paine’s column, following and encamping at the same place, during the next day, covered our rear, and kept open communication with the base of operations at Fort Jefferson.

Brigadier-General Grant, commanding the various forces in the field, came up with us at this point, and expressed his approval of the manner in which the disposition of the forces had been made. To prevent surprise, strong guards were again thrown forward. At 7 o’clock a.m. on the 16th the entire column, except the Seventh Illinois Volunteers, moved forward over icy roads towards Milburn, a small town southeast from Weston’s and 8 miles distant, reaching Milburn about 12 m. The head of the column passed through the town on the road to Mayfield about 2 miles and halted, a portion of the column resting in the town.

Looking to the object of the expedition, so far as it had previously {p.70} been explained to me, I here maneuvered my forces so as to leave the enemy in doubt whether my purpose was to attack Columbus, march upon Camp Beauregard, or to destroy the railroad leading from Columbus to Union City, and to awaken apprehension for the safety of each. While the rear of the column was still resting in Milburn I countermarched the portion of it advanced beyond that place, taking the road beyond Milburn leading north to Lovelaceville, and followed in proper order by the rear of the column, pushed on some 4 miles on that road, and encamped. Giving out that the object of the countermarch was to encamp for the night on favorable ground near water in the vicinity of Milburn, the latent purpose of my change of the direction of my march was completely concealed. In the mean time, to increase the deception, in pursuance of my order, Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, with the Fourth Cavalry, made a demonstration some 5 miles in a westerly direction on the road from Milburn to Columbus, and there again heard that Camp Beauregard was broken up, and that the enemy had retired within his intrenchments at Columbus, and soon after I heard that he had destroyed the railroad bridge across the Obion, which, if true, must be attributed to fear that it was my intention to seize and control the railroad in the rear of Columbus. Sending forward Captain Wemple, with his company of the Fourth Cavalry, to Mayfield, I communicated with General Smith, commanding the column that marched from Paducah, placing him in possession of a dispatch from Brigadier-General Grant, and giving him information of the report that Camp Beauregard had been abandoned. Captain Wemple and his command joined me the next day.

On the 17th our whole force advanced north 8 miles to Lovelaceville, throwing forward strong pickets to guard the approach from Columbus by Hayworth’s Bridge. On the 18th my command was marched in two columns by different roads in a westerly direction, and encamped for the night about a mile from Blandville, except the Twenty-ninth Regiment and part of the baggage train, which, in consequence of the heavy rains of the previous night and the miry roads, were unable to come up. Riding back, I disposed of the regiment and train so as to secure them against danger. On the 19th the Twenty-ninth and the remainder of the train came up, the march of the former continuing as far as O’Neal’s Mill, before mentioned, where, with a section of Schwartz’s battery, they encamped for the night, disposing the force so as to command the approach from Columbus by the bridge at that place. During the same day I also sent forward the Tenth Regiment and another section of Schwartz’s battery to occupy another approach from Columbus by the Blandville Bridge. These dispositions were made anticipatory of an advance by the enemy of which I had heard a report, and still further to insure our safety I placed strong pickets above, at Hayworth’s Bridge, instructing the officer in command to remove some of its plank so as to render it temporarily impassable.

Admonished by the reported advance of the enemy and the exposure of my left flank for its whole length during the march of the next day, I dispatched a courier during the night of the 19th to communicate with our forces at Fort Jefferson, and to suggest that the pass at Elliott’s Mill should be occupied by an adequate force to prevent my return to Fort Jefferson from being cut off. The courier returned with a message from Colonel Marsh, commanding the Twentieth Illinois, informing me that all our forces except mine and his own had embarked for Cairo, but that he would remain and hold the pass until I came up, unless otherwise ordered.

At 7 o’clock on the morning of the 20th the main body of my forces {p.71} moved forward on the direct road to Fort Jefferson. The Twenty-ninth, with a section of Schwartz’s battery, and the Tenth, with another section of the same battery, after having rendered the bridges near their encampments impassable, falling in the rear of the column, moved on with it to Fort Jefferson. During the exposure of this day’s march, which was considered eminently critical, the column was guarded against surprise by strong guards of cavalry and infantry moving in front, rear, and on the left flank. The Eighteenth and Thirty-first Regiments, together with three pieces of Dresser’s artillery, having arrived at Fort Jefferson by 1 o’clock p.m., were immediately embarked for Cairo, the remainder of the column following the next day to the same place.

The unavoidable deficiency of transportation with which my command set out, aggravated by the bad condition of the roads, prevented me from taking, on leaving Cairo, the five days’ supply of rations and forage directed by the commanding officer of this district; hence the necessity of an early resort to other sources of supply. None other presented but to quarter upon the enemy or to purchase from loyal citizens. I accordingly resorted to both expedients as I had opportunity. In some cases finding live stock, provisions, forage, &c., the owners of which had abandoned it and gone into the rebel army, I took and appropriated it to the uses of the United States without hesitation. In other cases I purchased from loyal citizens such supplies as were indispensable, and caused certificates to be issued, charging the Government for the fair value of the articles thus obtained. By these means of supply, resorted to from necessities of the case, substantial economy was practiced in saving to the Government in supplies and transportation more than their full value for the five days named.

The reconnaissance thus made completed a march of 140 miles by the cavalry and 75 miles by the infantry over icy or miry roads during a most inclement season, and has led to the discovery of several important roads which did not appear upon our maps. It has also disclosed the fact that, with proper crossings of Mayfield Creek at Elliott’s and O’Neal’s Mills, also immediately south of Blandville, and still above at Hayworth’s Mill, no serious obstacle will intervene to prevent an army marching in several divisions by different routes upon Columbus; and, while this is true, it is also worthy of mention that Mayfield Creek affords a strong natural barrier against any advance of the enemy upon a force taking position behind it. Besides the immediate object of so formidable a demonstration, other beneficial results, perhaps of little less importance, have flowed from it. Without doubt it has exploded many false reports studiously and sedulously circulated by the enemy to our detriment. It has forcibly and deeply impressed the inhabitants of the district through which we passed with the superiority of our military preparations and of our ultimate ability to conquer the rebellion. It inspired hope among many loyal citizens, who hailed us as deliverers, whom I regret our unexpected withdrawal will probably leave victims of rebel persecution and proscription. This consideration, with others having great weight with me, prompts me in conclusion to presume upon your indulgence so far as to urgently recommend a renewed advance of our forces, if not immediately upon Columbus, at least so far as to regain the ground we recently occupied. Landing a floating depot at Puntney’s Bend, under protection of our gunboats, from which to draw supplies, and reoccupying Milburn and the crossings at Weston’s, with adequate forces threatening the railroad back of Columbus, and co-operating with our gunboats and such other force as had seized New Madrid, it would be placed within our power in a large measure to {p.72} cut off the enemy’s supplies, and thus force him to surrender or come cut from his defenses and give us battle at his disadvantage.

Although disappointed by the recall from their advance, I am happy to state that the officers and men under my command from first to last performed the duties incident to the expedition with ability, fidelity, and rare patience under the most trying circumstances, and whether the plan mentioned or that of a direct attack upon Columbus be adopted, they earnestly ask to be allowed to share in its execution.

Inclosed herewith you will find maps and drawings furnished by Lieut. H. C. Freeman, detached as engineer of my command by Colonel Webster, chief engineer of this military district, which illustrate the route of our march, the forms and places of our encampments, and the relations of a number of important roads and towns.*

Your obedient servant,

JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Brigadier-General, Commanding District of Cairo.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Commanding Department of Missouri.


JANUARY 15-25, 1862.– Reconnaissance from Paducah, Ky., to Port Henry, Tennessee.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith, if. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES, Paducah, Ky., January 27, 1862.

SIR: On the 25th instant I briefly reported my return on that day. The distance from Callaway to Aurora is by water about 3 miles, by land 6. From the latter place to this it is 40 miles; a good road even at this period of the year, but destitute of water, except in the rainy season. We accomplished the march (46 miles) in three days, an average of 15 miles per day. This is the State road, but is not marked on any map I have seen. It is generally on a ridge of clay and gravel, and is called the Ridge road. Its course is nearly straight from Aurora to Paducah, at no point farther than 10 miles from the river.

My reports of the - and - instant* will give all the necessary information about the march, except on one point, outrages committed by the men in killing hogs and poultry; this, despite every precaution taken by myself and brigade and regimental commanders. Horses even were attempted to be carried off. Some men are in arrest for such offenses, whom I shall bring before a proper tribunal for trial. The reason for this is, in my belief, that the company officers have not done their duty. They will not see, if they do not in fact encourage, this misconduct.

The general will pardon me if I venture to make a suggestion in reference {p.73} to the future. I know nothing about the course of operations to be pursued, but if Union City (which I have always thought to be a strong strategic point) is to be occupied, the most feasible means of supplying our troops there at this period of the year is from here by rail to the State line. Place good engines and wood cars on our road, repair the road as we go, and guard the whole line with a strong force. The distance from the end of the railway to the Columbus road is but 8 miles to be marched, or we can march the 35 miles to Union City from the terminus of the road. I speak of this on account of the extreme difficulty of sending wagon trains for a large force at this period of the year.

I send herewith a rather meager itinerary of the march.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. F. SMITH Brigadier-General, Commanding.

The ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters District of Cairo, Cairo, ill.

* Not found.


HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES, Paducah, Ky., January 28, 1862.

SIR: I transmit herewith an itinerary of the recent march of this command, which ought to have accompanied my report of yesterday. I spoke of the march from Fulton-the terminus of the railway from this place to the State line-to Union City as 35 miles. It is only 11 miles. From Fulton to the Mobile and Ohio Railway by the State line is 8 miles. It is the same distance from Fulton to the Nashville and Northwestern Railway.

See accompanying sketch.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. F. SMITH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

The ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters District of Cairo, Cairo, Ill.

* Omitted as unimportant.


Journal of the march of the First and Second Brigades of the United States forces from Paducah, Ky., to Callaway, on the Tennessee River, and back.


January 21.-Road towards Callaway bad; Callaway-a small place of three or four houses and one mill, not running now-has got a poor landing place. We found here the gunboat Lexington and the steamer Wilson, with forage and provisions. The gunboat Lexington went up river towards Fort Henry; chased a small rebel gunboat with two 12-pounder rifled guns, but the rebel escaped; then threw twelve shells into Fort Henry. During the night, frost. Four miles north is Aurora, a small place, with a landing and ferry on the Tennessee River.

January 22.-Brigadier-general commanding, C. F. Smith, Brigade Surgeon Dr. Hewitt, and Capt. John Rziha went up the river on the gunboat Lexington to reconnoiter Fort Henry. When our gunboat {p.74} reached the south point of the island, next to Fort Henry, we could see two rebel steamers depart in great haste. We shelled Fort Henry, and the fort returned our fire with one shot, which must have been a 32-pounder rifled gun. The north side of the fort is a crémaillère line, mounting four 32-pounders. The three other sides are rectangular, mounting two 64 and two 24 pounders. In front crémaillère line is, I should judge, a redan commenced. South of the fort is a large camp. East of the fort is one regiment encamped. From Fort Henry to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, 12 miles; connected by a good road. On the west side of the Tennessee River, opposite the fort, two hills, about 90 feet above river. Fort Henry is strongly built, and I believe well garrisoned. All around the fort abatis, from head of island to the fort, two miles and a half.


Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN RZIHA, Captain, Nineteenth Infantry, U. S. Army.


No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army.

FORT DONELSON, January 18, 1862-8 a.m.

All quiet this morning; 2,000 infantry and 200 cavalry have landed at Eggner’s Ferry and encamped 6 miles out on road to Murray. Have 15 wagons. Their object, I think, is our railroad at Paris.

Gunboats below us have retired again, with transports. All quiet at Dover.


General POLK.


FORT DONELSON, January 18, 1862-11 p.m.

A second courier from Henry, 4 o’clock, brings further particulars of enemy’s position. About same. Will try and destroy Wood’s Creek Bridge; it will impede them. I shall draw 600 men from here. Everything quiet here. Am destroying ferry-boats below. Ten-inch gun mounted at Henry at 4 p.m.; another, 32, will be by 12 m. Shall return to Henry at 3 a.m. and lose no time.


General POLK.


FORT HENRY, January 19, 1862.

[C. F.] Smith is at Murray with, I think, 7,500 men, including 1,000 cavalry and twelve field pieces. I have possession of the hill and am fortifying hard. Can make it strong, if time is allowed. One Alabama company of cavalry came to-night; send back boat for the others. Have moved 600 men and three pieces field artillery from Donelson here. Await anxiously to know about re-enforcements. I must and will hold the hill, if I can. Men behave well.

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army, Commanding.

Col. W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.



FORT HENRY, January 21, 1862-6 p.m.

Scout informs me that the main body of the enemy made only a feint, and sent 1,000 only to Highland. Main body returned to near Murray, former position. Messenger from near Murray reports proceeding beyond Murray west. Works progressing well on south side. I do not feel satisfied about effect of high water on earthworks at Henry. Say to Gilmer gunboat up at 4 o’clock p.m. opened on us. No harm done. I did not reply.


General POLK.


FORT HENRY, January 21, 1862-11 p.m.

Captain Milton’s cavalry just in. Has been on rear of Smith’s column. Smith tacked about at dark last night, and is now within 9 miles of Highland with whole force. He must cross river at that point, and has good road to Donelson and Henry. He will attack one or both.


General POLK.


FORT HENRY, January 23, 1862-10.30 p.m.

Scout from rear of enemy’s column reports its movements down river to Eggner’s Ferry, 5 miles below. Movement commenced at early hour; rear passed scout at 1 p.m. Nothing yet to base confidence on as to intention of enemy. Have started 950 cavalry and some artillery to harass rear. Progressing with outworks on this side. Shall resume work in thirty hours on south side river. Enemy’s force 5,500.


General POLK.


FORT HENRY, January 25, 1862-3 p.m.

Courier in from Colonel Miller’s command. Miller could not come up with the enemy. The Federals made forced marches; their advance was within 12 miles of Paducah this morning at 6 o’clock. Our troops halted 11 miles from enemy’s rear, and determined to return to Fort Henry.


General POLK.


JANUARY 19, 1862.– Engagement at Logan’s Cross-Roads, on Fishing Creek, near Mill Springs, Ky.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with instructions to Brigadier-General Thomas, and congratulatory orders.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding division, with congratulatory orders.
No. 3.–Col. Mahlon D. Manson, Tenth Indiana Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 4.–Col. Speed S. Fry, Fourth Kentucky Infantry.{p.76}
No. 5.–Col. John M. Harlan, Tenth Kentucky Infantry.
No. 6.–Lieut. Col. William C. Kise, Tenth Indiana Infantry.
No. 7.–Col. Robert L. McCook, Ninth Ohio Infantry, commanding Third Brigade
No. 8.–Col. Horatio P. Van Cleve, Second Minnesota Infantry.
No. 9.–Lieut. George H. Harries, Adjutant Ninth Ohio Infantry.
No. 10.–Col. Samuel P. Carter, commanding Twelfth Brigade.
No. 11.–Col. William A. Hoskins, Twelfth Kentucky Infantry.
No. 12.–Col. Frank Wolford, First Kentucky Cavalry.
No. 13.–Capt. William E. Standart, Battery B, First Ohio Light Artillery.
No. 14.–Capt. Dennis Kenny, Jr., Battery C, First Ohio Light Artillery.
No. 15.–Congratulatory order from the President.
No. 16.–Gen. A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding the Western Department.
No. 17.–Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, C. S. Army, commanding division.
No. 18.–Brig. Gen. William H. Carroll, C. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 19.–Maj. Horace Rice, Twenty-ninth Tennessee Infantry (Confederate).

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with instructions to Brigadier-General Thomas, and congratulatory orders.

LOUISVILLE, January 20, 1862.

By telegraphic dispatches from the command of General G. H. Thomas, whom I had ordered to form a junction with General Schoepf at Somerset and attack Zollicoffer, I have information that General Thomas was attacked by Zollicoffer’s forces at 6 o’clock yesterday morning, some 8 miles west of Somerset. He repulsed the enemy handsomely and drove him into his intrenchments at Mill Springs, capturing one piece of artillery and four caissons. The enemy left 200 killed and wounded on the field. Among the killed are Zollicoffer and Bailie Peyton. The difficulty of supplying even General Thomas’ force in the present condition of the roads, and with our limited amount of transportation, is almost insurmountable. He has been on half rations for some days.

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General.

Major-General MCCLELLAN.


LOUISVILLE, January 22, 1862.

Major-General MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:

The following [dated 21st instant] just received from General Thomas:

The rout of the enemy was complete. After succeeding in getting two pieces of artillery across the river and upwards of fifty wagons they were abandoned, with all the ammunition in depot at Mill Springs. They then threw away their arms and dispersed through the mountain by-ways in direction of Monticello, but are so completely demoralized that I don’t believe they will make a stand short of Tennessee. I will forward Schoepf’s brigade to Monticello at once if you desire it. Monticello is one of the strongest positions on the borders of Tennessee. The property captured on this river is of great value, amounting to eight 6-pounders and two Parrott guns, with caissons filled with ammunition; about 100 four-horse wagons and upwards of 1,200 horses and mules; several boxes of arms, which have never been opened, and from 500 to 1,000 muskets, mostly flint-locks, but in good order; subsistence stores enough to serve the entire command for three days; also a large amount of hospital stores. As soon as I receive report of brigade commanders will furnish a detailed report of the battle. Our loss was 39 killed and 127 wounded. Among the wounded {p.77} were Colonel McCook, of the Ninth Ohio, commanding brigade, and his aide, Lieutenant Burt, Eighteenth U. S. Infantry. The loss of the rebels was Zollicoffer and 114 others killed and buried, 116 wounded, and 45 prisoners not wounded, 5 of whom are surgeons, and Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, Twentieth Tennessee Regiment.

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., February 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit General Thomas’ report of the battle of Mill Springs, and to commend the services of his troops to the approbation of the General-in-Chief for their fortitude under discomforts and difficulties and their gallantry in battle. The question of rewards to meritorious persons will naturally present itself in this connection. It is one which will require to be treated with very great caution. It is one which produces jealousies and dissatisfaction in a regular army, and, composed as ours is, may lead to a most injurious condition of things. I would suggest that rewards for services in battle be conferred exclusively by brevets, leaving the full promotion (to the grade of brigadier) to flow exclusively from fitness for the office as shown by service. The advantage of this rule, in fact the necessity for it, is, I think, obvious.

I commend the general in command for the fidelity and ability with which he executed my instructions.

I would call attention to the following brigade and regimental commanders who were actively engaged in the battle:

Col. R. L. McCook, Ninth Ohio, commanded the Third Brigade. He was distinguished for efficiency and gallantry on the field, and, though severely wounded early in the action, continued in his command until the engagement closed.

Col. M. D. Manson Tenth Indiana, commanded the Second Brigade, and behaved gallantly on the field.

Col. S. S. Fry commanded the Fourth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, was wounded, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

Colonel Van Cleve commanded the Second Regiment Minnesota Volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rise commanded the Tenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

Major Kammerling commanded the Ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

For the part taken in the action by the different regiments and batteries and the subordinate officers I would refer to the report of General Thomas and the officers in command under him.

No other reports in relation to the battle have been received.

A box of captured flags will be forwarded by express.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.



HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., December 29, 1861.

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding First Division:

GENERAL: I send you a sketch* of the country about Somerset, which gives more information in regard to roads than your map. We conversed about the advance upon Zollicoffer through Columbia, and if you remember my idea it is hardly necessary to add anything on this subject. It is for you to move upon his left and endeavor to cut him off from his bridge, while Schoepf, with whom, of course, you must communicate, attacks him in front. The map will indicate the proper moves for that object. The result ought to be at least a severe blow to him or a hasty flight across the river. But to effect the former the movement should be made rapidly and secretly and the blow should be vigorous and decided. There should be no delay after you arrive. It would be better not to have been undertaken if it should result in confining an additional force merely to watching the enemy. The details of the operations must be left to your judgment from the information you gather and your observations on the ground. Take such portion of the cavalry from Columbia as you think necessary. Draw all the supplies you can from the country, and move as light as possible.

Having accomplished the object, be ready to move promptly in any direction, but wait until you hear from me, unless circumstances should require you to act without delay, as I may want you to proceed from there to the other matter about which we have conversed.

Report frequently.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* To appear in Atlas.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., January 23, 1862.

The general commanding has the gratification of announcing the achievement of an important victory, on the 19th instant, at Mill Springs, by the troops under General Thomas over the rebel forces, some 12,000 strong, under General George B. Crittenden and General Zollicoffer.

The defeat of the enemy was thorough and complete, and his loss in killed and wounded was great. Night alone, under cover of which his troops crossed the river from their intrenched camp and dispersed, prevented the capture of his entire force. Fourteen or more pieces of artillery, some 1,500 horses and mules, his entire camp equipage, together with wagons, arms, ammunition, and other stores to a large amount, fell into our hands.

The general has been charged by the General-in-Chief to convey his thanks to General Thomas and his troops for their brilliant victory. No task could be more grateful to him, seconded as it is by his own cordial approbation of their conduct.

By command of Brigadier-General Buell:

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.



No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding division, with congratulatory orders.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in carrying out the instructions of the general commanding the department, contained in his communication of the 29th of December, I reached Logan’s Cross-Roads, about 10 miles north of the intrenched camp of the enemy on the Cumberland River, on the 17th instant, with a portion of the Second and Third Brigades, Kenny’s battery of artillery, and a battalion of Wolford’s cavalry. The Fourth and Tenth Kentucky, Fourteenth Ohio, and the Eighteenth U. S. Infantry being still in rear, detained by the almost impassable condition of the roads, I determined to halt at this point, to await their arrival and to communicate with General Schoepf.

The Tenth Indiana Wolford’s cavalry, and Kenny’s battery took position on the road leading to the enemy’s camp. The Ninth Ohio and Second Minnesota (part of Colonel McCook’s brigade) encamped three-fourths of a mile to the right, on the Roberts post-road. Strong pickets were thrown out in the direction of the enemy beyond where the Somerset and Mill Springs road comes into the main road from my camp to Mill Springs, and a picket of cavalry some distance in advance of the infantry.

General Schoepf visited me on the day of my arrival, and, after consultation, I directed him to send to my camp Standart’s battery, the Twelfth Kentucky, and the First and Second Tennessee Regiments, to remain until the arrival of the regiments in rear.

Having received information on the evening of the 17th that a large train of wagons with its escort were encamped on the Roberts post and Danville road, about 6 miles from Colonel Steedman’s camp, I sent an order to him to send his wagons forward under a strong guard, and to march with his regiment (the Fourteenth Ohio) and the Tenth Kentucky (Colonel Harlan), with one day’s rations in their haversacks, to the point where the enemy were said to be encamped, and either capture or disperse them.

Nothing of importance occurred from the time of our arrival until the morning of the 19th, except a picket skirmish on the night of the 17th. The Fourth Kentucky, the battalion of Michigan Engineers, and Wetmore’s battery joined on the 18th.

About 6.30 o’clock on the morning of the 19th the pickets from Wolford’s cavalry encountered the enemy advancing on our camp, retired slowly, and reported their advance to Col. M. D. Manson, commanding the Second Brigade. He immediately formed his regiment (the Tenth Indiana) and took a position on the road to await the attack, ordering the Fourth Kentucky (Col. S. S. Fry) to support him, and then informed me in person that the enemy were advancing in force and what disposition he had made to resist them. I directed him to join his brigade immediately and hold the enemy in check until I could order up the other troops which were ordered to form immediately and were marching to the field in ten minutes afterwards. The battalion of Michigan Engineers and Company A, Thirty-eighth Ohio (Captain Greenwood), were ordered to remain as guard to the camp.

Upon my arrival on the field soon afterwards I found the Tenth Indiana formed in front of their encampment, apparently awaiting orders, and ordered them forward to the support of the Fourth Kentucky, which {p.80} was the only entire regiment then engaged. I then rode forward myself to see the enemy’s position, so that I could determine what disposition to make of my troops as they arrived. On reaching the position held by the Fourth Kentucky Tenth Indiana, and Wolford’s cavalry, at a point where the roads fork leading to Somerset, I found the enemy advancing through a corn field and evidently endeavoring to gain the left of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, which was maintaining its position in a most determined manner. I directed one of my aides to ride back and order up a section of artillery and the Tennessee brigade to advance on the enemy’s right, and sent orders for Colonel McCook to advance with his two regiments (the Ninth Ohio and Second Minnesota) to the support of the Fourth Kentucky and Tenth Indiana.

A section of Captain Kenny’s battery took a position on the edge of the field to the left of the Fourth Kentucky and opened an efficient fire on a regiment of Alabamians, which were advancing on the Fourth Kentucky. Soon afterwards the second Minnesota (Col. H. P. Van Cleve) arrived, the colonel reporting to me for instructions. I directed him to take the position of the Fourth Kentucky and Tenth Indiana, which regiments were nearly out of ammunition. The Ninth Ohio, under the immediate command of Major Kammerling, came into position on the right of the road at the same tune.

Immediately after these regiments had gained their position the enemy opened a most determined and galling fire, which was returned by our troops in the same spirit, and for nearly half an hour the contest was maintained on both sides in the most obstinate manner. At this time the Twelfth Kentucky (Col. W. A. Hoskins) and the Tennessee brigade reached the field to the left of the Minnesota regiment, and opened fire on the right flank of the enemy, who then began to fall back. The Second Minnesota kept up a most galling fire in front, and the Ninth Ohio charged the enemy on the right with bayonets fixed, turned their flank, and drove them from the field, the whole line giving way and retreating in the utmost disorder and confusion.

As soon as the regiments could be formed and refill their cartridge-boxes I ordered the whole force to advance. A few miles in rear of the battle-field a small force of cavalry was drawn up near the road, but a few shots from our artillery (a section of Standart’s battery) dispersed them, and none of the enemy were seen again until we arrived, in front of their intrenchments. As we approached their intrenchments the division was deployed in line of battle and steadily advanced to the summit of the hill at Moulden’s. From this point I directed their intrenchments to be cannonaded, which was done until dark by Standart’s and Wetmore’s batteries. Kenny’s battery was placed in position on the extreme left at Russell’s house, from which point he was directed to fire on their ferry, to deter them from attempting to cross. On the following morning Captain Wetmore’s battery was ordered to Russell’s house, and assisted with his Parrott guns in firing upon the ferry. Colonel Manson’s brigade took position on the left near Kenny’s battery, and every preparation was made to assault their intrenchments on the following morning. The Fourteenth Ohio (Colonel Steedman) and the Tenth Kentucky (Colonel Harlan) having joined from detached service soon after the repulse of the enemy, continued with their brigade in the pursuit, although they could not get up in time to join in the fight. These two regiments were placed in front in my advance on the intrenchments the next morning and entered first. General Schoepf also joined me the evening of the 19th with the Seventeenth, Thirty-first, {p.81} and Thirty-eighth Ohio. His entire brigade entered with the other troops.

On reaching the intrenchments we found the enemy had abandoned everything and retired during the night. Twelve pieces of artillery, with their caissons packed with ammunition-one battery wagon and two forges; a large amount of ammunition; a large number of small-aims, mostly the old flint-lock muskets; 150 or 160 wagons, and upwards of 1,000 horses and mules; a large amount of commissary stores, intrenching tools, and camp and garrison equipage, fell into our hands. A correct list of all the captured property will be forwarded as soon as it can be made up and the property secured.

The steam and ferry boats having been burned by the enemy in their retreat, it was found impossible to cross the river and pursue them; besides, their command was completely demoralized, and retreated with great haste and in all directions, making their capture in any numbers quite doubtful if pursued. There is no doubt but what the moral effect produced by their complete dispersion will have a more decided effect in re-establishing Union sentiments than though they had been captured.

It affords me much pleasure to be able to testify to the uniform steadiness and good conduct of both officers and men during the battle, and I respectfully refer to the accompanying reports of the different commanders for the names of those officers and men whose good conduct was particularly noticed by them.

I regret to have to report that Col. R. L. McCook, commanding the Third Brigade, and his aide, Lieut. A. S. Burt, Eighteenth U. S. Infantry, were both severely wounded in the first advance of the Ninth Ohio Regiment, but continued on duty until the return of the brigade to camp at Logan’s Cross-Roads.

Col. S. S. Fry, Fourth Kentucky, was slightly wounded whilst his regiment was gallantly resisting the advance of the enemy, during which time General Zollicoffer fell from a shot from his (Colonel Fry’s) pistol, which no doubt contributed materially to the discomfiture of the enemy.

Capt. G. E. Flynt, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. Alvan C. Gillem, division quartermaster; Lieut. Joseph C. Breckinridge, aide-de-camp; Lieut. S. E. Jones, acting assistant quartermaster; Mr. J. W. Scully quartermaster’s clerk; Privates Samuel Letcher, Twenty-first Regiment Kentucky Volunteers; Stitch, Fourth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, rendered me valuable assistance in carrying orders and conducting the troops to their different positions.

Capt. George S. Roper deserves great credit for his perseverance and energy in forwarding commissary stores as far as the hill where our forces bivouacked.

In addition to the duties of guarding the camp, Lieut. Col. K. A. Hunton, commanding the Michigan Engineers, and Captain Greenwood, Company A, Thirty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, with their commands, performed very efficient service in collecting and burying the dead on both sides and in moving the wounded to the hospitals near the battle-field.

A number of flags were taken on the field of battle and in the intrenchments. They will be forwarded to headquarters as soon as collected together.

The enemy’s loss, as far as known, is as follows: Brigadier-General Zollicoffer, Lieutenant Bailie Peyton, and 190 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, killed; Lieut. Col. M. B. Carter, Twentieth Tennessee; Lieut. J. W. Allen, Fifteenth Mississippi; Lieut. Allen Morse, {p.82} Sixteenth Alabama, and 5 officers of the medical staff and 81 non-commissioned officers and privates, taken prisoners; Lieut. J. E. Patterson, Twentieth Tennessee, and A. J. Knapp, Fifteenth Mississippi, and 66 non-commissioned officers and privates, wounded; making 192 killed, 89 prisoners not wounded and 68 wounded; a total of killed, wounded, and prisoners of 349.

Our loss was as follows:

10th Indiana10372
1st Kentucky (Cavalry)1219
4th Kentucky8448
2d Minnesota12231
9th Ohio6424

A complete list of the names of our killed and wounded and of the prisoners is herewith attached.*

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. THOMAS, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

Capt. J. B. FRY, A. A. G., Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Dept. Ohio, Louisville, Ky.

* Omitted




The following will be the order of march:

General Zollicoffer: Fifteenth Mississippi in advance, Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall; battery of four guns, Captain Rutledge; Nineteenth Tennessee, Colonel Cummings; Twentieth Tennessee, Colonel Battle; Twenty-fifth Tennessee, Colonel Stanton.

General Carroll: Seventeenth Tennessee, Colonel Newman; Twenty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Murray; Twenty-ninth Tennessee, Colonel Powell; two guns in rear of infantry, Captain McClung.

Sixteenth Alabama, Colonel Wood, in reserve, cavalry battalions in rear, Colonel Branner on the right, Colonel McClellan on the left; independent companies in front of the advance regiment; ambulances and ammunition wagons in rear of the whole and in the order of their regiments.

By order of General Crittenden:

A. S. CUNNINGHAM, Assistant Adjutant-General.



Brig. Gen. D. C. BUELL, Commanding Department of the Ohio, Louisville, Ky.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to forward to you by Captain Davidson, Tenth Kentucky Volunteers, six rebel flags: one captured on the battlefield {p.83} by the Second Minnesota Regiment, the others taken in the intrenchments by officers and men of the different regiments. Colonel Kise reports that his regiment captured three stands of colors, but none have been sent to these headquarters. I have ordered him to turn them in, and will forward them as soon as received. In the box with the colors is the regimental order-book of the Fifteenth Mississippi Rifles and a book of copies of all General Zollicoffer’s orders from the organization of his brigade until a few days before the battle.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. THOMAS Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding General.




1. The general commanding congratulates the troops on the splendid victory achieved over the enemy yesterday. We have met more than double our numbers, fresh from their intrenchments, repulsed them completely, and after a pursuit of 10 miles forced them to abandon their intrenchments with precipitation, leaving all their supplies, camp equipage, and private baggage. It is believed that the route was so complete that the whole force dispersed. When officers and men have behaved with such steadiness and bravery, the general cannot with impartiality particularize the acts of any individuals; all were equally conspicuous.

2. Col. M. D. Manson, commanding the Second Brigade, will take command, and see that all the public-property is properly invoiced and forwarded to Somerset without delay. He will also throw a strong force across the river and secure the public property abandoned by the enemy on the other side, after which he will select the most eligible position for his camp and remain until further orders.

3. Col. R. L. McCook, commanding the Third Brigade, will proceed with his command to Somerset, where he will go into camp until further orders.

4. Commanders of brigades, regiments, and detached corps will report the number of killed, wounded, and missing without delay.

By order of Brig. Gen. G. H. Thomas:

GEO. E. FLYNT, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 3.

Report of Col. Mahlon D. Manson, Tenth Indiana Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., FIRST DIV., DEPT. OF THE OHIO, Camp near Mill Springs, January 27, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you the following report of the part taken by the Second Brigade in the engagement with the enemy at Logan’s field, on the 19th instant:

On the morning of the 17th instant I took the advance of all the other troops on the march from Columbia towards the enemy’s works with the Tenth Indiana Regiment, and arrived at Logan’s farm, distant {p.84} about 10 miles from the rebel camp, on Cumberland River, at 1 o’clock on that day. I immediately placed a strong picket, consisting of two companies belonging to the Tenth Indiana Regiment and a section of artillery of Captain Kenny’s battery, under Lieutenant Gary, 2 miles out on the road leading to the enemy’s fortifications. About 2 o’clock on the morning of the 18th a few of the enemy’s cavalry approached and fired upon our pickets, which was returned by them, and the enemy fell back.

On the evening of the 18th instant I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Kise to send out two companies as pickets on the road to the camp of the enemy, which he accordingly did. About daylight on the morning of the 19th instant the advance guard of the enemy came in sight of our extreme pickets and opened a fire upon them. The fire was returned by the pickets, who immediately afterwards fell back to their companies. The picket companies having rallied, held the enemy in check until a courier arrived at my quarters with information that the enemy were advancing with a very large force. I caused the long roll to be beaten. The Tenth Indiana Regiment was quickly formed, and I ordered them to the support of the picket companies. I also ordered Captain Kenny’s and Captain Standart’s batteries to be got in position to meet the advancing enemy. On the arrival of the Tenth Indiana Regiment to the support of the pickets they immediately engaged three regiments of the enemy, numbering about 2,500 men, and held their whole force in check for over one hour.

As soon as I got the Tenth Indiana Regiment in position I proceeded to the camp of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, which was about three-quarters of a mile from my camp. I woke up Colonel Fry, and ordered him to form his regiment and proceed toward the enemy. I then went to your quarters, and informed you that the enemy was advancing upon us in force. I immediately returned to the field, and found Colonel Fry, with about 300 men, in the road leading to my camp. I directed him to push forward with his regiment without any further delay and take position in the woods on the left of the Tenth Indiana, which he did, arriving there about one hour after the commencement of the battle, where his regiment did excellent service. I now gave orders to Captain Standart, of the artillery, to throw some shells over the heads of our men to the place where I knew the enemy to be, which he did with admirable effect.

I now discovered that the enemy was bringing other forces into action, extending their lines, and attempting to outflank us upon the right. Seeing that no time was to be lost, I straightway ordered Colonel Byrd’s Tennessee Regiment to take position on the right of the Tenth Indiana Regiment, which order was about being executed and the regiment was moving in the direction indicated, when they received an order from General Carter, commanding them to go and take position on the Somerset road, to meet any portion of the enemy that might attempt to flank us in that direction. When I saw the Tennessee regiment leaving the field I immediately informed you of the fact when you directed me to order up Colonel McCook’s Ninth Ohio and Second Minnesota Regiments to take position on the right, which order I communicated to Colonel McCook, who moved forward with the two regiments of his brigade. You also ordered me to have a section of the battery taken upon the hill if possible, and in compliance with which order Captain Standart, with two sections of artillery, moved forward, and with great difficulty succeeded in getting upon the hill, when a heavy fire from his guns was opened on the enemy.


In the mean time the Ninth Ohio, Second Minnesota, Tenth Indiana, and Fourth Kentucky Regiments had kept up an unceasing fire upon the ranks of the enemy, who now began slowly to fall back before our advancing forces. A portion of the enemy halted at a fence, with the evident intention of making a stand, when Colonel McCook commanded a “charge bayonet,” which command was instantly repeated by Lieutenant-Colonel Kise, of the Tenth Indiana, and was splendidly executed by both regiments. The enemy now gave way and fled in every direction in the utmost confusion, being hotly pursued by all your forces in the field.

In accordance with your order I started off to the left of the road through the fields and woods, with the Tenth Indiana and Fourth Kentucky Regiments, in pursuit of the retreating enemy. I proceeded in this way until I struck the lower Fishing Creek road, about one mile from the main road leading to the enemy’s fortifications. I turned and proceeded down the road until I formed a junction with your column, and remained with you until we came in sight of the enemy’s breastworks, where I halted my brigade until you had arranged your batteries upon the hills commanding the rebel camp. After the artillery had shelled the enemy’s works for some time I received your order to move with my brigade to Russell’s house, on the north bank of the Cumberland River, and prevent a flank movement of the enemy, and gain an eminence which commanded the ferry at a point where the river divides the enemy’s camp. I immediately occupied the place specified in your order with the Tenth Indiana, Fourth Kentucky, Fourteenth Ohio, and Tenth Kentucky Regiments. Captain Kenny’s battery of artillery shortly afterwards came by your order and took position on the hill at Russell’s house with my brigade. Colonels Steedman and Harlan, of the Fourteenth Ohio and Tenth Kentucky Regiments, had, after a forced march of 18 miles in six hours, overtaken us at the point where your column halted for the purpose of shelling the enemy. I very sincerely regret that you were deprived of the services of these two gallant regiments in the battle. Their reports,* which I herewith transmit to you, will fully explain why they were not with me on the morning of the engagement.

At 10 o’clock on the night of the 19th I ordered the gallant Colonel Harlan, with his regiment, to advance and take possession of a hill half a mile from Russell’s house, which overlooked the camp of the enemy, and to hold it at all hazards, and directed him at daybreak on the following morning to take possession of the enemy’s works if it were ascertained that they had evacuated them. At 3 o’clock on the morning of the 20th you directed me to send another regiment to the support of Colonel Harlan on the hill. I sent forward Colonel Steedman, of the Fourteenth Ohio Regiment. At daylight Colonels Harlan and Steedman, with their regiments, took possession of the enemy’s fortifications, the rebels having deserted them during the night. In a very short time afterwards the Tenth Indiana and Fourth Kentucky Regiments moved up into the deserted intrenchments. My brigade, after reaching the enemy’s camp, took possession of twelve pieces of artillery, a large quantity of arms of every description, ammunition, commissary and quartermaster’s stores, horses, wagons, &c., all of which the enemy had abandoned in their flight. The panic among them was so great that they even left a number of their sick and wounded in a dying state upon the river bank.


The loss of my brigade in killed and wounded is as follows: Tenth Indiana Regiment, 11 killed and 75 wounded; Fourth Kentucky Regiment, 8 killed and 52 wounded; total, 19 killed and 127 wounded.

The enemy’s loss in killed and wounded cannot be short of 800, and some intelligent prisoners estimate it as high as 1,500 in killed and wounded and drowned in crossing the river.

The officers and men under my command behaved themselves with coolness and courage during the entire engagement. Their gallantry and bravery never were excelled upon any battle-field, and seldom equaled. In justice to the enemy I must say they exhibited a courage and determination worthy of a better cause. General Zollicoffer, who commanded a part of their forces, fell while leading on his men, his body pierced by three bullets.

I cannot close my report without mentioning the names of Lieutenant-Colonel Kise and Maj. A. O. Miller, of the Tenth Indiana Regiment, who gallantly and bravely led forward their men and withstood the whole force of the enemy solitary and alone for one hour, Oliver S. Rankin, quartermaster of the Tenth Indiana Regiment, with his characteristic bravery and energy, organized his train for the purpose of advancing or retiring as the circumstances might require, and promptly supplied the men of the Tenth Indiana Regiment with cartridges, from 60 to 75 rounds of which were fired by them during the action.

Capt. A. C. Gillem, division quartermaster, who promptly organized an ammunition train and moved it on to the field, and by his untiring exertions contributed greatly to our success, is deserving of the highest praise.

Capt. George W. Roper, division commissary, merits great praise for his services on the field of battle and for so promptly organizing his provision train, which supplied the men with rations when they were almost exhausted.

Capt. R. C. Kise, my assistant adjutant-general, who was of invaluable service to me in assisting and arranging the troops on the field and communicating my orders, is entitled to the highest praise and honors.

Capt. D. N. Steele, brigade quartermaster, and Capt. D. N. Nye, brigade commissary, for the faithful performance of their duties, are entitled to credit.

The gallant Col. R. L. McCook, commanding the Third Brigade, I shall ever remember with feelings of gratitude and admiration for the prompt manner in which he sustained me in the hour of trial.

To Major Hunt, of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, who exerted himself in cheering on his men and giving them every encouragement and assistance, great honor and praise should be accorded.

In justice to my own feelings I cannot close this report without congratulating the commanding general of this division on the splendid victory achieved over the rebel forces by the troops under his command at Logan’s field. The number of the enemy’s forces engaged in battle must have been over 8,000 men, while the Federal force actually engaged did not exceed at any time over 2,500.

All the papers and plans of the late General Zollicoffer have fallen into my hands, which I have preserved for the future use of the Government.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

MAHLON D. MANSON, Colonel, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Dept. Ohio.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding First Division, Department of the Ohio.

* Steedman’s not found.



No. 4.

Report of Col. Speed S. Fry, Fourth Kentucky Infantry.


SIR: In compliance with your orders I herewith transmit my report of the part my regiment took in the engagement with the enemy on the 19th instant.

At about 6.30 o’clock in the morning I was notified by you in person that the enemy was rapidly advancing upon us, and ordered to call out my regiment, which was done as promptly as possible. I was directed by you to proceed at once towards the scene of action, the fight having commenced, and to “go and take a position in the woods.” I had no information as to the strength or position of the enemy, and had to be governed entirely by my own judgment as to what was best to be done.

Upon arriving at a point where I could see their position I immediately determined to take mine on an elevated point in the field on the left of the road filed my regiment to the left through the fence, and formed my line of battle parallel with and near to it, under a heavy and galling fire from the enemy, who were concealed in a deep ravine at the foot of the hill and posted on the opposite hill, distant about 250 yards. Their line extended around the ridge at the head of the ravine and onto the hill occupied by me, and within 50 yards of my right, covered throughout its entire extent by the fence separating the field and woodland and by the timber and thick undergrowth adjacent thereto. The engagement at once became very warm. Finding that I was greatly outnumbered, and the enemy being under cover, I ordered my men to the opposite side of the fence in our rear, the enemy continuing to fire upon us all the while. After gaining this position the enemy was kept at bay until the arrival of re-enforcements, having made during the time two unsuccessful attempts to charge upon us with bayonets fixed and their large cane-knives unsheathed.

Some time after we crossed the fence I was notified by Lieutenant-Colonel Croxton that an attempt was being made to flank us on our right through the woods, with a view, no doubt, of coming up in our rear. As I did not see you upon the field, I assumed the responsibility of requesting through him that another regiment should be ordered up to engage the enemy on the right, while mine might attend more closely to the force in front. After waiting some time the arrival of the regiment, which Lieutenant-Colonel Croxton reported as approaching, and when it was certainly ascertained that the enemy was endeavoring to flank us on the right, I ordered him to bring up two companies from the left of the regiment, to prevent, if possible, the apprehended danger. It was promptly done, and the movement of the enemy checked.

As the right and center were under a much heavier fire and more directly engaged, I considered the transfer of those two companies more judicious than a change of position of the whole regiment, which could not have been executed without interrupting the continuity of my line of fire, which, as the enemy were near and pressing upon us, I held important to preserve unbroken. My command, thus disposed, held the enemy at bay until General Thomas arrived and, seeing the posture of affairs, immediately ordered up the Second Minnesota and Ninth Ohio Regiments. Very soon the enemy gave way, flying before our forces like chaff before the wind. My men replenished their cartridge-boxes, gathered up our {p.88} wounded, and joined in the pursuit, which terminated in our unobstructed entrance to this stronghold of the enemy.

I take great pleasure in stating that the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Croxton, Major Hunt, Adjutant Goodloe, Quartermaster Hope, and all my company officers, without a single exception, was deserving of the highest praise and commendation, and to their coolness and bravery I attribute much of the determination of the men.

Towards the close of the fight I discovered we were getting short of ammunition, and the company officers as well as the field officers fearing that neither ammunition nor re-enforcements would reach us in time, the command was distinctly given by the company officers to their men to “fix bayonets,” evidently showing a coolness and determination not to be expected from volunteers, and especially those who had never met an enemy in battle.

Capt. Wellington Harlan, who had been for some time under arrest, was conspicuous with his rifle throughout the battle, and for his gallant conduct on the field was there presented with his sword by Lieutenant-Colonel Croxton (who had caused him to be arrested) and ordered to take command of his company. I cannot but speak, without doing violence to my own feelings, in the highest terms of praise of the conduct both of my officers and men. They all acted nobly their part during the whole of the engagement. I led only 400 men and one-half of my company officers into the fight, nearly all the rest being absent sick.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

SPEED S. FRY, Colonel, Comdg. Fourth Kentucky Regiment of Infantry.

Col. M. D. MANSON, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Dept. of the Ohio.


No. 5.

Report of Col. John M. Harlan, Tenth Kentucky Infantry.

HDQRS. TENTH REGIMENT KENTUCKY VOLUNTEERS, Near Mill Springs, Wayne County, Ky., Jan. 27, 1862.

SIR: I submit the following report of the action of my regiment in connection with the capture of the fortifications erected by the rebel Army at and near Mill Springs:

At this point, however, I deem it proper to state that on the night of the 17th instant an order came from the division commander, addressed to Colonel Steedman, of the Fourteenth Ohio, and myself (then encamped about 8 miles from Logan’s, where the battle of the 19th occurred), directing us to march at once to the farm of one Tarter, on the Jamestown road, and about 6 miles off the main road from Columbia to Somerset, and engage two rebel regiments, supposed to be there encamped. This duty was performed, but the enemy was not to be found at the place designated. After remaining at Tarter’s until noon of the 18th instant, we returned to our camp in the afternoon of Saturday, too late to make any further forward movement on that day. You will thus perceive that it was physically impossible for my regiment, consistent with other duties imposed upon us, to be present at Logan’s on the morning of the 19th, when the enemy, under Crittenden and Zollicoffer, made an attack upon the United States troops.


It is deeply regretted by all the officers and soldiers under my command that it was not their privilege to participate in the brilliant achievement of the 19th instant. We could wish no higher honor for this regiment than to have contributed something to win that most important victory. All honor to the brave men of Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio, who on that memorable occasion drove back in dismay three times their number of the vandal horde of secession and treason.

Information came to me Sunday morning of the battle at Logan’s. Although the men of my regiment were entirely destitute of provisions, and on that morning had not received half enough for breakfast, my summons to them to fall into line and march to the aid of our brethren was obeyed with commendable alacrity. Starting for the scene of danger, we marched as rapidly as it was possible for men to do. Upon reaching Logan’s I found that the enemy had fled and that our troops had followed in pursuit. Without halting at Logan’s we came up with this and the other brigade under General Thomas a short while before dark on Sunday. After our arrival, in obedience to orders received from you and approved by the division commander, I took possession of the woods immediately in front of the rebel fortifications, with directions to hold it against any attack of the enemy. There my men lay on the ground during the whole of Sunday night without fire, tents, overcoats, or blankets, and with nothing to eat except about one-fourth of a cracker to each man. A picket guard was stationed in advance, under charge of Capt. G. W. Riley, of Company D.

At daylight Monday morning I formed my regiment into line, and with the approval of both yourself and the division commander started towards the rebel fortifications, sending forward in advance of the main body of the regiment a squad of men under Captain Hill, Company F, who first entered the rebel works. I also sent forward in advance Company A, Captain Davidson, as skirmishers. When we reached the enemy’s works it was ascertained that they had, under cover of the previous night, crossed the Cumberland, and abandoned, as it is believed, all of their wagons, mules, horses, ammunition, and artillery. The rear of the fugitive army could not have crossed long before daylight, since when my advance, Company A, reached the crossing at the river some of the rebels were observed on the opposite side on a high hill, from which they fired upon our troops. The fire was returned, and it is believed that a member of Company A killed one of the rebels across the river. Further pursuit was impossible, since the rebels in their retreat had utterly destroyed or removed all means of crossing the river.

Various documents and papers were found by officers and soldiers within the rebel fortifications. Some of them may be of importance to the Government or throw some light upon the plans of the rebels, and they are therefore transmitted with this report.* Among other documents, I transmit a letter written from this place on the 19th instant by the son of Brigadier-General Carroll, of the rebel Army, in which he states that the entire force which the enemy there had on both sides of the Cumberland River was 13,000. Also a general order, issued on January 3, showing that Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden assumed command here on that day. Also a general order from General Zollicoffer, of January 12, which shows the amount of the rebel force then on this side of the Cumberland under his immediate command. Also the general-order book of Zollicoffer’s brigade. The remaining books and papers will not be here described. {p.90} in conclusion, allow me to say that I do not claim that any special honor is due to my regiment because in advance of all other troops a portion of it first entered the rebel fortifications, or because my advance company first reached the river in their pursuit and there found the artillery and other property of the enemy. Simple justice demands the admission that the capture of the enemy’s works and the property abandoned by them was the result of the battle at Logan’s on the 19th instant. But I do claim for the officers and soldiers of this regiment that, under circumstances the most discouraging, they made a march (18 miles in about six hours) which indicated their willingness, even eagerness, to endure any fatigue or make any sacrifice in order to meet on the field of battle those wicked and unnatural men who are seeking without cause to destroy the Union of our fathers.


JNO. M. HARLAN, Colonel, Commanding.

Col. M. D. MANSON Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Dept. of the Ohio.

* Not found.


No. 6.

Report of Lieut. Col. William C. Kise, Tenth Indiana Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Tenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, under my command, in the battle fought on the 19th instant, at Logan’s farm, Pulaski County, Kentucky:

On the evening of the 18th instant, in accordance with your order, I sent out as pickets Companies K and I, Captains Shortle and Perkins, and had them posted on the road leading to the fortifications of the enemy on Cumberland River, distant about 12 miles. Maj. A. O. Miller, who posted the pickets, stationed Company I 1 mile from our camp, and Company K 300 yards beyond. The latter company received instructions to fall back to Captain Perkins if attacked.

At about 6.30 o’clock on the morning of the 19th instant a courier came to our quarters, with information that the enemy was advancing upon our camp, and almost immediately afterwards the firing of our pickets was heard. The long roll quickly brought the Tenth Regiment into ranks, and I gave orders to Major Miller to go forward with Company A, Captain Hamilton, to the support of the picket companies, which order was promptly executed. I soon proceeded by your order with the remaining seven companies of my regiment down the road in the direction of the picket firing. When I got within 75 yards of the three companies, then hotly engaged, I formed the regiment in line of battle and rapidly disposed it for fighting. Five companies extended through the woods on the right of the road and the remaining companies on the left. A regiment of rebels were advancing in line of battle and their treasonable colors were seen flaunting in the breeze. Having selected as good a position as practicable, I took a stand and ordered the regiment to fire, which order was instantly obeyed.

The firing continued without cessation for one hour, during which time we engaged three of the enemy’s regiments and held them at bay. The battle was at its hottest, and our ranks were gradually becoming thinned and mutilated, when I perceived a regiment of rebel cavalry {p.91} attempting to flank me on the right and an infantry regiment on the left. I commanded Captain Gregory’s company to take position to meet the cavalry on the right, which it did, and opened a galling fire upon them, but they were fast closing in upon us, and I saw myself completely outflanked on the right, and that re-enforcements must soon come to my relief or I would be compelled to fall back. I was eventually forced to order my right wing to retire, when, just as my order was being executed, the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, commanded by Colonel Fry, came up and took position on the left of my left wing and opened a deadly fire on the ranks of the enemy. I now rallied the right wing, the men, with the exception of those who had been detailed to carry off the dead and wounded, quickly taking their places in the line. Just at this moment a heavy force appeared to be advancing on the extreme left of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, and a portion of Colonel McCook’s brigade, which had arrived, engaging the enemy on my right, I was ordered by General Thomas to the extreme left of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment. I moved the regiment through the brush and over logs to the place designated, and, coming to a fence parallel with my line, we hotly engaged the enemy, and after a hard struggle of half an hour’s duration drove him before us and put him to flight with great loss.

A part of my left wing still engaged on the right of the Fourth Kentucky against great odds being strongly opposed, I was again ordered by General Thomas to their support. I forthwith obeyed this command, and in doing so brought my right wing upon the identical ground it had been forced to abandon during the earlier part of the engagement. I then moved forward the whole right wing and two companies of the left, and soon got into a fierce contest with the enemy in front. The whole regiment, from right to left, was now warmly engaged, and slowly but surely driving the enemy before them, when I ordered a “charge bayonet,” which was promptly executed along the whole line. We soon drove the enemy from his place of concealment in the woods into an open field 200 yards from where I ordered the charge. When we arrived at the fence in our front many of the enemy were found lingering in the corners, and were bayoneted by my men between the rails. I pressed onward, and soon beheld with satisfaction that the enemy were moving in retreat across the field, but I suddenly saw them halt in the southeast corner of the field on a piece of high ground, where they received considerable re-enforcements and made a last and desperate effort to repulse our troops. In the mean time the gallant Colonel McCook, with his invincible Ninth Ohio Regiment, came in to our support, and for twenty or thirty minutes a terrific struggle ensued between the two opposing forces. I never in all my military career saw a harder fight. Finally the enemy began to waver and give back before the shower of lead and glittering steel brought to bear on his shattered ranks, and he commenced a precipitate retreat under a storm of bullets from our advancing forces until his retreat became a perfect rout.

I ordered enough men left to attend to our dead and wounded, and receiving a new supply of cartridges (the most of our boxes being entirely empty), the men refilled their boxes, and, according to your order, I put the regiment in motion after the retreating enemy. Pursuing them the same evening a distance of 10 miles, we arrived near the enemy’s fortifications at this place. The way by which the enemy had retreated gave evidence that they had been in haste to reach their den. Wagons, cannon, muskets, swords, blankets, &c., were strewn all along the road from the battle-field to within a mile of this place, where I halted the {p.92} regiment and the men slept on their arms in the open field. The men at the time were powder-besmeared, tired, and hungry, having had nothing to eat since the previous night. On the following morning-the 20th instant-after our artillery had shelled the enemy’s works, by your order I moved my regiment to his breastworks and into his deserted intrenchments, where I have since remained.

It may be interesting to state here that our regimental colors, which were those presented by the ladies of La Fayette and borne in triumph at the battle of Rich Mountain, were completely torn into shreds by the bullets of the enemy. I have had its scattered fragments gathered and intend preserving them. Three stands of rebel colors were captured by my regiment.

I cannot speak in terms of sufficient praise of the noble and gallant conduct of some of the officers of my regiment. They did their duty and fought like tried veterans, Maj. A. O. Miller was wherever duty called him, and in the thickest of the fight, cheering on the men, Actg. Adjt. W. E. Ludlow did his whole duty and rendered me valuable assistance during the day. Asst. Surg. C. S. Perkins and the Rev. Dr. Dougherty, chaplain of the Tenth Regiment, rendered valuable service in their unremitting attention to the wounded. Quartermaster Oliver S. Rankin and Nelson B. Smith, of the same department, are entitled to great credit for the prompt manner in which they brought up and supplied the men with cartridges. Commissary Sergt. David B. Hart, our Rich Mountain guide in the three months’ service, was present and in the line of his duty. Fife and Drum Majors Daniel and James Conklin shouldered muskets and fought valiantly during the early part of the engagement, after which they were of great service in carrying off and attending to the wounded. Captains Hamilton, Boyl, J. F. Taylor, Carroll, and Gregory, and Captains M. B. Taylor, Perkins, and Shortle, the three young tigers, were through the entire battle where none but the brave and gallant go, and continually pressed forward with their men where the battle raged the hottest and the rebels were found most plenty. Captain Vanarsdall, of Company B, was present, and discharged his duty faithfully until after the right wing was drawn off. First Lieutenants Cobb, Goben, McAdams, Van Natta, Johnssen, McCoy, Bush, Boswell, Shumate, and Hunt deserve the highest praise for their brave and gallant conduct. Lieutenant McAdams fell while he was nobly leading on his men. Lieutenant Bush commanded Company G, and quite distinguished himself. Second Lieutenants Rodman, Colwell, Merritt, Lutz, Miller, Stall, Simpson, Scott, and Wilds fully merit all that can be said in their praise, as do all the non-commissioned officers and privates that were present during the engagement. Many individual acts of bravery might be mentioned, such as those of Orderly Sergeant Miller, of Company B, and my orderly, Abraham A. Carter, who took a gun and fought manfully during the intervals that his services were not required by me in dispatching orders. But nothing I can say will add to the well-merited laurels already on the brows of both officers and men of the Tenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers.

My regiment lost in killed 11 men, in wounded 75, a complete list of whose names I herewith submit.*

Respectfully submitted.

W. C. KISE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Tenth Indiana Regiment.

Col. M. D. MANSON, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Dept. of the Ohio.

* Embodied in report No. 2.



No. 7.

Report of Col. Robert L. McCook, Ninth Ohio Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIG., FIRST Div., DEPT. OF THE OHIO, Somerset, January 27, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report of the part which my brigade took in the battle of the Cumberland, on the 19th instant:

Shortly before 7 a.m. Colonel Manson informed, me that the enemy had driven in his pickets and were approaching in force. That portion of my brigade with me, the Ninth Ohio and the Second Minnesota Regiments, were formed and marched to a point near the junction of the Mill Springs and Columbia roads and immediately in rear of Wetmore’s battery, the Ninth Ohio on the right and the Second Minnesota on the left of the Mill Springs road. From this point I ordered a company of the Ninth Ohio to skirmish the woods on the right, to prevent any flank movement of the enemy. Shortly after this Colonel Manson, commanding the Second Brigade, in person informed me that the enemy were in force and in position on the top of the next hill beyond the woods and that they forced him to retire. I ordered my brigade forward through the woods in line of battle, skirting the Mill Springs road. The march of the Second Minnesota Regiment was soon obstructed by the Tenth Indiana, which was scattered through the woods waiting for ammunition. In front of them I saw the Fourth Kentucky engaging the enemy, but evidently retiring. At this moment the enemy with shouts advanced on them about 100 yards, and took position within the field on the hill-top near the second fence from the woods.

At this time I received your order to advance as rapidly as possible to the hill-top. I ordered the Second Minnesota regiment to move by the flank until it had passed the Tenth Indiana and Fourth Kentucky, and then deploy to the left of the road. I ordered the Ninth Ohio Regiment to move through the first corn field on the right of the road and take position at the farther fence, selecting the best cover possible. The position of the Minnesota regiment covered the ground formerly occupied by the Fourth Kentucky and Tenth Indiana, which brought their right flank within about 10 feet of the enemy where he had advanced upon the Fourth Kentucky. The Ninth Ohio’s position checked an attempt on the part of the enemy to flank the position taken by the Second Minnesota, and consequently brought the left wing almost against the enemy where he was stationed behind straw stacks and piles of fence rails. Another regiment was stationed immediately in front of the Ninth Ohio, well covered by a fence and some woods, a small field not more than 60 yards wide intervening between the positions. The enemy also had possession of a small log house, stable, and corn-crib, about 50 yards in front of the Ninth Ohio.

Along the lines of each of the regiments and from the enemy’s front a hot and deadly fire was opened. On the right wing of the Minnesota regiment the contest at first was almost hand to hand; the enemy and the Second Minnesota were poking their guns through the same fence. However, before the fight continued long in this way that portion of the enemy contending with the Second Minnesota Regiment retired in good order to some rail piles, hastily thrown together, the point from which they had advanced upon the Fourth Kentucky. This portion of the enemy obstinately maintaining its position, and the balance remaining {p.94} as before described, a desperate fire was continued for about thirty minutes, with seemingly doubtful result. The importance of possessing the log house, stable, and corn-crib became apparent, and Companies A, B, C, and D, of the Ninth Ohio, were ordered to flank the enemy upon the extreme left and obtain possession of the house. This done, still the enemy stood firm to his position and cover.

During this time the artillery of the enemy constantly overshot my brigade. Seeing the superior number of the enemy and their bravery, I concluded the best mode of settling the contest was to order the Ninth Ohio Regiment to charge the enemy’s position with the bayonet and turn his left flank. The order was given the regiment to empty their guns and fix bayonets; this done, it was ordered to charge. Every man sprang to it with alacrity and vociferous cheering, the enemy seemingly prepared to resist it, but before the regiment reached him the lines commenced to give way. But few of them stood, possibly 10 or 12.

This broke the enemy’s flank, and the whole line gave way in great confusion, and the whole turned into a perfect rout. As soon as I could form the regiments of my brigade I pursued the enemy to the hospital, where you joined the advance. I then moved my command forward under orders in line of battle to the foot of Moulden’s Hill, passing on the way one abandoned cannon.

The next morning we marched into the deserted works of the enemy, and on the following day returned to our camp. At the time of the first advance of the Ninth Ohio I was shot through the right leg below the knee. Three other balls passed through my horse, and another through my overcoat. After this I was compelled to go on foot until I got to the hospital of the enemy. About the same time I was shot in the leg my aide-de-camp, Andrew S. Burt, was shot in the side.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the company officers, non-commissioned officers, and the soldiers of the two regiments. Notwithstanding they had been called out before breakfast and had not tasted food all day, they conducted themselves throughout like veterans, obeying each command and executing every movement as though they were upon parade. Although all the officers of the command evinced the greatest courage and deported themselves under fire in a proper soldierly manner, were I to fail to specify some of them it would be great injustice. Lieut. Andrew S. Burt (aide-de-camp), of the Eighteenth U. S. Infantry; Hunter Brooke, private in the Second Minnesota Regiment and volunteer aide-de-camp; Maj. Gustave Kammerling, commanding the Ninth Ohio; Capt. Charles Joseph, Company A; Capt. Frederick Schroeder Company D; George H. Harries, adjutant of the Ninth Ohio Regiment; Col. H. P. Van Cleve, James George, lieutenant-colonel, and Alex. Wilkin, major of the Second Minnesota Regiment, each displayed great valor and judgment in the discharge of their respective duties, so much so, in my judgment, as to place this country and every honest friend thereof under obligations to them.

In conclusion, permit me, sir, to congratulate you on the victory achieved, and allow me to express the hope that your future efforts will be crowned with the same success.

Attached you will find the number of the force of my brigade engaged and also a list of the killed and wounded.*

I am, respectfully, yours,

ROBERT L. MCCOOK, Col. 9th Ohio Regt., Comdg. 3d Brig., 1st Div., Dept. of the Ohio.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS Commanding First Division.

* Casualties embodied in report No. 2.


No. 8.

Report of Col. Horatio P. Van Cleve, Second Minnesota Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit my report of the part taken by the Second Minnesota Regiment in the action of the Cumberland, on the 19th instant:

About 7 o’clock on the morning of that day, and before breakfast, I was informed by Colonel Manson, of the Tenth Indiana, commanding the Second Brigade of our division, that the enemy were advancing in force and that he was holding them in check, and that it was the order of General Thomas that I should form my regiment and march immediately to the scene of action. Within ten minutes we had left our camp and were marching towards the enemy. Arriving at Logan’s field, by your order we halted in line of battle, supporting Standart’s battery, which was returning the fire of the enemy’s guns, whose balls and shell were falling near us. As soon as the Ninth Ohio came up and had taken its position on our right we continued the march, and after proceeding about half a mile came upon the enemy, who were posted behind a fence along the road, beyond which was an open field broken by ravines. The enemy, opening upon us a galling fire, fought desperately, and a hand-to-hand fight ensued, which lasted about thirty minutes.

The enemy having met with so warm a reception in front and afterwards being flanked on their left by the Ninth Ohio and on their right by a portion of our left, who by their well-directed fire drove them from behind their hiding places, gave way, leaving a large number of their dead and wounded on the field. We joined in the pursuit, which continued till near sunset, when we arrived within a mile of their intrenchments, where we rested upon our arms during the night.

The next morning we marched into their works, which we found deserted. The enemy had crossed the Cumberland.

Six hundred of my regiment were in the engagement, 12 of whom were killed and 33 wounded.

I am well satisfied with the conduct of my entire command during the severe and close engagement in which they took part. Where all behaved so well, I have no desire to make individual distinction.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. P. VAN CLEVE, Colonel, Commanding Second Minnesota Volunteers.

Col. ROBERT L. McCook, Ninth Ohio, Comdg. Third Brig., First Div., Dept. of the Ohio.


No. 9.

Report of Lieut. George H. Harries, Adjutant Ninth Ohio Infantry.

CAMP HAMILTON, Pulaski County, Ky., January 22, 1862.

SIR: The bugle called the Ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteers together on the morning of the 19th instant about 7 o’clock. Led by Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Kammerling, the regiment was marched out of camp to {p.96} meet the enemy, who was reported approaching against us on the road leading from the Cumberland River to Logan’s farm. The regiment proceeded in line of battle to the scene of action, about a mile and a half from the camp. At a point this side of the thick woods separating the enemy from us Company K was ordered to take position on a side road and to skirmish the bush, for the purpose of protecting us against any flank attack. The remaining eight companies (Company G was on guard on the other side of our camp, and was left there) proceeded in quick step through the woods to the place of battle, and no sooner had they reached the edge of the woods when they were ordered to attack the enemy. The latter was posted in force on the edge of and in the woods opposite us, and was separated from us by two open corn fields, both of which were fenced. Our left wing touched the main road leading to the Cumberland, and was separated by the same from the right wing of the Second Minnesota Regiment.

With loud hurrahs our boys, most gallantly led by Kammerling, advanced upon the enemy, extending themselves all over the first of said two corn fields, and taking stand along and below the fence. Brisk and heavy firing at once began from both sides and continued for about half an hour. At last Companies A, B, C, and D, from our right wing, made a flank movement by left wheel, and after opening a lively fire against the enemy’s left wing they, together with the remaining companies, made a bayonet charge, driving the enemy from his position with loud shouts. The enemy immediately fled precipitately, leaving their dead and wounded, and their knapsacks, blankets, provisions, &c., when our men hastily pursued and made a large number of prisoners.

Company K, detached as stated above, had been ordered to join the main body, but failing to find it, fell in with the Second Minnesota and participated in the action of the left wing of said regiment.

The strength of our regiment during this action was 3 staff officers, 1 staff bugler, 21 company and 93 non-commissioned officers, 505 privates, and 8 buglers.

GEO. H. HARRIES, Adjutant Ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteers.

Col. ROBERT L. MCCOOK, Ninth Ohio, Comdg. Third Brig., First Div., Dept. of the Ohio.


No. 10.

Report of Col. Samuel P. Carter, commanding Twelfth Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS TWELFTH BRIGADE, Somerset, Ky., January 30, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of the First and Second Tennessee and Twelfth Kentucky Regiments Volunteers in the engagement of the 19th instant:

On the morning of the 17th January, 1862, I left Somerset, Ky., with the First and Second East Tennessee Regiments, and proceeded to the crossing of Fishing Creek, on The Columbia road. Leaving the regiments at the crossing, I proceeded to Logan’s Cross-Roads and reported to you in person. Late on the evening of the 17th I ordered up the Tennessee regiments to Logan’s, and by 8 o’clock p.m. they were bivouacked at the junction of the roads leading to Somerset and to Mill {p.97} Springs. Captain Wetmore’s battery, of two howitzers and two Parrott guns, joined me at Logan’s on the 18th, having made a forced march over the deep roads and under a drenching rain from Somerset. My troops were exposed to the rain and inclemency of the weather on Saturday and Saturday night, without shelter and without the usual rations and without tents. The rapid rise of Fishing Creek prevented the regimental wagons from crossing. Notwithstanding their uncomfortable condition for forty-eight hours, they formed in line of battle on Sunday morning with alacrity to meet the enemy. In compliance with your orders, the two Tennessee regiments and the Twelfth Kentucky were formed by me on the left of your line, so as to protect the road leading to Somerset from Mill Springs, in supporting distance of the center and right wing of the army. Captain Wetmore’s battery of four pieces was stationed on the right of the line, where it was efficiently worked, throwing shot and shell into the lines of the enemy. Subsequently two pieces of this battery were moved to the left of the line, to assist in protecting that wing from any advance of the enemy on the road from Mill Springs which comes into the Somerset road east of the encampment of the Tenth Indiana Regiment.

Soon after these positions were taken by the Tennessee and Twelfth Kentucky Regiments I received from one of your aides information that the enemy was advancing through the woods and not on the road we were guarding. The brigade was immediately advanced to meet him. After reaching the woods the three regiments were closed in on the enemy’s right, the First Tennessee deployed into the field, pressing the enemy’s right up the hill, firing at him and capturing some prisoners, among whom was Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, of the Twentieth (rebel) Regiment of Tennessee. In this advance the Twelfth Kentucky, which was on the extreme left of the line, had a brisk skirmish with a part of the enemy’s forces and captured several prisoners. The Second East Tennessee Regiment also came up with and captured several of the enemy.

In the pursuit of the enemy, and by your order, the Tennessee regiments took the right of the line in the advance, and maintained that position during the rest of the day. At 3.30 p.m. the brigade arrived at the foot of Moulden’s Hill. Here the enemy was expected to make a stand. Wearied by a long march and without provisions during the day, the gallant men of the Twelfth Brigade advanced to the top of the hill with intrepidity and spirit, but the enemy had abandoned this important height, which commanded his fortified camp about three-fourths of a mile on the opposite hills. The artillery was brought up immediately, and the Parrott guns of Captain Wetmore threw shells with great precision into the enemy’s works.

After cannonading until dark, the men lay on their arms on Moulden’s Hill all night, impatient for the renewal of the combat. Early on Monday morning Wetmore’s Parrott guns were again placed in position near your headquarters, Russell’s house, and by the precision of their fire burned or compelled the enemy to burn his steamboat, which had been used for some time as a ferry-boat, and commissary stores on the south side of the river. In the advance on the intrenched camp on Monday morning the Tennessee regiments entered the enemy’s works on the left of his line, and much to their surprise found the works deserted. The position assigned the First and Second East Tennessee Volunteers on the extreme left of your line, and the enemy making no attempt in force on that flank, these regiments did not come into the hottest part of the combat, but the discipline exhibited in their movements on the field, {p.98} their eagerness to engage the enemy, the spirit evinced in the pursuit, and the indomitable perseverance that carried them at the close of the day to the top of Moulden’s Hill in hope of meeting the enemy, deserve my highest commendation, and prove that the expectations formed by their friends of their valor in battle will not be disappointed.

To the field and company officers of the regiments of the brigade I am much indebted for the zeal and gallantry displayed by them in the management of their several departments on the march and on the field.

My thanks are especially due to my aide, Lieut. T. J. Tipton, for gallant and efficient services on the field, Capt. M. C. Garber, brigade quartermaster, volunteered to serve on my staff as aide, and rendered me important service, carrying my messages (one of them under the severest fire of the enemy’s line) all day Sunday and Monday.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant

S. P. CARTER, Acting Brigadier-General, Commanding Twelfth Brigade.

Brig. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding First Division, Department of the Ohio.


No. 11.

Report of Col. William A. Hoskins, Twelfth Kentucky Infantry.


CAPTAIN: In obedience to the order of Brig. Gen. G. H. Thomas, of this date, I respectfully submit the following report of the humble part performed by the Twelfth Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, under my command, in the engagement of Logan’s fields on the 19th instant, as also on the subsequent day, in the storming the fortifications at Beech Grove:

On the night of the 17th my regiment joined the forces under command of Brig. Gen. G. H. Thomas at Lee’s fields, and bivouacked in a lot on the Columbia and Somerset road, opposite the encampment of the Ninth Ohio, my men having waded Fishing Creek on their march from Somerset. Here we remained through the day and night of the 18th, exposed to the excessive rains without shelter, we having been ordered to move without our camp equipage.

On the morning of the 19th, at about 6 o’clock, we were alarmed by the report of musketry, when my regiment was immediately formed, and notwithstanding it was much reduced in numbers from forced marches and necessary exposure in the performance of picket duty with insufficient clothing (never having drawn their overcoats until a few weeks since), yet no sooner had they received the news of the approach of the enemy than they seemed to grasp their guns with a firmer hold, evincing a determination to discharge their duty as soldiers and Kentuckians.

After awaiting orders a short time, becoming impatient and fearing we had been overlooked in the excitement of the moment, and seeing the Ninth Ohio moving out by the Columbia and Somerset road, I determined to move on to the point of conflict by a more direct line through the fields and woods, and so soon as the Ninth Ohio had passed my regiment was moved out on double-quick, reaching Logan’s house in advance of the Ninth Ohio. (Logan’s house was on a direct line from {p.99} our encampment to the right wing of our forces then engaged with the enemy.) At that point we were ordered to report to Brigadier-General Carter. By General Carter we were ordered to form on the left of the First Tennessee, which was done in the first field beyond the forks of the Columbia and Mill Springs road, and drawn up in line of battle within 75 or 100 yards of and parallel to a dense skirt of timber. Our first line formed was also in the rear of and perpendicular to the line of fire by our artillery. We were next ordered to move by the left flank until both the Twelfth Kentucky and First Tennessee were under cover of the timber, when we were halted. In that position my men imprudently huzzaed, from which the enemy got our position, and opened fire upon us with their artillery, one shot passing directly over us, another striking the ground and exploding 20 feet to the left of my regiment.

The inquiry was then made of General Carter why we could not proceed to the point of conflict. To that he replied, that “We might fire upon our friends.” Captain Ham’s company of riflemen were then deployed as skirmishers to our left, and the positions of both regiments changed, by advancing some 50 paces in the direction of the enemy. In a short time we were informed by General Carter that a body of rebel infantry 2,000 strong were advancing in the direction of us, and ordered us to cross the ravine to meet them, the bluffs of which on either side were very abrupt, standing at an angle of 45 degrees, rendered more difficult of descent and ascent from the recent rains. In consequence of the abruptness of the bluffs I had to abandon my horse. After crossing the ravine and moving on a short distance I lost sight of the First Tennessee, and on our reaching the battle ground we found the Second Minnesota and Ninth Ohio engaged with the enemy. We moved up on the right wing of the enemy and opened fire upon them, when they retreated beyond the hill, first returning our fire, which passed harmlessly over our heads. We immediately charged the hill, on the summit of which we captured Sergeant-Major Ewing, and sent him into camp. We also discovered a party of rebels retreating down a ridge to our left, whom we pursued, and captured 5 of the number and sent back to camp. I saw no regiment in advance of us when we gained the ridge. Here we were joined by a detachment of cavalry under command of Maj. John A. Brents, who had been dismounted during the engagement. After passing the rebel hospital we were ordered to form on the left of the Ninth Ohio, which position we held during the day. On the morning of the 20th we were ordered to form on the right of the Thirty-fifth, as a reserve to the Third Brigade, which was ordered to storm the fortifications.

I regret that in this action the soldiers of the Twelfth Kentucky did not have an opportunity of displaying more fully their chivalry, being satisfied that in any position in which duty may call them they will deport themselves as soldiers worthy the renown of their fathers.

In consequence of severe indisposition both Lieutenant-Colonel Howard and Major Worsham were unable to move with the regiment Consequently their places were filled by Captains Ham and Rousseau, who rendered me valuable assistance in restraining the impetuosity of my men.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. A. HOSKINS, Colonel, Commanding Twelfth Regiment Kentucky Volunteer.

Capt. G. E. FLYNT, Assistant Adjutant-General.



No. 12.

Report of Col. Frank Wolford, First Kentucky Cavalry.

CAMP BRENTS, January 22, 1862.

GENERAL: At daylight on Sunday morning, the 19th, my pickets, sent in obedience to your order in the direction of Mill Springs, came in contact with the advance of the enemy and fired on them. I immediately sent word to Colonel Manson, and proceeded with my command to the relief of my picket. In less than 2 miles of our camp we met the enemy and fired on their advance, which constantly retreated. In a very short pursuit I discovered that the enemy were in considerable numbers. I dispatched a messenger to you to inform you that the enemy were advancing in force, and fell back to where Colonel Manson’s regiment was formed, and dismounted my men, and formed them in the woods on an elevated place, commanding a field through which the enemy were advancing. Discovering that the enemy were coming in the direction of a hollow, from which under cover of a hill they could flank us, I advanced with a portion of my command to the head of the hollow, where we drove the enemy back four times, and compelled them to change their direction and come down the ridge beyond. At this time Colonel Manson, overwhelmed by superior force and almost surrounded commenced falling back to meet re-enforcements. I ordered my men to follow. When we reached our horses we found them surrounded by the enemy. I cut them loose and let them run down the road, when my men caught them and remounted, the enemy getting two or three of our horses.

Colonel Fry came up at this time and formed on the ground we had previously occupied. I dismounted my men and formed them again with Colonel Fry’s, where they were fighting when you came up. The remainder of the fight, so far as my men were concerned, you saw. My officers and men, with a few exceptions, fought most valiantly. Captain Burns, after the first part of the fight, being sick, left his men. He was not wounded, as I understood and verbally reported to you. After he left I placed his men under the command of Adjutant Drye and Lieutenant Coppage, who discharged their duty well. Captain Sweeney mistook my command, and formed about 30 of his men in the wrong place. The balance of his men, under Lieutenant Wolford, formed where they were commanded, and fought well. Captain Sweeney afterwards fell in and did well. Captain Alexander and his men fought well. Lieutenant Miller, in command of Captain Morrison’s company, fought well, and fell at their head.

Our loss was 3 killed, one of whom was Lieutenant Miller, and 19 wounded, 8 of whom will die; 15 missing, some of whom I have reason to believe have gone home wounded. We had 3 horses killed and about 20 lost.

Major Brents gave me great assistance during the fight. Two of the band picked up guns and fought; the balance fled.

Yours, &c.,


General THOMAS.



No. 13.

Report of Capt. William E. Standart, Battery B, First Ohio Light Artillery.

SOMERSET, January 26, 1862.

SIR: On the morning of the 19th, at 7 a.m., heard pickets firing in the advance of the Tenth Indiana camp. My horses being in harness, ordered one section, under charge of Lieutenant Bennett, on the road by the Tenth Indiana camp. Moved two sections through the fields. Advanced into the woods. Not finding position, took position between the fields and woods. At this time, finding a by-road on our right, went with the left section on the road, when I was ordered out by Colonel Manson. Lieutenant Bennett at this time was compelled to fall back. At this time got my battery together. Got position on ridge. Fired some 20 shell over the woods. The enemy falling back, moved my battery forward and fired at such parties as could be seen. Moved to within three-quarters of a mile of the fortification, having position on a hill. Shelled the intrenchment until dark. Remained in our position until daylight. Monday, the 20th, advanced with the column through the intrenchments. Shelled the camps over the river. Expended 213 Hotchkiss shell and 11 spherical case. No casualties to report.

Yours, very respectfully,

W. E. STANDART, Captain Company B, First Regt. Light Artillery, Ohio Vols.

Brigadier-General THOMAS.


No. 14.

Report of Capt. Dennis Kenny, Jr., Battery C, First Ohio Light Artillery.

January 25, 1862.

SIR: On the morning of January 19 my battery was encamped at Logan’s Cross-Roads, and was turned out about 7 a.m. by the reports of sharp firing by the out-pickets of the Tenth Indiana Regiment. I placed my battery in position on a ridge running parallel with the belt of woods in which our forces were engaging the enemy, and about 20 yards distant, to cover the Tenth Indiana, which I was informed was falling back. I subsequently retired one section to the high knoll near the Somerset road and advanced one through the timber by a narrow angling road to the open field where the battle appeared to be the heaviest. My pieces unlimbered in the lower corner of the open corn field and delivered seven effective shots (James shell) upon a regiment of Mississippians, who were then advancing in line to charge our forces in the edge of the timber on the right of the field. No supporting infantry except a few of the Fourth Kentucky were near, and as the enemy approached they retired under cover of the timber, when it was deemed advisable to withdraw the section, which was done in good order.

When the firing ceased I sent forward for orders to move my battery, and upon the receipt of orders to move my battery to the front attempted to do so, but was prevented by the blocking up of the road by another battery. Upon our arrival in front of the rebel intrenchments I was assigned a position on an eminence to the left of our main position, {p.102} from which point we fired 59 rounds of shot and shell; in all, 66 rounds fired by my battery. I have no casualties of any kind to report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. KENNY, JR., Commanding Battery C, First Ohio Artillery.

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding First Division, Department of the Ohio.


No. 15.

Congratulatory order from the President.

WAR DEPARTMENT, January 22, 1862.

The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, has received information of a brilliant victory by the United States forces over a large body of armed traitors and rebels at Mill Springs, in the State of Kentucky. He returns thanks to the gallant officers and soldiers who won that victory, and when the official reports shall be received the military and personal valor displayed in battle will be acknowledged and rewarded in a fitting’ manner.

The courage that encountered and vanquished the greatly superior numbers of the rebel force, pursued and attacked them in their intrenchments, and paused not until the enemy was completely routed, merits and receives commendation.

The purpose of this war is to attack, pursue, and destroy a rebellious enemy, and to deliver the country from danger menaced by traitors. Alacrity, daring, courageous spirit, and patriotic zeal on all occasions and under every circumstance are expected from the Army of the United States. In the prompt and spirited movements and daring battle of Mill Springs the Nation will realize its hopes, and the people of the United States will rejoice to honor every soldier and officer who proves his courage by charging with the bayonet and storming intrenchments, or in the blaze of the enemy’s fire.

By order of the President:

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


No. 16.

Report of General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding the Western Department.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky., January 22, 1862.

The following dispatch just received from Nashville:

General Crittenden, with eight regiments of infantry and six pieces of artillery, attacked the enemy on Sunday morning, 19th instant, 7 o’clock, in strong position on Fishing Creek, 11 miles from Mill Springs. The attack was repulsed by superior numbers, and a disorderly retreat commenced after General Zollicoffer fell. The enemy followed to our breastworks and commenced shelling the camp on the right bank of the Cumberland River, which was abandoned during the night, with the loss of our artillery, ammunition, cavalry horses, teams, and camp equipments. The command is in full retreat towards Knoxville. Loss, killed and wounded on our side, about 500.

V. SHELIHA, Captain, on Staff of General Crittenden.

A. S. JOHNSTON, General, Commanding.




No. 17.

Reports of Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, C. S. Army, commanding division.

HEADQUARTERS, Beech Grove, Ky., January 18, 1862.

SIR: I am threatened by a superior force of the enemy in front, and finding it impossible to cross the river, I will have to make the fight on the ground I now occupy.

If you can do so, I would ask that a diversion be made in my favor.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. B. CRITTENDEN, Major-General, Commanding.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters Department of the West.


HEADQUARTERS, Monticello, Ky., January 20, 1862.

SIR: On the night of the 18th (at 12 midnight) I moved my force from Beech Grove and attacked the enemy (in position about 9 or 10 miles from camp) at 7 o’clock the next morning. After a very severe fight of three hours I was compelled to retire, and reoccupied my intrenchments. The enemy advanced the same evening and opened their batteries upon us.

Finding it was impossible to remain where I was, I crossed my command to the south side of the river by a steamboat on the night of the 19th.

I am now on my march to Celina or some other point on the Cumberland River where I can communicate with Nashville. The country is entirely destitute of provisions.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. B. CRITTENDEN, Major-General.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters Department of the West, Bowling Green, Ky.



SIR: I arrived at this place* this afternoon, via Livingston, at which place I remained one day. My marches were slow, and during the time nothing was heard that was reliable of the enemy being on this side of the river. On the contrary, information has been brought me that the enemy moved towards Columbia immediately after the battle. I am unable just yet to send a correct report, but I do not think my loss exceeded 300 killed and wounded. A good many men have left me on account of the country through which I have passed being the homes of a good portion of two regiments. I will in a few days, however, have them all together, when I will proceed at once to reorganize them. I {p.104} would ask that the orders which I have given on the quartermasters and commissaries at Nashville be approved.

I await your orders at this point.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. B. CRITTENDEN, Major-General.

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters, Bowling Green, Ky.

* Gainesborough.


DIVISION HEADQUARTERS, Gainesborough, Tenn., January 29, 1862.

SIR: I would most respectfully state that on the morning of the 19th of this month, at 12 o’clock, I moved from our intrenchments, on the north side of Cumberland River, and attacked the enemy in position about 10 miles from camp. The battle commenced about 7 a.m. and lasted until 10.30 a.m. the same day. The enemy had a superior force to my own, although the information in my possession previous to the battle was that their strength was a little less, or about equal. Re-enforcements were added to them during the engagement. After three and a half hours hard fighting my forces yielded to the overpowering numbers of the enemy, and, retiring, occupied our intrenchments the same afternoon. The enemy pursued me in force and established their batteries in front of my position. The range of their guns being superior to ours, together with the scarcity of provisions, and none to be had in the country, I deemed it advisable the same evening to cross the river, and took up my line of march for this place. From all the information in my possession the enemy’s loss in killed and wounded was greater than ours. We lost in killed and wounded not exceeding 300.

The enemy sought evidently to combine their forces stationed at Somerset and Columbia, and, when such junction was made, to invest my intrenchments. I deemed it proper, therefore, to make an attack before the junction could be effected, feeling confident, from the reports of the cavalry pickets, made at a late hour, that the waters of Fishing Creek were so high as to prevent them from uniting. My information in that respect was correct.

A heavy rain occurred during the progress of the engagement, and in consequence a great many of the flint-lock muskets in the hands of my men became almost unserviceable.

I am pained to make report of the death of Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer, who fell while gallantly leading his brigade against the foe. In his fall the country has sustained a great loss. In counsel he has always shown wisdom, and in battle braved dangers, while coolly directing the movements of his troops.

I will as soon as possible reorganize my command. Supplies, camp and garrison equipage, &c., are coming to me daily from Nashville by steamboat.

In a few days I will make a report more in detail.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. B. CRITTENDEN, Major-General.




DIVISION HEADQUARTERS, Camp Fogg, Tenn., February 13, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement of January 19, near Fishing Creek, Pulaski County, Kentucky:

On January 17 I was occupying Mill Springs, on the south side of the Cumberland River, with the Seventeenth, Twenty-eighth, and Thirty-seventh Tennessee Regiments, the First Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, two companies of the Third Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, and four pieces of artillery. I was also at the same time occupying Beech Grove, on the north bank of the river, and directly opposite Mill Springs, with the Fifteenth Mississippi, Sixteenth Alabama, Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-ninth Tennessee Regiments, two battalions of Tennessee cavalry, two independent cavalry companies, and twelve pieces of artillery.

For some time the enemy in front of Beech Grove had occupied Somerset, 18 miles distant, with eight regiments of infantry and with artillery; and Columbia, 35 miles distant, with five regiments of infantry. On January 17 I was informed that the force from Columbia, with a large addition, making a total of from 6,000 to 10,000 men, with guns of a large caliber, under General Thomas, commanding the First Division of the Federal Army in Kentucky, was moving across my front, on the road from Columbia towards Somerset, with the intention of forming a junction with the Somerset force and attacking Beech Grove.

On the 18th, at daylight, I moved the Seventeenth and Twenty-eighth Tennessee Regiments across the river from Mill Springs to Beech Grove. On the 18th I was informed that the force under General Thomas was encamped at Webb’s [Logan’s] Cross-Roads, a point 10 miles from Beech Grove and 8 miles from Somerset, at which the roads from Columbia to Somerset and Beech Grove to Somerset unite, and that it would there await both a re-enforcement (that I was advised was advancing from the rear) and the passage of Fishing Creek by the Somerset force. It was necessary that the Somerset force should cross Fishing Creek before it could join the force under General Thomas or approach Beech Grove, and for these purposes it had advanced from Somerset. I was advised that late and continuous rains would prevent the passage of Fishing Creek on the 18th and 19th by any infantry force.

In the then condition of my command I could array for battle about 4,000 effective men. Absolute want of the necessary provisions to feed my command was pressing. The country around was barren or exhausted. Communication with Nashville by water was cut off by a force of the enemy occupying the river below. The line of communication in the rear was too long to admit of winter transportation and extended through a barren or exhausted country.

To defend Beech Grove required me to draw into it the force from Mill Springs. From the course of the river and the condition of things it was easy for a detachment from the force of the enemy occupying it below to cross over, intercept the line of land communication, and, taking Mill Springs, entirely prevent my recrossing the Cumberland. This river (greatly swollen), with high, muddy banks, was a troublesome barrier in the rear of Beech Grove. Transportation over it was, at best, very difficult. A small stern-wheel steamboat, unsuited for the transportation of horses, with two flat-boats, were the only means of crossing.

Beech Grove was protected in front by earthworks; but these incomplete and insufficient, and necessarily of such extent that I had not force to defend them. The range of our artillery was bad, and there were commanding positions for the batteries of the enemy. Every effort had {p.106} been made to provision the command, to increase the means of crossing the river, and to perfect the works for defense, under the charge of a skillful engineer officer, Captain Sheliha.

When I first heard that the enemy was approaching in front it was my opinion that I could not retire with my command-artillery, transportation, camp and garrison equipage, baggage, and cavalry horses-from Beech Grove to Mill Springs without information of such a movement reaching the enemy, and a consequent attack during the movement and heavy loss. I was out of reach of support or re-enforcement. Under these circumstances I determined not to retreat without a battle. I decided that it was best to attack the enemy, if possible, before the coming re-enforcements from his rear should arrive and before the Somerset force could cross Fishing Creek. I could reasonably expect much from a bold attack and from the spirit of my command.

On the evening of the 18th I called in council Brigadier-Generals Zollicoffer and Carroll and the commanding officers of regiments and of cavalry and artillery; and there it was determined without dissent, to march out and attack the enemy under General Thomas on the next morning. Accordingly Generals Zollicoffer and Carroll were ordered to move their brigades at midnight in the following order:

1st. The brigade of General Zollicoffer in the following order: In front, the independent cavalry companies of Captains Saunders and Bledsoe; then the Fifteenth Mississippi Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall; then the Nineteenth Tennessee, commanded by Col. D. H. Cummings; then the Twentieth Tennessee, commanded by Colonel Battle; then the Twenty-fifth Tennessee, commanded by Col. S. S. Stanton; then four guns of Rutledge’s battery, commanded by Captain Rutledge.

2d. The brigade of General Carroll in this order: In front, the Seventeenth Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller; then the Twenty-eighth Tennessee, commanded by Colonel Murray; then the Twenty-ninth Tennessee, commanded by Colonel Powell; then two guns of McClung’s battery, commanded by Captain McClung.

In rear were the Sixteenth Alabama, as a reserve, commanded by Col. W. B. Wood, and the cavalry battalions of Lieutenant-Colonel Brannen and Lieutenant-Colonel McClellan.

Soon after daylight on the morning of January 19 the cavalry advance came in contact with the pickets of the enemy, after a march of near 9 miles, over a deep and muddy road. With a few shots the enemy’s pickets were driven in, retiring about a quarter of a mile to a house on the left of the road. From this house and woods in the rear of it quite a brisk firing was opened upon the head of the column. Skirmishers having been thrown forward, General Zollicoffer’s brigade was formed in line of battle and ordered to advance upon the enemy, whom I supposed would come out from their camp, which we were now approaching, to take position. The road here extended straight in front for near a mile towards the north.

A company of skirmishers from the Mississippi regiment, advancing on the left of the road, after sharp firing, drove a body of the enemy from the house and the woods next to it and then, under orders, crossing the road, fell in with their regiment. Following this company of skirmishers on the left of the road to the point where it crossed to the right, the regiment of Colonel Cummings (Nineteenth Tennessee) kept straight on and, crossing a field about 250 yards wide at a double-quick, charged into the woods where the enemy was sheltered, driving back the Tenth Indiana Regiment until it was re-enforced.


At this time General Zollicoffer rode up to the Nineteenth Tennessee and ordered Colonel Cummings to cease firing, under the impression that the fire was upon another regiment of his own brigade. Then the general advanced, as if to give an order to the lines of the enemy, within bayonet reach, and was killed just as he discovered his fatal mistake. Thereupon a conflict ensued, when the Nineteenth Tennessee broke its line and gave back. Rather in the rear and near to this regiment was the Twenty-fifth Tennessee, commanded by Colonel Stanton, which engaged the enemy, when the colonel was wounded at the head of his men; but this regiment, impressed with the same idea which had proved fatal to General Zollicoffer-that it was engaged with friends-soon broke its line and fell into some disorder.

At this time-the fall of General Zollicoffer having been announced to me-I went forward in the road to the regiments of Colonels Cummings and Stanton, and announced to Colonel Cummings the death of General Zollicoffer, and that the command of the brigade devolved upon him.

There was a cessation of firing for a few moments, and I ascertained that the regiment of Colonel Battle was on the right and the Mississippi regiment in the center, neither as yet having been actively engaged, and the enemy in front of the entire line. I had ordered General Carroll to bring up his brigade, and it was now, in supporting distance, displayed in line of battle.

I now repeated my orders for a general advance, and soon the battle raged from right to left. When I sent my aide to order the Fifteenth Mississippi to charge, I sent by him an order to General Carroll to advance a regiment to sustain it. He ordered up for that purpose Colonel Murray’s (Twenty-eighth Tennessee) regiment, which engaged the enemy on the left of the Mississippi regiment and on the right of Stanton’s (Tennessee) regiment. I ordered Captain Rutledge, with two of his guns, forward in the road to an advanced and hazardous position, ordering Colonel Stanton to support him, where I hoped he might bring them to play effectively upon the enemy; but the position did not permit this, and he soon retired, under my order. At this point the horse of Captain Rutledge was killed under him.

Very soon the enemy began to gain ground on our left and to use their superior force for flanking in that quarter. I was in person at the right of the line of Stanton’s regiment, the battle raging, and did not observe this so soon as it was observed by General Carroll, who moved the regiment of Colonel Cummings, then commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, to the left, to meet this movement of the enemy, and formed the Seventeenth Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, to support the regiments on the left. The regiments of Murray, Stanton, and Cummings were driven back by the enemy, and, while reforming in the rear of the Seventeenth Tennessee, that well-disciplined regiment met and held in check for some time the entire right wing of the Northern army. These regiments on my left and on the left of the road retired across the field a distance of about 250 yards, and there for a time repulsed the advancing enemy. Especially the regiment of Colonel Stanton, partially rallied by its gallant field officers, formed behind a fence, and, pouring volleys into the ranks of the enemy coming across the field, repulsed and drove them back for a time with heavy loss.

For an hour now the Fifteenth Mississippi, under Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall, and the Twentieth Tennessee, under Col. Joel A. Battle, of my center and right, had been struggling with the superior force of the enemy.

I cannot omit to mention the heroic valor of these two regiments, officers {p.108} and men. When the left retired they were flanked and compelled to leave their position. In their rear, on the right of the road, was the regiment of Colonel Powell (Twenty-ninth Tennessee), which had been formed in the rear and ordered forward by me some time before. General Carroll ordered this regiment to face the flanking force of the enemy, which was crossing the road from the left side, which it did, checking it with a raking fire at 30 paces. In this conflict Colonel Powell, commanding, was badly wounded.

The Sixteenth Alabama, which was the reserve corps of my division, commanded by Colonel Wood, did at this critical juncture most eminent service. Having rushed behind the right and center, it came to a close engagement with the pursuing enemy, to protect the flanks and rear of the Fifteenth Mississippi and Twentieth Tennessee, when they were the last, after long fighting, to leave the front line of the battle, and, well led by its commanding officer, in conjunction with portions of other regiments, it effectually prevented pursuit and protected my return to camp.

Owing to the formation and character of the field of battle I was unable to use my artillery and cavalry to advantage in the action. During much of the time the engagement lasted rain was falling. Many of the men were armed with flint-lock muskets and they became soon unserviceable.

On the field and during the retreat to camp some of the regiments became confused and broken and great disorder prevailed. This was owing, in some measure, to a want of proper drill and discipline, of which the army had been much deprived by reason of the nature of its constant service and of the country in which it had encamped.

During the engagement, or just prior to it, the force under General Thomas was increased by the arrival, on a forced march, of a brigade from his rear, which I had hoped would not arrive until the engagement was over. This made the force of the enemy about 12,000 men. My effective force wits four thousand. The engagement lasted three hours.

My loss was 125 killed, 309 wounded, and 99 missing, as follows:

15th Mississippi Regiment4415329
20th Tennessee (Battle)335918
19th Tennessee (Cummings)10222
25th Tennessee (Stanton)102817
17th Tennessee (Newman)11252
28th Tennessee (Murray)345
29th Tennessee (Powell)51210
16th Alabama9512
Captain Saunders’ cavalry1

The loss of the enemy, from the best information I have and statements made by themselves, may be estimated at 700 killed and wounded. It was larger than mine from the fact that my regiments on the left, after first being driven back, fired from the cover of woods and fences upon the large numbers advancing upon them through the open field, inflicting heavy loss and sustaining but little.

My command retired to Beech Grove without any annoyance in the rear by infantry or cavalry. On the return, one piece of artillery, of Captain Rutledge’s battery, mired down and was left.

To myself, to the army, and to the country the fall of General Zollicoffer was a severe loss. I found him wise in council heroic in action. He fell in the front, close to the enemy, and they bore off his body. Of {p.109} his staff, Lieutenants Fogg and Shields were mortally wounded and have since died. They displayed conspicuous courage. Lieutenant Baffle Peyton, jr., commanding Company A (of Battle’s regiment), was killed in the heat of the action. Adjt. Joel A. Battle, jr., was badly wounded while in front with the colors of his regiment, which he seized when the bearer was shot down. Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, a distinguished officer of this same regiment, was taken prisoner. Colonel Battle commanded with marked ability and courage. Colonel Statham, of the Fifteenth Mississippi Regiment, was absent at the time of the battle on furlough. His regiment was most gallantly led by Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall. The reputation of the Mississippians for heroism was fully sustained by this regiment. Its loss in killed and wounded, which was far greater than that of any other regiment, tells sufficiently the story of discipline and courage. The already extended limits of this report will not permit me, even if I had them at hand, to enumerate the individual acts of courage with which this regiment abounded. Suffice it to say that it is entitled to all praise.

General Carroll, in his dispositions and conduct during the engagement, manifested both military skill and personal valor. My assistant adjutant-general, A. S. Cunningham, and my aides, Lieuts. W. W. Porter and H. I. Thornton, displayed throughout the action intelligence, activity, and courage, and were of great service to me. Happening with me at the time, Maj. James F. Brewer volunteered as my aide and was very active and gallant during the battle. Surgeons Morton, Cliff, and Dulany, unwilling to leave the wounded, remained at the hospital and were taken prisoners by the enemy.

I resumed position at Beech Grove early in the afternoon. The enemy followed and took positions in force on my left, center, and right. On my left they proceeded to establish a battery, which was not ready before nightfall. They opened with two batteries-one in front of my center and one on my right. Captain McClung and Lieutenant Falconet, commanding a section of the battery of Captain Rutledge, replied to the battery of the enemy in front. From the right the enemy fired upon the steamboat, which, at the crossing, was commanded by their position. Their first shots fell short; afterwards, mounting a larger gun, as it grew dark, they fired a shot or two over the boat, and awaited the morning to destroy it. The steamboat destroyed, the crossing of the river would have been impossible.

I considered the determination in the council of war on the previous evening to go out and attack the enemy virtually a determination that Beech Grove was untenable against his concentrating force. That it was so untenable was my decided opinion. With the morale of the army impaired by the action of the morning and the loss of what cooked rations had been carried to the field, I deemed an immediate crossing of the Cumberland River necessary. With a view to retiring from Beech Grove, I had already some days before ordered the transfer of trains and unused horses and mules to Mill Springs.

On the evening of the 19th I called in consultation General Carroll, Colonel Cummings, engineers, artillery, and other officers, and it was considered best by all to retire from Beech Grove.

I directed at once that the crossing should be effected during the night, with every effort and artifice to insure perfect concealment from the enemy and the success of the movement. Great difficulty attended the movement from the high and muddy banks and the width and heavy current of the river, the limited means of transportation (the small steamboat and two small flats) and the immediate presence of {p.110} the enemy in overwhelming force. I ordered the men to be crossed over-first, by commands, in designated order; then the artillery to be crossed over; then what could be crossed of baggage and mules, horses, wagons, &c. I directed the cavalry to swim their horses over. Time only permitted to cross the infantry under arms, the sick and wounded, one company of cavalry mounted, the rest of the cavalry dismounted, the artillery-men, and some horses. Many cavalry horses, artillery horses, mules, wagons, and eleven pieces of artillery, with baggage and camp and garrison equipage were left behind.

Much is due to the energy, skin, and courage of Captain Spiller, of the cavalry, who commanded the boat, and continued crossing over with it until fired upon by the enemy in the morning, when he burned it, by my directions.

On the morning of the 20th I had my command-nine regiments of infantry, parts of four battalions and two companies of cavalry (dismounted), my sick and wounded, parts of two artillery companies, (without guns or horses), and six pieces of artillery (manned)-on the south side of the Cumberland River, at Mill Springs. On the other side, at Beech Grove (without any means of crossing), were twenty-seven regiments of infantry, with cavalry and artillery, of the enemy.

Any further collision was now prevented, but the want of commissary stores compelled me at once to move to Gainesborough, lower down on the river, a distance of 80 miles, and the nearest point where I could have communication by water with Nashville and could obtain supplies.

My march was through a poor country, over very bad roads. It was hard to obtain the necessaries of life along the route, and from scant subsistence and difficult marching my command suffered greatly. Maj. Giles M. Hillyer, of my staff, division commissary, with untiring energy and marked ability, exhausted every effort in the management of his department, and supplied whatever could be obtained, in some instances sacrificing the forms prescribed for purchase and distribution to the exigencies of the occasion and the necessities of the command.

From the fatigues of the march and the want of proper food many were taken sick. I am much gratified to commend especially the care for the wounded and sick, under most embarrassing circumstances, on the field and on the march, under the efficient charge of the accomplished medical director of my division, Dr. F. A. Ramsey.

From Mill Springs and on the first stages of my march many officers and men, frightened by false rumor of the movements of the enemy, shamelessly deserted, and, stealing horses and mules to ride, fled to Knoxville, Nashville, and other places in Tennessee. To prevent this I used every endeavor, and was laboriously assisted by my staff and other officers of the command.

I am proud to say that the field officers of all the commands, and some commands almost entire, and the main body of each command, remained ready to do their duty in any emergency, except one battalion of cavalry-which had not been in the battle, of which the lieutenant-colonel, together with some other officers and some privates, were absent on furlough-of the body of which being present only one captain, several officers and men-in all about 25-did not run away.

From Gainesborough I have moved my division to this point, where it is refurnished and drilling, and I have the honor to report that it is ready for any service to which it may be assigned.

G. B. CRITTENDEN, Major-General Provisional Army Confederate States.

Lieut. Col. W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General.



No. 18.

Report of Brig. Gen. William H. Carroll, C. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, - DIVISION, C. S. ARMY, Gainesborough, Tenn., September 1, 1862.

GENERAL: I embrace the first leisure moment, after receiving reports from the different commanding officers of this brigade, to lay before you an account of the operations of my command in the engagement with the enemy near Fishing Creek, Kentucky, on the morning of January 19.

In accordance with your orders of January 17, which reached me at midnight of that date, I moved the Seventeenth Tennessee Regiment, then under command of Lieut. Col. J. P. Murray,* from their encampment at Mill Springs to the north side of Cumberland River, and halted them at Camp Beech Grove, taking quarters with the Twentieth and Twenty-fifth Tennessee Regiments, commanded by Colonels Battle and Stanton, which were then encamped at that place, at 8 p.m.

On the evening of the 18th instant I received orders from you to move my command at 12 o’clock that night by the Fishing Creek road in the direction of Webb’s [Logan’s] Cross-Roads, a point some 10 miles distant in a northern direction from the position we then occupied. At the hour designated I put my command in motion and took up the line of march for the point above mentioned. The brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer, preceded me about thirty minutes, taking the same direction and marching about 1 mile in advance of my front. My command, consisting of the Seventeenth, Twenty-eighth, and Twenty-ninth Tennessee and Sixteenth Alabama Regiments of Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Branner’s battalion of cavalry, and two pieces of McClung’s battery, moved in the following order: The Seventeenth Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, marched in front; the Twenty-eighth Tennessee, commanded by Col. J. P. Murray, followed at the distance of about 30 paces in rear of the Seventeenth; the Twenty-ninth Tennessee, Col. S. Powell, marched about the same distance in rear of Colonel Murray; the artillery and one company of Branner’s cavalry brought up the rear, and the remaining cavalry companies marched on either flank, with orders to scout the adjoining woods upon the right and left of the Fishing Creek road, along which we were then marching. The Sixteenth Alabama Regiment, under the command of Colonel Wood, marched about 600 paces in rear of the remainder of my command, with orders to hold his command as a reserve corps and be governed in his after movements as emergencies might require.

The night was dark and gloomy; a cold rain was constantly descending, rendering the march extremely difficult and unpleasant. This, together with the almost impassable condition of the roads rendered so by recent heavy rains, so much retarded our progress, that at daylight we had not advanced more than 10 miles from Camp Beech Grove, thus consuming nearly six hours in marching this short distance.

Just at dawn on the morning of the 19th, and while the troops were toiling slowly along through mud and water, sometimes more than a foot in depth, I heard the report of several guns, fired in quick succession, apparently about half a mile in advance of me. This firing I supposed [to be] from the enemy’s pickets, who had discovered the approach of General Zollicoffer’s brigade. In a few minutes I heard a heavy {p.112} volley of musketry proceeding from the direction of the former reports and extending some distance to my right and left in a line running parallel with the front of my command. The rapid and continuous fire in front convinced me that General Zollicoffer had encountered the enemy in strong force and a determined and sanguinary conflict had commenced.

I immediately moved my command forward at double-quick about half a mile to the brow of a hill and deployed my columns in line of battle, making the summit of the hill a partial protection for the men. While forming and preparing for the engagement the regiment of Colonel Murray constituted the right of my line of battle, and was extended the full length of its line on the east side of Fishing Creek road, while the Seventeenth Tennessee Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, composed my left, and extended in a similar manner on the west side of the road. Colonel Powell’s regiment (Twenty-ninth Tennessee) was drawn up in the rear of the Twenty-eighth, designed to act as a supporting or reserve corps, as circumstances might require. Colonel Wood’s Sixteenth Alabama was posted about 100 paces in rear of the Twenty-ninth, and on the east side of the road. Branner’s cavalry was directed to take post in rear and supporting distance of my left flank, while McClung’s artillery was stationed in rear of my center.

This disposition of my forces was partly induced by surrounding circumstances. The morning was exceedingly cloudy, and rendered still darker by the dense volumes of smoke arising from the firing in front, so that the eye could distinguish objects clearly only at a short distance. I could, therefore, only judge of the probable force and position of the enemy by the flash and report of their guns. Judging as correctly as I could by these indications, I was induced to think that the most vigorous attack was being made in front and east of my right wing.

In order to determine the proper manner and most available point of bringing my force into action, I left my command stationary, and with my staff rode forward until I came in view of the enemy, on the declivity of the opposite hill, engaged in a fierce conflict with a portion of General Zollicoffer’s brigade. I then approached you, reported for orders, and returned to my command. Soon afterwards your aide, Captain Thornton, rode up and ordered me to advance a regiment to sustain the gallant Fifteenth Mississippi in a charge which he was then on the way to order.

I accordingly ordered Colonel Murray’s regiment to move forward to the foot of the hill and take shelter behind a rail fence and some surrounding timber. In a few minutes the chivalrous Mississippians gallantly charged and were driving the enemy rapidly before them. While thus engaged a regiment of cavalry commenced a flank movement against their left. I then ordered Colonel Murray to advance his regiment against this flanking force. This order was received with a shout by the entire regiment, who, led by their colonel, dashed into the thickest of the fight. About this time a strong re-enforcement of the enemy appeared on our left, evidently intending to attack and turn our left flank. In order to thwart this design, I ordered Colonel Cummings’ regiment, of General Zollicoffer’s brigade, which was near at hand and for the moment disengaged, to move by the left flank in the direction of the approaching enemy, thus extending our lines nearly to the full extent of their right. Misunderstanding the order, the regiment fell into some confusion, which was, however, quickly overcome by the promptness and activity of the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker. It then moved in good order to the place assigned it and did {p.113} good service as long as it remained under my observation. I then ordered up the Seventeenth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, and formed it behind a fence, within 80 or 100 yards of the enemy. This position they held for nearly one hour against an overwhelming force, meanwhile pouring a most destructive fire against the advancing column, spreading terror through the ranks of the enemy.

I cannot speak too highly of the striking influence over this regiment, of the thorough and rigid discipline to which it had been reduced by its efficient commander, Col. T. W. Newman, who I regret was prevented from being present at the engagement by some indisposition.

Perceiving that the enemy was being re-enforced in this quarter by several fresh regiments, and that they were pushing on with a most determined courage, I directed my aide, W. H. Carroll, to return and order up the regiments of Colonels Wood and Powell, that had up to this time been held in reserve. Colonel Wood brought his men forward with the steadiness of veterans, and formed them in battle array with the coolness and precision of a holiday parade. Advancing very near the enemy, we kept up a constant and most destructive fire until we were forced to quit the field and fall back before superior numbers. Returning a short distance we rallied and renewed the contest, but were again assailed by an unequal force and again driven slowly back, stubbornly contesting every inch of ground over which the enemy were advancing. The action had now become general all along my entire line-the Federals fighting with unusual vigor and courage. Re-enforcements of the enemy continuing to pour in upon us in every direction, the ground was soon covered with the dead and wounded, and the discharge of small-arms and the roar of cannon were incessant. Whenever we could succeed in driving back one regiment another would supply its place and meet us with a more determined resistance. Their artillery, having been brought into play, swept the entire field, throwing shell, grape, and canister shot into our very midst.

In the mean time the Twenty-eighth Tennessee, Col. J. P. Murray, being assailed by more than twice its numbers, after making a brief resistance, broke and fled in confusion from the field. The Twenty-ninth Tennessee Colonel Powell, was also attacked in a similar manner, and, the colonel himself being seriously wounded his men fell back in considerable disorder and could not be induced to face the enemy again, though every effort was made to rally them back by their own officers and members of my staff. Two regiments of General Zollicoffer’s command had already been forced to retire from the field. Their retreat through my ranks contributed very much to throw my columns into disorder. The regiments of Colonel Wood and Lieutenant-Colonel Miller continued to hold the enemy at bay, slowly retiring from the field now lost to us.

Perceiving the fortunes of the day were against us, and that we could not longer maintain the unequal contest, I reluctantly permitted my entire command to retreat in the direction of our works at Mill Springs. I was not able to bring either my cavalry or artillery into action, in consequence of the rugged and uneven nature of the ground over which the battle was fought. While retiring from the field the enemy evinced little disposition to pursue us, having evidently suffered, in all probability, a greater loss than our own.

Late in the afternoon my command reached our encampment at Beech Grove and took possession of the fortifications formerly erected at that place. I succeeded in bringing from the field as many of my wounded as my limited means of transportation would permit. {p.114}

At about 5 o’clock in the evening the enemy, having approached within about a mile of our works, planted their batteries of heavy guns on commanding eminences and commenced a vigorous cannonade, which would soon have driven us out of our fortifications had not the setting in of night prevented a further prosecution of the attack.

Our position being wholly untenable, it was determined in a council of officers, called by yourself, to abandon it and return to the opposite bank of the Cumberland. Having but one small boat to transport the entire force across, it was found impossible to carry with us any of our camp equipage. It was destroyed, therefore, in order that it might not fall into the hands of the enemy. I was also compelled to abandon two pieces of McClung’s battery and nearly all of my cavalry horses. Some of the latter succeeded in swimming the river and many were drowned in the attempt. By daylight in the morning my entire command had reached the south side of the Cumberland.

Being entirely without commissary supplies, and there being none, or but little, in the surrounding country, my men became more apprehensive of destruction by famine than at the hands of the enemy. Under the influence of this panic, created by a fear of starvation, many deserted the army and fled through the mountains into East Tennessee. Among these, I regret to say, were some officers, but mostly, however, of an inferior grade. Most of my officers exerted every effort to preserve their commands intact and maintain the strictest order of discipline in the retreat.

The casualties in my command during the engagement were as follows:


It will thus be seen that my entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing amounts in the aggregate to 103.

The repulse of the regiments of my command that gave way in confusion during the battle is attributed (besides the superior numbers with which they were contending), in a great measure, to the inefficient and worthless character of their arms, being old flint-lock muskets and country rifles, nearly half of which would not fire at all.

During the engagement I saw numbers of the men walking deliberately away from the field of action for no other reason than [that] their guns were wholly useless. Another reason why some of the troops under my command did not exhibit a more soldierly bearing is found in the fact that they had only a day or two before been assigned me and were deficient in drill and discipline, having previous to that time had little opportunity of becoming proficient in these particulars.

I cannot close this report without expressing the high appreciation, both by myself and my officers, for the personal courage and skill evinced both by yourself and staff during the entire engagement; and however much I may regret the unfortunate disaster which befell us, I feel conscious that it resulted from no want of gallantry and military tact on the part of the commanding general.

For more minute details I respectfully refer you to the accompanying reports of the commanding officers of my brigade.

I am, general, very respectfully,

W. H. CARROLL, Brigadier-General.

Major-General CRITTENDEN, Commanding Division.

* The rosters of Tennessee regiments show him to have been colonel of the Twenty-eighth, and T. B. Murray lieutenant-colonel of the Sixteenth, at this date.



No. 19.

Report of Maj. Horace Rice, Twenty-ninth Tennessee Infantry (Confederate).


SIR: In compliance with your order I submit a statement of the movements and casualties of the Twenty-ninth Tennessee Regiment:

This regiment was under command of Colonel Samuel Powell, and in the order of march from camp to the field was in the last of your brigade, except Colonel Wood’s (Alabama) regiment, which was held in reserve. When the fight commenced it was on this side of the branch, near the house afterwards occupied as a hospital for our wounded.

After waiting there for about twenty minutes it moved across the branch and up to the top of the hill, when it was formed in line of battle on the right of the road, and [moved] forward at double-quick to the support of the right, then engaged. It moved down through the wheat field, where it halted just in rear of Colonel Murray, and [was] told to await further orders. It then remained inactive until it was perceived that the enemy were making a flank movement on our left, when orders were received from you to right face, thereby presenting a front to the enemy’s flankers on our left. This maneuver was executed, our line being on the brow of the hill at the edge of the woods, about 100 yards to the right of the road. The enemy crossed the road and advanced to within about 30 paces of our line, when he was checked by a raking fire from our boys, and held in that position until portions of Colonel Battle’s and the Mississippi regiments passed out to our right.

Colonel Powell was wounded about the time the enemy crossed the road and had to leave the field. After Colonel Battle and the Mississippians passed out, finding the regiment entirely unsupported and in danger of being cut off, I ordered it to fall back and file off after the retreating army.

This regiment was not under fire more than ten minutes; but the officers and men, with but few exceptions, behaved with gallantry and held their position under the most trying circumstances when retreat seemed to be the general order and all were falling back around them.

Some of the friends of one or two of the wounded missing think they crawled to the rear several miles above and made their way out; but they have never been heard of. Colonel Powell was severely wounded and has been taken home.*

Very respectfully,

HORACE RICE, Major, Commanding Twenty-ninth Tennessee Regiment.

Brigadier-General CARROLL.

* Nominal list of casualties shows 5 killed, 12 wounded, and 11 missing.


Major Rice errs in the commands given his regiment. It was ordered by me to face to the right and file left with half of his battalion, halt, and front, in order that Colonel Wood’s regiment, which had been ordered forward, could occupy the ground from which the left of Colonel Powell’s regiment had been moved. Colonel Wood’s regiment numbered only 330 men, half the number of Colonel Powell’s command. Colonel Powell was wounded as his regiment was in the act of filing to the left, and, being compelled to leave the field, a large portion of his {p.116} men retired with him. A portion of the left wing remained with Major Rice, continuing to fight with the Sixteenth Alabama until both were driven back by superior numbers.


JANUARY 28-FEBRUARY 2, 1862.– Operations near Greensburg and Lebanon, Ky.


No. 1.–Capt. John H. Morgan, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate).
No. 2.–Lieut. Col. T. C. H. Smith, First Ohio Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Capt. John H. Morgan, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate).

CAMP ASH, February 2, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, as per instructions, I started from camp 28th ultimo, with 9 men and a guide.

First night crossed Barren and Green Rivers, and stopped at a house about 8 miles from Green River; remained all next day, fearing of being seen traveling in daylight; were within 10 miles of Greensburg; rained day and night. Next evening at 6 o’clock started in the direction of Lebanon. Creeks risen so much that it was impossible to reach Mrs. Sanders’ that night; tried to cross one stream, and came very near losing both horse and rider.

Put up that night at Daniel Williams’, which was about 6 miles of Greensburg and 10 miles from top of Muldraugh’s Hill.

Started by day; met negro owned by Lincoln man, L. Thurman; took him along to pilot us through the creek, as the ford was dangerous; stopped at L. Thurman’s house; told him we were Government troops, on our way to Lebanon, carrying dispatches from General Buell and wanted a pilot to take us around a little town (Saloma), which was upon the main road, and which we wished to avoid; he told me to take his negro and keep him as long as we required his services, and wished us a safe trip. About 10 o’clock reached the turnpike leading from Lexington through Lebanon, Campbellsville, Greensburg, and Columbia, the road upon which all their troops and transportation pass. At the point we struck the pike was a large log church, and occupying it was a party of men, in the employ of Government, building telegraph to Columbus. The building had a large quantity of stores and telegraph implements, and a large quantity of mess pork, beans, crackers, flour, soap, sugar, coffee, candies, and stores of various kinds; close around the building were three United States wagons filled with provisions; took 4 men prisoners, who were in charge of the stores, and proceeded down pike in direction of Lebanon. Stopped at Mrs. Sanders’ a few moments and learned that a large party were guarding the bridge over Rolling Fork; that a few sick were at Campbellsville, and a portion of two regiments at Greensburg, and a large force at Columbia; took 1 man and proceeded within about 8 miles of Lebanon; returned to the church and took dinner with prisoners.

While dining, two soldiers were passing along the pike; took them. {p.117} Remained at building until 2 o’clock; set fire to building; remained until all the wagons and house were consumed; then took main road which leads to Glasgow, passed through Saloma, a little town about 3 miles from pike; took 2 soldiers and 1 lieutenant prisoners; stopped a few moments at Summersville; took another Federal prisoner, who belonged to Colonel Hobson’s regiment, at Greensburg. Captain Twyman had just passed through that place with 40 men. Reached Green River about 5 o’clock; found it out of its bank and a large quantity of drift running; had to go up the river about 2 miles to get a boat, which was owned by a Lincoln man named Montgomery; he took us for Federals, as we had so many Federal uniforms, and came over; made one trip, and had crossed half over with another, when he discovered who we were; it seems that one of our prisoners was a private in Montgomery’s son-in-law’s company; he ran the boat among some leaning trees, and came near raking all the horses overboard; succeeded in getting one over (which was lost). Directly the boat touched shore he and his negroes ran off, leaving the boat loose. The night being so very dark, it was impossible to shoot them. Some of the men caught the boat and brought it over, and the rest of us succeeded in getting across We then set it adrift.

Staid that night at Barnett’s, near the river. Started at day; crossed Barren River at Brewersburg; it was so high that it was impossible to cross any lower down; reached Glasgow near night; remained until this morning, both men and horses being nearly worn-out.

At the church we captured 8 horses; at one stage took 3 that were used in carrying the mail, and upon our way home took 3 more, which we rode to relieve the ones we had been riding; as we needed the horses in my command, I distributed them among the men.

The man Short, who was a lieutenant, is a man of very bad character; was a leader among the Home Guards last summer, and assisted in stopping goods going South at the very town where we captured him. He, last September, captured me and two loads of jeans I was taking South; he then headed a party of about 30 Home Guards, and kept me part of three days at the church. We also took a negro which was in the Government employ, and is still in my possession.


JOHN H. MORGAN, Commanding Squadron.

Brigadier-General HINDMAN.


No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. T. C.H. Smith, First Ohio Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST OHIO CAVALRY, Near Lebanon, Ky., January 31, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that at 4 p.m. of the 29th I learned of the depredations of a party of the enemy on the turnpike 12 miles below Lebanon. I started immediately with two companies and pursued them to Vaughn’s Ferry, about 24 miles from our camp, reaching that point about midnight. They had crossed the river some hours before in the ferry-boat and set the boat adrift. There was no skiff or {p.118} other means to cross the river there with dismounted men, and I left Company E, Captain Eggleston, with orders to wait until early daylight, and if any means could be found to cross the river safely to do so, and marched with the other company (B, Captain Laughlin) to Greensburg, hoping to find a boat on which the river could be passed with mounted men.

We arrived there about 5 p.m., and were informed that there was no boat there. By Colonel Hobson’s active exertions a flat was found below the town some distance, bailed out, and put in order by 9 a. m., but it was then too late to give any reasonable probability of reaching the enemy. We had marched 34 miles, most of the distance over very rugged roads and through darkness, and the flat could pass at most but 6 mounted men at a time, requiring four hours and a half without accident to pass the company, with a retreat hazardous, for the same reason that made a further advance promise to be fruitless. I was compelled by these reasons to abandon any further pursuit and returned. I sent orders to Captain Eggleston previously to return if he found no means to cross the river.

The officers and men throughout the march were ready for any exertion for advance and in good discipline.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. C. H. SMITH, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.


FEBRUARY 2, 1862.– Skirmish in Morgan County, Tennessee.


No. 1.–Col. D. Leadbetter, C. S. Army.
No. 2.–Lieut. Col. J. W. White, First Tennessee Cavalry.

No. 1.

Letter of Col. D. Leadbetter, C. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS Knoxville, Tenn., February 5, 1862.

SIR: I send herewith an extract from a report of Lieutenant-Colonel White, First Regiment Tennessee Cavalry, from which it appears that a part of that regiment had a skirmish with the traitors of Scott and Morgan counties on Sunday, the 2d instant, capturing 1 prisoner, 4 horses, 2 Minie muskets, and 1 navy revolver, killing the enemy’s leader (Duncan) and perhaps 5 others. I inclose herewith some papers found on the body of Duncan.*

The cavalry, while expecting orders to join General Crittenden, have been directed to scour the counties of Scott, Morgan, and Campbell, for the purpose of putting down rebellion, as well as to give prompt notice of any forward movement of the enemy’s army. Half of the company of sappers and miners, organized by Major Lea, has been ordered to Cumberland Gap, while the other half, protected by the cavalry, will endeavor to obstruct the passes leading through the mountains {p.119} from Kentucky to Jacksborough. I have no doubt that the enemy will attempt an advance on Knoxville at an early day.

Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

D. LEADBETTER, Colonel, Provisional Army Confederate States.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.

* See note on p. 119.


No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. J. W. White, First Tennessee Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST TENNESSEE CAVALRY REGIMENT, Camp Schooler, Morgan County, Tenn., February 3, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that a portion of our regiment engaged the enemy on yesterday at about 12 o’clock 13 miles northwest of this place. A running fight for nearly an hour ensued in the mountains. The enemy’s force is variously estimated from 100 to 300, armed with Minie muskets and rifles.

We killed their captain, and, from the best information, 5 others; captured 4 horses, 2 fine Minie muskets, 1 Colt’s navy pistol, a small quantity of ammunition, and 1 prisoner.

Inclosed I send you certain papers found by me on the person of their dead captain.*

It gives me pleasure to say that we lost only 1 horse killed and a few slight scratches. Our men all acted bravely for raw troops.

I cannot forbear to mention the gallant conduct of Captain Brown, of Company C, and Sergeant Reagan, of Company F.

I am satisfied that the Federal Army in force is approaching us; I think by way of Williamsburg, Ky., through Chitwood’s Gap. It is raining and the waters are up, so we cannot well get out of here; but I will move Captains McKenzie’s and Gorman’s companies, if possible. to-morrow on Jacksborough.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours, &c.,

J. W. WHITE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding First Tennessee Cavalry.

D. LEADBETTER, Colonel, Commanding, Knoxville, Tenn.

* A private letter and some unimportant money vouchers. Omitted.


FEBRUARY 6, 1862.– Capture of Fort Henry, Tennessee.


No. 1.–Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Missouri, and correspondence with Flag-Officer Foote and Brigadier-General Grant.
No. 2.–Flag-Officer A. H. Foote, U. S. Navy, commanding naval forces on the Western waters.
No. 3.–Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding land forces of the expedition.
No. 4.–Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.{p.120}
No. 5.–General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding Western Department.
No. 6.–Lieut. Col. Jeremy F. Gilmer, C. S. Army, Chief Engineer.
No. 7.–Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, C. S. Army, commanding at Columbus, Ky.
No. 8.–Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army, commanding Fort Henry.
No. 9.–Lieut. Col. Milton A. Haynes, C. S. Army, Chief of Tennessee Corps of Artillery.
No. 10.–Col. A. Heiman, Tenth Tennessee Infantry.

No. 1.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army,commanding Department of the Missouri, and correspondence with Flag-Officer Foote and Brigadier-General Grant.


Fort Henry was taken yesterday, with seventeen heavy guns, General Lloyd Tilghman and staff, and 60 men, after a bombardment of one hour and a quarter by gunboats. General Grant’s cavalry and gunboats in pursuit of the remainder of the garrison, who have abandoned artillery on the road. Our loss, killed, wounded, and scalded by destruction of boiler of the Essex, 44. Captain Porter is badly but not dangerously scalded. General C. F. Smith has possession of the enemy’s redan on the western bank of the Tennessee. General Grant’s infantry and artillery have gone to attack Fort Donelson at Dover, on the Cumberland. The gunboats not disabled are moving up the Tennessee. Commodore Foote, with disabled gunboats, has returned to Cairo-gunboats for repairs; will soon return to the field. Enemy’s loss not known.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Commanding.

Major-General MCCLELLAN.



GENERAL: Inclosed herewith I have the honor to forward to the Commander-in-Chief official copies of the reports of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant and Flag-Officer A. H. Foote in regard to the capture of Fort Henry.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Commanding.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.


CAIRO, January 28, 1862.

Maj. Gen. HENRY W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.:

Commanding General Grant and myself are of opinion that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, can be carried with four iron-clad gunboats and troops to permanently occupy. Have we your authority to move for that purpose when ready?

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.



CAIRO, January 28, 1862.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis Mo.:

With permission, I will take Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there.

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier General.



Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.:

In view of the large force now concentrating in this district and the present feasibility of the plan I would respectfully suggest the propriety of subduing Fort Henry, near the Kentucky and Tennessee line, and holding the position. If this is not done soon there is but little doubt but that the defenses on both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be materially strengthened. From Fort Henry it will be easy to operate either on the Cumberland, only 12 miles distant, Memphis, or Columbus. It will, besides, have a moral effect upon our troops to advance them toward the rebel States. The advantages of this move are as perceptible to the general commanding as to myself, therefore further statements are unnecessary.

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.


SAINT LOUIS, January 30, 1862.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Cairo, Ill.:

Make your preparations to take and hold Fort Henry. I will send you written instructions by mail.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.



Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Cairo, Ill.:

SIR: You will immediately prepare to send forward to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, all your available forces from Smithland, Paducah, Cairo, Fort Holt, Bird’s Point, &c. Sufficient garrisons must be left to hold these places against an attack from Columbus. As the roads are almost impassable for large forces, and as your command is very deficient in transportation, the troops will be taken in steamers up the Tennessee River as far as practicable. Supplies will also be taken up in steamers as far as possible. Flag-Officer Foote will protect the transports with his gunboats. The Benton and perhaps some others should be left for the defense of Cairo. Fort Henry should be taken and held at all hazards. I shall immediately send you three additional companies of artillery from this place.

The river front of the fort is armed with 20-pounders, and it may be necessary for you to take some guns of large caliber and establish a battery {p.122} on the opposite side of the river. It is believed that the guns on the land side are of small caliber and can be silenced by our field artillery. It is said that the north side of the river below the fort is favorable for landing. If so, you will land and rapidly occupy the road to Dover and fully invest the place, so as to cut off the retreat of the garrison. Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, U. S. Engineers, will immediately report to you, to act as chief engineer of the expedition. It is very probable that an attempt will be made from Columbus to re-enforce Fort Henry; also from Fort Donelson at Dover. If you can occupy the road to Dover you can prevent the latter. The steamers will give you the means of crossing from one side of the river to the other. It is said that there is a masked battery opposite the island below Fort Henry. If this cannot be avoided or turned it must be taken.

Having invested Fort Henry, a cavalry force will be sent forward to break up the railroad from Paris to Dover. The bridges should be rendered impassable, but not destroyed.

A telegram from Washington says that Beauregard left Manassas four days ago with fifteen regiments for the line of Columbus and Bowling Green. It is therefore of the greatest importance that we cut that line before he arrives. You will move with the least delay possible. You will furnish Commodore Foote with a copy of this letter. A telegraph line will be extended as rapidly as possible from Paducah, east of the Tennessee River, to Fort Henry. Wires and operators will be sent from Saint Louis.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.


No. 2.

Report of Flag-Officer A. H. Foote, U. S. Navy, commanding naval forces on the Western Waters.

CAIRO, ILL, February 7, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 6th instant, at 12.30 o’clock p.m., I made an attack on Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, with the iron-clad gunboats Cincinnati, Commander Stembel; the flagship Essex, Commander Porter; Carondelet, Commander Walke, and St. Louis, Lieutenant-Commander Paulding; also taking with me the three old gunboats, Conestoga, Lieutenant-Commander Phelps; the Tyler, Lieutenant-Commander Gwin, and the Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, as a second division, in charge of Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, which took position astern and inshore of the armed boats, doing good execution there during the action, while the armed boats were placed in the first order of steaming, approaching the fort in a parallel line.

The fire was opened at 1,700 yards’ distance from the flag-ship, which was followed by the other gunboats, and responded to by the fort. As we approached the fort under slow steaming till we reached within 600 yards of the rebel batteries the fire both from the gunboats and fort increased in rapidity and accuracy of range. At twenty minutes before the rebel flag was struck the Essex unfortunately received a shot in her boilers which resulted in wounding, by scalding, 29 officers and men, including Commander Porter, as will be seen in the inclosed list of casualties.* {p.123} The Essex then necessarily dropped out of line astern, entirely disabled, and unable to continue the fight, in which she had so gallantly participated until the sad catastrophe. The firing continued with unabated rapidity and effect upon the three gunboats as they continued still to approach the fort with their destructive fire until the rebel flag was hauled down, after a very severe and closely-contested action of one hour and fifteen minutes.

A boat containing the adjutant-general and captain of engineers came alongside after the flag was lowered, and reported that General Lloyd Tilghman, the commander of the fort, wished to communicate with the flag-officer, when I dispatched Commander Stembel and Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, with orders to hoist the American flag where the secession ensign had been flying, and to inform General Tilghman that I would see him on board the flag-ship. He came on board soon after the Union had been substituted for the rebel flag by Commander Stembel on the fort and possession taken. I received the general, his staff, and 60 or 70 men as prisoners, and a hospital ship containing 60 invalids, together with the fort and its effects, mounting twenty guns, mostly of heavy caliber, with barracks and tents capable of accommodating 15,000 men, and sundry articles, of which, as I turned the fort and its effects over to General Grant, commanding the Army, on his arrival in an hour after we had made the capture, he will be enabled to give the Government a more correct statement than I am enabled to communicate from the short time I had possession of the fort. The plan of the attack, so far as the Army reaching the rear of the fort to make a demonstration simultaneously with the Navy, was prevented by the excessively muddy roads and high stage of water, preventing the arrival of our troops until some time after I had taken possession of the fort.

On securing the prisoners and making necessary preliminary arrangements I dispatched Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, with his division, up the Tennessee River, as I had previously directed, and as will be seen in the inclosed order to him,* to remove the rails, and so far render the bridge incapable of railroad transportation and communication between Bowling Green and Columbus, and afterwards to pursue the rebel gunboats and secure their capture, if possible. This being accomplished and the Army in possession of the fort and my services being indispensable at Cairo, I left Fort Henry in the evening of the same day, with the Cincinnati and St. Louis and arrived here this morning.

The armed gunboats resisted effectually the shot of the enemy when striking the casemate. The Cincinnati (flag-ship) received 31 shots, the Essex 15, the St. Louis 7, and the Carondelet 6, killing 1 and wounding 9 in the Cincinnati and killing 1 in the Essex, while the casualties in the latter from steam amounted to 28 in number. The Carondelet and St. Louis met with no casualties. The steamers were admirably handled by their commanders and officers, presenting only their bow guns to the enemy, to avoid exposure of the vulnerable parts of their vessels. Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, with his division, also executed my orders very effectually, and promptly proceeded up the river in their further execution after the capture of the fort. In fact, all the officers and men gallantly performed their duty, and, considering the little experience they have had under fire far more than realized my expectations.

Fort Henry was defended with the most determined gallantry by General Tilghman, worthy of a better cause, who, from his own account, went into the action with eleven guns of heavy caliber bearing upon our {p.124} boats, which he fought until seven of the number were dismounted or otherwise rendered useless.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer, Commanding U. S. Naval Forces Western Wafers.

Major-General HALLECK, Commanding Department of the Missouri.

* Not found.



I have this moment received the official report of your capture of Fort Henry, and hasten to congratulate you and your command for your brilliant success.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Commanding Department.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, Cairo.


No. 3.

Reports of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding land forces of the expedition.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO, Fort Henry, February 6, 1862.

Fort Henry is ours. The gunboats silenced the batteries before the investment was completed. I think the garrison must have commenced the retreat last night. Our cavalry followed, finding two guns abandoned in the retreat.

I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th and return to Fort Henry.

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO, Fort Henry, February 6, 1862.

CAPTAIN: Inclosed I send you my order for the attack upon Fort Henry. Owing to dispatches received from Major-General Halleck and corroborating information here to the effect that the enemy were rapidly re-enforcing, I thought it imperatively necessary that the fort should be carried to-day. My forces were not up at 11 o’clock last night when my order was written, therefore I did not deem it practicable to set an earlier hour than 11 o’clock to-day to commence the investment.

The gunboats started up at the same hour to commence the attack, and engaged the enemy at not over 600 yards. In a little over one hour all the batteries were silenced and the fort surrendered at discretion to Flag-Officer Foote, giving us all their guns, camp and garrison {p.125} equipage, &c. The prisoners taken are General Tilghman and staff, Captain Taylor and company, and the sick. The garrison, I think, must have commenced their retreat last night or at an early hour this morning. Had I not felt it an imperative necessity to attack Fort Henry to-day I should have made the investment complete and delayed until to-morrow, so as to have secured the garrison. I do not now believe, however, that the result would have been any more satisfactory. The gunboats have proved themselves well able to resist a severe cannonading. All the iron-clad boats received more or less shots-the flag-ship some 28-without any serious damage to any except the Essex. This vessel received one shot in her boiler that disabled he, killing and wounding some 32 men, Captain Porter among the wounded.

I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th and return to Fort Henry with the forces employed, unless it looks feasible to occupy that place with a small force that could retreat easily to the main body. I shall regard it more in the light of an advance grand guard than as a permanent post.

For the character of the works at Fort Henry I will refer you to reports of the engineers, which will be required.

Owing to the intolerable state of the roads no transportation will be taken to Fort Donelson and but little artillery, and that with double teams.

Hoping that what has been done will meet the approval of the major-general commanding the department, I remain, &c.,

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.

Capt. J. C. KELTON, Saint Louis, Mo.


FIELD ORDERS, No. 1.} HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO, Camp in Field, near Fort Henry, February 5, 1862.

The First Division, General J. A. McClernand commanding, will move at 11 o’clock a.m. to-morrow, under the guidance of Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, and take a position on the roads from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson and Dover. It will be the special duty of this command to prevent all re-enforcements to Fort Henry or escape from it, also to be held in readiness to charge and take Fort Henry by storm promptly on the receipt of orders. Two brigades of the Second Division, General C. F. Smith commanding, will start at the same hour from the west bank of the river, and take and occupy the heights commanding Fort Henry. This point will be held by so much artillery as can be made available and such other troops as in the opinion of the general commanding Second Division may be necessary for its protection. The Third Brigade, Second Division, will advance up the east bank of the Tennessee River as fast as can be securely done, and be in readiness to charge upon the fort or move to the support of the First Division, as may be necessary. All the forces on the west bank of the river not required to hold the heights commanding Fort Henry will return to their transports, cross to the east bank, and follow the First Division as rapidly as possible. The west bank of the Tennessee River not having been reconnoitered, the commanding officer intrusted with taking possession of the enemy’s works there will proceed with great caution, and obtain such information as can be gathered and such guides as can be found in the time intervening before 11 o’clock to-morrow.

The troops will move with two days’ rations of bread and meat in {p.126} their haversacks. One company of the Second Division, armed with rifles, will be ordered to report to Flag-Officer Foote, as sharpshooters, on board the gunboats.

By order:

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


No. 4.

Report of Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, Fort Foote, February 10, 1862.

GENERAL: Following is the report of the operations of the First Division of the advance forces, under my command, from the date of their embarkation at Cairo, on the 2d instant, to the date of their marching from Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, to this place:

The division consisted of the First and Second Brigades of the Army of the District of Cairo, of which you were chief.

The First Brigade, commanded by Col. R. J. Oglesby, acting as brigadier, was composed of the Eighth, Lieut. Col. F. L. Rhoads; Eighteenth, Col. M. K. Lawler; Twenty-ninth, Col. James S. Rearden; Thirtieth, Lieut. Col. E. S. Dennis, and Thirty-first Regiments, Col. John A. Logan; Stewart’s, Dollins’, O’Harnett’s, and Carmichael’s cavalry companies; Schwartz’s battery, Lieut. G. C. Gumbart commanding, and Dresser’s battery of James rifled pieces.

The Second Brigade, commanded by Col. W. H. L. Wallace was composed of the Eleventh, Lieut. Col. T. E. G. Ransom; Twentieth, Col. C. C. Marsh; Forty-fifth, Lieut. Col. J. A. Maltby, and Forty-eighth Regiments, Col. I. N. Haynie; Fourth Cavalry, Col. T. Lyle Dickey, and Taylor’s and McAllister’s batteries; all Illinois volunteers, except a few men in Schwartz’s battery.

The staff of the First Division consisted of the following officers: Maj. M. Brayman, Twenty-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. A. Schwartz, light artillery, acting chief of staff; Capt. Warren Stewart, Independent Cavalry, acting aide; Capt. James Dunlap, assistant quartermaster and aide; H. P. Stearns, surgeon and acting aide; Lieut. Henry C. Freeman, acting engineer and aide; Lieut. William H. Heath, acting assistant commissary of subsistence and aide; Lieut. E. S. Jones, Twenty-seventh Regiment, ordnance officer and aide.

Arriving at Paducah at 3 o’clock p.m. of the 2d instant in advance of the transports bearing my division, I awaited their coming up, and in the mean time sought an interview with you, in which you instructed me to continue my advance up the Tennessee River. Prescribing the order in which the transports should proceed and preceded by two gunboats, assigned by Flag-Officer Foote as a convoy, we immediately started, and without accident or delay disembarked at Itra Landing, in Tennessee, 8 miles below Fort Henry, at 4.30 o’clock a.m. next day.

At the moment of disembarking I issued the following field order, viz:

Commanders of brigades, before landing their troops, will cause one company of infantry to be detailed for the purpose of affording protection and other assistance to {p.127} each battery. These companies will defend the batteries to the last, the cannoneers having only to attend to the working of the guns.

In forming encampments for the troops, commanders of brigades will strictly observe the following instructions, viz-

1st. The artillery will be placed in the most commanding positions, at all times giving it as wide a range as possible.

2d. Adequate support must always be given to the batteries, and for this purpose the infantry camps should be suitably arranged.

3d. In the absence of commanding positions for the artillery within the limits of the camp it will be placed centrally, so as to be protected by infantry in front and rear and on the flanks. In the latter case the guns will not be unlimbered.

4th. Cavalry not on picket or other duty will be kept in the rear.

5th. In all cases practicable infantry camps will be formed, so as to facilitate an immediate formation in line of battle before the encampment and fronting the enemy.

6th. Public roads and other means of communication must not be obstructed by encampments or baggage trains.

7th. Requisitions and returns for provisions and forage must be made in due form, approved by brigade commanders, and correspond with the showing of the proper reports.

8th. Commanders of brigades are expressly enjoined to punish all depredators upon the persons or property of peaceful citizens-such depredators being members of their commands. In short, as an assurance of success, the utmost discipline and most perfect subordination are required and expected.

Having disembarked at Itra Landing and sent out Lieutenant Freeman and Captain Schwartz to select suitable ground for encamping my division; having also sent forward a detachment of cavalry to reconnoiter toward the enemy, and having gone forward with Captain Stewart of my staff, for the same purpose, you came up, and upon my return and in view of the fuller information you had obtained, ordered the re-embarkation of my division, preparatory to a second disembarkation nearer Fort Henry at a more favorable point.

By 10 o’clock, and before the transports bearing any other of our troops had come in sight, preceded by myself and staff, my division had reached Bailey’s Ferry, 4 miles below Fort Henry, and by 3 o’clock p.m. had all disembarked on the Tennessee shore. In the mean time a loyal citizen, being the proprietor of a neighboring farm house, informed me that mounted pickets of the enemy had been posted hard by, where some of them had been seen about the time of our landing. Corroborative of this report, upon my return to our transports I observed several mounted pickets of the enemy on the opposite or Kentucky shore of the river. A shot or two from the carbine of one of my orderlies, followed by a shell from one of the gunboats, dispersed not only them, but another party of the enemy in sight farther up the river. Immediately after I ordered an inland movement, which served both as a reconnaissance in force and as an occupation of the neighboring hills.

At this time the Fourth Illinois Cavalry (Colonel Dickey), which had been disembarked at Patterson’s Ferry, 13 miles above Paducah, had not joined us, in consequence of heavy rains and miry roads; but making the most of my means, I ordered a small cavalry force to reconnoiter toward the fort, which, soon encountering the enemy’s pickets, drove them back. While this was going on my infantry and artillery had moved inland, and, occupying the crest of a range of hills running parallel with and near the river, bivouacked in line of battle, prepared to meet any emergency. The formation of the hills and the disposition of my forces of all arms relatively to the hills, the river, and the enemy are illustrated by the diagram herewith inclosed.*

A reconnaissance made the same evening by myself and staff convinced me of the expediency of sending forward a battery, supported by at least two regiments of infantry, to command the road leading to Fort {p.128} Henry where it crossed Panther Creek. By an early hour next morning this had been done. At this place, named by me Camp Halleck, the portion of Colonel Cook’s brigade with him, including a battery of Major Cavender’s Missouri artillery, formed a part of my command until General Smith’s division, of which it was a part, came up.

At Camp Halleck, on the night of the 4th, my men lighted their camp fires for the first time since their departure from Cairo. In the mean time the rations which they had drawn for the 1st and 2d of February had been consumed. On the 4th they had twice disembarked and once embarked, closing the labors and trials of the day by ascending to the crest of high and rocky hills, up which they hauled their artillery by hand and the aid of prolonged ropes. Here, bivouacking in the cold, they cooked a meal for the first time in three days.

Our camp, marked distinctly by its numerous fires, ranging along the crest and down the slopes of lofty hills and in the valley toward the river, together with the many transports and gunboats which had come up and formed the foreground, exhibited a most grand and imposing spectacle, and, having been witnessed by the enemy’s scouts on the opposite side of the river, multiplied in their imaginations our numbers, and, as we afterward learned from prisoners, materially contributed to induce the early evacuation of Fort Henry.

On the 5th I ordered Col. R. J. Oglesby, commanding the First Brigade, to send a strong detachment of infantry and cavalry, under instructions to reconnoiter the country between Camp Halleck and Fort Henry, the approaches and accessibility of the latter, and its position and various external relations. The order was promptly executed, under the personal supervision of Colonel Oglesby, accompanied by Col. J. D. Webster, chief of your staff:, Capt. A. Schwartz, chief of my staff; and Lieut. H. C. Freeman, engineer of my division and also a member of my staff, whose zeal and efficiency were rewarded by valuable information gained.

During this reconnaissance Captain Schwartz and Lieutenant Freeman, together with their orderlies, being in advance, encountered the pickets of the enemy at the crossing of two paths, about one mile and a half from the fort. A few shots caused the enemy to disappear, but, as was supposed, for the purpose of returning with increased numbers and the hope of capturing our party. Captain Schwartz and Lieutenant Freeman having reported what had transpired and the supposed intention of the enemy to Colonel Oglesby, the latter promptly moved forward his detachment of infantry to and beyond the spot where the enemy had been seen. In the mean time the enemy had shown himself in the rear both of our infantry and cavalry, with the evident design of cutting off the latter. Not being apprised of the proximity of the former, Captain Dollins instantly turned upon the superior numbers of the enemy and boldly met him, and after a sharp skirmish of some ten minutes, in which one man was killed and several wounded on each side, put him to flight, forcing him to abandon a number of his guns and sabers, which were carried away by our cavalry as trophies. All this was done before it was possible for the infantry to extend to Captain Dollins the support which had been promptly attempted by Colonel Oglesby.

On the 5th the division commanded by Brig. Gen. C. F. Smith came up from Paducah to Camp Halleck, and was disembarked on the opposite bank of the river; and about dark the Fourth Illinois Cavalry also came up after a laborious march and joined my division. During the {p.129} same evening I had the honor to receive from you the following field order:

The First Division, General J. A. McClernand commanding, will move at 11 o’clock a.m. to-morrow, under the guidance of Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, and take position on the roads from Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Dover.

2d. It will be the special duty of this command to prevent all re-enforcements to Fort Henry or escapes from it; also to be held in readiness to charge and take Fort Henry by storm promptly on the receipt of orders.


4th. The Third Brigade, Second Division (General Smith), will advance up the east or same bank of the Tennessee River as fast as it can be securely done, and be in readiness to charge upon the fort or to move to the support of the First Division, as may be necessary.

5th All of the forces on the west bank of the river not required to hold the heights commanding Fort Henry will return to their transports, cross to the east bank, and follow the Third Brigade as rapidly as possible.

In pursuance of this order, notwithstanding the heavy rains throughout the previous night, which found my division without tents and ill prepared for exposure, it was put in motion by 11 o’clock a.m. of the 6th in the order of march previously directed by me, and so as to enable the different brigades and arms of my command to afford mutual support in case of an attack.

The distance from Camp Halleck to Fort Henry by the route of our march is about 8 miles, whereas by the river it is only half that distance. By 1 o’clock p.m. we had accomplished a march of 4 miles, when the firing of our gunboats upon the fort, being distinctly heard by my men, was hailed by loud shouts, and they pushed on with increased eagerness, hoping to reach the fort in time to cut off the retreat and secure the surrender of the enemy.

About 3 o’clock p.m., the report coming back that the enemy were evacuating the fort, I immediately sent an order to my cavalry in advance to make rapid pursuit if upon investigation it were found to be true.

A similar order had also been sent forward by Colonel Oglesby. Captain Stewart, of my staff, with a squad of his own cavalry, first coming up with the enemy, boldly charged his rear while he was in the act of clearing the outer line of his defenses, while a portion of Colonel Dickey’s cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, also hastening up, pursued the enemy several miles and until nightfall, and successively overtaking his rear guards of cavalry and infantry quickly dispersed them, killing 1 man, capturing 38 prisoners, and driving him to abandon six pieces of artillery, with their gun-carriages and one caisson, a large number of different kinds of small-arms, knapsacks, blankets, animals; in short, everything calculated to impede his flight, which were subsequently brought into the fort by detachments respectively under the command of Colonel Logan, Captain Dresser, and Lieutenant Gumbart.

The Eighteenth Regiment, Colonel Lawler forming the head of the column, composed of the First Brigade, eagerly hastening forward, first reached the fort, entering the same at 3.30 o’clock p.m., and were immediately followed by the remainder of that brigade.

The Second Brigade, under the able and judicious lead of Col. W. H. L. Wallace, although unavoidably detained by a battery of heavy siege guns and the aggravated condition of the roads, followed close upon the First, and soon after the portion of Colonel Cook’s brigade with him, thus completing the arrival of all the forces under my command within the enemy’s works, where they encamped for the night in his deserted {p.130} huts and tents-Captain Stewart, of my staff, being temporarily assigned to the command of the main fort.

Although the letter of your order required the halting of my column near the junction of the Dover and Bailey’s Ferry roads, some 2 miles from the fort, in view of the information already referred to I did not deem it within its spirit to do so, and accordingly pressed on, as already mentioned, having accomplished a march of near 8 miles in four hours and a half, over the worst possible roads, cutting a portion of them through woods and bridging several streams made too deep for fording by recent rains.

Upon entering the fort it was found to have been defended by seventeen heavy and effective guns, well mounted, and so disposed as to command both river and land approaches. The whole number of guns taken, including the six field pieces brought in as before mentioned, amount to twenty-three. The fortifications are extensive, and afford evidence of a high degree of engineering skill and great labor. Their hasty surrender without a more protracted struggle can only be accounted for by the terrible cannonade from our gunboats and their apprehension of being cut off from retreat by the rapid advance of our land forces.

The casualties in my command, except those already recounted, were chiefly confined to the loss and injury of animals and other property, and are chargeable to the desperate condition of the roads.

The gallant and successful attack made by the gunboats under Flag-Officer Foote is worthy to challenge our warmest admiration, and reflects the highest credit upon him and all the officers and men of his command who participated in it. The success of the Mississippi River fleet in this signal instance triumphantly demonstrates the efficiency of that arm of the public service. As a just tribute to distinguished merit I have the honor to announce the name of Fort Henry has been changed to Fort Foote, by an order formally published by me to that effect.

Of my own command it is my duty as well as my pleasure to say that both officers and men did their whole duty with the most commendable spirit and alacrity. It was the first of the land forces to enter the fort, and I may truly say for them it is their greatest regret that circumstances beyond their control prevented them from accomplishing their greatest desire, which was to cut off the enemy’s retreat and force him to fight or surrender.

JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Brigadier-General, Commanding First Division.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding District of Cairo.

* Not found.


No. 5.

Report of General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding Western Department.

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Bowling Green, Ky., February 8, 1862.

SIR: No reliable particulars of the loss of Fort Henry have yet reached me. This much, however, is known, that nearly all of the force at Fort Henry retreated to Fort Donelson, and it is said that General Tilghman and about 80 officers and men surrendered in the fort.

The capture of that fort by the enemy gives them the control of the {p.131} navigation of the Tennessee River, and their gunboats are now ascending the river to Florence.

Operations against Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland, are about to be commenced, and that work will soon be attacked.

The slight resistance at Fort Henry indicates that the best open earthworks are not reliable to meet successfully a vigorous attack of iron-clad gunboats, and, although now supported by a considerable force, I think the gunboats of the enemy will probably take Fort Donelson without the necessity of employing their land force in co-operation, as seems to have been done at Fort Henry.

Our force at Fort Donelson, including the force from Fort Henry and three regiments of General Floyd’s command, is about 7,000 men, not well armed or drilled, except Heiman’s regiment and the regiments of Floyd’s command.

General Floyd’s command and the force from Hopkinsville is arriving at Clarksville, and can (if necessary) reach Donelson in four hours by steamers, which are there.

Should Fort Donelson be taken, it will open the route to the enemy to Nashville, giving them the means of breaking the bridges and destroying the ferry-boats on the river as far as navigable.

The occurrence of the misfortune of losing the fort will cut off the communication of the force here, under General Hardee, from the south bank of the Cumberland. To avoid the disastrous consequences of such an event I ordered General Hardee yesterday to make (as promptly as it could be done) preparations to fall back to Nashville and cross the river.

The movements of the enemy on my right flank would have made a retrograde in that direction to confront the enemy indispensable in a short time. But the probability of having the passage of this army corps across the Cumberland intercepted by the gunboats of the enemy admits of no delay in making the movement.

Generals Beauregard and Hardee are equally with myself impressed with the necessity of withdrawing our force from this line at once.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

A. S. JOHNSTON, General, C. S. Army.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.


No. 6.

Report of Lieut. Col. Jeremy F. Gilmer, C. S. Army, chief engineer, upon the defense of Fort Henry.

ENGINEER’S OFFICE, Decatur, Ala., March 17, 1862.

COLONEL: In obedience to General Johnston’s orders of January 29, received at Nashville, I proceeded the next day to Fort Donelson and thence to Fort Henry, to inspect the works and direct what was necessary to be done at both.

I arrived at Fort Henry the afternoon of the 31st, when I met Brigadier-General Tilghman commanding the defenses on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. By the exertions of the commanding general, aided by Lieut. Joseph Dixon, his engineer officer, the main fort (a strong {p.132} field work of fine bastion front) had been put in a good condition for defense, and seventeen guns mounted on substantial platforms, twelve of which were so placed as to bear well on the river. These twelve guns were of the following description: One 10-inch columbiad, one rifled gut of 24-pounder caliber (weight of ball 62 pounds), two 42-pounders, and eight 32-pounders, all arranged to fire through embrasures formed by raising the parapet between the guns with sand bags carefully laid.

In addition to placing the main work in good defensive order I found that extensive lines of infantry cover had been thrown up by the troops forming the garrison, with a view to hold commanding ground that would be dangerous to the fort if possessed by the enemy. These lines and the main work were on the right hand of the river and arranged with good defensive relations, making the place capable of offering a strong resistance against a land attack coming from the eastward. On the left bank of the river there was a number of hills within cannon range that commanded the river batteries on the right bank. The necessity of occupying these hills was apparent to me at the time I inspected Fort Henry early in November last, and on the 21st of that month Lieutenant Dixon, the local engineer, was ordered from Fort Donelson to Fort Henry to make the necessary surveys and construct the additional works. He was at the same time informed that a large force of slaves, with troops to protect them, from Alabama, would report to him for the work, which was to be pushed to completion as early as possible.

The surveys were made by the engineer and plans decided upon without delay; but by some unforeseen cause the negroes were not sent until after the 1st of January last. Much valuable time was thus lost, but under your urgent orders, when informed of the delay, General Tilghman and his engineers pressed these defenses forward so rapidly, night and day, that when I reached the fort (January 31 last) they were far advanced, requiring only a few days’ additional labor to put them in a state of defense. But no guns had been received that could be put in these works except a few field pieces; and, notwithstanding every effort had been made to procure them from Richmond, Memphis, and other points, it was apprehended they would not arrive in time to anticipate the attack of the enemy, which, from the full information obtained by General Tilghman, was threatened at an early day either at Fort Henry or Fort Donelson, or possibly on both at the same time. The lines of infantry cover, however, which had been thrown up were capable of making a strong resistance, even without the desired artillery, should the attack be made on that (the left) bank of the river. Experimental firing with the 10-inch columbiad, mounted in main work, showed a defeat in the cast-iron carriage and chassis, which threatened to impair the usefulness of this most important gun. With the ordinary charge of 16 pounds of powder the recoil was so great as to cause most violent shocks against the rear hurter, threatening each time to dismount the piece. With the aid of an ingenious mechanic clamps were finally made, which served to resist, in some degree, the violence of the recoil. With this exception the guns bearing on the river were in fair working order.

After the batteries of the main work were mounted General Tilghman found much difficulty in getting competent artillerists to man them, and he was not supplied with a sufficient number of artillery officers.

Impressed with the great deficiency in the preparations for defending the passage of the river at Fort Henry, the commanding officer expressed {p.133} to me his fears that it might cause disaster if the place were vigorously attacked by the enemy’s gunboats. This he thought his greatest danger.

In conjunction with General Tilghman I made every effort during the three days I remained at Fort Henry to get all the works and batteries in as good condition for defense as the means at hand would permit. February 3 we went over to Fort Donelson to do the same. The works there required additions, to prevent the enemy from occupying grounds dangerous to the river batteries and the field work which had been constructed for the immediate defense landward. It was also important that better protection should be made for the heavy guns (mounted for the defense of the river) by raising the parapet with sand bags between the guns to give greater protection to the gunners.

The 3d and 4th days of February were devoted to making preparations for this work and locating lines of infantry cover on the commanding ground around the fort.

In the midst of these labors, on the 4th, heavy firing was heard in the direction of Fort Henry, which warned General Tilghman that the enemy had made his attack upon that work. This was soon confirmed by a report from Colonel Heiman, to the effect that the gunboats had opened fire and that troops were being landed on the right bank of the river 3 1/2 to 4 miles below the fort. The general decided to return to the Tennessee River at once, and expressed with some anxiety a wish that I would accompany him. I finally took the responsibility of doing so, with the hope that my professional services might possibly prove useful during the defense.

On arriving at Fort Henry we found the enemy had landed additional troops below, and that every preparation was being made to attack by land and water. The necessary dispositions for defense were at once entered upon, by making a special organization of the troops and assigning commands to the officers.

Early the next morning, February 5, the troops were drawn out under arms, and marched to the respective points each body was to defend-this with a view to insure order in case it became necessary to form promptly in face of the enemy. The main body of the forces was assigned to the defense of the advanced lines of infantry cover, where they were in a measure beyond the range of shot and shell from the gunboats, and the troops inside of the main fort were to be limited to the men who had received some instructions in the use of heavy guns and such additional force as could be useful in bringing up full supplies of ammunition. Those assigned to the fort were practiced at the battery under the immediate supervision of the commanding officer, and each one taught with as much care as possible his duty in anticipation of the threatened attack.

In such preparations the day was consumed, and it was only at nightfall that the troops were relieved to seek food and rest, it being quite apparent that the enemy would not attack until next day.


During the early part of the day preparations of the enemy for an advance with his gunboats could be observed from the fort; also the movements of troops at their encampments along the bank of the river below, making it evident that we were to be attacked by land as well as by water.

About 11.30 o’clock one of the gunboats had reached the head of the {p.134} island, about 1 1/3 miles below our batteries; another soon followed, then a third and a fourth, all coming as nearly abreast as the width of the river would permit. As soon as this line was formed a rapid fire was opened upon our works about 12.30 o’clock, which was returned with spirit by our gunners, who were all at their places eager for the contest. In a short time after the rifled cannon burst, killing 3 of the men at the piece and disabling a number of others. The effect of this explosion was very serious upon our artillerists; first, because it made them doubt the strength of these large guns to resist the shock of full charges, and, secondly, because much was expected from the long range of rifled cannon against the gunboats. Still, all stood firmly to their work, under a most terrific fire from the advancing foe, whose approach was steady and constant.

From the rear of their lines a fifth gunboat was observed to be firing curvated shot, many of which fell within the work, but to the rear of our guns. Many shot and shell were lodged in the parapet, making deep penetrations, but in no case passing through, unless they struck the cheek of an embrasure. One of the 32-pounder guns was struck by a heavy shell passing through the embrasure. All the gunners at this piece were disabled and the gun rendered unfit for service.

About the same moment a premature discharge occurred at one of the 42-pounder guns, causing the death of 3 men and seriously injuring the chief of the piece and others.

Not many moments later it was observed that the 10-inch columbiad was silent, the cause of which was at once examined into by General Tilghman, and it was found that the priming wire had been jammed and broken in the vent. A blacksmith (I regret I cannot recall the name of the gallant soldier) was sent for, and he labored with great coolness for a long time exposed to the warmest fire of the enemy, but in spite of his faithful and earnest efforts the broken wire remained in the vent, making this important gun unserviceable for the continued contest. By this time the gunboats, by a steady advance, had reached positions not over 600 or 700 yards from the fort. Our artillerists became very much discouraged when they saw the two heavy guns disabled, the enemy’s boats apparently uninjured, and still drawing nearer and nearer. Some of them even ceased to work the 32-pounder guns, under the belief that such shot were too light to produce any effect upon the iron-clad sides of the enemy’s boats.

Seeing this, General Tilghman did everything that it was possible to do to encourage and urge his men to further efforts. He assisted to serve one of the pieces himself for at least fifteen minutes; but his men were exhausted, had lost all hope, and there were none others to replace them at the guns. Finally, after the firing had continued about an hour and five minutes, but two guns from our batteries responded to the rapid firing of the enemy, whose shots were telling with effect upon our parapets. It was then suggested to the general that all was lost, unless he could replace the men at the guns by others who were not exhausted. He replied,” I shall not give up the work,” and then made an effort to get men from the outer lines to continue the struggle. Failing in this, he sent instructions to the commanders of the troops in the exterior lines to withdraw their forces. As soon as this movement was commenced confusion among the retiring troops followed, many thinking it intended for a rapid retreat to escape from the enemy’s forces, expected to approach from the point of landing below. A few moments later the flag was lowered.

From information received the strength of the enemy was estimated {p.135} at 9,000 men. These forces were advancing to cut off the communications with Fort Donelson. Probably the movement would have proved a success had the garrison remained a few hours longer. Our force at Fort Henry was about 3,200, of which less than 100 were surrendered with the fort.

The fall of Fort Henry and the power of the enemy to strike at once with an immense force at Fort Donelson, made it necessary that the army at Bowling Green should be withdrawn to a point which would secure a prompt passage of the Cumberland River. The vicinity of Nashville seemed the proper position. If the enemy were defeated at Donelson, with prompt re-enforcements there was still a hope that your army might resist the invader and defend that city; if Donelson fell, it could be promptly passed to the south bank of the river.*


I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. F. GILMER, Lieut. Col. of Engineers, and Chief Engineer Western Department.

Col. W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General Western Department.

* Portion of report here omitted will be found in the report of the siege of Fort Donelson.


No. 7.

Report of Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, C. S. Army, commanding at Columbus, Ky.

COLUMBUS, KY., February 8, 1862.

General S. COOPER:

I am officially advised as follows:

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 7, 1862.

General POLK:

Fort Henry has fallen. General Tilghman, Major Gilmer, and about 80 officers and men were surrendered with the fort. Colonel Heiman brought the rest of the command in good order to this point. About 3,000 in the aggregate arrived at 11 o’clock last night. Owing to the bad state of the roads and the high water of the various water-courses between the two forts, as well as to the fact that they were attacked in the rear by the enemy’s cavalry, Colonel Heiman says it was a physical impossibility to save the field batteries. Nothing saved but the small-arms. Colonel Heiman will assume command here this morning until the arrival of General Pillow, who, we learn, will be down in a few hours. The telegraph line from Cumberland City is down. Colonel Heiman does not expect a fight here until to-morrow. I remain here by order of General Tilghman, and shall still do so, offering my services as volunteer aide to whoever is in command.

POWHATAN ELLIS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

I am just advised the bridges on the Memphis and Bowling Green road over the Tennessee River are not destroyed, as reported. Three of the enemy’s gunboats have gone up the Tennessee River as far as Florence. The bridge over Bear Creek, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, threatened. I have sent six companies of Colonel Looney’s regiment and one section of artillery with Deshler’s Arkansas battery (Chalmers’ regiment) from Corinth. Active preparations on the part of the Government for the defense of this frontier seem now indispensable.




No. 8.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army, commanding Fort Henry.

FORT HENRY, TENN., February 7, 1862.

Through the courtesy of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding Federal forces, I am permitted to communicate with you in relation to the result of the action between the fort under my command at this place and the Federal gunboats on yesterday.

At 11.40 o’clock on yesterday morning the enemy engaged the fort with seven gunboats, mounting fifty-four guns. I promptly returned their fire with eleven guns bearing on the river. The action was maintained with great bravery by the force under my command until 1.50 p.m., at which time I had but four guns fit for service. At 1.55 p.m., finding it impossible to maintain the fort and wishing to spare the lives of the gallant men under my command, on consultation with my officers I surrendered the fort. Our casualties are small. The effect of our shot was severely felt by the enemy, whose superior and overwhelming force alone gave them the advantage.

The surrender of Fort Henry involved that of Captain Taylor and Lieutenants Watts and Weller, and one other officer of artillery; Captains Hayden and Miller, of the Engineers; Capts. H. L. Jones and McLaughlin, quartermaster’s department, and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General McConnico and myself, with some 50 privates and 20 sick, together with all the munitions of war in and about the fort. I communicate this result with deep regret, but feel that I performed my whole duty in the defense of my post.

I take occasion to bear testimony to the gallantry of the officers and men under my command. They sustained their position with consummate bravery as long as there was any hope of success. I also take great pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy and consideration shown by Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant and Commander Foote and the officers under their command.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.


RICHMOND, VA., August 9, 1862.

GENERAL: Inclosed you will please find a copy of my official report of the bombardment of Fort Henry, on February 6, 1862, by the Federal fleet, together with accompanying papers. The original of this report was forwarded from Alton, Ill., but, not having reached your office, I have prepared a copy of the same at the earliest moment practicable since my release from Fort Warren, Mass.

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army, Commanding.

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General C. S. Army.


FEBRUARY 12, 1862.

SIR: My communication of the 7th instant sent from Fort Henry, having announced the fact of the surrender of that fort to Commodore {p.137} Foote, of the Federal Navy, on the 6th instant, I have now the honor to submit the following report of the details of the action, together with the accompanying papers, (marked A and B),* containing a list of officers and men surrendered, together with casualties, &c.:

On Monday, February 3, in company with Major Gilmer, of the Engineers, I completed the inspection of the main work as well as outworks at Fort Heiman, south of the Tennessee River, as far as I had been able to perfect them, and also the main work, intrenched camp, and exterior line of rifle pits at Fort Henry. At 10 a.m. on that morning (the pickets on both sides of the Tennessee River extended well in our front, having reported no appearance of the enemy), I left, in company with Major Gilmer, for Fort Donelson, for the purpose of inspecting with him the defenses of that place.

Tuesday, the 4th instant, was spent in making a thorough examination of all the defenses at Fort Donelson. At noon heard heavy firing at Fort Henry for half an hour. At 4 p.m. a courier reached me from Colonel Heiman, at Fort Henry, informing me that the enemy were landing in strong force at Bailey’s Ferry, 3 miles below and on the east bank of the river.

Delaying no longer than was necessary to give all proper orders for the arrangement of matters at Fort Donelson, I left with an escort of Tennessee cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt, for Fort Henry, accompanied by Major Gilmer, reaching that place at 11.30 p.m. I soon became satisfied that the enemy were really in strong force at Bailey’s Ferry, with every indication of re-enforcements arriving constantly.

Colonel Heiman, of the Tenth Tennessee, commanding, with most commendable alacrity and good judgment, had thrown forward to the outworks covering the Dover road two pieces of light artillery, supported by a detachment from the Fourth Mississippi Regiment, under command of Capt. W. C. Red. Scouting parties of cavalry, operating on both sides of the river, had been pushed forward to within a very short distance of the enemy’s lines. Without a moment’s delay, after reaching the fort, I proceeded to arrange the available force to meet whatever contingency might arise.

The First Brigade, under Colonel Heiman, was composed of the Tenth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock commanding; the Twenty-seventh Alabama, under Colonel Hughes; the Forty-eighth Tennessee, under Colonel Voorhies; light battery of four pieces, commanded by Captain Culbertson, and the Tennessee Battalion of Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt. Total officers and men, 1,444.

The Second Brigade, Col. Joseph Drake (Fourth Mississippi Regiment) commanding, was composed of the Fourth Mississippi, under Major Adaire; the Fifteenth Arkansas, Colonel Gee; the Fifty-first Tennessee, Colonel Browder; Alabama Battalion, Major Garvin; light battery of three pieces under Captain Cram; the Alabama Battalion of Cavalry; Captain Milner’s company of cavalry, with Captain Padgett’s spy company, and a detachment of Rangers, under Acting Captain Milton. Total officers and men, 1,215. The heavy artillery, under command of Captain Taylor, numbering 75 men, were placed at the guns in Fort Henry.

As indicated some time since to the general commanding the department, I found it impossible to hold the commanding ground south of the Tennessee River with the small force of badly-armed men at my command, and, notwithstanding the fact that all my defenses were commanded {p.138} by the high ground on which I had commenced the construction of Fort Heiman, I deemed it proper to trust to the fact that the extremely bad roads leading to that point would prevent the movement of heavy guns by the enemy, by which I might be annoyed, and, leaving the Alabama Battalion of Cavalry and Captain Padgett’s spy company on the western bank of the river, transferred the force encamped on that side to the opposite bank. At the time of receiving the first intimation of the approach of the enemy, the Forty-eighth and Fifty-first Tennessee Regiments having only just reported, were encamped at Danville and at the mouth of Sandy, and had to be moved from 5 to 20 miles in order to reach Fort Henry. This movement, together with the transfer of the Twenty-seventh Alabama and Fifteenth Arkansas Regiments from Fort Heiman across the river, was all perfected by 5 a.m. on the morning of the 5th.

Early on the morning of the 5th the enemy were plainly to be seen at Bailey’s Ferry, 3 miles below. The large number of heavy transports reported by our scouts gave evidence of the fact that the enemy was there in force even at that time, and the arrival every hour of additional boats showed conclusively that I should be engaged with a heavy force by land, while the presence of seven gunboats, mounting fifty-four guns, indicated plainly that a joint attack was contemplated by land and water.

On leaving Fort Donelson I ordered Colonel Head to hold his own and Colonel Sugg’s regiments, Tennessee volunteers, with two pieces of artillery, ready to move at a moment’s warning, with three days’ cooked rations, and without camp equipage or wagon train of any kind, except enough to carry the surplus ammunition.

On the morning of the 5th I ordered him, in case nothing more had been heard from the country below, on the Cumberland, at the time of the arrival of my messenger, indicating an intention on the part of the enemy to invest Fort Donelson, to move out with the two regiments and the two pieces of artillery and take position at the Furnace, half way on the Dover road to Fort Henry; the force embraced in this order was about 750 men, to act as circumstances might dictate.

Thus matters stood at 9 a.m. on the morning of the 5th. The wretched military position of Fort Henry and the small force at my disposal did not permit me to avail myself of the advantages to be derived from the system of outwork built with the hope of being re-enforced in time, and compelled me to determine to concentrate my efforts by land within the rifle pits surrounding the camp of the Tenth Tennessee and Fourth Mississippi Regiments in case I deemed it possible to do more than operate solely against the attack by the river. Accordingly my entire command was paraded and placed in the rifle pits around the above camps, and minute instructions given, not only to brigades, but to regiments and companies, as to the exact ground each was to occupy. Seconded by the able assistance of Major Gilmer, of the Engineers, of whose valuable services I thus early take pleasure in speaking, and by Colonels Heiman and Drake, everything was arranged to make a formidable resistance against anything like fair odds.

It was known to me on the day before that the enemy had reconnoitered the roads leading to Fort Donelson from Bailey’s Ferry by way of Iron Mountain Furnace, and at 10 a.m. on the 5th I sent forward from Fort Henry a strong reconnoitering party of cavalry. They had not advanced more than 1 1/2 miles in the direction of the enemy when they encountered their reconnoitering party. Our cavalry charged them in gallant style, upon which the enemy’s cavalry fell back, with a loss {p.139} of only 1 man on each side. Very soon the main body of the Federal advance guard, composed of a regiment of infantry and a large force of cavalry, was met, upon which our cavalry retreated.

On receipt of this news I moved out in person with five companies of the Tenth Tennessee, five companies of the Fourth Mississippi, and 50 cavalry, ordering at the same time two additional companies of infantry to support Captain Red at the outworks. Upon advancing well to the front I found that the enemy had retired. I returned to camp at 5 p.m., leaving Captain Red re-enforced at the outworks. The enemy were again re-enforced by the arrival of a number of large transports.

At night the pickets from the west bank reported the landing of troops on that side (opposite Bailey’s Ferry), their advance picket having been met 1 1/2 miles from the river. I at once ordered Captain Hubbard, of the Alabama cavalry, to take 50 men, and, if possible, surprise them. The inclemency of the weather, the rain having commenced to fall in torrents, prevented anything being accomplished.

Early on the morning of the 6th Captain Padgett reported the arrival of five additional transports overnight and the landing of a large force on the west bank of the river at the point indicated above. From that time up to 9 o’clock it appeared as though the force on the east bank was again re-enforced, which was subsequently proven to be true.

The movements of the fleet of gunboats at an early hour prevented any communication, except by a light barge, with the western bank, and by 10 a.m. it was plain that the boats intended to engage the fort with their entire force, aided by an attack on our right and left flanks from the two land forces in overwhelming numbers.

To understand properly the difficulties of my position it is right that I should explain fully the unfortunate location of Fort Henry in reference to resistance by a small force against an attack by land co-operating with the gunboats, as well as its disadvantages in even an engagement with boats alone. The entire fort, together with the intrenched camp spoken of, is enfiladed from three or four points on the opposite shore, while three points on the eastern bank completely command them both, all at easy cannon range. At the same time the intrenched camp, arranged as it was in the best possible manner to meet the case, was two-thirds of it completely under the control of the fire of the gunboats. The history of military engineering records no parallel to this case. Points within a few miles of it, possessing great advantages and few disadvantages, were totally neglected, and a location fixed upon without one redeeming feature or filling one of the many requirements of a site for a work such as Fort Henry. The work itself was well built; it was completed long before I took command, but strengthened greatly by myself in building embrasures and epaulements of sand bags. An enemy had but to use their most common sense in obtaining the advantage of high water, as was the case, to have complete and entire control of the position.

I am guilty of no act of injustice in this frank avowal of the opinions entertained by myself, as well as by all other officers who have become familiar with the location of Fort Henry; nor do I desire the defects of location to have an undue influence in directing public opinion in relation to the battle of the 6th instant. The fort was built when I took charge, and I had no time to build anew. With this seeming digression, rendered necessary, as I believe, to a correct understanding of the whole affair, I will proceed with the details of the subsequent movements of the troops under my command.

By 10 a.m. on the 6th the movements of the gunboats and land {p.140} force indicated an immediate engagement, and in such force as gave me no room to change my previously-conceived opinions as to what, under such circumstances, should be my course. The case stood thus: I had at my command a grand total of 2,610 men, only one-third of whom had been at all disciplined or well armed. The high water in the river filling the sloughs gave me but one route by which to retire, if necessary, and that route for some distance in a direction at right angles to the line of approach of the enemy, and over roads well-nigh impassable for artillery, cavalry, or infantry. The enemy had seven gunboats, with an armament of fifty-four guns, to engage the eleven guns at Fort Henry. General Grant was moving up the east bank of the river from his landing, 3 miles below, with a force of 12,000 men, verified afterwards by his own statement, while General Smith, with 6,000 men, was moving up the west bank, to take a position within 400 or 500 yards, which would enable him to enfilade my entire works. The hopes (founded on a knowledge of the fact that the enemy had reconnoitered on the two previous days thoroughly the several roads leading to Fort Donelson) that a portion only of the land force would co-operate with the gunboats in an attack on the fort were dispelled, and but little time left me to meet this change in the circumstances which surrounded me. I argued thus: Fort Donelson might possibly be held, if properly re-enforced, even though Fort Henry should fall; but the reverse of this proposition was not true. The force at Fort Henry was necessary to aid Fort Donelson either in making a successful defense or in holding it long enough to answer the purposes of a new disposition of the entire army from Bowling Green to Columbus, which would necessarily follow the breaking of our center, resting on Forts Donelson and Henry. The latter alternative was all that I deemed possible. I knew that re-enforcements were difficult to be had, and that unless sent in such force as to make the defense certain, which I did not believe practicable, the fate of our right wing at Bowling Green depended upon a concentration of my entire division on Fort Donelson and the holding of that place as long as possible, trusting that the delay by an action at Fort Henry would give time for such re-enforcements as might reasonably be expected to reach a point sufficiently near Fort Donelson to co-operate with my division, by getting to the rear and right flank of the enemy, and in such a position as to control the roads over which a safe retreat might be effected. I hesitated not a moment. My infantry, artillery, and cavalry, removed of necessity to avoid the fire of the gunboats to the outworks, could not meet the enemy there; my only chance was to delay the enemy every moment possible and retire the command, now outside the main work towards Fort Donelson, resolving to suffer as little loss as possible. I retained only the heavy artillery company to fight the guns, and gave the order to commence the movement at once.

At 10.15 o’clock Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock sent a messenger to me, stating that our pickets reported General Grant approaching rapidly and within half a mile of the advance work, and movements on the west bank indicated that General Smith was fast approaching also. The enemy, ignorant of any movement of my main body, but knowing that they could not engage them behind our intrenched camp until after the fort was reduced or the gunboats retired, without being themselves exposed to the fire of the latter, took a position north of the forks of the river road, in a dense wood (my order being to retreat by way of the Stewart road), to await the result.

At 11 a.m. the flotilla assumed their line of battle. I had no hope of being able successfully to defend the fort against such overwhelming {p.141} odds, both in point of numbers and in caliber of guns. My object was to save the main body by delaying matters as long as possible, and to this end I bent every effort.

At precisely 11.45 a.m. the enemy opened from their gunboats on the fort. I waited a few moments until the effects of he first shots of the enemy were fully appreciated. I then gave the order to return the fire, which was gallantly responded to by the brave little band under my command. The enemy, with great deliberation, steadily closed upon the fort, firing very wild until within 1,200 yards. The cool deliberation of our men told from the first shot fired with tremendous effect.

At 12.35 p.m. the bursting of our 24-pounder rifled gun disabled every man at the piece. This great loss was to us in a degree made up by our disabling entirely the Essex gunboat, which immediately floated downstream. Immediately after the loss of this valuable gun we sustained another loss, still greater, in the closing up of the vent of the 10-inch columbiad, rendering that gun perfectly useless and defying all efforts to reopen it. The fire on both sides was now perfectly terrific. The enemy’s entire force was engaged, doing us but little harm, while our shot fell with unerring certainty upon them and with stunning effect. At this time a question presented itself to me with no inconsiderable degree of embarrassment. The moment had arrived when I should join the main body of troops retiring toward Fort Donelson, the safety of which depended upon a protracted defense of the fort. It was equally plain that the gallant men working the batteries, for the first time under fire, with all their heroism, needed my presence. Colonel Heiman, the next in command, had returned to the fort for instructions. The men working the heavy guns were becoming exhausted with the rapid firing. Another gun became useless by an accident, and yet another by the explosion of a shell immediately after, striking the muzzle, involving the death of 2 men and disabling several others. The effect of my absence at such a critical moment would have been disastrous. At the earnest solicitation of many of my officers and men I determined to remain, and ordered Colonel Heiman to join his command and keep up the retreat in good order, while I should fight the guns as long as one man was left, and sacrifice myself to save the main body of my troops.

No sooner was this decision made known than new energy was infused. The enemy closed upon the fort to within 600 yards, improving very much in their fire, which now began to tell with great effect upon the parapets, while the fire from our guns (now reduced to seven) was returned with such deliberation and judgment that we scarcely missed a shot. A second one of the gunboats retired, but I believe was brought into action again.

At 1.10 p.m., so completely broken down were the men, that but for the fact that four only of our guns were then really serviceable I could not well have worked a greater number. The fire was still continued with great energy and tremendous effect upon the enemy’s boats.

At 1.30 p.m. I took charge of one of the 32-pounders to relieve the chief of that piece, who had worked with great effect from the beginning of the action. I gave the flag-ship Cincinnati two shots, which had the effect to check a movement intended to enfilade the only guns now left me. It was now plain to be seen that the enemy were breaching the fort directly in front of our guns, and that I could not much longer sustain their fire without an unjustifiable exposure of the valuable lives of the men who had so nobly seconded me in this unequal struggle.

Several of my officers, Major Gilmer among the number, now suggested to me the propriety of taking the subject of a surrender into consideration. {p.142} Every moment I knew was of vast importance to those retreating on Fort Donelson, and I declined, hoping to find men enough at hand to continue a while longer the fire now so destructive to the enemy. In this I was disappointed. My next effort was to try the experiment of a flag of truce, which I waved from the parapets myself. This was precisely at 1.50 p.m. The flag was not noticed, I presume, from the dense smoke that enveloped it, and leaping again into the fort continued the fire for five minutes, when, with the advice of my brother officers, I ordered the flag to be lowered, and after an engagement of two hours and ten minutes with such an unequal force the surrender was made to Flag-Officer Foote, represented by Captain Stembel, commanding gunboat Cincinnati, and was qualified by the single condition that all officers should retain their side-arms, that both officers and men should be treated with the highest consideration due prisoners of war, which was promptly and gracefully acceded to by Commodore Foote.

The retreat of the main body was effected in good order, though involving the loss of about 20 prisoners, who from sickness and other causes were unable to encounter the heavy roads. The rear of the army was overtaken at a distance of some 3 miles from Fort Henry by a body of the enemy’s cavalry, but, on being engaged by a small body of our men, under Major Garvin, were repulsed and retired.

This fact alone shows the necessity of the policy pursued by me in protracting the defense of the fort as long as possible, which only could have been done by my consenting to stand by the brave little band. No loss was sustained by our troops in this affair with the enemy.

I have understood from the prisoners that several pieces of artillery also were lost, it being entirely impossible to move them over 4 or 5 miles with the indifferent teams attached to them.

The entire absence of transportation rendered any attempt to move the camp equipage of the regiments impossible. This may be regarded as fortunate, as the roads were utterly impassable, not only from the rains, but the backwater of Tennessee River.

A small amount of quartermaster’s and commissary stores, together with what was left of the ordnance stores, were lost to us also.

The tents of the Alabama Regiment were left on the west bank of the river, the gunboats preventing an opportunity to cross them over.

Our casualties may be reported strictly as follows: Killed by the enemy, 2; wounded severely by the enemy (one since dead), 3; wounded slightly by the enemy, 2; killed by premature explosion, 2; wounded seriously by premature explosion, 1; slightly wounded, 1; temporarily disabled by explosion of rifled gun, S. Making total killed, 5; seriously wounded, 3; slightly wounded, 3; disabled, 5; missing, S. Total casualties, 21.

The total casualties of the enemy were stated in my presence on the following morning to be 73, including 1 officer of the Essex killed, and Captain Porter, commanding the Essex, badly scalded.

The enemy report the number of shots that struck their vessels to have been 74, 28 of which struck the flag-ship Cincinnati, so disabling her as to compel her to return to Cairo. The Essex received 22 shots, one of which passed, we know, entirely through the ship, opening one of her boilers and taking off the head of Captain Porter’s aide-decamp. Several shots passed entirely through the Cincinnati, while her outer works were completely riddled. The weak points in all their vessels were known to us, and the cool precision of our firing developed them, showing conclusively that this class of boats, though formidable, cannot stand the test of even the 32-pounders, much less {p.143} the 24-caliber rifled shot or that of the 10-inch columbiad. It should be remembered that these results were principally from no heavier metal than the ordinary 32-pounders, using solid shot, fired at point-blank, giving the vessels all the advantages of their peculiar structures, with planes meeting this fire at angles of 45 degrees. The immense area, forming what may be called the roof, is in every respect vulnerable to either a plunging fire from even 32-pounders, or a curved line of fire from heavy guns. In the latter case shell should be used in preference to shot.

Confident of having performed my whole duty to my Government in the defense of Fort Henry, with the totally inadequate means at my disposal, I have but little to add in support of the views before expressed. The reasons for the line of policy pursued by me are to my mind convincing.

Against such overwhelming odds as 16,000 well-armed men (exclusive of the force on the gunboats) to 2,610 badly armed, in the field, and fifty-four heavy guns against eleven medium ones in the fort, no tactics or bravery could avail.

The rapid movements of the enemy, with every facility at their command, rendered the defense from the beginning a hopeless one.

I succeeded in doing even more than was to be hoped for at first. I not only saved my entire command outside of the fort, but damaged materially the flotilla of the enemy, demonstrating thoroughly a problem of infinite value to us in the future.

Had I been re-enforced, so as to have justified my meeting the enemy at the advanced works, I might have made good the land defense on the east bank. I make no inquiry as to why I was not, for I have entire confidence in the judgment of my commanding general.

The elements even were against us, and had the enemy delayed his attack a few days, with the river rising, one-third of the entire fortifications (already affected by it) would have been washed away, while the remaining portion of the works would have been untenable by reason of the depth of water over the whole interior portion.

The number of officers surrendered (see paper marked A) was 12; the number of non-commissioned officers and privates in the fort at the time of the surrender (see paper marked B) * was 66, while the number in the hospital-boat Patton was (see paper marked C)* 16.

I take great pleasure in making honorable mention of all the officers and men under my command. To Captain Taylor, of the artillery, and the officers of his corps, Lieutenants Watts and Weller; to Capt. G. R. G. Jones, in command of the right battery; to Captains Miller and Hayden, of the Engineers; to Acting Assistant Adjutant-General McConnico; to Capt. H. L. Jones, brigade-quartermaster; to Captain McLaughlin, quartermaster of the Tenth Tennessee, and to Surgeons Voorhies and Horton, of the Tenth Tennessee, the thanks of the whole country are due for their consummate devotion to our high and holy cause. To Sergts. John Jones, Hallam, Cubine, and Silcurk, to Corporals Copass, Cavin, and Renfro, in charge of the guns, as well as to all the men, I feel a large debt is due for their bravery and efficiency in working the heavy guns so long and so efficiently.

Officers and men alike seemed actuated but by one spirit-that of devotion to a cause in which was involved life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every blow struck was aimed by cool heads, supported by strong arms and honest hearts.

* Not found.


I feel that it is a duty I owe to Col. A. Heiman, commanding the Tenth Tennessee Regiment (Irish), to give this testimony of my high appreciation of him as a soldier and a man, due to his gallant regiment, both officers and men. I place them second to no regiment I have seen in the Army.

To Captain Dixon, of the Engineers, I owe (as does the whole country) my special acknowledgments of his ability and unceasing energies. Under his immediate eye were all the works proposed by myself at Fort Donelson and Heiman executed, while his fruitfulness in resources to meet the many disadvantages of position alone enabled us to combat its difficulties successfully.

To Lieutenant Watts, of the heavy artillery, as acting ordnance officer at Fort Henry, I owe this special notice of the admirable condition of the ordnance department at that post. Lieutenant Watts is the coolest officer under fire I ever met with.

I take pleasure in acknowledging the marked courtesy and consideration of Flag-Officer Foote, of the Federal Navy; of Captain Stembel and the other naval officers, to myself, officers, and men. Their gallant bearing during the action gave evidence of a brave and therefore generous foe.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* Not found.


RICHMOND, VA., August 9, 1862.

My attention having been called, since writing the above report, to certain statements made in the somewhat unofficial reports of the battles of Fort Donelson, on the subject of the condition of the fortifications at that place at the time of the arrival of the re-enforcements, I deem it highly proper to protect my own as well as the reputation of the officers and men of my command, and place the facts of the case on record.

Nearly broken down by incessant work from the middle of June in organizing and perfecting the First Kentucky Brigade and in remodeling the brigade at Hopkinsville, Ky., I was not in the best condition, so late as December 15, to commence in a new field of operations, and work into perfect shape a third brigade and carry on the system of fortifications on both the Cumberland and Tennessee necessary for the defense of the important line intrusted to my care.

The facts of the case are simply these: On reaching Fort Donelson the middle of December I found at my disposal six undisciplined companies of infantry, with an unorganized light battery, while a small water battery of two light guns constituted the available river defense. Four 32-pounders had been rightly placed, but were not available. By January 25 I had prepared the entire batteries (except one piece, which arrived too late) for the river defenses; built the entire field work with a trace of 2,900 feet, and in the most substantial manner constructed a large amount of abatis, and commenced guarding the approaches by rifle pits and abatis. This was all done when the re-enforcements arrived, and, when the total lack of transportation is taken into consideration, as well as the inclemency of the season, and yet find not only the original troops there, but nearly all my re-enforcements housed in something like 400 good cabins, I conceive my time to have been well spent. While this was being done, the strengthening of Fort Henry, the building of all {p.145} the outworks around it, together with the advanced state of the new works south of Tennessee River, Fort Heiman, together with its line of outworks, of rifle pits, and abatis, was all thoroughly performed, and satisfies my own mind that officers and men could not have fallen short in their duties to have accomplished so much.

The failure of adequate support, doubtless from sufficient cause, cast me upon my own resources, and compelled me to assume responsibilities which may have worked a partial evil. I aimed at the general good, and am the last man to shrink from assuming what is most likely to accomplish such an end.

I would further state that I had connected both Forts Henry and Donelson by a line of telegraph from Cumberland City-total length of line about 35 miles-thus placing me in close relations with Bowling Green and Columbus.

[LLOYD TILGHMAN,] Brigadier-General, C. AS. Army.


No. 9.

Report of Lieut. Col. Milton A. Haynes, C. S. Army, Chief of Tennessee Corps of Artillery.

RICHMOND, VA., March 22, 1862.

SIR: By direction of the honorable Secretary of War I have the honor to submit a report in regard to the defense and surrender of Fort Henry. February 6:

On January 15, Major-General Polk, by his order, a copy of which I annex,* commanded me to proceed to Forts Henry and Donelson and take charge of the artillery forces in General Tilghman’s division. Having been charged by General Tilghman with certain duties at Fort Donelson, on the night of February 5 I proceeded, attended only by my servant, to Fort Henry, but did not enter the fort until after daylight, not being able to cross the backwaters in the night. I then learned, for the first time, that the enemy had landed about 10,000 or 12,000 men at Bailey’s Landing, 3 miles beyond the fort, on the same side of the river, and that ten gunboats and several transports were lying at the same point.

After hastily examining the works with Captain Hayden, of the Engineers, I gave it as my opinion that Fort Henry was untenable, and ought to be forthwith abandoned, first, because it was surrounded by water, then cut off from the support of the infantry, and was on the point of being submerged; second, because our whole force, artillery, cavalry, and infantry, amounted to little over 2,000 men, a force wholly inadequate to cope with that of the enemy, even if there had been no extraordinary rise in the river.

About 8 o’clock General Tilghman, who was on my arrival at Fort Heiman (the new but unfinished work on the opposite side of the river), came across to Fort Henry. I had a brief interview with him in regard to the steps to be taken at Fort Donelson, but, it becoming evident that the enemy would attack on that day, further consultation was postponed, and General Tilghman proceeded at once, without consultation with me, to make his dispositions for the defense of Fort Henry. He {p.146} ordered Heiman’s regiment to take a position with the main body of our troops outside of the backwater, followed by Lieutenant Culbertson’s light battery of six pieces; and men were detailed to throw up earth to keep the water out of the magazine and to repair or extend a temporary bridge across the backwater. While these orders were being rapidly carried out, under the direction of Lieut. Col. R. W. MacGavock, I went around the fort, inspecting the condition of the guns, &c., accompanied by Capt. Jesse Taylor, whose company garrisoned the fort and manned the batteries. I found everything in good condition except the 16-inch columbiad (the only one in the fort), which, from a defect in the construction of the chassis, could be managed only with difficulty and slowly. In the mean time the enemy’s gunboats had been taking their position and were making dispositions for an advance, and advices received from scouts showed that General Grant’s army was in motion for the purpose of investing the post.

At 11.30 o’clock seven gunboats took their position in line across the river, advancing upon us. Our officers and men were at their posts and our guns trained upon the advancing flotilla, but our fire was withheld till the enemy came within 1,600 yards. A signal gun from the flagship of the enemy was also our signal to open fire, which was done by both sides promptly.

The firing continued for nearly two hours without intermission, the enemy having about sixteen or twenty guns opposed to our nine, a part of theirs being of 10-inch caliber, and we having but one 10-inch columbiad, badly mounted. In the midst of the battle our 32-pounder rifled gun (the most effective in our battery) exploded, killing Sergeant Cubine and disabling every man at the piece, as well as others at the neighboring guns. The shells of the enemy soon set fire in and outside of the fort, which we had not the power to extinguish. Their heavy shot tore away the cheeks of several of our embrasures, throwing the sand bags upon the banquette, and exposing our gunners to the direct shot of the enemy. Near the close of the engagement, which continued for nearly two hours, two of the enemy’s gunboats floated down the river in a disabled condition, and the remaining gunboats, being now within 200 or 300 yards of the fort, our 32-pounder shot pierced their sides, tearing holes plainly visible to the naked eye, but apparently some of these guns were silenced. Our men being now reduced by wounds and exhaustion, we had not enough effective men to act as gunners, General Tilghman and other officers being compelled to take their places at the guns. While I was then engaged in working the pan coupé battery, some one gave the command, “Cease firing,” which order I instantly countermanded, and continued the firing. Soon afterwards, as I was pointing a gun and in the act of firing it, a gunner near me exclaimed “Look, some one has raised a white flag!” I ordered him to go and tear it down and shoot the man who raised it. This order was given by me because I supposed the flag had been raised without authority, especially as such an order ought to have been given through me as chief of artillery. The man instantly returned informing me that General Tilghman had ordered the flag to be raised. I ordered the men to stand by their guns, and went to General Tilghman, who was at the middle battery, and asked him if he was going to surrender. His reply was, “Yes, we cannot hold out five minutes longer; our men are disabled, and we have not enough to man two guns.” My reply was, “Then, sir, I will not surrender, and you have no right to include me in the capitulation as an officer of this garrison, I being here only for consultation with you.” We then shook hands and I left the fort, and passing down {p.147} the river to a stable I found a horse without saddle or bridle, and, mounting him, I rode by the fort and passed up the bank of the river, and swam the sheet of backwater a mile above the fort, and soon afterwards came up with our forces en route for Fort Donelson, they having been withdrawn under cover of the cannonade, in obedience to General Tilghman’s order, before General Grant’s force had surrounded their position.

The light battery under Lieutenant Culbertson had been abandoned, he being unable to drag it through the muddy sloughs which he had to cross. His men and horses were then with the retreating army. The enemy’s cavalry were hanging upon our rear, occasionally firing at and picking up those who lagged behind.

At 2 a.m. our forces reached Fort Donelson, with the loss of only a few men, having marched 22 miles, and forded Standing Rock Creek at five deep and rapid fords.

Colonel Heiman, having withdrawn from the fort at the close of the action, conducted the retreat in good order, constantly ready to engage the enemy if he had pursued us.

I considered the defense of Fort Henry a military necessity, in order to cover the retreat of our small army. Its defense was made by one small company of artillery, commanded by Capt. Jesse Taylor, General Tilghman and other officers taking part in the action. The whole force numbered, rank and file, less than 70 men, not enough to man all our guns.

Throughout the action General Tilghman displayed cool and manly courage, which commanded admiration and inspired our men with noble enthusiasm, which made them scorn the dangers by which they were surrounded.

All officers present, whether of the artillery or not, participated actively in the engagement, and all deserve praise for their conduct in the action, and Captain Taylor especially, for the skill, promptness, and courage of the officers and men of his company.

Fort Henry was of necessity compelled to surrender; if not to the gunboats, certainly to General Grant’s investing army. The fault was in its location, not in its defenders.

The officers who surrendered were General Lloyd Tilghman, commanding Fourth Division; W. L. McConnico, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. Charles Hayden, of the Engineers; Dr. Voorhies, assistant surgeon, C. S. Army; S. H. McLaughlin, assistant quartermaster; Capt. Jesse Taylor, commanding Tennessee Artillery, and Second Lieut. F. J. Weller and 50 non-commissioned officers and privates, of whom 10 or 12 were wounded.

Maj. J. F. Gilmer, of the Engineers, C. S. Army; Col. A. Heiman, commanding Tenth Tennessee Regiment, and myself, and two privates, wounded, effected their escape, separately-Major Gilmer on foot.

We lost ten pieces of heavy artillery, six field pieces, and a large supply of ordnance and quartermaster’s stores-in fact, everything but honor.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,

MILTON A. HAYNES, Lieut. Col. of Art., and Chief of Tenn. Corps of Vol. Art.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant-General C. S. Army.

* Not found.



No. 10.

Report of Col. A. Heiman, Tenth Tennessee Infantry.

RICHMOND, VA., August 11, 1862.

SIR: Inclosed herewith please find my report in regard to the bombardment and surrender of Fort Henry. I prepared this report at Fort Donelson immediately after the fall of Fort Henry, but my imprisonment after the surrender of the troops at Fort Donelson prevented me from forwarding it to the proper authorities before now. I have now the honor to submit it to you with my high regards.

Your most obedient servant,

A. HEIMAN, Colonel Tenth Tennessee Regiment.

Adjutant-General COOPER.


FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 8, 1862.

In the absence of General Tilghman, who is a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, being next in command of his division, it becomes my duty, and I have the honor, to submit to you the following report in regard to the bombardment and surrender of Fort Henry and the subsequent retreat of its garrison to Fort Donelson:

The armament of the fort consisted of ten 32-pounders, two 42-pounders, two 12-pounders, one 24-pounder rifled gun, and one 10-inch columbiad. The garrison consisted of my regiment, Tenth Tennessee, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock; the Fourth Mississippi, Colonel Drake; two companies of the Third Alabama Battalion, Major Garvin; a company of artillery, commanded by Captain Taylor; one company of Forrest’s cavalry, Captain Milner, and 40 mounted men acting Captain Milton, stationed as picket and rocket guard at Bailey’s Landing, 3 miles below the fort; Captain Culbertson’s light battery (four 6-pounders and one 6-pounder rifled gun), amounting in all to an aggregate of 1,885 men.

The heights on the opposite side of the river, with the unfinished works of Fort Heiman, were occupied by the Twenty-seventh Alabama Regiment, Colonel Hughes; the Fifteenth Arkansas, Colonel Gee; two companies of Alabama cavalry, commanded by Captains Hubbard and Houston, and an unorganized company of 40 men, Kentucky cavalry, Captain Padgett, and a section of a light battery, commanded by Lieutenant Hankinicz*, amounting in all to 1,100 men.

At Paris Landing, Smiles above the fort, the Forty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Voorhies, and the Fifty-first Tennessee, Colonel Browder, were stationed. These were skeleton regiments, containing together not more than 400 men.

With the exception of the Tenth Tennessee and the Fourth Mississippi these were all new troops, who had just entered the service. They were not drilled, were badly equipped, and very indifferently armed with shot-guns and Tennessee rifles. None of the cavalry had either sabers or pistols, and were only partly armed with double-barreled shot-guns; no other equipments whatever. There was much sickness among the new troops, so that the forces for the defense of Forts Henry and


Heiman did not amount to more than 2,600 effective men. There were also at Fort Henry the steamers Dunbar, Captain Fowler; Lynn Boyd, Captain Smedley; Appleton Belle, Captain Heffernan (regular packet from the fort to Danville); the Samuel Orr and the Patton. The latter two boats were used for hospitals.

General Tilghman’s division headquarters being at Fort Donelson, where he was untiring in his exertions to complete the defenses of that post, Fort Henry during his absence was under my command.

On the morning of the 4th instant, at 4.30 o’clock, the sentinel at our 3-gun battery announced a rocket signal from the picket at Bailey’s Landing, which was immediately answered by a rocket from the fort, when three more rockets went up from the picket, announcing the approach of three of the enemy’s gunboats. The eleven guns bearing on the river were immediately manned and shotted and everything held in readiness for an attack. The steamers were all moved out of range of the enemy’s gunboats, and the Dunbar and Boyd were dispatched to Paris Landing for the two regiments stationed there. I sent a courier to General Tilghman, at Fort Donelson, informing him of these facts.

Shortly after daylight the pickets on both sides of the river reported a large fleet coming up, and the smoke from several gunboats now became visible over the island. I directed Captain Ellis, of the Tenth, with a small escort of mounted men, to proceed down on the right bank of the river, and Captain Anderson, of the same regiment, on the opposite bank, to reconnoiter and ascertain whether the enemy was landing troops. I directed Captain Milner, with his company of cavalry, to occupy the several roads leading from Bailey’s Landing to the fort and throw forward a sufficient number of pickets and vedettes. I directed Colonel Drake to send two companies of his regiment and a section of Culbertson’s battery to the rifle pits for the defense of the Dover road, about three-quarters of a mile from the fort, while Major Garvin occupied the rifle pits across the road leading to Bailey’s Landing. Twelve torpedoes were sunk in the chute of the river at the foot of the island. For want of powder and time none were sunk in the main channel. Those sunk were rendered utterly useless by the heavy rise in the river.

At about 9 o’clock the gunboats commenced throwing shells at the quarters of our pickets and other buildings in the neighborhood of Bailey’s Landing.

Captain Ellis returned, reporting eight gunboats and ten large transports in the river, and that they were landing their cavalry. He also stated that he had seen two light batteries or barges, but that no troops were at that time landing on the opposite side of the river. I again sent a courier to General Tilghman, informing him of these facts. During all this time he had a large force at work on the epaulements and trying to keep the water out of the fort. The lower magazine had already 2 feet of water in it, and the ammunition had been removed to a temporary magazine above ground, which had but very little protection, but we had been at work day and night for the last week to cover it with sand bags and to protect it by a traverse.

At about 12 o’clock five gunboats came in sight in the main channel. All the troops, except the heavy artillery force, were marched out of range of the enemy’s guns. The gunboats formed in line of battle across the channel about 2 miles below the fort, beyond the range of our 32-pounders. I gave positive orders that none of these guns should be fixed unless the boats came within their range; therefore we had only to depend on the 24-pounder rifled gun and the 10-inch columbiad; the {p.150} latter gun, with an iron carriage on an iron chassis, had, on previous trials of firing with 20-pound charges, proved defective, owing to the too great recoil for the length of the chassis or other defects. This was, however, remedied by clamping the carriage to the chassis, and even then it recoiled with such tremendous force against the hurters, that in almost every instance it disarranged the pintle. I have since learned that this defect was common to these guns.

At about 1 o’clock the gunboats opened fire with shell and shot, which was immediately returned by our rifled gun and 10-inch columbiad. The former fired Archer shells. At the third or fourth fire one of the clamps of the columbiad broke, and fearing that another fire would upset the gun, it was not fired again. The rifled gun was fired in quick succession and with good effect; meanwhile the gunboats kept up a constant fire with good practice.

As the boats advanced we opened fire with the eleven guns bearing on the river, which was kept up for about half an hour, when the enemy withdrew. Their shot fell in and around the fort. Some of their shells fell a quarter of a mile beyond the fort, showing a range superior to our own. None of the shells which fell in the fort exploded, and but one man was wounded. I reported the result to General Tilghman, and that the enemy was landing a large force and that additional transports were arriving.

I was satisfied that we could not hold the heights opposite the fort, and that it would be prudent to move the forces from there to Fort Henry, but did not like to take the responsibility without the order of General Tilghman, as a previous order from you stated positively that these heights must be held. However, these troops were held in readiness to move at a moment’s warning.

At 5 o’clock I sent another courier, with an escort, to the general, stating my views in regard to the troops at Fort Heiman, and requesting his orders, or, what I desired more, his presence, and cautioned him not to come without a strong escort and by the upper road, believing that the enemy had already cavalry pickets on the main Dover road.

Before night I re-enforced the outposts on the Dover road with two companies of the Tenth Tennessee, under Captains Morgan and Ford, and the 6-pounder rifled gun. At 11.30 General Tilghman and Major Gilmer’s corps of engineers arrived, with three companies of Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt’s cavalry, from Fort Donelson.

At daylight on the morning of the 5th General Tilghman directed the removal of the troops from Fort Heiman to Fort Henry, with the exception of the cavalry. General Tilghman now formed the troops at the fort into two brigades. The first, commanded by myself, consisting of the Tenth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel MacGavock; Forty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel Voorhies; Fifty-first Tennessee, Colonel Browder-Colonel Gantt’s battalion of cavalry, and Captain Culbertson’s light battery. The second brigade, under command of Colonel Drake, consisted of the Fourth Mississippi, Major Adaire; Twenty-seventh Alabama, Colonel Hughes; Alabama Battalion, Major Garvin; Captains Milner’s and Milton’s cavalry, and a section of light battery, Captain Cram. He appointed Major McConnico assistant adjutant-general and Lieutenant Phar aide-de-camp, his own staff having remained at Fort Donelson. General Tilghman assigned each brigade its position at the rifle pits, and all preparations were made to receive the enemy by land and water.

A reconnoitering party of cavalry met the enemy, and in a skirmish one man of Captain Milner’s company was killed. General Tilghman {p.151} then ordered out a battalion of the Tenth Tennessee, a battalion of the Fourth Mississippi, and Milner’s cavalry, and proceeded in person with them to the scene of the skirmish, but the enemy had retired.

During the night Col. Milton A. Haynes, of the artillery, arrived from Fort Donelson, to give his aid in the coming engagement, and brought information that, in obedience to orders from General Tilghman, Colonel Head would send two regiments to Kirkman’s Furnace from Fort Donelson next morning, which is half way between the forts, to act as a reserve.

Early on the morning of the 6th heavy volumes of black smoke rose over the island, manifesting that the fleet was not to remain idle long; and, judging from the number of transports in the river, they must have landed a very large force during the two days and nights, and, as it was afterwards ascertained, General Grant had 12,000 men between the fort and Bailey’s Landing, and General Smith 6,000 men on the opposite bank of the river.

At about 10 o’clock in the morning General Tilghman and Major Gilmer came in a small boat from the steamer Dunbar, which was lying during the night at Fort Heiman, and prepared for the engagement on hand.

At 11 o’clock the gunboats made their appearance in the chute, seven in number, and formed in line of battle 2 miles from the fort. General Tilghman ordered the troops to be marched out of range of the enemy’s guns. None were permitted to remain in the fort but those on duty with the artillery, who were under the command of Captain Taylor.

General Tilghman, with his staff, took position at the center battery, to observe the movements of the gunboats and direct the firing of our batteries. The enemy opened fire with shot and shell, which was returned by our 10-inch columbiad and 24-pounder rifled gun until they came in range of the lighter guns, when the whole eleven guns bearing on the river opened fire. The enemy’s practice improved as they advanced. The firing on both sides was without a moment’s intermission.

Shot after shot was exchanged with admirable rapidity and precision, and the enemy’s shell struck and exploded in every direction. Unfortunately, our most reliable gun, the 24-pounder rifled, bursted, wounding all the men who served it. Shortly afterwards the vent of the 10-inch columbiad closed, and could not be opened. Our reliance was now on the 32 and 42 pounders, and, I regret to state, for the latter we had not the proper ammunition. Shortly afterwards a premature explosion of one of the guns killed 2 men. By this time we had lost the use of five guns, but a constant fire was kept up on both sides, the gunboats nearing all the time, their point-blank range telling fearfully on the fort, while we had to depress our guns and change our range after every shot. This unequal fire was kept up with an energy which does great credit to the officers and men at the guns.

This fearful cannonading had lasted now over an hour, and it was evident the fort could not hold out much longer. Major Gilmer called my attention to the state of affairs, requesting me to state to General Tilghman that it was useless to hold out longer; to keep up this unequal contest would cost the lives of many more, without any possible advantage to the result. I replied to Major Gilmer that these were my views, but that I would not like to make any suggestions to the general; that he must be his own judge in regard to this affair. When General Tilghman was shortly after reminded of the state of affairs he would not entertain the idea of a surrender, stating that he had as yet lost but {p.152} few men, and inquired the reason why some of the guns had ceased firing. He was told that several of the men were killed, many wounded, and all the rest exhausted, and that we had no men to relieve them. The general threw off his coat, sprang on the chassis of the nearest gun, stating that he would work it himself, ordering, at the same time, 50 men of my regiment to the fort to assist the gunners. Seeing nobody whom I could send for them, I started myself, the bombardment still going on unabated; but before I could reach the command the boats were so close to the fort that further resistance was impossible. The flag was hauled down and the firing ceased.

I returned in person immediately to the fort for further orders. General Tilghman informed me that he had surrendered, believing that it was his duty to do so, as every military man would see the impossibility of holding the fort against such fearful odds, and stating to me that I was not included in the surrender, as I was not in the fort at the time the flag was struck, and directed me to continue the retreat, according to orders, to Fort Donelson by the upper road, having gained all the time necessary for a safe retreat. Owing to bad roads, the high water, and the close pursuit of the enemy’s cavalry, I found it a physical impossibility to save the light artillery.

About 3 miles from the fort our rear was attacked by the enemy’s cavalry. Their fire was handsomely returned by Colonel Gee and Major Garvin. Major Lee, of the Fifteenth Arkansas, and Captain Leach, of the Alabama Battalion, were surrounded and made prisoners. We sustained no other loss.

I may be permitted to state that the self-sacrificing heroism displayed by General Tilghman in this terrible and most unequal struggle challenges the admiration of all gallant men and entitles him to the gratitude of the whole people of the Confederate States. The tact, skill, and untiring energy which characterized his whole course while in command of the defense of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers proved him a most skillful and gallant leader.

During the bombardment of Fort Henry General Tilghman was ably assisted by Major Gilmer, Colonel Haynes, Major McConnico, Captains Miller and Hayden (Engineers), Captain Taylor, Lieutenants Watts and Weller, and Capt. G. R. G. Jones, and the men under their command deserve particular credit for the effective and energetic manner in which they managed their guns.

My thanks are eminently due to Colonel Drake and the regimental and detachment commanders for the able and orderly manner in which they conducted their commands.

The events which followed so closely upon the fall of Fort Henry-the surrender of the troops at Fort Donelson and my own imprisonment, from which I have just been released-have prevented me from forwarding this report at an earlier date.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. HEIMAN, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Tilghman’s Division.

Col. W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Reference is probably to P. K. Stankieuriz, who succeeded Capt. Jesse Taylor in command of battery.


FEBRUARY 6-10, 1862.– Expedition to Florence, Ala.


No. 1.–Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Lieut. Commander S. L. Phelps, U. S. Navy.
No. 3.–A. J. Hopper, Superintendent Eastern Division Mississippi and Charleston Railroad.
No. 4.–J. G. Norman.

No. 1.

Report of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army.

SAINT LOUIS, Mo., February 12, 1862.

The gunboats sent up Tennessee have just returned, after a most successful trip to Florence, in Alabama. Another expedition is moving up Cumberland, under Flag-Officer Foote. I subjoin the telegram of Lieutenant-Commander Phelps:

We have returned to this point from an entirely successful expedition to Florence at foot of the Muscle Shoals, Ala. The rebels were forced to burn six steamers, and we captured two others, beside the half-complete gunboat Eastport. The steamers burned were freighted with rebel military stores. The Eastport has about 250,000 feet of lumber on board. Captured 200 stand of arms and a quantity of clothing and stores, and destroyed the encampment of Colonel Drew at Savannah, Tenn. Found the Union sentiment strong.


Major-General MCCLELLAN.


No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Commander S. L. Phelps, U. S. Navy.

U. S. GUNBOAT CONESTOGA, Tennessee River, February 10, 1862.

SIR: Soon after the surrender of Fort Henry, on the 6th instant, I proceeded, in obedience to your orders, up the Tennessee River, with the Tyler, Lieutenant-Commander Gwin; Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, and this vessel, forming a division of the flotilla, and arrived after dark at the railroad crossing, 25 miles above the fort, having destroyed on the way a small amount of camp equipage abandoned by the fleeing rebels. The draw of the bridge was found closed and the machinery for turning it disabled. About 1 1/2 miles above were several rebel transport steamers escaping upstream. A party was landed, and in one hour I had the satisfaction to see the draw open. The Tyler being the slowest of the gunboats, Lieutenant-Commander Gwin landed a force to destroy a portion of the railroad track and to secure such military stores as might be found while I directed Lieutenant-Commander Shirk to follow me with all speed in chase of the fleeing boats. In five hours this boat succeeded in forcing the rebels to abandon and burn three of these boats, loaded with military stores. The first one fired (Samuel Orr) had on board a quantity of submarine batteries, which very soon exploded. The second one was freighted with powder, cannon shot, grape, balls, &c. Fearing an explosion from the {p.154} fired boats-there were two together-I had stopped at a distance of 1,000 yards, but even there our skylights were shattered by the concussion, the light upper deck was raised bodily, doors were forced open, and locks and fastenings everywhere broken. The whole river for half a mile around about was completely “beaten up” by the falling fragments and the shower of shot, grape, balls, &c. The house of a reported Union man was blown to pieces, and it was suspected there was design in landing the rebels in front of the doomed house.

The Lexington having fallen astern, and being without a pilot on board, I concluded to wait for both of the boats to come up. Joined by them, we proceeded up the river. Lieutenant-Commander Gwin had destroyed some of the trestle work of the end of the bridge, burning with them a lot of camp equipage, I. N. Brown, formerly a lieutenant in the Navy, now signing himself “Lieutenant, C. S. N.,” had fled with such precipitation as to leave his papers behind. These, Lieutenant-Commander Gwin brought, and I send them to you, as they give an official history of the rebel floating preparations on the Mississippi, Cumberland, and Tennessee.* Lieutenant Brown had charge of the construction of gunboats.

At night on the 7th we arrived at a lauding in Hardin County, Tennessee, known as Cerro Gordo, where we found the steamer Eastport being converted into a gunboat. Armed boat crews were immediately sent on board and search made for means of destruction that might have been devised. She had been scuttled and the suction pipes broken. These leaks were soon stopped. A number of rifle shots were fired at our vessels, but a couple of shells dispersed the rebels. On examination, I found that there were large quantities of timber and lumber prepared for fitting up the Eastport; that the vessel itself-some 280 feet long-was in excellent condition, and already half finished. Considerable of the plating designed for her was lying on the bank, and everything at hand to complete her. I therefore directed Lieutenant-Commander Gwin to remain with the Tyler, to guard the prize, and to load the lumber, &c., while the Lexington and Conestoga should proceed still higher up.

Soon after daylight on the 8th we passed Eastport, Miss., and at Chickasaw, farther up, near the State line, seized two steamers, the Sallie Wood and Muscle, the former laid up, the latter freighted with iron destined for Richmond and for rebel use. We then proceeded on up the river, entering the State of Alabama, and ascending to Florence, at the foot of the Muscle Shoals. On coming in sight of the town three steamers were discovered, which were immediately set on fire by the rebels. Some shots were fired from the opposite side of the river below. A force was landed and considerable quantities of supplies, marked “Fort Henry,” were secured from the burning wrecks. Some had been landed and stored. These I seized, puffing such as we could bring away on board our vessels and destroying the remainder. No flats or other craft could be found. I found also more of the iron plating intended for the Eastport.

A deputation of citizens of Florence waited upon me, first desiring that they might be made able to quiet the fears of their wives and daughters with assurances from me that they should not be molested, and secondly praying that I would not destroy their railroad bridge. As for the first, I told them that we were neither ruffians nor savages, and that we were there to protect them from violence and to enforce {p.155} the law; and with reference to the second that, if the bridge were away, we could ascend no higher, and that it could possess, so far as I saw, no military importance, as it simply connected Florence itself with the railroad on the south side of the river. We had seized three of their steamers, one the half-finished gunboat, and had forced the rebels to burn six others loaded with supplies, and their loss, with that of the freight, is a heavy blow to the enemy. Two boats are still known to be on the river, and are doubtless hidden in some of the creeks, where we shall be able to find them when there is time for the search.

We returned on the night of the 8th to where the Eastport lay. The crew of the Tyler had already gotten on board of the prize an immense amount of lumber, &c. The crews of the three boats set to work to finish the job immediately, and we have brought away probably 250,000 feet of the best quality of ship and building timber, all the iron machinery, spikes, plating, nails, &c., belonging to the rebel gunboat, and I caused the mill to be destroyed where the lumber had been sawed.

Lieutenant-Commander Gwin, in our absence, had enlisted some 25 Tennesseeans, who gave information of the encampment of Colonel Drew’s rebel regiment at Savannah, Tenn. A portion of the 600 or 700 men were known to be “pressed” men, and all were badly armed. After consultation with Lieutenant-Commanders Gwin and Shirk, I determined to make a land attack upon the encampment. Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, with 30 riflemen, came on board the Conestoga. Leaving his vessel to guard the Eastport, and accompanied by the Tyler, we proceeded up to that place, prepared to land 130 riflemen and a 12-pounder rifled howitzer. Lieutenant-Commander Gwin took command of this force when landed, but had the mortification to find the encampment deserted. The rebels had fled at 1 o’clock at night, leaving considerable quantities of arms, clothing, shoes, camp utensils, provisions, implements, &c., all of which we secured or destroyed, and their winter quarters of log huts were burned. I seized also a large mail-bag, and send you the letters giving military information. The gunboats were then dropped down to a point where arms gathered under the rebel press law had been stored, and an armed party, under Second Master Gowdy, of the Tyler, succeeded in seizing about 70 rifles and fowling-pieces.

Returning to Cerro Gordo, we took the Eastport, Sallie Wood, and Muscle in tow, and came down the river to the railroad crossing. The Muscle sprang a leak, and, all efforts failing to prevent her sinking, we were forced to abandon her, and with her a considerable quantity of fine lumber. We are having trouble in getting through the draw of the bridge here.

I now come to the most interesting portion of the report, one which has already become lengthy, but I trust you will find some excuse for this in the fact that it embraces a history of labors and movements day and night from the 6th to the 10th of the month,all of which details I deem it proper to give you. We have met with the most gratifying proofs of loyalty everywhere across Tennessee, and in the portions of Mississippi and Alabama we visited most affecting instances greeted us almost hourly. Men, women, and children several times gathered in crowds of hundreds, shouted their welcome, and hailed their national flag with an enthusiasm there was no mistaking. It was genuine and heartfelt. These people braved everything to go to the river bank where a sight of their flag might once more be enjoyed, and they have experienced, as they related, every possible form of persecution. Tears flowed freely down the cheeks of men as well as of women, and there {p.156} were those who had fought under the Stars and Stripes at Monterey who in this manner testified to their joy. This display of feeling and sense of gladness at our success and the hopes it created in the breasts of so many people in the heart of the Confederacy astonished us not a little, and I assure you, sir, I would not have failed to witness it for any consideration. I think it has given us all a higher sense of the sacred character of our present duties. I was assured at Savannah that of the several hundred troops there more than one half, had we gone to the attack in time, would have hailed us as deliverers and gladly enlisted with the national force. In Tennessee the people generally in their enthusiasm braved secessionists and spoke their views freely, but in Mississippi and Alabama what was said was guarded. “If we dared express ourselves freely, you would hear such a shout greeting your coming as you never heard.” “We know there are many Unionists among us, but a reign of terror makes us afraid of our shadows.” We were told, too, “Bring us a small organized force, with arms and ammunition for us, and we can maintain our position and put down rebellion in our midst.” There were, it is true, whole communities who on our approach fled to the woods, but these were where there was less of the loyal element, and where the fleeing steamers in advance had spread tales of our coming with fire-brands, burning, destroying, ravishing, and plundering.

The crews of these vessels have had a very laborious time, but have evinced a spirit in the work highly creditable to them. Lieutenant-Commanders Gwin and Shirk have been untiring, and I owe to them and to their officers many obligations for our entire success.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. L. PHELPS, Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, U. S. Navy Commanding Naval Forces Western Waters.

* Not found.


No. 3.

Report of A. J. Hopper, Superintendent Eastern Division Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

HUNTSVILLE, February 8, 1862.


The Federal gunboats have landed at Florence, 5 miles from Tuscumbia and 48 miles west of Decatur; are marching on Tuscumbia; how many boats or men there are not known.

The citizens here have one brass 6-pounder in order, and the M. and C. R. R. one Parrott rifled 6-pounder and carriage, but not wheels; also one not mounted at all.

A company of men with infantry arms go from here some time tonight to assistance of Tuscumbia.

Can you give us any information, orders, or relief? Our trains, except one, are out of their reach, and that one may be for what we can learn.

A. J. HOPPER, Superintendent Eastern Division M. and C. R. R.



No. 4.

Report of J. G. Norman.

TUSCUMBIA, ALA., February 9, 1862.

Enemy’s gunboats (two in number) came to Florence yesterday. Two steamers were burned below Eastport, three others at Florence were burned by the owners, and another scuttled and sunk, to prevent their falling into enemy’s hands. The enemy also captured a considerable amount of Government stores at Florence and two steamboats. Gunboats retired down the river last night. The railroad bridge at Florence was not destroyed. The enemy disclaimed any intention to destroy private property. It was rumored here to-day that the enemy were landing troops in force at Eastport to destroy the bridge at Big Bear Creek; this is not credited here. Colonel Chalmers is guarding that bridge with portions of his and Colonel Looney’s regiments. Since the fall of Fort Henry there is nothing to prevent the enemy during high water from ascending the Tennessee with their gunboats and invading North Alabama and North Mississippi.




FEBRUARY 12-16, 1862.–Siege and Capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding army in the field.
No. 2.–Lieut. Col. James B. McPherson, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer.
No. 3.–Col. J. D. Webster, U. S. Army, Chief of Staff.
No. 4.–Flag-Officer A. H. Foote, U. S. Navy, of engagement February 14.
No. 5.–Return of casualties in the army commanded by Brigadier-General Grant.
No. 6.–Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.
No. 7.–Col. Richard J. Oglesby, Eighth Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
No. 8.–Lieut. Col. Frank L. Rhoads, Eighth Illinois Infantry.
No. 9.–Capt. Samuel B. Marks, Eighteenth Illinois Infantry.
No. 10.–Capt. Jasper M. Dresser, Battery A, Illinois Light Artillery.
No. 11.–Col. William H. L. Wallace, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 12.–Lieut. Col. T. E. G. Ransom, Eleventh Illinois Infantry.
No. 13.–Col. C. C. Marsh, Twentieth Illinois Infantry.
No. 14.–Col. John E. Smith, Forty-fifth Illinois Infantry.
No. 15.–Col. Isham N. Haynie, Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry.
No. 16.–Capt. Edward McAllister, Battery D, First Illinois Light Artillery.
No. 17.–Capt. Ezra Taylor, Battery B, First Illinois Light Artillery.
No. 18.–Col. Leonard F. Ross, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 19.–Col. William R. Morrison, Forty-ninth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 20.–Maj. Francis M. Smith, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry.
No. 21.–Col. John McArthur, Twelfth Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Second Division.
No. 22.–Lieut. Col. Augustus L. Chetlain, Twelfth Illinois Infantry.
No. 23.–Col. Isaac C. Pugh, Forty-first Illinois Infantry.{p.158}
No. 24.–Col. John Cook, Seventh Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 25.–Col. Joseph J. Woods, Twelfth Iowa Infantry.
No. 26.–Col. Crafts J. Wright, Thirteenth Missouri Infantry.
No. 27.–Capt. Henry Richardson, Battery D, First Missouri Light Artillery.
No. 28.–Capt. F. Welker, Battery H, First Missouri Light Artillery.
No. 29.–Capt. George H. Stone, Battery K, First Missouri Light Artillery.
No. 30.–Col. James C. Veatch, Twenty-fifth Indiana Infantry, Fourth Brigade.
No. 31.–Col. James M. Tuttle, Second Iowa Infantry.
No. 32.–Lieut. Col. James C. Parrott, Seventh Iowa Infantry.
No. 33.–Col. William T. Shaw, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry.
No. 34.–Col. Morgan L. Smith, Eighth Missouri Infantry, commanding Fifth Brigade
No. 35.–Col. George F. McGinnis, Eleventh Indiana Infantry.
No. 36.–Maj. John McDonald, Eighth Missouri Infantry.
No. 37.–Brig. Gen. Lewis Wallace, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.
No. 38.–Surg. Thomas W. Fry, U. S. Army, Medical Director.
No. 39.–Col. Charles Cruft, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
No. 40.–Maj. Frederick Arm, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry.
No. 41.–Col. Hugh B. Reed, Forty-fourth Indiana Infantry.
No. 42.–Col. John H. McHenry, jr., Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry.
No. 43.–Col. J. M. Shackelford, Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantry.
No. 44.–Col. John M. Thayer, First Nebraska Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 45.–Message from the President of the Confederate States.
No. 46.–Gen. A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding the Western Department, and resulting correspondence.
No. 47.–Lieut. Col. Jeremy F. Gilmer, C. S. Army, Chief Engineer Western Department.
No. 48.–Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, C. S. Army, commanding division, &c.
No. 49.–Col. Gabriel C. Wharton. Fifty-first Virginia Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
No. 50.–Col. John McCausland, Thirty-sixth Virginia Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 51.–Brig. Gem. Gideon J. Pillow, C. S. Army, commanding division, &c., with resulting correspondence.
No. 52.–Brig. General Simon B. Buckner, C. S. Army, commanding division, &c.
No. 53.–Col. William E. Baldwin, Fourteenth Mississippi Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
No. 54.–Col. Roger W. Hanson, Second Kentucky Infantry (Confederate).
No. 55.–Maj. W. L. Doss, Fourteenth Mississippi Infantry.
No. 56.–Col. John M. Lillard, Twenty-sixth Tennessee Infantry.
No. 57.–Col. Robert Farquharson, Forty-first Tennessee Infantry.
No. 58.–Col. John C. Brown, Third Tennessee Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
No. 59.–Maj. Nat. F. Cheairs, Third Tennessee Infantry.
No. 60.–Col. Joseph B. Palmer, Eighteenth Tennessee Infantry.
No. 61.–Col. Edward C. Cook, Thirty-second Tennessee Infantry.
No. 62.–Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, C. S. Army, commanding division, &c.
No. 63.–Col. A. Heiman, Tenth Tennessee Infantry, commanding brigade.
No. 64.–Lieut. T. McGinnis, Acting Adjutant Forty-second Tennessee Infantry.
No. 65.–Lieut. R. B. Ryan, Aide-de-Camp, of operations of Davidson’s brigade.
No. 66.–Col. John M. Simonton, First Mississippi Infantry, commanding brigade.
No. 67.–Lieut. Col. H. B. Lyon, Eighth Kentucky Infantry, (Confederate).
No. 68.–Col. John Gregg, Seventh Texas Infantry.
No. 69.–Col. John W. Head, Thirtieth Tennessee Infantry, commanding brigade.
No. 70.–Maj. William N. Brown, Twentieth Mississippi Infantry.
No. 71.–Col. Nathan B. Forrest, Tennessee Cavalry.
No. 72.–Col. Milton A. Haynes, C. S. Army, Chief of Tennessee Corps of Artillery.
No. 73.–Col. J. E. Bailey, Forty-ninth Tennessee Infantry, of the water batteries, &c.{p.159}
No. 74.–Capt. Jacob Culbertson, C. S. Army, commanding batteries.
No. 75.–Capt. B. G. Bidwell, Thirtieth Tennessee Infantry, commanding battery.
No. 76.–Capt. T. W. Beaumont, Fiftieth Tennessee Infantry, commanding battery.
No. 77.–Capt. R. R. Ross, Maury (Tennessee) Artillery.
No. 78.–Extracts from the report of the Special Committee of the Confederate House of Representatives.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding army in the field.

FORT DONELSON, February 16, 1862.

GENERAL: I am pleased to announce to you the unconditional surrender this morning of Fort Donelson, with 12,000 to 15,000 prisoners, at least forty pieces of artillery, and a large amount of stores, horses, mules, and other public property.

I left Fort Henry on the 12th instant with a force of about 15,000 men, divided into two divisions, under the command of Generals McClernand and Smith. Six regiments were sent around by water the day before, convoyed by a gunboat, or rather started one day later than one of the gunboats, and with instructions not to pass it. The troops made the march in good order, the head of the column arriving within 2 miles of the fort at 12 o’clock m. At this point the enemy’s pickets were met and driven in. The fortifications of the enemy were from this point gradually approached and surrounded, with occasional skirmishing on the line. The following day, owing to the non-arrival of the gunboats and re-enforcements sent by water, no attack was made, but the investment was extended on the flanks of the enemy and drawn closer to his works, with skirmishing all day.

The evening of the 13th the gunboats and re-enforcements arrived. On the 14th a gallant attack was made by Flag-Officer Foote upon the enemy’s works with the fleet The engagement lasted probably an hour and a half, and bid fair to result favorably to the cause of the Union, when two unlucky shots disabled two of the armored boats so that they were carried back by the current. The remaining two were very much disabled, also having received a number of heavy shots about the pilothouses and other parts of the vessels. After these mishaps I concluded to make the investment of Fort Donelson as perfect as possible, and partially fortify and await repairs to the gunboats. This plan was frustrated, however, by the enemy making a most vigorous attack upon our right wing, commanded by General J. A. McClernand, with a portion of the force under General L. Wallace. The enemy were repelled after a closely-contested battle of several hours, in which our loss was heavy. The officers, and particularly field officers, suffered out of proportion. I have not the means yet of determining our loss even approximately, but it cannot fall far short of 1,200 killed, wounded, and missing.* Of the latter I understand through General Buckner about 250 were taken prisoners. I shall retain enough of the enemy to exchange for them, as they were immediately shipped off and not left for recapture.

About the close of this action the ammunition in cartridge-boxes gave out, which, with the loss of many of the field officers, produced great confusion in the ranks, and, seeing that the enemy did not take advantage of it, convinced me that equal confusion and possibly greater demoralization existed with him. Taking advantage of this fact, I {p.160} ordered a charge upon the left (enemy’s right) with the division under General C. F. Smith, which was most brilliantly executed, and gave to our arms full assurance of victory. The battle lasted until dark, giving us possession of part of the intrenchments. An attack was ordered from the other flank after the charge by General Smith was commenced by the divisions under Generals McClernand and Wallace, which, notwithstanding the hours of exposure to a heavy fire in the forepart of the day was gallantly made, and the enemy further repulsed. At the points thus gained, night having come on, all the troops encamped for the night, feeling that a complete victory would crown their labors at an early hour in the morning.

This morning at a very early hour a note was received from General S. B. Buckner, under a flag of truce, proposing an armistice, &c. A copy of the correspondence which ensued is herewith accompanying.

I cannot mention individuals who specially distinguished themselves, but leave that to division and brigade commanders, whose reports will be forwarded as soon as received. To division commanders, however, Generals McClernand, Smith, and Wallace, I must do the justice to say that each of them were with their commands in the midst of danger, and were always ready to execute all orders, no matter what the exposure to themselves. At the hour the attack was made on General McClernand’s command I was absent, having received a note from Flag-Officer Foote requesting me to go and see him, he being unable to call, in consequence of a wound received the day before.

My personal staff, Col. J. D. Webster, chief of staff; Col. J. Riggin, jr., volunteer aide; Capt. J. A. Rawlins, assistant adjutant-general; Capts. C. B. Lagow and W. S. Hillyer, aides, and Lieut. Col. J. B. McPherson, chief engineer, all are deserving of personal mention for their gallantry and service.

For full details see reports of engineers, medical directors, and commanders of brigades and divisions, to follow.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General.

General G. W. CULLUM, Chief of Staff, Department of the Missouri.

* But see No. 5, p. 167.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

HEADQUARTERS, Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.

SIR: In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station I propose to the commanding officers of the Federal forces the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces and post under my command, and in that view suggest an armistice until 12 o’clock to-day.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. B. BUCKNER, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding U. S. Forces near Fort Donelson.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS, Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.

Major Cosby will take or send by an officer to the nearest picket of the enemy the accompanying communication to General Grant, and request {p.161} information of the point where future communications will reach him. Also inform him that my headquarters will be for the present in Dover.

S. B. BUCKNER, Brigadier-General.

Have the white flag hoisted on Fort Donelson, not on the batteries.

S. B. BUCKNER, Brigadier-General.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Camp near Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.

SIR: Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appointment of commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General S. B. BUCKNER, Confederate Army.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

HEADQUARTERS, Dover, Tenn., February 16, 1862.

SIR: The distribution of the forces under my command incident to an unexpected change of commanders and the overwhelming force under your command compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.

I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

S. B. BUCKNER, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, U. S. A.


No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. James B. McPherson, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer

SAINT LOUIS, MO., February 25, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of operations relating to the capture of Fort Donelson:

From the capture of Fort Henry, on the 6th instant, until the 12th, the time was chiefly occupied in making reconnaissances up the Tennessee River to a short distance above Danville and of the roads leading to Fort Donelson, getting our forces in condition to march against the latter place and awaiting the co-operation of the gunboats. The reconnaissance toward Fort Donelson made known the fact that there were two very good roads connecting the two forts, one the direct road, distance about 12 miles, and the other bearing off to the southeast for some distance, soon after leaving Fort Henry, and then continuing essentially parallel to the former, distance about 14 miles. The heaviest part of the whole route was from the Tennessee River at Fort Henry back 2 miles {p.162} to the high ground. To overcome this and have the forces in good condition to march against Fort Donelson the artillery and a great portion of the infantry were moved back to the high ground on the 11th instant.

The country between the two forts is very rolling, thickly covered with timber, and sparsely populated; the soil, as a general thing, being poor. The roads had not been obstructed in any manner by the rebels, from the fact that after the fall of Fort Henry our cavalry scoured the country so continually and effectively that they did not venture to send out men for the purpose.

On the morning of the 12th, at an early hour, the troops were put in motion in two divisions, one taking the left-hand road and the other the right, the two divisions coming together about 2 1/2 miles from Fort Donelson. From this point our forces moved forward in line of battle, cautiously examining the ground in advance and on the flanks, which was very hilly and densely wooded, until we came in sight of the enemy’s works. These were reconnoitered as thoroughly as possible under the circumstances, and our forces assigned to their respective positions, General McClernand’s division on the right and General C. F. Smith’s division on the left. Some slight skirmishing ensued and a few prisoners were taken, who informed us that the rebel forces consisted of from 20,000 to 25,000 men, commanded by Generals Floyd, Pillow, Buckner, and Johnson.

Our forces sent around by water, preceded by the gunboat Carondelet, not having arrived, a messenger was dispatched to Fort Henry for General Wallace to bring over a portion of his division, which was promptly done, and it was assigned a position in the center. Wednesday night the gunboat Carondelet arrived, and on Thursday moved up and bombarded the enemy, doing considerable damage and silencing one of his 32-pounder guns. Our lines were at the same time drawn closer and our batteries placed in position where they could play upon the enemy to the best effect, though great difficulty was experienced in finding good positions, on account of the heavy timber, which prevented us from getting an uninterrupted view. There was a good deal of cannonading and skirmishing the whole day, and a most gallant charge was made upon the rebel intrenchments at “I” by a portion of General McClernand’s division, which promised to be successful, when the colonel commanding fell, severely wounded, while bravely leading his men forward; which, with other casualties, forced our troops to retire.

After the arrival of General Wallace’s division General McClernand extended his still farther to the right, the object being, if possible, to get some of our guns to bear upon the river above the town of Dover, but the advance in that direction had to be made with the utmost caution, as the ground was very much broken, without roads, and covered with an almost impenetrable growth of small oak. Our reconnaissance had developed the fact that the rebels were strongly posted on a range of hills varying from 50 to 80 feet in height, with batteries placed on the commanding points, their lines extending back from the river some 2 1/2 miles, in advance of which they had felled immense quantities of timber, chopping down the smaller trees about breast-high, and leaving them attached to the stumps, thus making a rude sort of an abatis, but at the same time a most difficult obstacle to get over, while on the north and west they were protected from attack by a creek, which, owing to the backwater from the Cumberland River, was impassable except on bridges or rafts. This, although to their advantage in one sense, was also very much to ours. It enabled us to move our troops and supplies up from the landing place with perfect security, prevented the enemy {p.163} from escaping in that direction, and only required our lines to be about half as long as they otherwise would have been in order to invest the works.

Thursday it was decided best to send a detachment from Fort Henry up to the railroad bridge at Danville and destroy one span, which was done, for we were apprehensive, as all the gunboats were required in the Cumberland River, that the enemy might repair the trestle work which had been destroyed, and send over re-enforcements to Donelson, or make a diversion by trying to recapture Fort Henry.

Thursday evening the gunboats and re-enforcements sent by water arrived, and it was arranged that the gunboats should move up about 2 o’clock Friday afternoon, silence the water batteries, take a position opposite and near the town of Dover, and shell the rebels out of their intrenchments near the river, we at the same time sweeping around with our right and taking possession of a portion of their works, cutting them off from the greater part of their supplies, and driving them back upon our center and left, which were strongly posted to prevent their escape. This movement, however, was destined not to be carried into effect, on account of the failure of the gunboats to silence the water batteries, and their being compelled to withdraw after a bombardment of a couple of hours, having experienced considerable damage. After this failure, and on consultation with Flag-Officer Foote, it was thought probable that it might be necessary to partially intrench our position and await re-enforcements which were coming, and repairs to some of the gunboats, and orders were about being given to have all the intrenching tools brought up from the boats Saturday morning, when the enemy, evidently not liking the gradual contracting of our lines, concentrated the greater part of his force against our right, and made a most desperate attempt to cut his way out and effect his escape, in which he was frustrated by the determined bravery of General McClernand’s division, which, though forced to fall back after several hours of the most severe fighting, did it, contesting every foot of ground, and the opportune arrival of a portion of General Wallace’s division, which had been sent to General McClernand’s aid, and which succeeded in checking the advance of the enemy, and finally forcing him to fall back. Word was now sent to General C. F. Smith to carry the works on the enemy’s right by assault, which was most gallantly executed by a portion of his division at the point of the bayonet, and our flag soon waved triumphantly from the rebel intrenchments. This news was borne along our lines, cheering and stimulating the men.

Our right was now re-enforced and ordered to advance and recover the ground which had been lost in the morning. Nobly was the task executed. Not only was the lost ground more than regained, but the battery taken from us in the forenoon was recaptured. While the contest was still at its height on our left General Smith’s aide came galloping down in great haste, stating that the general wanted some more pieces of artillery. I immediately ordered the captain of a battery to take two 10-pounder Parrott guns and report to the general as soon as possible, and then went to join him myself, sending word to you that I had done so, for I thought I could be of more service there than anywhere else at that particular crisis.

Having carried the advance works on the enemy’s right and effected a lodgment in his intrenchments, we had secured a key to his position. We had obtained a point having about as great an elevation as any portion of his works, and where we could plant our artillery to silence his and enfilade a portion of his defenses, at the same time making use of {p.164} his rifle pits to cover our men. Our artillery was brought up and placed in position Saturday evening, and a portion of our forces bivouacked in the rebel intrenchments Saturday night, with their supports within convenient distance, prepared to make an assault on their next line at an early hour Sunday morning, everything having been arranged for a combined attack along their whole defenses, when, shortly after daylight, General Buckner, who was left in command (Generals Pillow and Floyd with a part of their forces having made their escape during the night), sent a letter, under cover of a flag of truce, proposing terms of capitulation, which resulted in the immediate surrender of the works and forces under his command.

The map accompanying this report* will show the character and strength of the enemy’s works, the details of their construction, and the good judgment displayed in selecting this point for a defensive position. The water batteries, of which there are two, were well constructed, the principal one having nine guns-one 10-inch columbiad and eight 32-pounders. The exterior crest is essentially a straight line, nearly at right angles to the river, and the interior crest a sort of crémaillère line, made necessary on account of one end of the battery being much more elevated than the other, the guns occupying different elevations, with a traverse between each gun to protect them from enfilade fire. The other battery was a small semicircular one in plan, mounting a 6 1/2-inch rifled gun, the exterior form and dimensions being the same as the 10-inch columbiad and two 32-pounder carronades. The guns were all in embrasures arranged with sand bags. These batteries had an elevation of some 32 feet above the water in the river at the time of the attack, which gave them a fine command, and was no doubt the chief reason why they resisted so successfully the gunboat attack.

Sketch A will give an idea of the country between Forts Henry and Donelson and the general direction of the roads connecting the two places.

I cannot close this report without speaking particularly of Lieutenants Jenney and Kossak, my assistant engineers, who rendered good service in reconnoitering, superintending the repairs of roads, making sketches, &c.

Respectfully submitted.

JAS. B. MCPHERSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Chief Engineer.

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding U. S. Forces Department Western Tennessee.


No. 3.

Report of Col. J. D. Webster, U. S. Army, Chief of Staff.


GENERAL: The preparations made by the enemy for the defense of this position were very extensive. A complete and accurate survey of the works and vicinity would require more means and time than can now be commanded. The sketch* herewith submitted, carefully made by Lieutenants Jenney and Kossak, volunteer engineers, gives a correct {p.165} general idea of them. The water batteries, upper and lower winch were intended to subserve the primary object of the position-the control of the river navigation-were well located for the purpose. At the lower and principal one were mounted nine 32-pounder guns and a 10-inch columbiad; at the upper, one gun of the exterior form and dimensions of a 10-inch columbiad ,but bored as a 32-pounder and rifled. Both these batteries are sunken or excavated, in the hill-side. In the lower one strong traverses were left between the guns, to secure them against an enfilading fire. Their elevation above the water, say 30 feet at the time of the gunboat attack, gave them a fine command of the river, and made the task of attacking them in front an arduous one. The range of the guns in are was, however, quite limited. The main fort is shown in rear of these batteries. It occupies a high ridge, cloven by a deep gorge opening towards the south, the entrance being in the valley. The strength of the profile of their work is shown by the cross-section on the margin. At the least exposed places it is weaker, like the rifle pits of the exterior defenses. The outworks are shown by the irregular line extending from the enemy’s right at B to their left at L, both these points being on creeks impassable on account of the backwater from the river.

These defenses consisted in the main of what have come to be called rifle pits-shallow ditches the earth from which is thrown to the front-affording them a shelter from the fire of an attack. The strength of profile of this work, which had evidently been very hastily executed, varied at different points. A general idea of it is given by the cross-section on the margin of the sketch. Along the front of this exterior line the trees had been felled, and the brush cut and bent over breast-high, making a wide abatis, very difficult to pass through. The line runs along a ridge, cut through by several ravines running toward the river. The hill rises by abrupt ascents to a height of perhaps 75 or 80 feet. Our army approached the place with very little knowledge of its topography. Our first line of battle was formed on the 12th instant in some open fields opposite the enemy’s center. On the 13th we were established on a line of heights running on general parallelism with the enemy’s outworks, and extending a distance of over 3 miles. Various elevations and spurs of the hills afforded positions for our artillery, from which we annoyed the enemy, but which were not of such commanding character as to enable us to achieve decisive results. The ranges were long and the thick woods prevented clear sight. During the next two days our line was gradually extended both to the right and left, our skirmishers thrown out in front, keeping up an active and, as we since learn, an effective fire upon the enemy’s outworks. On the 13th a gallant charge was made against them at the point marked M, and was probably only prevented from being successful by the fall of the colonel leading it, who was severely wounded.

Up to the 15th our operations had been chiefly those of investment, but we had not gained a position from which our artillery could be advantageously used against the main fort. On the. 15th the enemy seemed to grow uncomfortable under the contracting process, came out of his intrenchments, and attacked our right with great force and determination, achieving considerable success in the forenoon. This active movement necessitated an active retaliation. On the left wing an attack was ordered on the outworks, and the right was re-enforced and ordered to retake the ground lost in the morning. How well both orders were executed need not here be stated. On the right our former position was regained and passed, and on the left a successful assault at A {p.166} gave us possession of a position within the enemy’s lines, and opened the way to a still better one at B, which nightfall alone prevented us from occupying with our rifled artillery, which would readily have commanded the enemy’s works. This repulse from the ground so hardly won in the forenoon, and probably still more our possession of a vantage ground within their lines, induced the enemy to capitulate on the morning of the 16th.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, general, your most obedient servant,

J. D. WEBSTER, Colonel, Chief of Staff.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding District.

* To appear in Atlas.


No. 4.

Report of Flag-Officer A. H. Foote, U. S. Navy, of engagement February 14.

FLAG-SHIP ST. LOUIS, Near Fort Donelson, Cumberland River, February 15, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, as you regarded the movement as a military necessity although not in my judgment properly prepared, I made an attack on Fort Donelson yesterday, the 14th instant, at 3 o’clock p.m., with four iron-clad and two wooden gunboats, the St. Louis, Carondelet, Louisville, and Pittsburg, with the Tyler and Conestoga, and after a severe fight of an hour and a half, being in the latter part of the action less than 400 yards from the fort, the wheel of this vessel, by a shot through her pilot-house, was carried away, and the tiller-ropes of the Louisville also disabled by a shot, which rendered the two boats wholly unmanageable. They then drifted down the river, the relieving tackles not being able to steer or control them in the rapid current. The two remaining boats, the Pittsburg and Carondelet, were also greatly damaged between wind and water, and soon followed us, as the enemy rapidly renewed the fire as we drifted helplessly down the river. This vessel, the St. Louis, alone received 59 shots, 4 between wind and water and one in the pilot-house, mortally wounding the pilot and others, requiring some time to put her in repair. There were 54 killed and wounded in this attack, which, notwithstanding our disadvantages, we have every reason to suppose would in fifteen minutes more, could the action have been continued, have resulted in the capture of the two forts bearing upon us, as the enemy’s fire materially slackened and he was running from his batteries when the two gunboats helplessly drifted down the river from disabled steering apparatus, as the relieving tackles could not control the helm in the strong current, when the fleeing enemy returned to their guns and again boldly reopened fire upon us from the river battery, which we had silenced.

The enemy must have brought over twenty heavy guns to bear upon our boats from the water batteries and the main fort on the side of the bill, while we could only return the fire with twelve bow guns from the four boats. One rifled gun aboard the Carondelet burst during the action. The officers and men in this hotly-contested but unequal fight behaved with the greatest gallantry and determination, all deploring the accident rendering two gunboats suddenly helpless in the narrow river and swift current.


On consultation with General Grant and my own officers, as my services here, until we can repair damages by bringing up a competent force from Cairo to attack the fort, are much less required than they are at Cairo, I shall proceed to that point with two of the disabled boats, leaving the two others here to protect the transports, and with all dispatch prepare the mortar boats and Benton, with other boats, to make an effectual attack upon Fort Donelson. I have sent the Tyler to the Tennessee River to render impassable the bridge so as to prevent the rebels at Columbus re-enforcing their army at Fort Donelson.

I transmit herewith a list of casualties.* I am informed that the rebels were served by the best gunners from Columbus.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer, Comdg. U. S. Naval Forces on the Western Waters.

Major-General HALLECK, Commanding Army of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.

* List not found, but Captain Foote’s report to the Secretary of the Navy shows loss to have been 10 killed and 44 wounded.

No. 5.

Return of casualties in the army commanded by Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, at the siege of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, February 12-16,1862.

[Compiled from nominal lists of casualties, returns, &c.]


Commands.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.Remarks.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
8th Illinois3515183242
18th Illinois2516151117228
29th Illinois1244571399
30th Illinois118267694
31st Illinois229611128176
Illinois Light Artillery, Battery A33
2d Illinois Light Artillery, Battery E2215
2d Illinois Cavalry,Companies A and B1315
2d U. S. Cavalry, Company CNo loss reported.
4th U. S. Cavalry, Company IDo.
Carmichael’s Illinois cavalryDo.
Dollins’ Illinois cavalry11
O’Harnett’s Illinois cavalryNo loss reported
Stewart’s Illinois cavalryDo.
Total First Brigade917526577 165853 {p.168}
11th Illinois26810171286*329
20th Illinois11731056132
45th Illinois231722
48th Illinois17328342
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery B189
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery D22
4th Illinois Cavalry11
Total Second Brigade49519331296547
(1) Col. WILLIAM R. MORRISON (w’d).
(2) Col. LEONARD F. Roes.
l7th Illinois13556781
49th Illinois1143411271
Total Third Brigade12789719152
Total First Division14297531,00531801,552
9th Illinois3651609210
12th Illinois118161889
41st Illinois11321113130
Total First Brigade267833220429
Col. Joint COOK.
7th Illinois1211822
50th Illinois11112
52d Indiana44852
14th Iowa212730
13th Missouri112
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery D.11
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery H.11
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery K.11
Total Third Brigade1931062121
25th Indiana 1617491
2d Iowa3304160197
7th Iowa223539
14th Iowa3121126
Birge’s Sharpshooters134
Total Fourth Brigade35382931857 {p.169}
8th Missouri1613947
11th Indiana422733
Total Fifth Brigade11036680
Total Second Division71382279723987
31st Indiana9844162
44th Indiana713442
l7th Kentucky434341
25th Kentucky1143581288
Total First Brigade1341217016233
46th Illinois33
57th Illinois112
58th Illinois51217
Total Second Brigade615122
1st Nebraska2619
58th Ohio1910
68th OhioNo loss reported.
76th Ohio99
Total Third Brigade324128
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery A.33
32d Illinois, Company A.77
Total not brigaded.1010
Total Third Division1431221918298
First Division14297531,00531801,552
Second Division71382279723987
Third Division1431221918293
Grand total22478872,02132212,832

* A number of the captured or missing were also wounded.

** Attached to Third Brigade, under Colonel Thayer.


No. 6.

Report of Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Pittsburg Landing, April 21, 1862.

I transmit herewith the report of the action of the First Division at the battle of Fort Donelson. I have no special comments to make on it, further than that the report is a little highly colored as to the conduct of the First Division, and I failed to hear the suggestions spoken of about the propriety of attacking the enemy all around the lines on Saturday. No suggestions were made by General McClernand at the time spoken of.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

Capt. N. H. MCLEAN, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Mississippi.


HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, District of West Tennessee, February 28, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor respectfully to report the operations of my command during the investment and capture of Fort Donelson.

The First Division, of which by your assignment I had been placed in command was composed of the First Brigade, commanded by Col. Richard J. Oglesby, and comprising the Eighth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, Lieut. Col. F. L. Rhoads; Eighteenth, Col. Michael K. Lawler; Twenty-ninth, Col. James S. Rearden; Thirtieth, Lieut. Col. Elias S. Dennis; Thirty-first, Col. John A. Logan; also Schwartz’s and Dresser’s batteries of light artillery, and the cavalry companies of Capts. Warren Stewart, Eagleton Carmichael, James J. Dollins, and M. James O’Harnett.

The Second Brigade, Col. William H. L. Wallace, of the Eleventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers, commanding, comprising the same regiment, Lieut. Col. Thomas E. G. Ransom; Twentieth, Col. C. C. Marsh; Forty-fifth, Col. John E. Smith; Forty-eighth, Col. Isham N. Haynie; also the Fourth Regiment Illinois Cavalry, Col. T. Lyle Dickey, and Taylor’s and McAllister’s batteries.

The Third Brigade, Col. William R. Morrison, of the Forty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, temporarily commanding, comprising the Seventeenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, Maj. Francis M. Smith, and the Forty-ninth, Lieut. Col. Phineas Pease.

In compliance with your order for marching upon Fort Donelson on the morning of the 12th, I directed in the afternoon of the 11th instant the transfer of the First Brigade from Fort Henry to a night bivouac on the Ridge road about 5 miles in advance. In like manner the Second Brigade was moved upon the Telegraph road about 5 1/2 miles, and the Third Brigade a half mile in rear of the First. At 8 o’clock on the morning of the 12th my whole command was in motion, and before 11 o’clock, the hour of movement fixed by your order, it was within 3 miles of the enemy’s pickets. Arriving rapidly and in good order within 2 miles of the enemy’s outer intrenchments, Maj. John J. Mudd, a most gallant and enterprising officer, in command of a scouting party, encountered a detachment of the enemy’s cavalry strongly supported, indicating {p.171} the determination to resist our farther progress. Major Mudd having driven back the enemy’s cavalry, held its support in check until the arrival of the advanced guard, under Maj. George A. Bacon, of the Thirtieth Regiment, which instantly formed to resist the threatened attack. Detachments of the enemy still hovering upon the hills in front the First Brigade was formed in the open fields, while the Second and Third Brigades as they arrived were also formed within supporting distances.

Retiring temporarily from our view while our advance in line was cautiously continued to the right, a large body of the enemy’s cavalry again appeared, and, disputing our progress, made a vigorous and determined attack upon our grand guard, but were so promptly met in front that they fell back and attempted by a flank movement to cut it off from its support. This attempt, however, was completely foiled by the timely support afforded by the Eighth Regiment and Lieutenant Gumbart’s battery, which, throwing a shell into the enemy’s ranks, hastened his flight towards his intrenchments. This encounter, in which Major Bacon displayed admirable skill and courage, resulted in considerable loss on the part of the enemy, and of 1 killed and 4 wounded of the grand guard.

Coming up shortly after (about 2 o’clock p.m.), you advised me of the approach of the Second Division, under command of General C. F. Smith, which you had directed to be disposed on my left, in front of the right of the enemy’s works, directing me to continue my advance so as to cover the left of the enemy’s works in the direction of the town of Dover, lying on the Cumberland River. Preparatory to this movement I caused a hasty reconnaissance to be made to the Indian Creek road, on my right, which I found open to an advance by the enemy, and in the mean time caused the Third and Second Brigades, in the same order, to ascend the range of steep hills which overlook the center and right of the enemy’s works, and to form in order of battle on the left of the First Brigade. This disposition brought the First and Second Divisions within supporting distance, and inclosed the enemy within a continually contracting line. The artillery having been brought to the crest of the hills, Colonel Oglesby advanced his right upon the Indian Creek road towards the enemy’s center, and, arriving at a point where it descends into the valley of the Indian Creek, we came in full view of the enemy’s tents on the opposite hill. Along the valley and upon the wooded hills inclosing it the enemy were observed in strong force. Colonel Oglesby, having ordered up a howitzer from Schwartz’s battery to the brow of the hill upon which a portion of my line still rested, a spirited fire was opened, but the distance proved too great for effective service. To obviate this deficiency, Captain Dresser was ordered to bring forward one of his James rifled pieces, which, opening a well-directed fire, drove the enemy in haste from his tents and cleared the ground in front for a further advance, which was instantly made by the grand guard, led by Major Bacon, and followed by the First Brigade.

Having thus gained a nearer approach to the enemy’s center, Colonel Oglesby again deployed the Eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first into line of battle, and moved forward in front of the enemy’s works a half mile to the right, throwing forward the Eighteenth across a hill in the same direction. This movement, which was boldly and rapidly executed by Colonel Lawler, brought his regiment within hearing of officers directing the preparation of a battery designed to open a fire upon him in the morning. A timely change of the position of his regiment avoided this result. Colonel Wallace, moving forward the Second {p.172} Brigade, formed it into line on the left of the First. The Third Brigade was formed into line on the left of the Second, and in this order my division rested for the night upon its arms.

At daylight on the morning of the 13th the enemy opened fire from a battery in his middle redan, numbered 2, upon the right of my line. Refraining from returning the fire, in compliance with your order to avoid everything calculated to bring on a general engagement until otherwise directed, it was continued, with the aggravation of a fire from the enemy’s sharpshooters, for an hour and a half. At the expiration of this time, deeming it within the spirit of your order, which required me, while acting on the defensive, to preserve my line and hold my ground, I ordered the fire to be returned. For this purpose Dresser’s battery was brought to a position near the left of the Eighteenth, and opposite redan No. 2, and opened a fire upon it, which in a few minutes silenced the opposing battery. While this was going on two companies of Colonel Noble’s Second Illinois Cavalry, Colonel Dickey’s cavalry, and Lieutenant Powell, with two companies of regular cavalry, made a further reconnaissance to the right and the enemy’s works at Dover, and reporting the fact, my line was advanced under partial cover of a ridge and woods in the same direction to and a short distance beyond the Winn’s Ferry road and an evacuated cavalry camp of the enemy. During the execution of this movement the battery before referred to in redan No. 2 reopened fire upon us, which was promptly returned by Schwartz’s battery, which had been quickly advanced to a position near a farm house farther to the right. This battery of the enemy having been thus silenced, another in the direction of Dover was opened upon my right, and in tarn this was soon after silenced by two pieces of Schwartz’s, two pieces of Taylor’s, and three pieces of Dresser’s batteries, which had been rapidly advanced near the Winn’s Ferry road for that purpose and to afford protection to my advancing line.

Besides silencing the enemy’s battery, these pieces also poured a destructive fire into a mass of his infantry, which was seen still farther to the right, driving them in confusion to the shelter of their breastworks. In the mean time the enemy had opened a fire from several pieces in redan No. 2 upon the left of my line, and also from redan No. 1 upon McAllister’s battery, still farther to the left, on a commanding hill beyond Indian Creek, where it had been left supported by the Forty-eighth. This fire was intended to distract our attention and prevent our advance to the right. It was attended with no serious effect upon my left, but carried away a wheel of one of McAllister’s gun-carriages. It was immediately silenced by McAllister’s battery and the portions of Taylor’s and Dresser’s batteries, which had been brought back to a position near the farm house for that purpose.

My right being now engaged in threatening demonstrations and within short range of the enemy’s outer works, and the enemy’s infantry opposite our right having been thrown into confusion, as already mentioned, I deemed the opportunity favorable for storming redan No. 2, which lay in front of the Second Brigade and in a position to annoy our forces yet advancing, and which afforded a cover from which to dash upon my line at an exposed and comparatively weak point. Accordingly colonel Morrison was ordered to advance his brigade, Seventeenth and Forty-ninth, joined by the Forty-eighth, Colonel Haynie, from the Second Brigade, to make the contemplated assault. The two detachments having formed in line of battle, Colonel Haynie, a gallant and intelligent officer, being the senior, assumed the command. Passing down the declivity on which they had formed, the assailants, preceded by {p.173} skirmishers, moved rapidly up the steep hill on the crest of which was the object of attack. Although the small timber had been felled and interwoven with the sharpened points of brush-wood extending outward, forming an almost impenetrable abatis, they made their way under a fast-increasing fire from the enemy’s intrenchments to a cleared space in front of them; At this point a heavy cross-fire of artillery and small-arms was poured upon the assailants, yet for an hour they maintained the unequal contest, advancing close to the intrenchments, and firing with deliberation and effect whenever an enemy appeared. For the purpose of strengthening this heroic band and more completely covering the front of the enemy’s works, the Forty-fifth, Colonel Smith, in accordance with an order to that effect, moved forward under a heavy fire, and, taking position in line, the assault was renewed. At this critical moment, if the enemy had been diverted by an attack on the left and also from the river by the gunboats, it is probable the redan would have been taken.

Colonel Morrison, who had been conspicuous for the brilliant and daring manner in which he led his men into action, having been seriously wounded and carried from the field, the command devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Pease. Other valuable men and officers having also fallen, killed or wounded, and in the mean time the enemy having been re-enforced by an addition of artillery and a large body of infantry, Colonel Haynie withdrew the attacking force a short distance under cover of the hill, and reported the fact.

Approving what had been done, the four regiments thus temporarily united were brought back to my main line and attached to the Second Brigade. Considering the difficulties attending this attack, the nature of the ground, the large addition to the enemy’s repelling force, and the formidable defenses which sheltered him, the brave and steady advance of the assailants may be justly regarded as one of the most brilliant and striking incidents of the four days’ siege, gloriously terminating in the fall of Fort Donelson.

The contest still continuing between my right and the enemy’s left near Dover, Schwartz’s and Taylor’s batteries were advanced beyond the Winn’s Ferry road still nearer the enemy’s works in that direction, and renewed their fire with telling effect both upon his works and his infantry, assailing us from behind them. About 3 o’clock p.m. Dresser’s battery of James rifled pieces opened fire from a new position on the crest of the ridge, between Schwartz’s and Taylor’s batteries and the farm-house before referred to. This fire was experimental, and designed to show whether it would prove effective upon the fort at a long range, which was distinctly seen through a gorge in the intervening hills The experiment was attended with the most complete success. Percussion shells were distinctly seen exploding within the fort, dispersing a considerable body of men observed lining the parapet facing its river front, whose purpose seemed to be to resist an apprehended landing of the gunboats and also another body within the fort on the opposite side. Moreover, considerable injury was inflicted upon the barracks within the fort.

Dresser’s battery failing ammunition, was taken back to await a new supply, and McAllister’s remaining two 24-pounder howitzers were brought up next morning and took its place. From what has been said, it appears unmistakably that another leading feature of the operations of this day was the spirited and masterly artillery fight kept up from day-dawn until night-fall. Seldom has such a fight occurred in the experience of war. On our part it was actively maintained for the meet {p.174} part with light artillery in the face of protected batteries and swarming sharpshooters, who flied from the cover of breastworks and intervening trees and brush-wood. Although signally successful on our part in silencing the enemy’s guns wherever and as often as they opened fire, and in killing and wounding by his own admission many of his officers and men, yet, on the other hand, it cost us a number of valuable lives, among whom was Lieut. Joseph Hanger, who received a mortal wound while gallantly assisting in playing Schwartz’s battery, only some 200 yards from the enemy’s intrenchments.

During the afternoon of the 13th the weather turned intensely cold, a driving north wind bringing a storm of snow and sleet upon the unprotected men of my division. The night set in gloomily, and the mingled rain and snow congealed as they fell, thus painfully adding to the discomfort of a destitution of tents and camp equipage, all of which had been left behind. The scanty rations which the men could carry on leaving Fort Henry were reduced to a small allowance of hard bread and coffee, which were generously shared with comrades whose supply had become exhausted. Being in point-blank range of the enemy’s batteries and sharpshooters, camp fires, inviting shot and shell, were not lighted The pickets of the enemy and those of my own division, drawing near together, disputed the narrow space between the two armies, which rested uneasily upon their arms, chilled and shivering under the infliction of hostile elements. Yet through the weary hours of the long night the brave men of my command bore themselves without complaint and even with enthusiasm. During the same night, incited by despair, the enemy threw up new intrenchments, planted new batteries, comprising all the field pieces which had been in the fort, and in every practicable way strengthened his defenses along my right.

The morning of Friday, the 14th, dawned cold and cheerless upon men already severely tried by hunger, exposure, and long-continued watching and labor, yet rising promptly to the duties of the day. Anticipating the desire of the enemy to preserve an avenue of escape along the river above Dover, I dispatched Captain Stewart and Lieutenant Freeman, of my staff, accompanied by a small detachment of infantry, for a more thorough examination of the ground in that direction. The result of this reconnaissance, together with others made by Colonels Noble’s and Dickey’s cavalry and myself, convinced me that without the re-enforcements I had requested it would be safer and quite as effectual, for the purpose of preventing the escape of the enemy, to rest my right on a creek made impassable by the backwater of the Cumberland as to farther extend my already attenuated line in the face of newly erected batteries and an accumulated mass of the enemy’s infantry to that river, and accordingly I ordered a disposition with a view to that object.

Col. John McArthur’s brigade, consisting of the Ninth, Twelfth, and Forty-first Regiments Illinois Volunteers, coming up a little while before dark, was moved forward in compliance with my order near to the right of my line, and disposed in the order mentioned, in part as a reserve supporting the Eighteenth, and the remaining part so as to extend my line to a point within 400 or 500 yards of the creek. Colonels Noble’s and Dickey’s cavalry, being my only remaining available force, were disposed to the rear and still farther to the right, so as to command this space. After the Third Brigade had taken the position assigned to it a 10-pounder Parrott gun, of Major Cavender’s Missouri Battalion, was brought to the ground, followed by another of the same caliber from the same battalion in the morning. Having been informed by you as {p.175} well as by the shouts of the enemy that the gunboats had been disabled in their attack upon the fort and had fallen back and would require time for repairs, and that all aggressive operations on our part must be avoided, the day passed away without any other important incident than occasional interchanges of shots between the sharpshooters and batteries of the opposing forces. Night followed, again bringing with it intermingled snow and rain, during which a fatigue party, with all the implements at my command, unceasingly labored in throwing up on the crest of the ridge already referred to, near the Winn’s Ferry road, an earthwork for the protection of a battery intended to open fire in the morning. Two of the 20-pounder Missouri Parrott guns and two of McAllister’s 24-pounder howitzers (the third one having been disabled by its own recoil) were placed under cover of this earthwork in the morning. A want of additional implements prevented me from carrying into effect my design to intrench the right of my line.

The morning of the 15th dawned clear and hopeful, and both officers and men, unshaken by another night of intense suffering, stood to their arms, ready for the work of an eventful day. Already three days of skirmishing, cannonading, and mutual assaults had transpired. Already the enemy had dismantled his fort of its field pieces and planted them within range of my right, and at early dawn this morning he was discovered rapidly moving in large masses to my extreme right, all clearly indicating the purpose to open his way for escape by a concentrated and overwhelming attack on that part of my line, or, if successful beyond his expectations, turn my right flank and attack me in reverse.

At the moment of my attack (6 o’clock a.m.) the forces under my command were formed in line of battle as follows: Colonel McArthur’s brigade, consisting of the Forty-first, Twelfth, and Ninth, in the same order, with two 10-pounder Parrott guns, on the extreme right; Colonel Oglesby’s brigade, comprising the Eighteenth, Eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first, next on the left; the Thirtieth, soon after being detached from the line by Colonel Oglesby, was moved to the rear of the Eighth as a reserve; the Eighth and Twenty-ninth, supporting Schwartz’s battery of four guns, posted in their front; Colonel Wallace’s brigade, comprising the Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth, next on the left; McAllister’s two 24-pounder howitzers and a section of the Missouri battery were posted under cover of the earthworks before referred to, in front of the Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth; Taylor’s battery of four 6-pounder and two 12-pounder howitzers was posted in front of the Seventeenth; Dresser’s battery of three James rifled 6-pounders was posted on the extreme left, in front of redan No. 2; Schwartz’s battery of two 6-pounder and two 12-pounder howitzers was posted in front of the Twenty-ninth, on the right; three pieces pointing towards redan No. 3, and one piece disposed to protect the rear.

The Seventeenth Kentucky, Thirty-first Indiana, and Twenty-fifth Kentucky, commanded by Col. Charles Cruft, coming up between 9 and 10 o’clock a.m., was hailed by members of my staff with encouraging words, and formed as a reserve in the rear of the Twenty-ninth, Eighth, and Thirtieth. The Forty-fourth Indiana, Col. H. B. Reed, followed about an hour after, and formed in the rear of the Thirty-first. This re-enforcement was generously brought forward by Colonel Cruft upon his own responsibility, in the absence of General Wallace, his division commander, in compliance with my request, borne by Major Brayman, assistant adjutant-general of my division. In the mean time the Eighteenth, after a protracted struggle of alternating advantages, having {p.176} fallen back for want of ammunition, was succeeded in the place it had occupied by the Thirtieth.

The cavalry attached to my division, consisting of a portion of Colonels Noble’s and Dickey’s regiments and four independent companies of cavalry, respectively commanded by Lieutenant King, Captains Carmichael, Dollins, and O’Harnett, all of which had during the march and investment performed gallant and valuable service, were posted in positions favorable for the pursuit of the enemy if the fate of the day should justify it.

The Third Division, commanded by General L. Wallace, was formed on the left of the First, and the Second Division, commanded by General C. F. Smith, was formed opposite the right of the enemy’s works, and extending towards the river below the fort. As the enemy moved rapidly towards my right a fire was opened by McCallister’s howitzers and the Missouri Parrott guns which was promptly returned from different points along the enemy’s defenses. Skirmishing and the distant firing of sharpshooters were now over, and large masses of the enemy, rushing towards my right, were first met by the Eighteenth and the Ninth and immediately after by the Twelfth, Forty-first, and Eighth, before the enemy had time to deploy into line.

The enemy succeeding with much difficulty in forming a line and obtaining the desired range for his artillery, a fierce struggle ensued. In the course of this struggle two companies of the Twenty-ninth, under command of Lieut. Col. James E. Dunlap, immediately supporting Schwartz’ battery, became detached and also hotly engaged. Several times repulsed, the enemy as often returned to renew the conflict with augmented numbers. When the ground had been strewn with the dead and wounded of both parties, the Ninth, Twelfth, and Forty-first failing ammunition and unsupported by their artillery, which had not been brought into action for want of opportunity, fell back before the pressure of overpowering numbers, and reformed a short distance in the rear.

Having dispatched Lieutenant Carter, of the artillery, about 8 o’clock a.m., to your headquarters to advise you that the battle was raging and to ask for immediate re-enforcements, confirmation of the importance of it was brought by Colonel Oglesby, who reported that Colonel McArthur’s brigade was falling back, exposing the Eighteenth to a flanking fire; that Colonel Lawler was wounded, the batteries closely pressed, his supply of ammunition fast failing, and unless promptly supported the First Brigade must give way. Instructing him to hold his ground as long as possible, I dispatched Lieutenant Jones, of my staff, on the heels of my first messenger, to urge the absolute necessity of prompt and efficient succor. My messengers brought information that you had been called by an exigency to the gunboats upon the river, and that my appeal would be communicated upon your return.

Left uncovered, the Eighteenth and Eighth and Twenty-ninth became the point of concentrated attack, which was directed both against their front and the flank of the Eighteenth. Assailed by a cross-fire from three batteries, comprising ten guns, Schwartz’s battery, under command of Lieutenant Gumbart, replied with 146 rounds, continuing a fire of grape and canister quite two hours. One of his guns being disabled by a shot carrying away the trail of its carriage, its place was promptly supplied by the one in the rear. At this stage of the conflict Lieutenant Gumbart was wounded and carried from-the field. In the mean time the exposure of the Eighteenth had been greatly increased. Hard pressed in front and upon the flank, as already mentioned, and driven to rely upon {p.177} ammunition taken from the dead and wounded to continue a struggle which had been waged for three hours with doubtful success, they were at length forced to yield to superior numbers, and in obedience to orders fell back upon anew position, where they could be supplied with ammunition and food. Emulous of their example, the Thirtieth, under the chivalrous lead of Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis, hastened forward and took their place, instantly changing their line obliquely to the right to shield their flank, and, together with the Eighth and Twenty-ninth, continued the conflict until all of them in turn were forced in like manner to fall back.

During this engagement Colonel Oglesby’s brigade sustained a loss of 336 killed, wounded, and missing, of which the proportion of the Eighth alone was 242. The field was strewn with dead and wounded of both sides. A short time before this I was advised by Colonel Oglesby of a painful casualty. The Twenty-fifth Kentucky, in executing his order to file past the Eighth into position, through mistake fired into a portion of that regiment and into the Twenty-ninth and Schwartz’s battery, causing some disorder.

Schwartz’s battery being left unsupported by the retirement of the Twenty-ninth, the Thirty-first boldly rushed to its defense, and at the same moment received a combined attack of the forces on the right and of others in front, supposed to be led by General Buckner. The danger was imminent and called for a change of disposition adapted to meet it, which Colonel Logan made by forming the right wing of his battalion at an angle with the left. In this order he supported the battery, which continued to play upon the enemy and held him in check until his regiment’s supply of ammunition was entirely exhausted.

Lieut. Col. John H. White, one of the bravest of the brave, and Capt. James H. Williamson, a veteran officer, both of whom had gained enviable distinction in the battle of Belmont, fell in this obstinate and bloody conflict. Many others were also killed and wounded, including Colonel Logan himself and Lieut. Charles H. Capehart, his adjutant, among the latter.

The Thirty-first being left without the means of longer attack or defense, Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom with generous courage brought up the Eleventh, and, taking their place, engaged the enemy, while the Twentieth, Forty-fifth, Forty-eighth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth, in obedience to the order of Colonel Wallace, were advanced and brought into action. Assailed both in front and upon the flank with increased fury and threatened by the enemy’s cavalry hovering in the rear of the right, their peril became extreme. Accordingly, I sent Major Brayman, my assistant adjutant-general, to General L. Wallace, in your absence, a first and second time, advising him of the state of affairs, and requesting him to re-enforce me with fresh troops. Appreciating the exigency, he expressed his willingness to do so, but declined, urging the prohibition of your order requiring him to hold his position until otherwise instructed. Failing in this effort, I hastened Capt. G. P. Edgar to General Smith with the same information, who responded substantially in like manner.

In the mean time, having been advised by Colonel Wallace of the loss of many of his men and the increased exposure and danger of his situation, I instructed him to rely upon himself and maintain his position at all hazards until my request for re-enforcements had been answered. He gallantly did so, repulsing and driving back the enemy in front to their intrenchments. In accomplishing this result the artillery bore a conspicuous part. McAllister’s, Taylor’s, Dresser’s, and Schwartz’s batteries, {p.178} and a section of a battery of Major Cavender’s Missouri battalion, poured a destructive fire upon the enemy’s line while the infantry, and the Twentieth conspicuous among others, boldly led by Colonel Marsh, charged and pursued. At one time McAllister’s battery, while exposed to a cross-fire of artillery, was so closely pressed by the enemy’s infantry as to compel his gunners to fall back. At this critical juncture Colonel Smith, of the Forty-fifth, rushed forward with a detachment of his men, and driving them back, rescued it. The carnage in this part of the field was also very great, particularly in the Eleventh, whose loss in killed, wounded, and missing was 328; while the aggregate of the killed, wounded, and missing of the brigade amounted to 534, including Lieut. Col. William Erwin, of the Twentieth, and Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Smith, of the Forty-eighth, who fell gallantly leading their men to the charge. Lieut. Col. Jasper A. Maltby, of the Forty-fifth, a brave and efficient officer, was also wounded in this engagement.

It was now 11 o’clock, and up to this and a still later hour a gun had not been fired either from the gunboats or from any portion of our line, except that formed by the forces under my command. Availing himself of so favorable an opportunity, the enemy directed the combined attack of nearly all his forces against it; yet even under these untoward circumstances the battle was won by the Second Brigade as against the enemy in their front. Unfortunately, however, this partial victory proved fruitless. In the mean time the enemy on the right, having turned the flank of the Second Brigade, whose ammunition was nearly exhausted, advanced both his infantry and cavalry to attack it in reverse. To avoid this I ordered Colonel Wallace, also Colonel Oglesby, to withdraw their commands, as they might think best, preparatory to a reformation and a resupply of ammunition. In the main this was done in good order; but the order to retire failing to reach Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom, the Eleventh still stood their ground until by the weight of overwhelming numbers, assailing it in front and rear, it too was forced back. Throughout this terrible struggle Colonel Ransom, although seriously wounded, refused to quit the field, adding to his high reputation as an officer by the valor and constancy of his bearing.

Colonel Cruft, commanding the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky and the Thirty-first, and also, as I am unofficially informed, the Forty-fourth Indiana, not having reported to me, I am unable to detail their operations. Of Colonel Cruft, however, it is proper to say that in all our official relations he showed himself an officer of courage and good conduct, promptly responding to my appeal for aid, and entering with spirit and devotion into the work before him; and of all others, whether officers or privates, I would be proud to speak in appropriate praise if the means necessary to enable me to do so had been placed in my possession.

My whole command falling back some 400 yards from the left of their position in the morning, the Second Brigade was reformed in line of battle upon the ground that I had previously selected, at right angles with their first lines. To meet the contingency of the enemy’s approach from the position he had occupied in my rear the First Brigade was disposed in rear of the Second. Here my men were supplied both with ammunition and provisions, which had been brought up for that purpose. Dispatching Captain Stewart, of my staff, and Captain Dollins, of the cavalry, with instructions to reconnoiter the enemy and ascertain his strength and movements, they found a large body of his forces falling back in apparent confusion, their officers vainly endeavoring to bring them to a halt, and reported the fact. From another portion of {p.179} the field indications were observed in the direction of the enemy’s intrenchments of a hostile movement. This was about 1 o’clock p.m. General Wallace, whose division was formed near the ground selected for my second line, filed it to the right, and, guided by Captain Stewart, of my staff, formed a portion of his fresh troops in front of my second line and in close supporting distance of it, resting the left upon a section of Taylor’s battery, which Captain Schwartz, of my staff, had, under my instructions, posted so as to command the road leading back to my former position. The remainder of the battery was placed a short distance in the rear, to guard against a flank approach either from the right or left.

From this position Captain Taylor opened a fire of canister, and was soon after joined by Lieutenant Wood, with a section of Willard’s battery, who also opened a fire in the same direction, and generously renewed Captain Taylor’s failing stock of ammunition. Several of the enemy afterwards found dead some 400 yards above in the road were supposed to have been killed by the fire of these guns.

Col. L. F. Ross, of the Seventeenth, who had been assigned by you to the Third Brigade of my division, came up about this time and took command of it. General Wallace, having formed the line already mentioned, also opened a fire of musketry in the same general direction, which was mainly answered by a fire of artillery from redan No. 2 and of infantry in the thick woods in front and to the left of his line. About the same time Dresser’s battery was advanced under my order upon the same road to a position in front, and opened a fire intended to command the approach to our present position across Indian Creek and to silence the guns of the enemy in that direction. This fire was continued and returned with much spirit for some time. One of the shots from redan No. 2, scathing a tree close to Lieut. Harrison C. Barger, a brave and promising young officer, stunned him by concussion of the air.

While little or no loss was sustained on our part in this second engagement, it served to discourage the enemy and relieve us from any further attack. We rested upon our arms until about 1.30 o’clock p.m., when your arrival gave promise that the general wish to advance would soon be gratified. In reply to my suggestion, urging a simultaneous assault at all points, I was gratified to receive an order to that effect. My command was put in readiness to move while you returned to put the Second Division in motion. Sending Major Mudd, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, to reconnoiter to the right and front, he hastened forward through thick woods and across a field covered with snow in that direction, and, finding a detached body of the enemy, he reported the fact. About the same the Eighth Missouri and Eleventh Indiana came up, and, forming on the right of General Wallace’s line, advanced in the same direction.

Major Brayman, my adjutant, and others, in the mean time reporting the hearing of commands in the thick woods a short distance in front and to the left of Taylor’s battery and the discovery of other hostile indications farther down in the valley of Indian Creek, I ordered Colonel Wallace to form the Second Brigade in line of battle, resting their right upon the battery and their left near Indian Creek. This disposition, being promptly executed, commanded the space between Taylor’s battery and the right of General Smith, and thus protected the left of the second line of battle from flank attack.

While these movements were being executed the sound of General Smith’s musketry was heard, indicating an attack upon redan No 1, in his front. Soon after, Colonel Webster, chief of your staff, came with {p.180} the welcome intelligence that the enemy had retired before the gallant and chivalrous assault of General Smith, and that he was already leading his men into this redan, which he firmly held. Colonel Webster also brought your order to press upon the enemy at all points. General Wallace, reporting through one of his officers that he had met the enemy and was pressing him with success, requested me to send forward five or six regiments to his right for the purpose of re-enforcing him. I immediately ordered forward a corresponding detachment. The vigor of this movement gave evidence of the skill and gallantry of the general commanding and the spirit and courage of his men. At the same time I ordered the Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis, to move forward to the right and near to the road already referred to to support General Wallace’s left, and also ordered Colonel Ross, with the Third Brigade of my division, to advance directly in the same road, the object being to command the space between General Wallace’s left and my former position on the ridge in front of the enemy’s intrenchments. Colonel Ross boldly pushed forward to the point occupied by McAllister’s battery in the morning, retaking the former position of the Second Brigade and throwing forward his skirmishers, who drove straggling parties of the enemy to the cover of his works. The loss of this brigade in killed, wounded, and missing during the siege was 149.

The forces of the enemy engaged by General Wallace had been driven back by his spirited assault, their desultory fire indicating the direction of their flight and sounding the termination of a battle which had continued the greater portion of ten hours.

The field, with its dead and wounded, was now in our possession, and the intrenched position of the enemy again invested, cutting off his hope of escape. While holding the ground thus regained, your order for the withdrawal of the First and Third Divisions to a compact position on the enemy’s left and encamp for the night was received. Night had set in before compliance by my division with this order had transpired.

Early on the morning of the 16th, in obedience to your order of the evening before, I commenced preparations for a renewed attack upon the enemy’s works. While doing so, the welcome intelligence came that he had surrendered at discretion, upon the receipt of which I immediately led my division down to the water battery and the main landing at the fort. In the mean time Captains Stewart and Schwartz, of my staff, had been the first of the Federal arms to enter the town of Dover.

In celebration of our success a national salute was fired by Taylor’s battery and the American flag planted within the fort. Encamping my command near the town of Dover, and in front of my first line of the previous day, it welcomed the opportunity for the repose which its exhaustion and suffering so much required.

Seldom has a contest of such obstinacy and protracted duration occurred. The victory, though complete and signal, cost us a dear and mournful price. Bearing the brunt and burden of the baffle, my division sustained much the greatest loss. Of 8,000 men brought into action 1,519 were found to have been killed, wounded, and missing, making a percentage of nearly every fifth man, the missing in all amounting to only 74. On the other hand, the loss of the enemy engaging my command, admittedly large, was probably much greater. Our trophies corresponded with the magnitude of the victory; 13,300 prisoners, 20,000 stand of small-arms, 60 pieces of cannon, and corresponding proportions of animals, wagons, ordnance, commissary, and quartermaster’s stores {p.181} fell into our hands. In short, an army with all its material of war was lost and won.

It is but just and proper that I should bear testimony to the good conduct of my command, all of whom bore themselves with rare and admirable fortitude, courage, and constancy. Colonels Oglesby and Wallace, of the First and Second Brigades of my division, and Colonel McArthur of the Second [First] Brigade of General Smith’s division, temporarily under my command, occupying positions in near proximity to formidable works and batteries and at the points of assault during the principal conflict, were necessarily greatly exposed, but maintained their ground throughout the struggle, directing and inspiring their men by their skill and courageous example. Colonel Ross, Colonel Haynie, and Colonel Morrison, who were in command of brigades of detached regiments during the various engagements, behaved with great gallantry and good judgment-Maj. John P. Post, of the Eighth, while gallantly breasting the assault of the enemy on the morning of the 15th, was stunned by a spent ball and carried off insensible by the enemy, and has not since been recovered. Colonel Noble, of the Second, and Colonel Dickey, of the Fourth Cavalry, ably sustained by Major Mudd and Lieutenant Colonel McCullough, rendered valuable service. Captains Carmichael, Dollins, O’Harnett, and Lieutenant King, of the cavalry, distinguished themselves for their activity and zeal. After what has been said, it is hardly necessary to add that the artillery performed a material and conspicuous part in the four days’ siege, or to bear testimony to what is already sufficiently obvious-the skill, courage, and efficiency of Captains McAllister, Taylor, Dresser, Lieutenant Gumbart, and the officer (name not reported) commanding a section of Major Cavender’s battalion, and the officers and men under their commands.

Turning from this grateful topic, I am pained to notice a disgraceful occurrence of which Major Mudd was the unhappy victim. After the surrender, while performing an act of kindness at the request of one of two or three countrymen, one of the party dropped behind and shot him in the back, inflicting a severe, but I trust not mortal, wound.

The members of my staff seconded my efforts and carried my orders with courageous zeal. Major Brayman, my assistant adjutant-general, though in feeble health, performed the duties of his office with fidelity, self-possession, and active and daring courage. Captain Schwartz, acting chief of my staff, an able and experienced officer, especially in artillery service, rendered constant and invaluable aid. Captain Stewart, of the Independent Cavalry, by his quick intelligence, sound judgment, and fearless and ceaseless activity in discovering and reporting the enemy’s movements, added to his previous high reputation and obligations already imposed upon me. Maj. H. P. Stearns, chief surgeon of my division, joining me upon the field, devoted himself with characteristic zeal and fidelity to the delicate and trying duties of his position. Lieut. H. C. Freeman, chief engineer, uniting ready professional skill with fearless energy and enterprise, rendered constant and important aid within the sphere of his duties. Lieut. E. S. Jones, ordnance officer, with cheerfulness and alacrity responded to every call made upon his courage and fidelity, both in the camp and on the field, Capt. George P. Edgar, joining me as a volunteer aide on the evening of the 14th, participated with much spirit in the active and exciting scenes of the next day, and laid me under obligations by the prompt and satisfactory discharge of dangerous duty.

I am happy in congratulating you as the respected commander of a victorious army engaged in a just cause, and in believing that no stain {p.182} will be found, no word of reproach or disparagement coupled with the record which shall bear the history of this great event down the stream of time, but that it will endure as an imperishable example of duty bravely, manfully, and nobly performed.

Unavoidable deficiencies of this report will be in part supplied by diagrams accompanying it, illustrating the position and plan of the enemy’s works, the field of battle, and the different formations of the forces under my command during this engagement.*

Yours, respectfully,

JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Brigadier-General, Commanding First Division.

Brig. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding Advance Forces, &c.

* To appear in Atlas.


Return of casualties in the First Division (McClernand’s), at Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 13-15, 1862.*

Commands.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.Remarks.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
First Brigade:
8th Illinois3515179238
18th Illinois251613415211
29th Illinois12435711399
30th Illinois118168694
31st Illinois229610128166
Illinois Light Artillery, Battery A.3Dresser’s.
2d Illinois Light Artillery, Battery E.2215Schwartz’s.
Total First Brigade917523543165816
Second Brigade:
11th Illinois26610173277330
20th Illinois11731056132
45th Illinois231722
48th Illinois17328342
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery B.189Taylor’s.
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery D.22McAllister’s.
Total Second Brigade49319333286537
Third Brigade:
17th Illinois13557681
49th Illinois112343968
Total Third Brigade125810015149
Grand total142935097631661,562

* But see revised list on p. 167.


No. 7.

Report of Col. Richard J. Oglesby, Eighth Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, District of West Tennessee, Fort Donelson, February 20, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that under Field Orders, No. 125, of Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, commanding division, of date February 11, I moved with the First Brigade from Fort Henry in the direction of Fort Donelson at 4 o’clock p.m. and encamped on the Ridge road, 4 miles from Fort Henry, at 8 o’clock p.m. of that day. My forces consisted of the Eighth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Lieut. Col. Frank L. Rhoads; Eighteenth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Col. Michael K. Lawler; Twenty-ninth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Col. James S. Rearden; Thirtieth Illinois Regiment, commanded by Lieut. Col. Elias S. Dennis, and the Thirty-first Illinois Regiment, commanded by Col. John A. Logan; four independent companies of cavalry, commanded by Captains Dollins, Carmichael, O’Harnett, and Lieutenant King; Captain Schwartz’s battery of two 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, commanded by First Lieut. [G.] Conrad Gumbart, and Captain Dresser’s battery of three 6-pounder rifled guns. Early on the morning of the 12th instant Colonel Noble joined the command with two companies of the Second Illinois Cavalry and two companies regular cavalry. He was immediately sent forward with his whole command to reconnoiter to a point within 2 miles of Fort Donelson, using Captains Carmichael and O’Harnett’s cavalry as flankers. The column was put in motion at 8 o’clock a.m., and moved slowly to a point 2 miles from the position of the enemy, at which place, meeting their pickets, Major Mudd went forward with a detachment of the Second Illinois Cavalry and drove them back, while a position was taken by the advance guard to receive them. The general commanding, arriving on the ground, ordered the column to move to the right of the Ridge road, through some old fields, to the main road leading from the Big Sandy Creek to Dover.

Ascending the high wood ridge overlooking the fields to our left and rear and within 1 mile of the main fort and about 2 1/2 miles from Dover, which lies 1 mile above the fort on the Cumberland River, a large body of cavalry, under Colonel Forrest, threatened my right, and prepared to attack the head of the column. They were held in check for five minutes, until I could bring forward the grand guard, under Major Bacon, of the Thirtieth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, which was thrown across the slope of the ridge descending into the valley, leading directly into the camp of the enemy. At the same time the right wing of the Eighth Regiment, in column of platoon, took position as a reserve to the grand guard, with Captain O’Harnett’s cavalry, holding the high ridge to our right, and Colonel Noble’s cavalry in front, ready to retire through the intervals on the right wing of the Eighth Regiment, should it become necessary to do so. The Eighteenth was formed in column of companies at the foot of the hill, and the rest of the column held position as in the line of march. Instantly the attack began and was steadily resisted by the grand guard for ten minutes, when the enemy again gave back, and Major Bacon held the right unbroken.

Finding no chance to break the lines of the guard, they now in large force attempted to gain the rear of it. I ordered Colonel Noble to retire his cavalry through the Eighth Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Rhoads {p.184} wheeling into line, the right wing checked their advance by a vigorous fire, until Lieutenant Gumbart, arriving at the point, sent a shell into them, when they fled in confusion from the field. The way was now open for another advance. The general commanding ordered the left wing forward on the high ridge in front of the fort, halting to reconnoiter to the right towards the main road leading from Paris to Dover, and, as I was informed, to bring up the Second Brigade. I ordered Lieutenant Gumbart to take forward one howitzer and throw some shell into the line of the enemy across the main road leading to the Cumberland. The range being too long for the shells, Captain Dresser brought forward a rifled 6-pounder, and in a few shots broke up their lines and drove them from their tents.

Having received orders to move the brigade forward in the direction of the lines of the enemy, I deployed the Eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Regiments into line of battle, and moved slowly forward a half a mile, at the same time sending the Eighteenth Regiment to the right, over the high ridge, to the Paris road, and at sunset, by a flank movement, moved the rest of the brigade over the ridge to the Paris road, thus occupying the last main outlet from Fort Donelson and the town of Dover by night-fall. Upon going forward to the right I found Colonel Lawler, in his anxiety to push forward, had moved the Eighteenth Regiment under the range of a four-gun battery in the main redoubt in front of Fort Donelson. In attempting to draw my line back an unfortunate discharge of musketry into-the ranks of the Twenty-ninth Regiment killed and wounded several men of that regiment. Permission was given to Colonel Rearden to move the Twenty-ninth to the left of the brigade for the night to dispose of his wounded men. Early next morning the regiment returned to its position in line, and was stationed in rear of the Eighth as a reserve for the day.

Early on the morning of the 13th I ordered Captain Dresser to bring forward his battery and take position in front of the main redoubt of the enemy. In twenty minutes the four guns of this redoubt were silenced by him. During the day this battery was moved forward along the line as the column advanced to the right, and in every instance was most effective in silencing the guns of the enemy. Captain Dresser is entitled to much praise for his cool and discreet bearing during the entire action. Lieutenant Barger and the men at the guns did most excellent service. The ammunition of the battery was exhausted on the 13th. On the 14th it was supplied with 120 rounds of shot and shell. On the 15th instant this battery was on my extreme left, under the special orders of the general commanding. Early on the day of the 13th the brigade moved to the right, immediately under the fire of the artillery and sharpshooters of the enemy, one-half mile nearer Dover, on the Paris road, and again, later in the day, a half mile farther, to a point, in one instance, within 100 yards of their line of earthworks. Later in the afternoon, however, at the suggestion of the general commanding, to guard my rear and prevent a surprise in that direction, I drew the forces back onto the next and higher ridge, about 250 yards from their line, and encamped for the night, with the Eighteenth Regiment on the right, still preserving the original order of battle, excepting that Lieutenant Gumbart, commanding Schwartz’s light battery, was posted between the Eighth and Twenty-ninth Regiments.

I will not omit the highly creditable part borne by Lieutenant Gumbart with his battery. During the march on the 13th instant, in the afternoon, whilst taking a new position, Lieut. Joseph Hanger was severely, if not mortally, wounded by a ball from one of the sharpshooters {p.185} of the enemy at a distance of 500 yards, while directing one of his guns. Both officers and men seemed unconscious of danger. In the midst of a heated artillery contest of one hour, having obtained the consent of Col. William H. L. Wallace to bring up a section of Captain Taylor’s battery to this place, both batteries entered into the contest with surprising vigor, and soon the enemy’s lines were cleared and their guns silenced. I leave the conduct of Captain Taylor’s battery to the notice of Colonel Wallace, who observed them while engaged.

The whole front of my line was covered with skirmishers during the night of the 13th, and the men again stood to arms all night under one of the most persecuting snow-storms ever known in this country, without fires and without reliefs. During the night, in passing from the right of the Eighteenth, under Col. M. K. Lawler, to the left of the Thirty-first, under Col. John A. Logan, there was one universal wish to meet the enemy, to carry the fort, and to end the sufferings of the men.

On the morning of the 14th the sun rose upon our forces, who were nearly torpid from the intense cold of the night. Receiving an order from the general commanding to remain quiet in camp and not attack the enemy until Brigadier-General Grant had communicated with the gunboats, most of the men made coffee. All other rations were exhausted. During the day the brigade had nothing to eat, the wagons not having yet come up with the three days’ additional rations, and did not arrive until the afternoon of the 15th instant. During the afternoon of the 14th I moved the brigade the distance of 100 yards to the right, near an open field, in full view of the lines of the enemy. All night long we could hear them felling trees and using picks and shovels to strengthen their defenses.

At this time my right was a half mile from Dover and about 400 yards from the backwater of a small creek, rendering their escape impossible except through this narrow opening of 300 to 400 yards. Colonels Noble’s and Dickey’s cavalry reported to me early this morning, and soon made a thorough reconnaissance around the left of the enemy and nearly into Dover. As I have no official reports from these forces, I am not able to state what particular companies did this labor. It was very hazardous, and opened the way quite to the river. On the ridge of this old field I was anxious to plant a battery, but could not safely remove Lieutenant Gumbart, who was holding one of the three principal roads leading into Dover from the back country through my lines, on one of which was posted the Eighteenth and on the other two the Eighth and Twenty-ninth Regiments. During the afternoon I posted the Thirtieth Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis, 50 yards in the rear of the Eighth Regiment, as a reserve, for the night, the brushy and broken character of the ground forbidding any greater distance with security. The Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first held the ground from the main Paris road into Dover, reaching along the ridge of the hills to Colonel Wallace’s right. Thus we stood to arms again for the night. Scarcely a man slept. By this time the enemy had opportunity to measure the strength and disposition of my forces on his left. In reply to my request for forces to strengthen my reserve, the general sent Colonel McArthur, with the Ninth, Twelfth, and Forty-first Regiments, but without artillery.

Saturday morning, the 15th instant, at fifteen minutes before 6 o’clock, the enemy dared to pass out of his trenches for the first time in a desperate effort to turn our right and escape into the country. By 6 o’clock the whole brigade was in line and ready for the action. Going to my extreme right, where the attack was made by their infantry, I found {p.186} that Colonel McArthur had thrown forward the Ninth Regiment on my line of battle, which was now hotly engaged. Going out into the open field, I found the Forty-first, under Col. Isaac C. Pugh, in line, but some distance from the right of the Ninth, with two companies of skirmishers under Lieut. Col. Ansel Tupper, still farther to the right, and covering the entire ground by which the enemy could escape. These two companies were also then engaged. From the large force of infantry and cavalry moving in front of their line it was obvious the contest was to be upon our right, and in less than twenty minutes their skirmishers, entering the almost impenetrable underbrush and thick woods, followed closely by their main body, moved against the Eighteenth and Eighth Regiments. Lieutenant Gumbart used two pieces of his battery with energy until severely wounded and carried from the field.

The enemy did not spare their grape and canister, and occasionally sent a shell or round shot from the six or eight guns bearing on our lines. The Twenty-ninth soon became generally engaged. Two companies detached on the left of the Eighth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlap, were engaged with the Eighth Regiment. The fire upon our lines continued with unabated fury for an hour longer, when I learned that Colonel McArthur had withdrawn his brigade to take position below the old field. Finding my right uncovered, I sent Captain Brush, now commanding the Eighteenth Regiment-Col. M. K. Lawler having been wounded in the left arm and compelled to leave the field-to the right, so as to bring the Thirtieth Regiment into line on the left of the Eighteenth. In carrying out this order Captain Brush was also wounded. The regiment, by this time having by a steady and unflinching fire nearly exhausted their ammunition, retired as the Thirtieth came into line, leaving 44 dead on the ground and 170 wounded. Continuing to hold my position for still another hour under their galling fire I was tempted to use the bayonet, but the risk of breaking my lines in an effort to go through the thick brush, when the result under the most favorable circumstances could only be to drive them into their lines and expose my command to a raking fire of artillery and musketry upon emerging in broken files from the thick woods, determined me to hold my line to the last.

At this moment Col. F. L. Rhoads reported to me that the cartridge-boxes were nearly empty. I told him to hold his position until re-enforcements came up, when I would move his regiment off the ground for ammunition. In a few moments the Twenty-fifth Kentucky came in sight, commanded by Col. J. M. Shackelford. I led the colonel to his position, and ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Rhoads to show him how to file past the Eighth Regiment as it moved off the ground. From some unaccountable cause the left wing of the Twenty-fifth fired, and, some of the balls taking effect in the Eighth and Twenty-ninth Regiments, threw the men into confusion, when they with the Thirtieth Regiment retired from the ground. I saw no more of the Twenty-fifth-Kentucky. The Thirtieth Regiment left on the ground 19 killed and 71 wounded; the Twenty-ninth left 25 killed and 60 wounded; the Eighth left 55 killed and 188 wounded. Most of the wounded were taken off the field. A few men, with Major Post, of the Eighth, who was also badly wounded, were taken prisoners. Three pieces of Lieutenant Gumbart’s battery fell into the hands of the enemy. They could have been brought off, but 23 horses had been killed or disabled.

At the moment my line was broken the fire of the enemy had materially slackened, and twice before they had been driven back. The enemy skulked behind every hiding place, and sought refuge in the oak {p.187} leaves, between which and their uniforms there was so strong a resemblance, our men were continually deceived by them. Turning to the Thirty-first, which yet held its place in line, I ordered Colonel Logan to throw back his right, so as to form a crochet on the right of the Eleventh Illinois. In this way Colonel Logan held in check the advancing foe for some time under a most destructive fire, whilst I endeavored to assist Colonel Cruft with his brigade in finding a position on the right of the Thirty-first. It was now four hours since the fighting began in the morning. The cartridge-boxes of the Thirty-first were nearly empty. The colonel had been severely wounded, and the lieutenant-Colonel, John H. White, had, with some 30 others, fallen dead on the field, and a large number wounded. In this condition Colonel Logan brought off the remainder of his regiment in good order. At the suggestion of Colonel Logan, as he left the ground, the Eleventh Illinois, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom, of Col. W. H. L. Wallace’s brigade, changed front to the rear upon the ground just occupied by Colonel Logan, and held this position for half an hour under a heavy fire from the enemy.

Reporting to the general commanding the state of affairs, he ordered me to reform the brigade on the left of the division. In two hours the whole brigade was reformed, and having received a new supply of ammunition, awaited orders to march onto the field again. Night coming on, the troops went into camp, three regiments near the hospital, in good order, and the Eighth and Eighteenth on the high ridge in front of the main redoubt. Some of the regiments sent details to bury the dead and take care of the wounded, but Captain Lieb, of the Eighth Illinois, who had the party in charge, was unable to reach the ground, the pickets of the enemy still holding it.

Sunday morning, the 16th instant, the brigade, in common with the whole army, marched into the fort. Feeling a just pride at the honorable part they had borne in its reduction and surrender, I cannot venture to mention the special deeds of daring where all bore so noble a part, nor do I know that any praises of mine can add to the feeling, strong with officers and men,that all was done that could be to uphold the honor of our flag and punish traitors for their treason. I was ably sustained by the colonels commanding regiments, no order being given during the action but was faithfully and cheerfully executed, and I share with them freely whatever of credit may be given to our whole command. Dr. Silas T. Trowbridge, acting brigade surgeon, and Dr. J. M. Phipps, assistant surgeon to the Eighth Regiment, acting as my aides until the wounded demanded their attention, are entitled to much credit for their good services in both capacities. Captain Dollins, volunteer aide-de-camp; Henry N. Pearse, acting brigade quartermaster and aide, and William C. Clark, acting assistant adjutant-general, behaved with much coolness, together with Privates James M. Baxter, E. M. Gard, James Slatton, and Jacob Swafford, orderlies, from Captain Dollins’ cavalry, who bore my orders in the hottest of the fight with promptness and courage.

I transmit you copies of the reports of the different colonels commanding and of Captain Dresser, and ask your attention to the names favorably mentioned in them. I also send list of the killed and wounded.*

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. J. OGLESBY, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.

Maj. M. BRAYMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 8.

Report of Lieut. Col. Frank L. Rhoads, Eighth Illinois Infantry.

HDQRS. EIGHTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

I have the honor to report the part taken by the Eighth Regiment in the siege and reduction of Fort Donelson from the 12th to the 16th instant.

Col. R. J. Oglesby having been assigned to the command of the First Brigade of the First Division of the District of Cairo, I took command of the Eighth Regiment. On the 12th instant, at noon, marching on the right of the brigade, I received an order to deploy into line of battle on the right of the road leading into Fort Donelson. Skirmishers were sent forward, but the enemy retiring, the column was again formed and the line of march taken up in the direction of the Paris and Fort Donelson road. Passing over some open fields, the right of the column took position on the ridge in front of the fort. The grand guard was thrown forward and met a body of cavalry for a few moments. The right wing of the regiment was formed in column of platoon in face of a large body of the enemy’s cavalry. The Second Illinois Cavalry passed through the intervals, and the right wing of the Eighth delivered its fire upon the enemy and dispersed them. Later in the day an order was received to move forward in line of battle through an open field out by the main road leading to the main fort of the enemy. At this point the Eighteenth Regiment was sent to my right over a high ridge. About dark of the same day I also received an order to move by the right flank over the same ridge into the Paris road. The regiment encamped on this ridge for the night and slept on their arms.

On the morning of the 13th the line of march was taken up in front of the main redoubt of the enemy and within 500 yards of his batteries. The regiment filed past Captain Dresser’s light battery under a heavy fire of artillery, and took a new position at noon about 1 mile from the Cumberland River, in the direction of Dover. Two companies (C and A) were detached to sustain Lieutenant Gumbart’s light battery and one section of Captain Taylor’s, engaging the enemy in a hot artillery contest of two hour’s duration. At this point, later in the afternoon, the colonel commanding gave the order to prepare to assault the long line of intrenchments on our right and front. By the time the necessary instructions were given to carry this order into effect it was countermanded. The next order to move brought the right of the Eighth Regiment within 100 yards of the enemy’s line. Just before dark the line was changed, and the regiment stood to arms all night 200 yards from their intrenchments. The night was intensely cold, and the snow fell full 3 inches deep. Skirmishing was kept up all night. The men were relieved at daylight an hour for breakfast, but only coffee could be obtained. The regiment remained all day on the ground and stood to arms most of the time.

At daylight on the morning of the 15th heavy firing indicated an attack upon our lines. I immediately formed the regiment on the line of battle previously fixed by the colonel commanding, and by 6 o’clock the right of the Eighth had fired a few shots. I sent some skirmishers in advance over the brow of the elevation to annoy the enemy, as well as to give me information of his force and movements. The skirmishers soon reported the enemy approaching in force, and soon the battle became general from the right of the brigade to the left of the Eighth Regiment. {p.189} The enemy was in strong force, and repeatedly attempted to break the line or turn my right. He was as often baffled and repulsed by the steady and unflinching fire of the whole regiment, which stood like a line of adamant before the stealthy and stubborn advance of the enemy. We were enfiladed at turns by a battery on the left, which never ceased to pour grape and canister into our ranks for three hours. The fire was murderous, as the long list of the dead and wounded sadly shows. My order was to hold the height of the ridge, and not to yield an inch. It was done, but at the cost of 54 killed and 186 wounded (many mortally) of 613 officers and men engaged in the battle.

Finding the ammunition in the cartridge-boxes nearly exhausted, I so reported to Colonel Oglesby, and was informed a re-enforcement was at hand. Soon the Twenty-fifth Kentucky Regiment appeared with flags flying, as previously ordered by Colonel Oglesby. I attempted to march the Eighth from its position to go for ammunition and give place to the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, but at this moment, from some unaccountable cause, the Eighth was fired into by the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, which alarmed the men. The Twenty-fifth Kentucky fell into utter confusion, and I was obliged to retire from our favorite position in some confusion. Receiving the order to reform the regiment again on the left of the division I did so, and, having received a supply of ammunition, was ordered to take position in the line of battle, where the regiment remained for the night. Sunday morning I led the regiment, full of pride, into the fort, in common with the whole army.

Where all fought so nobly, so sacrificingly; where all stood by our noble flag to the last, it is hard to say who has most honor. I was sustained all the time by Major Post on the left until he fell wounded. Lieut. Joseph G. Howell, acting adjutant, fell dead in the latter part of the battle, after rendering me efficient aid, bearing an order from Colonel Oglesby to myself. He was a noble and gallant officer. Capt. Robert Wilson was dangerously wounded in the action, whose loss I severely felt. Capt. Joseph M. Hanna (color company) next fell, dangerously if not mortally wounded, cheering his men to die by their colors. Lieutenant Marsh, Company B, and Lieut. H. A. Sheetz (color company), both fell dead at their posts, examples of true valor. Lieut. John M. Lowry was severely wounded, but did not leave the field. Lieutenants Monroe and Dennison were slightly wounded, but did not leave the field. Capt. James M. Ashmore being absent sick, Captain Harvey was on duty as senior captain, and is entitled to much praise for his cool bearing.

Accompanying please find a list of killed and wounded.*

[F. L. RHOADS,] Lieutenant-Colonel.

WILLIAM C. CLARK, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 9.

Report of Capt. Samuel B. Marks, Eighteenth Illinois Infantry.

FORT DONELSON, February 22, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with Order No. - I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Eighteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers in the recent engagement at this place.


On the night of the 12th instant, being the right of your brigade, we camped upon a hill in front of the enemy’s batteries, about 300 yards distant. After forming a line of battle, we sent out a portion of two companies to deploy as skirmishers to the front, who approached the enemy’s pickets and fired upon them, killing 2 men and wounding 4 and driving them in in disorder. The regiment was then ordered back by you a short distance to a point less exposed to the enemy’s batteries, where it remained on arms during the night without fires. On the morning of the 13th instant we were advanced to the right and in line with the enemy’s breastworks for a short distance. During the day frequent skirmishes took place between our scouts and those of the enemy. In the afternoon, in compliance with your order, we advanced over the hill, and within 200 yards of the enemy’s breastworks. Here we were fired upon, killing 1 of our men and wounding 4. We then (with a view of storming their batteries) advanced to within about 50 yards of their intrenchments, where we remained under cover of the bushes during the remainder of the evening. A movement against them at that time being deemed impracticable by you, we retired to our position of the morning. The men remained with arms in their hands during the night; the extreme cold and snow forbade their lying down.

On the following day nothing of importance occurred, save a few occasional skirmishes with the enemy. The succeeding night, being inclement and cold, was spent as the preceding one. On the morning of the 15th we were aroused about daybreak by a rapid and heavy firing upon our right and front. The regiment was speedily formed into line, and in a very few minutes we received the fire of the enemy, and the engagement became general along the right wing. It soon became apparent that the enemy were forcing back the regiments upon our right, as they approached us diagonally, their line forming an angle of about 20 degrees with ours. The enemy, so far as we were able to distinguish through the brush, appeared to approach in columns six or eight files deep, adopting a mode similar to that of street fighting, firing and falling back. So rapid was their firing, it was almost impossible to distinguish an interval. Our men stood their ground well, conducting themselves with remarkable coolness and bravery. Early in the engagement Colonel Lawler was severely wounded in the arm, but did not retire from the field. Captain Brush, acting lieutenant-colonel, was in charge of the right wing, and myself, acting as major, that of the left.

Towards the close of the engagement an order was given on the right to march by the right flank, for the purpose of extending our lines in that direction. This order was unfortunately unheard on the left, and in consequence our regiment was divided-the greater portion being with the right wing; but the enemy poured in in such overwhelming numbers and with such rapidity, that both wings were speedily flanked by them and almost surrounded. The majority of our men had exhausted their ammunition and further resistance seemed useless. It was deemed prudent to retire. Both wings fell back in good order, and reformed in the valley to the rear. We then marched some distance to the left and in rear of our lines, when we were furnished with ammunition, and again joined the Eighth Regiment of your brigade, and were posted on a hill in front of one of the enemy’s redoubts, and spent another sleepless night upon our arms. In the morning we were preparing to storm their batteries, when they exhibited the white flag, thus ending one of the severest contests ever fought upon the American continent.

I might mention here that Captain Brush was severely wounded during the latter part of the engagement, leaving the entire responsibility {p.191} of the command resting upon me. Of the officers connected with this command I cannot speak in too high terms of commendation. They, with one or two exceptions, conducted themselves with remarkable coolness and intrepidity. Colonel Lawler, although severely wounded, remained on the ground until the regiment had all retired, exhibiting throughout the trying scene a perfect coolness and self-possession.*

Permit me here to congratulate you, sir, upon the skillful and satisfactory manner in which you conducted your command.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. B. MARKS, Captain, Commanding Eighteenth Illinois Regiment.

Col. RICHARD J. OGLESBY, Commanding First Brigade.

* List of casualties shows 53 killed, 158 wounded, and 18 missing.


No. 10.

Report of Cap& Jasper M. Dresser, Battery A, Illinois Light Artillery.

FORT DONELSON, February 19, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to hand you herewith a report of the operations of my battery during the battle before Fort Donelson on the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th instant:

We arrived before Fort Donelson on the 12th instant, and were ordered by you to the front with one gun, with which we opened fire upon the enemy’s camp at a distance of three-quarters of a mile. We expended in this fire 21 shells under your direction. The result was to disperse a body of infantry which was drawn up in line of battle and to compel the enemy to strike their tents in that camp. During the remainder of the day we followed the movements of your brigade. That night we lay in the woods with our teams hitched up and the men with their equipments on. The next day, the 13th, we again moved forward under your direction, taking a position opposite to a four-gun battery, which we engaged and silenced in fifteen minutes. We were again ordered forward, when we became engaged with a battery of two guns, which was compelled to leave the field in ten minutes. We again limbered up and moved forward to position where the batteries of Captains Schwartz and Taylor were engaged with a battery of the enemy. By our united efforts this battery was silenced when we had expended but five rounds with each gun. The balance of the day we were engaged in shelling the enemy’s camp, with what result I am unable to say. This day we exhausted our ammunition. On the 14th we were not engaged. We, however, received a supply of 120 rounds in the following proportions: 75 shells, 30 solid shot, and 15 canister.

On the morning of the 15th we received orders from General McClernand to report at the place we first opened upon the enemy’s battery on the morning of the 13th, and engaged a battery which had been planted during the night opposite to that position. This we did under the fire of three different batteries. We succeeded, after a desperate resistance, in forcing the enemy to withdraw their batteries and leave us masters of the field. We were then ordered back to our camp and to hold ourselves in readiness to move forward. About 3 o’clock we were ordered to the position which we occupied in the morning. We {p.192} engaged the batteries which had been replaced, and in ten minutes had expended our last shot, when I ordered my men to limber to the rear. We retired under a galling fire of grape and canister.

In this short engagement Harman Greathouse was wounded in the hand by a piece of shell and Nicholas Myers was struck by a spent grape. Sergeant Harding, while pointing his gun, was severely injured by the bursting of a shell within a few inches of his head. The concussion injured his brain, and he now lies in the hospital in a critical condition.

I cannot too highly praise the coolness of my little band while under the enemy’s fire. Second Lieut. H. C. Barger, the only commissioned officer with me displayed great coolness and daring, and was always to be found at his post, doing his duty as a faithful officer and brave man.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, dear colonel, your most obedient servant,

JASPER M. DRESSER, Captain Artillery Company A, First Brigade.

Col. RICHARD J. OGLESBY, Commanding First Brigade.


No. 11.

Report of Col. William H. L. Wallace, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, U. S. Advance Forces, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 17, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade from the time of leaving Fort Henry, on the 11th instant, up to the 16th instant, when the Federal forces entered this fortification.

My brigade, as formed by order of General U. S. Grant, commanding the District of Cairo, consisted of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, Lieut. Col. T. E. G. Ransom commanding; the Twentieth Illinois Infantry, Col. C. C. Marsh commanding; the Forty-fifth Illinois Infantry, Col. John E. Smith commanding; the Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry, Col. I.

N. Haynie commanding; the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Col. T. Lyle Dickey commanding; Capt. Ezra Taylor’s Chicago Light Battery B, First Illinois Artillery, four 6-pounder field guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, and Capt. E. McAllister’s battery of three 24-pounder howitzers, First Illinois Artillery-the whole constituting the Second Brigade of the First Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, and containing about 3,400 effective men of all arms.

About noon of the 11th instant, while in camp at Fort Henry, I received orders from General McClernand to put the infantry and artillery of my brigade on the march, and move out 3 or 4 miles on the Telegraph road towards this place. At 4 o’clock p.m. the forces designated marched out and encamped on the road 4 miles from Fort Henry. At sunrise on the next day (the 12th instant) I was joined by Colonel Dickey’s cavalry, and marched with my whole command by the Telegraph road towards Fort Donelson, keeping up frequent communication with Colonel Oglesby’s First Brigade, which was moving at the same time by the Ridge road, Colonel Dickey’s cavalry thoroughly {p.193} reconnoitering the country as the column marched. Soon after noon I came in sight of the enemy’s encampments on the opposite side of a creek about a mile in advance. Having caused the roads to be reconnoitered, and finding the creek impassable on account of backwater from the Cumberland, I moved to the right up the creek, and effected a junction with Colonel Oglesby’s brigade in the low grounds west of Fort Donelson, where heavy wooded hills intervened between us and the enemy’s position. Colonel Dickey’s cavalry was again thrown forward, and occupied the heights and thoroughly scouted and reconnoitered the ground in front. Colonel Oglesby’s brigade moved up the Paris road to the south of Fort Donelson, while I threw my brigade by its front onto the heights, dragging the artillery up the steep, wooded hills.

After further reconnoitering, the brigade advanced and occupied a ridge south of the center of the enemy’s fortifications, with its right resting on the left of Colonel Oglesby’s brigade. Some slight skirmishing occurred here, and after resting in this position for an hour or more and further reconnoitering, in accordance with orders from General McClernand I moved the brigade by the right flank, following Colonel Oglesby’s brigade across the valley towards the left of the enemy’s position. By this time it was dark, and Colonel Oglesby’s right becoming involved in ground which had not been reconnoitered, and which was very hilly and covered with a dense growth of underbrush, I was ordered by the general commanding the division to return to the position on the west of the valley, which I did, moving by the left flank, where my brigade rested for the night.

At daylight on the morning of the 13th the enemy opened fire with his artillery from the middle redoubt. Soon afterwards, by order of General McClernand, I marched the Eleventh, Twentieth, and Forty-fifth Regiments, and Taylor’s battery to the right across the valley, leaving McAllister’s battery, supported by the Forty-eighth Illinois, on the ridge west of the valley, and ordered Colonel Dickey’s cavalry to move in rear with detachments thrown toward the right to reconnoiter toward the Cumberland and Dover. Reaching the high grounds east of the valley, Taylor’s battery was put in position on the road leading up to Dover, where the left of the enemy’s line rested behind earthworks and intrenchments, strengthened by strong abatis in front. The whole force continued to move steadily to the right, Colonel Oglesby’s brigade leading, the artillery of his brigade and Taylor’s battery moving on the road, while the infantry was in rear of and near-to the road. Along this road the artillery advanced, taking successive positions to the right, and keeping up a constant cannonade on the enemy’s works on the right and in the middle redoubt across the valley. The open space afforded a fine opportunity for artillery practice at long range, and the fire of Taylor’s, Schwartz’s, and Dresser’s guns, warmly returned by those of the enemy in the middle redoubt and the works on his left, presented a rare example of the use of that arm of the service.

About noon I was ordered by General McClernand to detach the Forty-eighth Regiment (Colonel Haynie) to operate with the Seventeenth Illinois (Major Smith commanding) and the Forty-ninth Illinois (Colonel Morrison), of the Third Brigade, in making an assault on the enemy’s middle redoubt on the hill west of the valley, supported by the fire of McAllister’s guns. This force was under command of Colonel Haynie as senior colonel. They formed in line and advanced in fine order across the intervening ravines, and mounted the steep height on which these works are situated in the most gallant manner, and under {p.194} a heavy fire of musketry from the enemy posted in the line of earthworks. They advanced up the hill, delivering their fire with coolness and precision. The line not being long enough to envelop the works, by order of General McClernand I detached the Forty-fifth Illinois (Colonel Smith) to their support on the right. This regiment advanced in beautiful order down the slope across the valley, and up the opposite steep, with skirmishers deployed in front, and were soon warmly engaged.

These operations had given the enemy time to re-enforce this position with strong bodies of infantry from his reserves in rear and field artillery, which opened a destructive fire on the advancing line. The roll of musketry showed the enemy in powerful force behind his earthworks. Notwithstanding, our forces charged gallantly up the heights to the very foot of the works, which were rendered impassable by the sharp and strong points of brush-wood in which it was built. All the regiments engaged in this daring attempt suffered more or less from the enemy’s fire. In the mean time the enemy began to show himself in strength in his intrenchments in front of Colonel Oglesby’s brigade. Schwartz’s battery was advanced along the road to within 300 yards of the works, but being without canister, they were withdrawn, and by General McClernand’s order I directed Captain Taylor to throw forward two sections of his battery to that position. The position being beyond the right of my line, the infantry support was to be furnished from Colonel Oglesby’s brigade, which was immediately in the rear. These sections took their positions under a most galling fire of rifles and musketry from the enemy’s lines. The ground was covered with brush, and some time was required to put the guns in position, and during this time the enemy’s fire was very galling, and Taylor’s men suffered somewhat from its effects. As soon as his position was gained, however, the rapid and well-directed fire of the sections soon silenced the enemy. The coolness and daring of the officers and men of these sections, directed by Captain Taylor in person, are worthy of high praise. The Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth Regiments having been ordered to return from the hill where they had so gallantly assaulted the enemy’s works, the Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth resumed their position in my line, and Colonel Morrison, commanding the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth, having been wounded in this assault, those regiments were temporarily attached to my brigade, and acted under my orders during the subsequent operations until noon of the 15th.

The night of the 13th was one of great suffering and hardship to the whole command. We lay within point-blank musket and rifle range of the enemy’s breastworks, and at dark a storm of rain, soon turning to snow and accompanied by severe blasts, beat upon our unprotected ranks. The pickets of the enemy were out in strong force, and a constant firing between their pickets and our own was kept up during the night. The spirits of the men, animated and encouraged by the conduct of the officers, never flagged, notwithstanding they were without tents or fires and exposed to the fierce storm and assailed by the enemy’s shot. During the night it was evident the enemy was receiving large re-enforcements, and when morning broke on the 14th it showed that they had been busy during the night in erecting new works in commanding positions and mounting them with guns. McAllister’s battery was ordered from the other side of the valley and put into position on the road. During this day my brigade occupied a position a little in the rear of the road and under cover of the brow of the hill {p.195} the right resting on the left of Colonel Oglesby’s line, and being within 300 or 400 yards of the salient angle of the enemy’s works on his left. We lay in this position most of the day, the order of the regiments from right to left being as follows: Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth. Taylor’s battery was posted at the interval between the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth, and McAllister’s guns were distributed along the front. Dickey’s cavalry were in rear and to the right, to observe the enemy and guard the flank. Under instructions from General McClernand I commenced the construction of a small earthwork on the road to cover three or four guns. Mr. Tresilian, of the Forty-ninth Regiment, had charge of the work, which was completed during the night, and two of McAllister’s guns and a 10-pounder rifled gun of the First Missouri Artillery were placed in it the next morning. During the whole of the 14th a rambling and irregular fire of sharpshooters was kept up, varied by occasional discharges of artillery. The enemy’s shells and round shot fell at times thickly within my lines, but casualties were few.

At daybreak on the morning of the 15th the enemy threw a heavy force of infantry and cavalry, supported by field artillery and his batteries within the works of his intrenchments, and commenced a vigorous assault on the right flank of the whole line. This attack was commenced and continued with great spirit, and gradually drove back our extreme right. About 7 o’clock a.m. the Eleventh and Twentieth Illinois, on my right, became engaged with a heavy force of the enemy’s infantry. They charged up the hill and gained the road in front of my position, but the moment the rebel flag appeared above the crest of the hill a storm of shot from the Eleventh and Twentieth drove them back in confusion. Again a new and fresh line of infantry appeared, and I ordered the whole line, except the Seventeenth and the left wing of the Forty-ninth, to advance and occupy the hill. The Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-eighth, and Forty-fifth, with a portion of the Forty-ninth, advanced boldly and in fine order to the brow of the hill, where they were exposed uncovered not only to the fire of the enemy’s infantry, but to a raking fire from one of the enemy’s batteries of artillery across the valley. They opened their fire, supported by Taylor’s battery and two of McAllister’s guns (one having been disabled by a shot from the enemy’s cannon), and for some time the conflict was strong and fierce; but at length the strong masses of the enemy’s infantry gave way before the steady, well-directed, and continued fire of the right of my line. They fell back, however, only to give place to another line of fresh troops who advanced to their support, and who were also compelled, by the steady, unflinching valor of our men, to give way.

In the mean time there were indications that the enemy were gaining some advantages on the right of the whole line. Re-enforcements, consisting of Kentucky and Indiana troops, had been sent forward past my position to support the right, but notwithstanding this it became evident to me from the sounds and from the direction of the enemy’s shot, which began to rake my line from the rear of my right, that the right of the line was giving way. My orders being peremptory to hold that portion of the line occupied by my brigade to the last extremity, I sent one of my aides to General McClernand, with information of the state of affairs, and to express my fears that my right flank would be completely turned unless re-enforcements should be speedily sent to that quarter. Finding that no re-enforcements were within reach, and General McClernand having left me discretion to withdraw if I found my position untenable, {p.196} and seeing that the enemy steadily advanced on my right flank and was speedily gaining my rear, and many of the corps having exhausted their ammunition, I gave orders to move the whole brigade to the rear up the road, with a view of forming a new line of battle. Before this order was given all the troops on the right of my brigade had fallen back except the Thirty-first Illinois, Col. John A. Logan, who occupied the left of Colonel Oglesby’s brigade. Immediately adjoining the Thirty-first and on the right of my line was the Eleventh Illinois, Lieut. Col. T. E. G. Ransom commanding. When the order to retire was given it failed to reach Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom, who with the Eleventh Regiment was gallantly supporting the Thirty-first against a fierce onslaught on their right. Rapidly as gaps were opened in the ranks by the enemy’s fire they were as promptly closed to the right, and the shortening front alone showed the destructiveness of that fire. Soon the Thirty-first, their ammunition having failed, retired, and the Eleventh took their place, changing front to the rear under a most galling fire with all the coolness and precision of veterans. In the mean time the order to retire was being executed in good order by the other regiments of the brigade. The character of the ground rendered it impossible for me to see the whole line at once, and when the Eleventh changed their front they were exposed to a fire in front and on both flanks, and the enemy’s cavalry charging upon their flank they were thrown into some confusion, and retired, but steadily and in comparatively good order. After falling back some half a mile I halted the brigade, and as speedily as possible procured a supply of ammunition and formed a second line of battle. At this point Colonel Ross, of the Seventeenth Illinois, arrived on the field and took command of the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Regiments, and we were re-enforced by some troops of General Lew. Wallace’s division, and with their aid and the assistance of Taylor’s artillery and some pieces of Dresser’s and Willard’s batteries the advance of the enemy was checked and he was driven within his intrenchments, leaving a large number of his dead and wounded on the field.

At night my brigade was withdrawn to a hill between the valleys, so as to be within easy supporting distance of either wing, when I rested until morning. With morning (the 16th) came the news that the enemy had surrendered. The whole brigade was instantly formed and marched down the valley into the center of the enemy’s works, where we hoisted the Union flag upon the inner intrenchments of the fort and fired a Federal salute from Taylor’s battery. Dickey’s cavalry were so disposed as to cover all the approaches and prevent the escape of prisoners, and rendered very effective service in securing and bringing in prisoners during the day.

Would that my task could end here, with the record of the endurance, bravery, and heroism of our troops, crowned as it was with such signal success. The loss of my brigade has been heavy, as the annexed list of killed, wounded, and missing will show.* The right of my line was more heavily engaged on the 15th than any other portion, though all were under heavy fire for hours. The Eleventh Regiment, being posted on the right of my line, suffered more than any other regiment, having 67 killed on the field. The Twentieth Regiment, which stood next to the Eleventh, was the next heaviest sufferer, having 18 killed on the field. The Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth each suffered a considerable loss on the 15th, in addition to the loss in the operations of the 13th. In my original brigade every lieutenant-colonel of infantry was {p.197} either killed or wounded. On the 15th Lieutenant-Colonel Erwin, of the Twentieth Illinois, while nobly animating his men and adding new laurels to those he so nobly won at Buena Vista, was struck down by a cannon shot from the enemy’s battery Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Smith, Forty-eighth Illinois, had distinguished himself in the gallant attack of the 13th, he being in command of his regiment on that occasion; Colonel Haynie, as senior colonel, being in command of the whole force detached on that service. Early in the engagement of the 15th Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, while leading his men up the hill to meet the enemy, received a mortal wound, of which he died in about an hour. Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom, commanding Eleventh Illinois, was struck in the shoulder by a Minie ball. Merely calling Major Nevins to the command till his wound could be temporarily dressed, he resumed the command and remained with his regiment throughout the day. Lieut. Col. J. A. Maltby, of the Forty-fifth Regiment, while encouraging and animating his men, was shot through the thigh, and severely, though I trust not fatally, wounded. I cannot find words in which fittingly to express the debt of obligation and gratitude I bear to the officers commanding corps for the prompt, fearless, and cool manner in which my commands were carried out. In every instance except one (and that resulted from the stupidity of an orderly) my orders were perfectly understood and carried into effect with promptness and perfect order. I have already spoken of the part borne by the Eleventh Illinois, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ransom. Both he and Major Nevins are deserving of the attention of the Department. Col. C. C. Marsh, of the Twentieth Illinois, exhibited the utmost courage, coolness, and self-possession on the field, managing his men with all the order of parade. Major Richards, of the Twentieth, also acted with great bravery. Colonel Haynie and Major Sanford, of the Forty-eighth; Col. John E. Smith and Maj. M. Smith, of the Forty-fifth; Lieutenant-Colonel Pease, of the Forty-ninth; and Captain Bush, commanding Seventeenth Illinois, all distinguished themselves by their bravery, and contributed by their example to the attainment of the brilliant result.

The conduct of Capt. Ezra Taylor, commanding Light Battery B, during the whole series of engagements was such as to distinguish him as a daring, yet cool and sagacious officer. Pushing his guns into positions that were swept by the enemy’s shot, he in person directed the posting of his sections, and in many instances himself sighted the guns. Such conduct found its natural reflection in the perfect order and bravery that characterized his entire command. His battery of six pieces fired 1,700 rounds of fixed ammunition during the engagement, being an average of about 284 rounds to the gun.

McAllister’s guns did good service. They were three 24-pounder howitzers, without caissons and with a limited supply of ammunition and without a full complement of men. One of them lost a wheel, shot away on the 13th, but supplied it from the limber. On the 15th the trail of another howitzer was broken, and it was rendered useless. They fired all their ammunition, about 50 rounds to the piece.

The cavalry of the brigade (Fourth Illinois, Colonel Dickey) did excellent service in reconnoitering and in holding the enemy in check on the right. Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, Major Wallace, Captain Rockwood, and Captain Townsend are worthy of particular mention for services rendered. The field music and bands of the several regiments and corps rendered very effective service in taking care of the wounded, especially if the Eleventh and Twentieth Regiments. The {p.198} band of the Eleventh lost their instruments. The surgeons and hospital assistants of the entire command performed their painful but important duties in a manner highly creditable. To Surgeon Goodbrake, acting brigade surgeon, I feel under especial obligations. Surgeons Kittoe, of the Forty-fifth; Long, of the Eleventh; Assistant Surgeons Hunt, of the Eleventh; Luce, of the Fourth Cavalry; and Young, of the Forty-eighth Illinois, also rendered valuable assistance. I wish also to return thanks to Surgeon Edgar, of the Thirty-second Illinois, for attention to the wounded of my command. Chaplains Pearson, of the Eleventh, and Button, of the Twentieth, and Woodward, of the Forty-fifth, were indefatigable in their attentions to the wounded and in collecting and burying the dead.

I wish also to call the attention of the general commanding the division to the conduct and bearing of my staff-Lieut. Israel P. Rumsey, of Taylor’s battery, aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. Guyon I. Davis, Eleventh Illinois, acting brigade quartermaster and commissary, also aide-de-camp. Active intelligent, ardent, and brave, they were ever ready to render any aid in their power, riding to every part of the field amid the hottest of the fire, and by their daring and coolness contributing much toward the success of the day. Artificer George E. Church, of Taylor’s battery, who acted as one of my orderlies, is worthy of commendation for bravery and self-possession on the field.

Many instances of individual daring occurred that are worthy of mention, but where all acted their part so nobly comparisons seem invidious. I cannot forbear citing two instances, to which my attention has been called by commanders of regiments: Corporal Smith, of Company B, Seventeenth Regiment, distinguished himself by great personal bravery in skirmishing with the enemy. Corporal Armstrong, of Company H, Eleventh Illinois, when the color-sergeant of the regiment was shot down and the colors fell, rushed to the spot, and seizing the flag bore it from the field amid a storm of balls. The flag itself was riddled with shot.

In order to a due appreciation of the courage, endurance, and fortitude of the men by whom this victory has been won, it must be borne in mind that they marched from Fort Henry without transportation or tents or rations except what they carried; that they were exposed for three days and nights without tents and almost without fires-being so near the enemy’s lines as to render fires imprudent; that the weather was extremely severe, two nights they were thus exposed being accompanied with driving snow-storms and severe cold; that during the whole three days they were under fire, and were compelled to bivouac in line of battle with their arms in their hands; added to this, most of them had never seen a battle, and but few had ever heard a hostile shot. Under all these circumstances it is certainly just matter of congratulation that so long and fierce a conflict against an intrenched enemy, fighting on a position well known to him, unknown to us, and so greatly superior in artillery, has resulted so gloriously for our arms.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. L. WALLACE, Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, First Division.

Maj. M. BRAYMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.

* See p. 168.



No. 12.

Report of Lieut. Col. T. E. G. Ransom, Eleventh Illinois Infantry.

HDQRS. 11TH INF., 2D BRIG., 1st DIV., ILLINOIS VOLS., Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the movements of my command during the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant:

On the morning of the 13th instant my command, consisting of nine companies (Company D having been detached with Taylor’s battery), officers and men about 500, having the right of the brigade, took position behind the brow of a hill fronting the left of the enemy’s lines and within easy musket-range of their breastworks, which position I held during the day. Nothing of interest occurred. Towards evening I was ordered to move to the right, taking position in an opening immediately in front of a recent camp of the enemy, situated in a valley which passed down through an angle of the enemy’s field works, my right resting about 100 yards in front of the left of the Thirty-first Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry and my left on the right of the Twentieth Illinois. Early in the evening strong pickets were thrown out along my entire front and on my right flank. Skirmishing was kept up at intervals during the night between my pickets and those of the enemy. Notwithstanding a severe storm of rain and snow during the whole night, my command was under arms most of the time. During the 14th instant nothing of special interest occurred. We occupied the same position as the day before. Many sharpshooters, some from my command and some from the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, did good execution by picking off the enemy as they exposed themselves above the breastworks. During the night my pickets were fired upon by the enemy. About midnight, when the firing became heavy, I ordered my men into line, where they remained for two hours.

At daylight on the morning of the 15th, the firing on the extreme right (Colonel Oglesby’s brigade) being very heavy, I again ordered my men into line, where they remained. My pickets were drawn in, and I was attacked in front by a heavy force of the enemy, and after a sharp fight, lasting about three-quarters of an hour, we repulsed them with a loss of about 15 killed and 20 wounded. First Lieutenant Boyce, Company G, fell at his post early in this engagement, urging his men forward and sealing with his blood the sacredness of his cause. But a short time elapsed before we were again attacked by a large force, who brought their colors up in front of ours and not over 100 yards distant, when the fight again commenced with renewed energy.

How long this conflict lasted I am not able to state, but it was an exceedingly firm and bloody one, and after great loss on my part the enemy again fell back. In a few moments I was again attacked by a heavier force on my right flank. I immediately moved my command by the right flank to the rear until my right rested on the left of the Thirty-first Illinois (who had been severely engaged, and bravely maintained their position up to this time), leaving three companies on my left to hold my first position in front. While the fight was raging Colonel Logan, commanding the Thirty-first Illinois, informed me that he was out of ammunition. Just at this time, my wound requiring attention, I turned over the command to Major Nevins, who promptly assumed the responsibility and bravely conducted the fight. In a short time, assuming command, I moved my regiment under a galling fire by {p.200} the right flank to the position lately occupied by the Thirty-first, which position I held until attacked by a battalion of cavalry on and in the rear of my left flank, when I immediately ordered my regiment to retire. The movement was executed, but too late to prevent the cavalry from getting in rear of most of my command, who bravely cut their way through with terrible loss. I found what was left of the Eleventh a few hundred yards in the rear of our first position. Finding myself without support and short of ammunition, my command marched into the valley below and joined the brigade, remaining with them the balance of the day. I append a list of the killed, wounded, and missing of my command.*

It is entirely unnecessary for me to speak in this place of the faithful and gallant conduct of the officers and men under my command during this fatal day, for the record of the killed, wounded, and missing speaks in more emphatic language and fitting terms than I can find words in this brief report to express; but I cannot fail here to mention the invincible courage, bravery, and coolness of Major Nevins and Adjutant Dickey, always at their posts, particularly executing orders and gallantly urging the men to stem the terrible torrent both by word and action; the gallant Shaw captain of Company B, who was twice wounded but still kept his place, bravely doing his duty until stricken down by a fatal shot; the noble bearing and determined conduct of the color-guard, all of whom were either killed or wounded, and yet kept their colors flying until none were left but Corporal Armstrong, Company H, who, though wounded and cut off by the cavalry, brought the colors from the field, and the faithful and diligent attention of the surgeons, assisted by the members of the band and field music, to the wounded, in promptly carrying them from the field and dressing their wounds and using every exertion to make them comfortable.

I desire here to express my grateful appreciation of the valuable services of Surgeons Dow and Luce, of the Fourth Cavalry Illinois Volunteers, and other surgeons whose names I do not know, in administering to the wants and sufferings of the wounded of my command on the field after the battle.

Respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

T. E. G. RANSOM, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Eleventh Illinois Infantry.

Lieut. I. P. RUMSEY, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brig., First Div., Illinois Vols.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 13.

Report of Col. C. C. Marsh, Twentieth Illinois Infantry.

HDQRS. 20TH INF., 2D BRIG., 1ST Div., ILLINOIS VOLS., Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 17, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with orders I make the following report of the movements of my command during the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant:

On the morning of the 13th my regiment with the rest of the brigade was formed in Line of battle near the brow of the hill fronting the right of the enemy’s fortifications. Nothing of special interest affecting my {p.201} command occurred during the day. Towards evening I was ordered to move to the right and took position on a ridge facing the outworks of the rebels’ left, the Eleventh Illinois being on my right and the Forty-eighth Illinois on my left. Shortly after taking position it commenced raining, turning in a short time into snow, and bitterly cold. My regiment was under arms nearly the whole night, the frequent skirmishes between our pickets and those of the enemy leading me to fear an attack at any moment. At daylight on the morning of the 14th I ordered fires started and coffee made for my command, our close proximity to the enemy forbidding the use of fires during the night. Most of this day was spent in watching the movements of the enemy and employing my sharpshooters in picking off the rebels as they exposed themselves above the breastworks. This night was passed very similarly to the preceding one, my men bearing the exposure to the cold and the fatigue with exemplary patience.

At daybreak on the morning of the 15th instant repeated volleys of musketry on the right caused me to form in line of battle. I soon ascertained that the firing was caused by the enemy’s attacking the First Brigade, Colonel Oglesby, posted on the extreme right of our line. I immediately strengthened my skirmishers, whom I had kept out all night, giving instructions to report from time to time the movements of the enemy, and, if attacked, to endeavor to drive back their advance, and not retreat until forced to do so by superior force. Matters continued thus for some two hours, the firing on the right being without intermission. At this time the officers in command of the skirmishers informed me that the enemy were advancing in my front. In a few moments my advance were driven back, and almost immediately the rebels appeared, coming over the brow of the hill. Not waiting to receive their attack, I ordered my command to advance, which they did in admirable order driving the rebels steadily before them till they broke and ran. Advancing in pursuit, I was suddenly met by a fresh force of the enemy, who at once opened fire upon me. Still moving forward, I succeeded in forcing them to retreat, and, following them up till running short of ammunition I drew back in good order to my first position, and sent back for a flesh supply of ammunition. I remained here without further molestation from the enemy till ordered to march to the left. Shortly after taking my original position the Eleventh Illinois, on my right, became engaged, and at the time of my being ordered off the field were still fighting bravely. Had I received a fresh supply of ammunition I would gladly have gone to their assistance.

I may be pardoned for speaking with pride of the behavior of my entire command, officers and men. During the action the fine order and the coolness and courage with which they advanced in the face of a terrible and continued fire meets my hearty commendation. My every order was promptly and correctly executed and to my complete satisfaction.

Could my record end here I would be indeed happy, but the painful duty yet remains to report the loss of many of my brave men. My lieutenant-colonel, William Erwin, was killed quite early in the action, being struck in the breast by a round shot from one of the enemy’s guns. A cool brave officer, a noble man, he gloriously fell in the execution of his duty, adding in his death new laurels he long since won on the bloody field of Buena Vista. His commander sadly regrets the occasion which calls forth this feeble tribute to his memory. Color-Sergeant Newton and his entire color-guard, except one corporal, were either {p.202} killed or wounded. I herewith append a list of the killed, wounded, and missing of my command.* My field music and band were employed during the action in removing the wounded and dead from the field, thus rendering efficient aid and permitting me to retain all my fighting men in the ranks.

Tendering my congratulations on the glorious victory and capture of Fort Donelson, I have the honor to remain, your very obedient servant,

C. C. MARSH, Colonel Twentieth Regiment Illinois Inf., 2d Brig., Illinois Vols.

Lieut. I. P. RUMSEY, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 1st Div., Illinois Vols.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 14.

Report of Col. John E. Smith, Forty-fifth Illinois Infantry.


SIR: In obedience to orders I took position with my command on the morning of the 15th instant on the left of the Twentieth Illinois Infantry and opposite to the left wing of the enemy’s forces. My men were not brought into action until 1 o’clock p.m. of the same day, at which time I was ordered to the support of the Forty-ninth Illinois Infantry, who were engaging the enemy about 800 yards from the position I then occupied. This order my regiment executed with promptness and steadiness. The advance was made up a slope of ground upon the summit of which the enemy were strongly intrenched and from which they poured forth a heavy and continued fire of musketry. Notwithstanding the severe ordeal to which my regiment was subjected in making this charge our line of battle remained unbroken, and the men marched bravely on until we reached a position in front of the Forty-ninth Illinois Regiment and within 50 yards of the enemy’s breastworks, where we halted and opened fire upon them at this point. Our engagement was sharp, and lasted about an hour. Finding that the rebels were in great force, and being unsupported (the Forty-ninth Illinois having retired), I deemed it prudent to change my position to one in the ravine that skirted the hill, and wait for re-enforcements. In making this movement, the right wing retired first, under the protection of the left wing, the latter giving the enemy a murderous volley, that drove them back behind their intrenchments. While waiting for re-enforcements I received an order to retire my regiment to the right of McAllister’s battery. The retreat was made in good order, the rear of the battalion occasionally exchanging shots with the enemy. During that night and the day and night following the action of my regiment consisted in skirmishing by company with sharpshooters of the enemy.

On the morning of the 15th instant an attack was made by the enemy upon McAllister’s battery. I immediately ordered my regiment forward, and with a charge drove the assailants back. This position we held for over two hours, keeping up a continual though irregular skirmish with the rebels. About 2 o’clock the same day I received your order to take {p.203} position on the right of the Forty-eighth Illinois, which order I obeyed, and did not again bring my regiment into action.

Below you will find reports of losses sustained by the regiment in the late engagement.* It will be perceived that the mortality of the regiment was slight, which is attributed to the fact that my men never fell into confusion.

In closing this report I cannot too highly commend the bravery of both the officers and men under my command. No body of soldiers were ever subjected to a more dangerous and exposed position than the one occupied by my regiment on the 13th instant; yet they did not flinch, but, on the contrary, maintained their ground with the most perfect self-possession and determined bravery. They fought well, did much execution, and brought credit upon themselves.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. SMITH, Colonel, Commanding Forty-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteers.

Col. W. H. L. WALLACE, Commanding Second Brigade.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 15.

Reports of Colonel Isham K. Haynie, Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry.


SIR: I have hesitated as to whether it is properly my duty to make a written report of the attempt, on Thursday, the 13th of February, by the three regiments then temporarily under my command, to storm the enemy’s redoubts to the south of the main fort, from the fact that the action occurred under your own immediate observation. I have, however, concluded there can be no impropriety in it, and I herewith submit my report of the same.

On the morning of Thursday, the 13th instant, I became temporarily detached from the brigade under Col. W. H. L. Wallace, of the Eleventh Illinois Volunteers, having about the time the brigade were ready to move from their camp grounds of the preceding night received orders to remain where the regiment had encamped, for the purpose of supporting a battery which had been placed immediately in front of the center of the Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, under my command. In obedience to this order I remained with this battery, whilst the remainder of the brigade moved to the eastward. During the time I was thus detached your orders were communicated to me, by which I was directed to form my regiment upon the left of the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers-this last regiment then being formed upon the left of the Forty-ninth Regiment and both being to my right, removed about 500 yards. I at once ordered the Forty-eighth Regiment to be formed at the point indicated, and as soon as it was done I proceeded to the extreme right of the whole line for the purpose of conferring with Colonel Morrison, before then in command of the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Regiments. I there met Colonel Morrison, with Captain Stewart, your aide, and was for the first time then informed that it was your orders for these three regiments (Seventeenth, Forty-eighth, and Forty-ninth) to storm a redoubt {p.204} of the enemy’s to our front and not far removed from us. Colonel Morrison at once expressed his willingness to yield command of the column to me; and with some reluctance, not having any orders from you on this point, I assumed command of the same, and under the direction and guidance of Captain Stewart, your aide, had them formed in line of battle in the Dover road, fronting toward the redoubts, and distant less than a quarter of a mile from us. The order of position of said regiments was not changed by me, and this placed Colonel Morrison and the Forty-ninth Regiment on the right; the Seventeenth, under Major Smith (colonel and lieutenant-colonel being absent), in the center, and the Forty-eighth Regiment (my own), under Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Smith, now deceased, on the left.

Immediately on the formation of the line of battle I directed each regimental commander to deploy skirmishers along the front of the whole line of their respective regiments and to throw them forward from 80 to 100 yards in advance of the main column. This being done, the commandants of regiments were further directed to communicate with me at or about the center of the brigade (center of Seventeenth Regiment) in case of necessity, and to control their movements upon the right and left wings by the center; whereupon I at once ordered the whole line forward towards the enemy’s redoubts, situated upon the summit of the opposite hill.

The entire line advanced in good order and with alacrity until the redoubts of the enemy were approached to within a short distance, where from their rifle pits and earthen breastworks, which greatly protected them, the enemy opened a brisk and galling fire upon us. At the same time the enemy’s batteries, situated so as to be concealed from us and not before known to bear upon us, were opened and a well-directed fire of shell and canister poured upon our ranks, notwithstanding which our lines continued to advance until almost up to the redoubts of the enemy. In the mean time information which I regarded as reliable reached me that the enemy were in force behind their works and well protected by six guns planted immediately in their rear, and also by cannon situated to their west and north. As quickly as possible I proceeded to ascertain the truth, and became satisfied of the facts.

The entire line had then been held under a brisk and galling fire for nearly an hour. Colonel Morrison, commanding Forty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, had by this time been wounded whilst gallantly leading his men upon the redoubts, and was carried from the field. Other parts of the line had suffered considerably, and seeing that the redoubt could not be taken without great destruction and loss of life, I at length reluctantly gave the order to retire down the hill a short distance and await your orders. This was done by the entire line in good order and without confusion, and was, greatly to my gratification, sanctioned by yourself when reported by me to you.

In this action I am happy to be able to bear testimony to the good conduct of the officers and men of the whole command. All of them under my own observation, with perhaps a solitary exception, labored with the utmost daring and gallantry, challenging my admiration by their heroism and meriting from their general the highest confidence.

I have the honor to be, respectfully,

I. N. HAYNIE, Colonel Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Maj. Gen. JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Commanding First Division Illinois Volunteers.




SIR: In obedience to your order, I have the honor to submit the following report of the several actions in which the Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, under my command, were engaged during February 13,14, and 15 instant at this place:

On the evening of the 12th instant we encamped south of Fort Donelson and about 1,000 yards from the redoubts of the enemy, the Eleventh and Twentieth Illinois Volunteers on our right and the Forty-fifth on our left, with a battery between the Forty-eighth and Forty-fifth. In this position we remained until the 13th. Early on the morning of this day (13th) your orders were communicated to me to move with the balance of the Second Brigade and occupy some position on the elevation to the east of us and southeast of the enemy’s works, and when about ready to take up the line of march a battery of three guns, belonging to Captain Taylor’s artillery, was planted immediately in front of my center, and orders reached me to remain and support this battery with my regiment. By this time our battery had opened upon the enemy, and were sharply replied to by them from their works. I at once ordered my regiment behind the brow or apex of the hill and remained there under cover, but within a very short distance to the rear of it.

The other three regiments had in the mean time moved off in a direction to our right, in obedience to your order, leaving the Forty-eighth separated from the brigade. While supporting this battery I had for the first time an opportunity of witnessing the conduct of the Forty-eighth Regiment while under fire of the enemy. Several shot and shell fell in our midst, but did not kill or wound any one, though several made narrow escapes.

After the battery in front of us had ceased firing orders were conveyed to me from General McClernand to move with the Forty-eighth Regiment and form on the left of the Seventeenth Illinois Regiment, the latter at that time being formed on the left of the Forty-ninth Illinois Volunteers (Colonel Morrison), and both being on my right and distant from me about 500 yards. This I immediately did. As soon as my line was formed I immediately communicated with Colonel Morrison (before then in command of the Forty-ninth and Seventeenth), and being the ranking officer of the three regiments then in line (Colonel Ross, of the Seventeenth, being absent), I assumed command of the whole.

At the same time I was informed that it was General McClernand’s order that these regiments were to make the attempt to storm the enemy’s redoubts on an elevation southeasterly from their main fort and not far from where the three regiments were then in line. I immediately had the whole column put in motion and formed them in line of battle to the southeast of the redoubt which we were to attack. I placed the Forty-ninth Regiment, under command of Colonel Morrison, on the right; the Seventeenth, under Major Smith, in the center, and the Forty-eighth, under Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, on the left, and taking my own position in the center of the Seventeenth Regiment, I ordered the whole to advance upon the redoubt, then distant less than a quarter of a mile.

In the mean time I had ordered each regiment to deploy one company as skirmishers along its entire front. In this order the whole line advanced through thick underbrush and with great difficulty (except on the right, where the way was open and not so obstructed), until within a short range of the redoubt. At this moment, and rather unexpectedly, the enemy opened a brisk fire upon our lines from behind their works, and also from batteries situated behind them so as to be concealed from {p.206} us. Immediately the fire was returned from our line with spirit, and it continued steadily to approach the enemy’s works, firing continually upon them as fast as any one of them could be discovered behind the embankments. As near as I can judge, we maintained our position under this most galling fire of rifle, shot, and shell for an hour. I had in the mean time ascertained that six pieces of artillery were planted immediately in our front and within short range of us, and that, besides these, one battery on the hill to the west and another to the westward commanded the point we were assaulting. I therefore thought it useless to hold the men under it longer, and reluctantly ordered the line to retire 40 paces down the hill and await orders from General McClernand, to whom I at once reported (orally) as above. The whole line, under my orders, retired as commanded, without confusion and in good order, and awaited my return from reporting as above mentioned.

During this engagement, and while leading his regiment in the most gallant and daring manner, Colonel Morrison was seriously, but not dangerously, wounded.

I cannot give you any estimate of the killed and wounded in the Forty-ninth and Seventeenth, but know it was considerable.* In my own regiment there was 1 man killed, to wit, Private W. G. Logan, Company A, and 8 men wounded.

In this action I may be allowed to say that all the officers and men behaved with great gallantry under a most galling fire. As soon as I reported the condition of the defenses upon the hill, which were discovered by me, General McClernand directed me to retire to a position of safety down the hill-side, and there occupy it until further orders. This was done by the whole command in the best order possible and without any confusion.

I had almost omitted to say that while engaged in the attack the Forty-fifth Regiment, Colonel Smith, was sent to support the right (Forty-ninth), and also behaved in a highly creditable and gallant manner. Of this, however, I had not received notice until I found them on the right in action.

In the mean time the other three regiments of the Second Brigade had removed farther away to the east, on a range of hills which encompassed the enemy’s fortifications, and here, towards night-fall, the Forty-eighth Regiment was ordered to join them, which we did, and formed in the same order that we had the night before, viz: Eleventh and Twentieth on the right and the Forty-fifth on the left of the Forty-eighth Regiment. This position was within range of rifle-shot from the enemy’s embankments, and during the whole of this night (13th) the regiment remained under arms with skirmishers deployed, suffering intensely from the rain and sleet and cold, and but little from the enemy’s shot, from which we were only protected by an intervening elevation, behind which we formed-

During February 14 the Forty-eighth Regiment remained in the same position, subject to and within easy range of the enemy’s cannon, from which during the day shot and shell were often discharged at the point immediately to our front. So completely were we subjected to the fire from these cannon and from their sharpshooters, that no one could show himself without shots being aimed at him.

The evening of the 14th found us so much exhausted from continual and incessant watchfulness and exposure during the preceding days and nights that the men were but poorly prepared for another night like the previous one; still the officers and men, with a spirit of heroism {p.207} which merited and received my highest admiration, prepared themselves for any emergency of the occasion. Our arms were all put in good order, and each man remained with his arms ready and expecting an attack during the night or early next day. Our skirmishers were continually deployed during the night, and occasionally exchanged shots with the skirmishers of the enemy.

In the morning, just after day and before early breakfast, firing began up to the right and soon after extended itself towards our position. I ordered the regiment to be formed and in line of battle. The men and officers responded promptly and formed at once. It was but a short time after we were formed and ready before we were fired upon by the enemy, who came up in force on the opposite side of the hill. Our skirmishers were compelled to retreat and formed upon the left. While in retreat Lieutenant Stephenson, of Company B, who had command of the skirmishers, was wounded seriously, but not fatally. Immediately the firing began and became general along the whole line of the Forty-eighth until the enemy in our front were driven back in confusion and compelled to retire behind their works. During all the action a battery of two guns to our left and two from our front were playing rapidly upon the point we occupied, and, although seemingly well worked, we escaped with but few wounded from their shot or shell. Our ammunition in the mean time was nearly exhausted; still we remained here after the enemy were repulsed at our front until, I think, near 1 p.m., when orders were received to retire by the left flank. This was done by my regiment in the best possible order and without any appearance of fear or panic.

During the action on this day we lost 7 killed, 31 wounded, and 3 missing. Among those killed I deeply regret to report the death of Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Smith, who received a mortal wound early in the action and died within an hour. He fell gallantly urging the right wing forward to the position from which we repulsed the enemy. His loss was deeply felt by me during the day and will be profoundly lamented by all who knew him. He was a brave and gallant officer, a firm friend, a generous enemy, and an upright and honorable man.

In obedience to the order to retire by the left flank we proceeded to a point about one mile towards the west and halted. The enemy, thinking that we were in retreat and not supported, made another attack at this point, but were repulsed. My regiment, with the balance of the brigade, retired to the position assigned us-to the south of the enemy’s works about 1 mile-and there remained for the night.

Oh the following morning, about 10 o’clock, the fort having surrendered, the Forty-eighth, with the other regiments of the Second Brigade, marched into the enemy’s fortifications.

I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of my officers and men (with one exception, and his resignation I herewith inclose for your approval) during the entire time of the several actions we were in. I have not failed to have them at any time entirely subject to my control. The utmost coolness, presence of mind, and daring was manifested by them all.

Maj. W. W. Sanford especially, by his coolness and ability during the action, rendered me very great aid, as did all the officers of the line who were not wounded, and I commend them all to your favorable notice and consideration.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, yours &c.,

I. N. HAYNIE, Colonel, Commanding Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteers.

Col. W. H. L. WALLACE, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Illinois Volunteers.

* See p. 182.



No. 16.

Report of Capt. Edward McAllister, Battery D, First Illinois Light Artillery.

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 17, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the share my battery bore in the siege of Fort Donelson:

Wednesday, February 12, I took up position on the hill west of the enemy’s works and bivouacked on the hill. Thursday morning I opened fire on two batteries, one on the right and one opposite our own position. After throwing a few shell, to obtain the length of fuse and elevation, I was ordered to cease firing and take a better position on the same hill. I selected a point, and about noon opened on the four-gun battery through an opening in which I could see the foe. Our fire was promptly returned with such precision that they cut our right wheel on howitzer No. 3 in two. I had no spare wheel, and had to take one off the limber to continue the fight. I then moved all my howitzers over to the west slope of the ridge and loaded under cover of it, and ran the pieces up by hand until I could get the exact elevation. The recoil would throw the guns back out of sight, and thus we continued the fight until the enemy’s battery was silenced. They threw four shots to our one, but owing to the way I conducted our firing after losing the wheel it was harmless-I was then ordered to move around to the south, and took position with howitzers Nos. 1 and 3 opposite and midway between the two batteries on hills to the right and left of us. Howitzer No. 2 was advanced 150 yards farther to the right. I fired three rounds to get elevation and length of fuse that night. Friday no action until our gunboats retired, when both batteries opposite opened on us, compelling us to move our horses far down the slope in rear of the Forty-fifth Regiment.

In obedience to orders I opened on the enemy again, completely silencing them with about 20 shell. Howitzer No. 1 broke its trail short off by its own recoil on the frozen ground and was completely disabled thereby. Saturday morning I opened fire before sunrise. The enemy had planted a six-gun battery on the lower ground forward to the right, their three batteries of fourteen guns forming a crescent, my position being in the focus. I fought our guns by the same tactics used the first day. I directed the fire of the right howitzer on the enemy’s right battery, using three-second fuse at 2 degrees elevation. Our shell and shrapnel proving troublesome, they sent a body of skirmishers, that approached our right piece, and poured in so close a volley, that we were driven from the gun. The Forty-fifth advanced, and after a sharp skirmish repulsed them. I continued the firing with coolness and precision until my last round of ammunition had been expended. Ten minutes afterwards an order to retreat by the left came to me, and before I could throw my saddle on my horse I was left by the Forty-fifth Regiment and the single gun of Taylor’s battery, whose teams were hitched on. The Parrott gun had left some time before. I got all the teams I could and hitched on to the left gun, but it was so heavy we could not haul it through the brush, and abandoned it, bringing off the limber. I started with two teams to hitch up the right piece, but before reaching it received a heavy volley from the enemy, then in full sight and charging on the gun. All attempt to save it then was hopeless, and I reluctantly ordered my drivers, to retreat and followed them.

My men and officers behaved well. First Lieut. George J. Wood acted {p.209} gunner, commanding and pointing No. 1 until it was disabled by the broken trail, afterwards rendering all the assistance he could to the other pieces. Lieutenant Borland commanded and pointed No. 3. replacing his broken wheel, and continued to point to the last, fighting with chivalric gallantry. Private Thomas Henry, acting as position when moving, volunteered and acted as No. 1 of gun squad on howitzer No. 2 all through the fight. Many others, privates and non-commissioned officers, fought like heroes, and have my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. I had mortally wounded Jason Cheny, by a shrapnel; died next morning. Slightly wounded, Joel A. Boggen, by the same. Both were at their posts. We lost 11 horses, 5 sets harness, 2 mules, 10 tents 40 knapsacks, 65 blankets, 4 saddles complete, 20 canteens, and rations.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

E. MCALLISTER, Captain Artillery, Second Brigade.

Col. W. H. L. WALLACE, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Illinois Volunteers.


No. 17.

Report of Capt. Ezra Taylor, Battery B, First Illinois Light Artillery.

HEADQUARTERS TAYLOR’S BATTERY, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor respectfully to submit the following report of the part taken by the battery under my command in the series of actions which resulted in the reduction of Fort Donelson:

My force consisted of 120 men, rank and file, four 6-pounder field guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, and 92 horses, with 1,730 rounds of fixed ammunition. My guns were first brought into action opposite the strong redoubt in the center of the enemy’s works at 9.30 o’clock on Thursday morning, at a range of 800 yards. The enemy responded from a field battery, but only at intervals. We continued to advance up the road, and at about 12 o’clock the right and left sections of my battery took up a position within 200 yards of the enemy’s left wing. Four secession flags were flying at this point. Before my guns were unlimbered the enemy had opened a fierce fire of artillery and musketry, killing 1 of my men and severely wounding 2 others. The guns were got into action as soon as possible, and in half an hour I had succeeded in silencing the enemy’s batteries opposite, but the enemy’s sharpshooters kept up a continuous fire from the rifle pits just outside of their breastworks.

During the night the enemy changed the position of all his guns which bore on my position, as, with the experience of the day, I had secured a perfect range on all his batteries which I had been able to discover. At daylight Friday morning, discovering the change in the enemy’s position and he not opening fire, I removed my battery some 500 yards back to a ravine to water and feed my horses and there awaited orders, which were not received until nearly dark, when my whole battery was ordered to take up position near the place we first occupied on the preceding day. Saturday morning at daylight the enemy opened a terrific cannonade on us from six different batteries, thus exposing us to a tremendous cross-fire, which we promptly returned, {p.210} firing as rapidly as the guns could be worked. By a judicious disposition of my guns I was enabled to hold six of the enemy’s batteries, consisting of thirty six guns, as I have since learned, in check during the day. The rebel infantry repeatedly charged upon our position, but by a generous distribution of canister shot they were driven back in confusion.

At 11 o’clock I found that the whole of the right wing of our forces had given way and that we were exposed to an attack on the flank, and, in compliance with your order, I retired to the top of the next hill, where a large body of infantry were placed in position to support the battery. Only two of my guns were placed in action here, as the supply of ammunition was nearly exhausted, but Company A, Chicago Light Artillery, of General Wallace’s division, coming up just at that time I was enabled to borrow a supply of canister, and on the rebels making a last desperate charge it was administered with a very good effect, and their forces were soon on the full retreat.

Thus terminated the action so far as my battery was concerned. My loss in killed and wounded was as follows: Private Oscar E. Beckers, killed. Wounded severely, Sergt, James F. Whittle, Corp. B. Franklin Lilly, Privates Tyler A. Mason and Charles H. Machin; slightly wounded, Corp. William H. Prince, Privates William W. Lowrie, Francis N. Marion, and Charles W. Pierce. One thousand and seven hundred rounds of fixed ammunition were fired during the action. It is with great satisfaction that I am enabled to report that all my command behaved with as much coolness as if on parade. When all conducted themselves so gallantly it would be invidious to discriminate. To Company D, of the Eleventh Illinois Regiment, which you detached to support my command, I am under great obligations, and under the exhausted condition of my horses and some of my men it is certain that my battery would have been much less effective were it not for their valuable services, which were always promptly rendered. To the Seventeenth Illinois Regiment Infantry, who supported me during the morning and were always on the alert ready for action, I also wish to express my thanks.

I beg leave to call your attention to the annexed list of losses sustained during the siege.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EZRA TAYLOR, Captain Light Battery B, Illinois Volunteers.

Col. W. H. L. WALLACE, Commanding Second Brigade, First Division.

* See p. 182.


No. 18.

Report of Col. Leonard F. Ross, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 25, 1862.

In obedience to your order requiring a report of the movements and operations of the troops under my command during the investment and siege of this place I have the honor to submit the following:

On Saturday, the 15th instant, at about 1 o’clock p.m., I reported myself to you for duty, and was at once assigned to the command of a {p.211} brigade composed of the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Soon after taking command I was ordered to the right of, our line for the purpose of supporting General Wallace, who was engaging the enemy on that part of the field. On reporting the re-enforcements so sent to General Wallace I by his order took position on his left and advanced, first sending forward two companies deployed as skirmishers. We continued to advance until we reached the summit of a hill previously occupied by Taylor’s battery, the skirmishers having advanced meantime beyond the summit of the hill in view of the enemy’s batteries, and drew from them a heavy discharge of grape, canister, and shrapnel. The space between our lines and the works of the enemy being examined, and no enemy appearing in the intervening space, I ordered my command to fall back about twenty paces behind the summit to a more secure position, holding the two companies of skirmishers as an advance guard. This position we continued to occupy until dark, when by your order I withdrew for the night.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

L. F. ROSS, Colonel Seventeenth Illinois, Commanding Third Brigade.

Brig. Gen. JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Commanding First Division, District West Tennessee.


No. 19.

Report of Col. William R. Morrison, Forty-ninth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.

HDQRS., FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS INFANTRY, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 28, 1862.

GENERAL: Having been assigned to the command of that portion of the Third Brigade of your First Division brought against Fort Donelson in the late engagement, resulting in its fall, I have the honor to report that in the evening of the 11th instant I left the encampment near Fort Henry with my command, numbering in the aggregate 1,377 effective men, composed as follows: Of my own, the Forty-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, numbering 627, and the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers, Maj. Francis M. Smith commanding, numbering 750. The sick, ailing, and detailed for guard remained with the baggage in the encampment. Marching by the Dover Ridge road 3 miles, we encamped for the night at the junction of the lower Dover road, extending pickets 1 mile on this road for the protection of right rear of First Brigade, Colonel Oglesby, my command forming the reserve corps of your division.

In the early morning of the 12th, when directed by you personally to do so, I marched directly upon Fort Donelson, following immediately upon the rear of Colonel Oglesby’s brigade, coming into a cleared valley some 2 miles in front of Fort Donelson. About the hour of 1 o’clock p.m., receiving orders to that effect, my command was quickly drawn up in line of battle, then marched up the plain towards the hill in front and on our right, which was understood to be occupied by the enemy. In executing this movement, the troops, encouraged by your presence in advance, swept over underbrush, fences, ravines, and brooks in the best possible order, casting away their knapsacks, overcoats, and every inconvenience to their most speedy advance. Arriving at the foot of {p.212} the hill, I was directed by you to form on the hill-top and engage immediately whatever force might oppose me. The high ground being reached, a few camp fires were the only lingering evidences of the presence of an opposing force. From this point we marched directly to the front, passing from one to another of the many ridges, until the one overlooking Fort Donelson was reached, encountering no portion of the enemy’s forces. From thence descending the hill, in obedience to your order to that effect, I took my position in line of battle, immediately on the left of the First Brigade, thus forming the center of your first division, and slept for the night upon our arms in front of the enemy’s works and within range of his guns.

With Thursday morning, 13th, you commenced, or rather continued, gradually to close in upon the right with your first (Colonel Oglesby’s) brigade, which was supported by the Third Brigade, under my command, until about 10 o’clock, when I was directed to take a position in the valley below and in range of the enemy’s guns, where I took a position assigned by your direction, with instructions to await orders, unless attacked by the enemy. Finding my left (of the Seventeenth), which extended up the ridge, exposed to a fire now being provoked by McAllister’s battery from the enemy’s guns upon the main fort (enemy’s right), I caused the left flank to be thrown back behind the ridge, and rested upon our arms, awaiting orders, until about 12.30 o’clock p.m., up to which time we had been greeted with occasional shot and shell from the enemy, but no casualty had occurred. Here I received intelligence that you desired me to make the first assault upon the enemy’s works, with an order to move against the enemy’s redoubts to my right as soon as Colonel Haynie, of the Forty-eighth Illinois, who, I was informed was ordered to support me, should report to me. I was notified in a very few minutes by Colonel Haynie that he had formed on my left, and that he believed he ranked me. Knowing that this was no time to dispute about a question of rank, I observed to Colonel Haynie that I would conduct the brigade to the point from which the attack was to be made, when he could take command, if he desired to do so. That point being reached, and the line of battle in which order you had directed me to move against the enemy’s works being formed, I reported to Colonel Haynie, who, neither declining nor assuming the command, said, “Colonel, let us take it” (meaning the enemy’s redoubt) “together.” Supposing myself then to be in command of the brigade assigned to me (Forty-ninth and Seventeenth Regiments), skirmishers were quickly thrown forward and the column ordered to advance, the Forty-ninth forming the right, the Seventeenth the center, and the Forty-eighth the left. Having more confidence in the Seventeenth (not in their superior courage, but in their power for efficiency in an assault, acquired by length of service and consequent skin in the use of arms, as well as in evolutions and movements in the field, and having entire confidence in the ability and courage of Major Smith, commanding, and Captain Harding and Adjutant Ryan, in charge of the right and left flanks of that regiment), I took immediate command of my own (Forty-ninth) regiment.

The troops moved forward with much spirit and eagerness, sweeping down the hill some 200 yards through the thick brush in perfect order, at once commencing the ascent of the opposite ridge or mound upon the top of which the redoubt was situated. For some distance from its base a portion of the timber had been removed from the hill-side to be passed over by the troops on the right, and the Forty-ninth were therefore enabled to advance with greater speed than the other forces. Approaching {p.213} within about 50 paces of the breastworks of the enemy we encountered an almost impassable abatis, made by felling small trees crosswise of each other, the tops always meeting us, the difficulty increasing the nearer we approached the breastworks, where brush had been piled upon brush, with the sharpened ends confronting us. The fortifications were so constructed as to be re-enforced without the knowledge of those making the assault and without exposing their re-enforcements to our guns upon any of the surrounding heights, while the redoubt itself contained a battery of four guns, and was supported by the redoubts on our right and left, mounting several guns within good range. What was the exact force in the intrenchments and rifle pits behind the enemy’s works I am not able to say, but the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas were all represented, and the force is reported to have been very large.

We had advanced to within less than fifty paces of the enemy’s works without his offering any opposition, and were making our way slowly but surely, when our skirmishers commenced drawing the fire of the enemy, who was undoubtedly waiting for us. I had now obtained a position from which I could see the nature of the difficulties to our progress, which consisted mostly in the almost impassable nature of the breastworks and the length of time required to climb over them. I at once determined to reserve my fire until the top of the works was reached, when I could create such confusion with one volley as would enable us to get over before the enemy recovered from the shock. Many of my men had already fallen and the others wanted shot for shot. They were undisciplined and had never been under fire, and as I beckoned and called them forward I saw them coming involuntarily to a “ready.” Passing quickly to the rear, unfortunately they fired without orders, though with fair precision and some effect. The Seventeenth was pressing forward, encountering like difficulties with the Forty-ninth, and both now advancing under the most terrible fire of musketry, grape, canister, and shell. I now waited with much anxiety for the Forty-eighth to make an assault farther to the left, intending to take advantage of the diversion it might create, and thus get over the enemy’s works, now almost reached, but the Forty-eighth failed to support me. The works were, as I thought, almost ours, the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth still forcing their way forward, when I was struck in the right hip with a musket ball, knocked out of the saddle, and compelled in consequence to relinquish my command.

The killed, wounded, and missing in the engagement from my command number 128, of which the Forty-ninth lost 68 and the Seventeenth 60. A complete list of the casualties accompanies this report.* I am pained to have to communicate to you the loss of Capt. John W. Brokaw, Company D, Forty-ninth Regiment, who fell while leading his company near the intrenchments of the enemy. His many virtues had endeared him to us all. Without military experience, he had judgment, honor, patriotism, courage-attributes which made him a soldier worthy the cause in which he fell.

I take great pleasure in acknowledging my obligations to Major Smith, Captain Harding and Adjutant Ryan, of the Seventeenth, who at all times co-operated with me, and who behaved with great gallantry, as did the officers and men of that regiment without exception. To Lieutenant-Colonel Pease and Major Bishop, of the Forty-ninth, I return my thanks for the willingness invariably shown by them to execute my orders. Quartermaster James W. Davis and Asst. Surg. Andrew B. {p.214} Beatty, each in their respective departments, rendered services which were invaluable to me. They were efficient, untiring, and regardless of their own personal safety. Dr. Edgar, surgeon of the Thirty-second, whose regiment was not in the engagement, generously volunteered his professional services in the absence of my surgeon, Dr. W. H. Medcalf. Whenever a poor, suffering soldier could be found he ministered to his wants. My adjutant (my brother) while I was upon the field was most efficient in transmitting my orders by day and night, without regard to the position of the enemy. To all of these gentlemen I tender the acknowledgments due to their bravery and efficiency.

Of the officers of the line and of the men what shall I say? Where shall I begin or end? With a regimental organization but a few weeks old, armed but five days before going into battle, possessing a full knowledge of the inferior quality of their arms, these brave men have performed such deeds of valor as are performed only by those who appreciate the value of that Union which will nerve them to yet other deeds of glory.

I remain, dear general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. R. MORRISON, Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade, First Division.

Brig. Gen. JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, Commanding First Division.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 20.

Report of Maj. Francis M. Smith, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry.


SIR: In pursuance to your order I submit the following report. I cannot tell the exact number of killed and wounded each day, and will give the total result.*

On the afternoon of the 13th this regiment, together with the Forty-ninth Illinois and Forty-eighth Illinois, under command of Colonel Haynie, were ordered to move forward from the road up to the rebel breastworks. The ground was difficult to get over, being composed of thick underbrush, and getting within short distance of the enemy’s intrenchments, the way was obstructed with fallen timber. At this juncture the enemy opened a cross-fire upon us with artillery and infantry, which was returned with great spirit by the men under my command. After an engagement of about thirty minutes, resulting in severe loss in my regiment, the order was given to fire in retreat. After falling back out of range of the enemy’s fire I withdrew my command to the road. My regiment was in line of battle nearly all night, suffering from cold and hunger, yet no one complained, and all were even cheerful.

On the 14th my regiment formed part of the support to Taylor’s and Schwartz’s batteries, and remained all day in the same position. About 3 o’clock in the evening the enemy opened his batteries on us with shell, but were replied to by the batteries on our front before they did us much damage. Remained in line of battle most of the night, and the cold rain and snow made great suffering among our men. On the morning of the 15th the batteries from the rebel side again commenced with shell against my regiment and others supporting the batteries, killing 4 and wounding several in my regiment. I retired down a ravine a short {p.215} distance from our former position. In the afternoon my regiment was relieved by the Fifty-eighth Ohio, and, Colonel Ross then being in command, the regiment was moved back to get what they so much needed-food and rest. The regiment was exposed three days and nights to severe cold, with rain and snow, in line of battle nearly all the time.

There were many acts of individual bravery, but as the facts were not reported in time I can mention but one. Corporal Smith, of Company E, went out sharpshooting on his own responsibility, and did good execution among the rebel sharpshooters and the skirmishers in advance of Taylor’s battery, firing 40 rounds of ammunition, running great risk, and showing excellent bravery-which praise, in fact, is due the whole regiment.

Respectfully submitting the above report, I remain, yours, respectfully,

F. M. SMITH, Major, Commanding Seventeenth Illinois Regiment.

W. H. L. WALLACE, Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, First Division.

* Embodied in division return, p. 182.


No. 21.

Report of Col. John McArthur, Twelfth Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Second Division.*

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 20, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part performed by my brigade during the late operations against Fort Donelson

First. My brigade, consisting of the Ninth, Twelfth, and Forty-first Illinois Regiments, left Fort Heiman, Ky., on the morning of February 12, 1862, bringing up the rear of the troops that proceeded from Fort Henry, and arriving about 3 miles from our line of operations at 6 p.m. of that day, encamped, and at 10.30 o’clock that night moved the brigade a mile and a half nearer the enemy, again encamping for the remainder of the night.

Second. Under arms next morning (13th) by 8 o’clock, being ordered to hold ourselves in reserve and also support the batteries of Major Cavender, then in position, against the center of the enemy’s works. At 4 p.m. moved around to the left of General McClernand’s division, That night a portion of my command threw up two small earthworks, and placed in them two 20-pounder and two 10-pounder guns, respectively. These were designed to operate against the left of the enemy’s center, but, however, were never used. Same night, at 11.30 o’clock, moved the Ninth and Forty-first by General McClernand’s order about a quarter of a mile nearer to his left, remaining under arms all night Without fires in the midst of a heavy snow-storm.

Third. 14th, under arms, awaiting orders, until 5 p.m., when we were ordered to occupy ground on the extreme right of our lines. Arrived at our new position a little after dark (about 7 p.m.), having been hotly shelled by the enemy’s batteries on the way. Encamped for the night without instructions, and, as I regret to add, without adequate knowledge of the nature of the ground in front and on our right.


15th, at daylight, were surrounded by the enemy, who opened on us a heavy fire of musketry, at the same time outflanking us by one regiment on our right. We again moved towards the right under a heavy fire and formed a new line, thereby defeating for the time the enemy’s object. This ground was steadily maintained until exposed to a flanking fire upon the right from fresh troops of the enemy. With a scarcity of ammunition in a large portion of my line I deemed it my duty to give the order to retire, which was executed steadily and in good order. I at once formed a new line about 300 yards to the rear, supporting the troops on our left, and remaining there until the troops who had occupied our extreme right before our arrival were forced to retire also, when I ordered my brigade farther to the rear within our lines. I then encamped in close order, and had the company rolls called and the men supplied with food (they having had none for nearly thirty-six hours) as also ammunition to replace that expended. At 4 p.m. we were ordered to the extreme left of our lines to support the troops at this place. The Twelfth Illinois remained under arms that night in support of the battery placed in the redoubt taken by assault the previous afternoon.

16th, Sunday morning, the enemy having capitulated, I marched my command into the enemy’s works, since which time they have guarded prisoners and captured stores.

I feel proud in bearing testimony to the unflinching firmness and uncomplaining conduct of the men of my command during the whole of the siege; also to their steadiness and courage displayed while under fire; and while I would not detract from any one his just dues, I must mention the gallant conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, of the Ninth Illinois; also Lieutenant-Colonel Chetlain-and Major Ducat, of the Twelfth Illinois, and Lieutenant-Colonel Tupper, of the Forty-first Illinois; also my aides, Adjt. J. Bates Dickson and Lieut. George L. Paddock, of the Twelfth Illinois, and Lieutenant Babcock, of the Second Illinois Cavalry, for their valuable assistance. I at the same time regret that circumstances placed me for a portion of the time with each division depriving my men of that favorable notice to which their arduous and soldierly conduct entitled them-conduct inferior to that of no troops on the field.

Trusting that an opportunity may soon occur where the same gallant conduct on the part of my command may be again displayed and appreciated, I remain, your obedient servant,

JOHN MCARTHUR, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Second Division.

Capt. M. BRAYMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Brig. Gen. C. F. Smith commanded the Second Division, but seems to have made no report.


No. 22.

Report of Lieut. Col. Augustus L. Chetlain, Twelfth Illinois Infantry.

HDQRS. TWELFTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

In accordance with Special Orders, No. 2, I beg leave to make the following report:

On the morning of the 12th instant the Twelfth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, which I have the honor to command, left Fort Heiman with the Ninth and Forty-first Illinois for Fort Donelson via Fort Henry. {p.217} During the march my command occupied the extreme left of the column. At dark we camped 3 miles from Fort Donelson. Near midnight I received all order to move 1 1/2 miles nearer to the enemy’s lines. The next morning, with balance of the brigade, I was moved up to support Major Cavender’s artillery, consisting of three batteries. In the afternoon I was ordered to a point still nearer the lines, where I remained twenty-four hours, assisting during the night in planting two field pieces on a hill in front of my camp. In the evening of Friday, the 14th, I was ordered to the support of the First Division (General McClernand’s), and camped for the night near the right of our lines. The Ninth and Forty-first Illinois occupied a hill immediately in front of me. I had at this time 612 effective men besides my officers.

The next morning at 7 o’clock the Ninth Illinois was attacked by a large body of skirmishers. I was ordered to move to the right of the brigade and to the extreme right of our lines. When I reached the ground assigned me and had formed in line of battle the engagement had become general along the line to my left for some distance. Finding that the enemy in large numbers was trying to force in the right of our line, I sent out Company A, Captain Fisher, and Company B, Captain Hale, to my front and right as skirmishers. They became engaged at once. Captain Hale was killed while getting his men in position. Soon after I sent Company C, Captain Chesley, to some vacant buildings in front of the lines, and one-half of Company D, under Lieutenant Koehler, to a fence immediately to his right. The fire of the enemy at my right became heavy and very destructive. At the end of twenty to twenty-six minutes Companies A and B fell back, literally out to pieces. Company C, whose captain was severely wounded, was suffering from the enemy’s fire and ordered to fall back, together with Company D. Ascertaining that the rest of my command, though lying down-brought in that position to escape the enemy’s fire-was suffering severely; that the Forty-first Illinois, at my left, had fallen back; that the enemy were coming up in great force; that the ground I occupied was very unfavorable, I ordered a retreat, detailing Company E, Captain Van Sellar, and Company F, Captain Campbell, to cover my retreat. The retreat was effected in good order. Another position was selected some 600 yards to the rear, and was held until I was moved to another part of the field. In the afternoon I was ordered to the extreme left of the line in the Second (General Smith’s) Division, and there kept my men in position, all sleeping on their arms tin next morning, when the enemy surrendered.

During the whole of the engagement my officers and men acted with admirable coolness and bravery. In the hottest of the battle every man stood his ground until ordered to retreat Captain Fisher and Lieutenant MacLean, of Company A; Lieutenant Towner, Company B; Captain Chesley and Lieutenant Jones, of Company C, and Lieutenant Koehler, of Company D, deserve great praise for their fearlessness and efficiency. All of the above companies suffered severely, especially the first two, who came out of the engagement with nearly half of their men killed or wounded. The officers of Companies E and F acted with great efficiency when covering our retreat. Captain Campbell and Lieutenant Randolph with half their company did fine execution while exposed to a severe fire. Major Ducat, who had charge of the left wing of the battalion, acted with great efficiency. I am under obligations to my aides, Lieutenant McArthur, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant Wetmore, regimental quartermaster, for valuable services during the engagement. The officers of Companies G, H, I, and K stood up to their work manfully, and deserve much praise.


Herewith I send a report of the killed, wounded, and missing of my command.*

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. L. CHETLAIN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Twelfth Illinois Volunteers.

Col. JOHN MCARTHUR, Commanding First Brigade, Second Division.


No. 23

Report of Col. Isaac C. Pugh, Forty-first Illinois Infantry.


SIR: In accordance with an order issued from headquarters, requiring commandants of regiments to report their operations upon the field of battle during the investment of Fort Donelson by our troops, I herewith transmit the following:

I received an order late Friday, February 14, to move out from my encampment of that day to the extreme right line of our forces, which order I obeyed under the guidance of Major Mudd. My regiment arrived at the designated encampment about sundown on Friday evening. After some instructions from Colonel McArthur, commanding brigade, I hastily examined the ground, but it was too late to form any correct idea of the ground. I threw out my picket guard. My regiment encamped at the foot of the hill. The next morning (Saturday), just at daylight, one of my picket guard came in and informed me the enemy were advancing in strong force. I immediately ordered out two companies as skirmishers, but before they could reach the woods through the open field in front they were fired upon by the enemy. I instantly formed my command in line of battle just under the crest of the hill. A heavy volley was then fired upon my regiment. I ordered a charge upon the enemy, which was obeyed with alacrity, when the enemy retreated from behind the fence on the opposite side of the field and from their ambush in the timber on my right to their rifle pits, a distance of half a mile. As this movement (the charge) had not been general on the part of our troops, I halted my command on the field, when the enemy returned with renewed force and recommenced the conflict. I now discovered he was extending his lines and outflanking me on the right. I then moved my command by the right flank so as to more fully occupy the woods and give room for the Ninth Illinois Regiment to form on my left in battle line.

At this juncture Colonel Oglesby, commanding brigade, arrived, and approved my entire action when he learned that during all this time I had acted upon my own responsibility. Colonel McArthur approved, and gave me some orders as to future movements, and had the Twelfth Illinois Regiment to form in my rear, which they occupied till my command, pressed by an overwhelming force and exposed to a most terrible fire, retired. My right flank passed through the ranks of the Twelfth Illinois Regiment, which movement was made in good order, excepting some little confusion on my right, which was hardest pressed by the {p.219} enemy. They were soon rallied, however, and formed in line by Lieutenant-Colonel Tupper. The firing was kept up until we had in connection with other regiments fallen back 500 yards, where my command was drawn up in line of battle and awaited the renewal of the attack, which the enemy did not make, and we were drawn off in good order by Colonel McArthur.

The officers and men, with but one or two exceptions, acted with great gallantry. My command, consisting of about 500 men, were engaged in battle three hours. I had 15 men killed, 117 wounded, and 3 missing.**

Ali of which is most respectfully submitted.

I. C. PUGH, Colonel Forty-first Illinois Regiment.

THOMAS J. NEWSHAM, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* See p. 168.

** But see p. 165.


No. 24.

Report of Col. John Cook, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.


GENERAL: In pursuance of orders from division headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report:

Monday, the 3d day of February, the Seventh Infantry Illinois Volunteers, under my command, embarked at Fort Holt, Ky., on board the steamer City of Memphis, under orders to join an expedition against Fort Henry, Tenn. Landing at Paducah, I reported to you, from whom orders were received assigning to the Third Brigade the following regiments, viz: Seventh Illinois, Seventh Iowa Twelfth Iowa, Thirteenth Missouri, and Fiftieth Illinois Volunteers, with Captain Richardson’s battery (20-pounder rifled guns) of First Missouri Light Artillery. In company with other troops, the command arrived at Camp Halleck by river, 4 miles below Fort Henry, on the afternoon of the 4th instant, when it was disembarked, under orders from Brigadier-General Grant, commanding the District of Cairo, to proceed by land, without transportation, under temporary command of General McClernand. The 5th instant remained at Camp Halleck. On the morning of the 6th left Camp Halleck by land for Fort Henry. A severe rain-storm the night previous to our departure, together with the swollen state of the streams from continued rains and the absence of all transportation, rendered the march extremely difficult, the troops suffering intensely from fording the numerous creeks, often wading so deep as almost to submerge their cartridge-boxes. But, inspired by the frequent reports of artillery from the gunboats, the men pressed on cheerfully. Impeded by the almost impassable roads and the necessity of assisting Captain Richardson’s battery out of the innumerable mud-holes, the command proceeded slowly. About 2 p.m. received orders from General Grant to advance the infantry without regard to the artillery. Having gone a short distance, the guide led us off the road about a mile, which had to be countermarched. Surmounting every obstacle, the infantry reached the outworks of Fort Henry soon after retreat, where they encamped on the damp ground much wearied, many without a single blanket, all {p.220} transportation having been left in the morning, and some of the regiments leaving even their knapsacks. Captain Richardson’s battery was left midway between Camp Halleck and Fort Henry, being unable to proceed on account of the impracticability of the roads. The 7th instant quartered the infantry in Fort Henry, partly in tents and partly in barracks formerly occupied by the rebels.

The 8th instant four companies of infantry were sent by transports to Camp Halleck, with orders to bring up our baggage left there, and also Captain Richardson’s battery, which they accomplished, returning the following day. On the 8th the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers, Col. C. J. Wright, which had been assigned to the Third Brigade, arrived from Smithland. The 10th instant, having with much trouble and labor made bridges over the slough formed by backwater from the Tennessee River, the command encamped 1 mile from the river, immediately inside of the outer fortifications, where we remained until the morning of the 12th.

On the 11th instant the Seventh Iowa Volunteers was transferred from the brigade and the Fifty-second Indiana added, Major Cavender’s entire battalion of First Missouri Light Artillery having been in the mean time temporarily assigned to the brigade. Leaving Fort Henry at 8 o’clock a.m. the 12th instant, the command arrived within a mile and a half of Fort Donelson at 3 o’clock p.m., the road being excellent and all transportation having been left at Fort Henry. Distance marched, 12 miles. The position assigned the brigade under my command was well chosen, being a high ridge of nearly 1 mile in length, and almost overlooking the enemy’s works on his right. In fine spirits, with full assurance of success, the troops passed the night, prepared for an attack should a sally be made from the fort. The 13th, the men’s haversacks being well filled, a hearty breakfast was eaten at an early hour, and under orders at 8 a.m. I moved the command up the Dover road to a point within one-half mile of the enemy’s outer works; deployed in line the Seventh Illinois on the right and Fifty-second Indiana on the left as skirmishers. The command moved steadily forward through the dense timber, crossing the deep ravine without resistance until the Seventh Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock commanding, found itself within short range of a battery till then undiscovered, which immediately upon appearance of our colors opened a destructive fire, killing instantly Capt. N. E. Mendell, Company I, and wounding several others. Owing to the density of the timber our own artillery was not yet in position. The regiment retired beyond range and to the support of Captain Richardson’s battery, First Missouri Light Artillery, just going into position. With the remaining four regiments I proceeded to the summit of a ridge overlooking the fort, a distance of nearly 600 yards intervening, the immensity of the abatis covering the whole precluding the possibility of proceeding farther but by an unwarranted destruction of life, the enemy in force being secure, concealed in his rifle pits and behind his palisades, from which continuous firing was kept up during the remaining portion of the day, answered by sharpshooters and skirmishers from our side, each side sustaining a slight loss. This position gained, it was held during the night, the men resting on their arms without fires and without blankets, everything but arms and ammunition having been cast aside on approaching the fort.

On the 14th, after a long and weary night of watching, the men being unprovided with tents or blankets and our immediate proximity to the enemy’s works and batteries precluding the possibility of building fires, knowing that the light would draw his fire from his two strong redoubts, {p.221} under which we lay, the troops under my command arose at an early hour, shook the thick covering of snow from their overcoats, partook of a meager breakfast, and cheerfully resumed their old position under the intrenchments. Though suffering from the snow and rain of the previous night, they returned during the whole of the day the enemy’s fire, doing him no little damage. Night again coming on, the troops fell back for rest and such refreshments as could under the circumstances be had, reasons before mentioned preventing the building of fires.

Here necessity compels me to state that Colonel Wright, in violation of direct orders, removed his command, the Thirteenth Missouri, to its first position occupied before the investment. Immediately upon being informed of the same, I proceeded on foot, and in person ordered his return. His compliance with the order again left the command in its original line and in readiness for a combined attack on the following day.

Saturday, the 15th, after another night of snow and severe cold the troops suffering intensely, but without murmurs, four regiments of my command returned to their original position (the Seventh Illinois having been sent the day previous farther to the right to support Captain Richardson’s battery), they having been permitted to fall back by companies out of range of the enemy’s guns to cook their breakfast and thaw their frozen clothes. At 9 a.m., in pursuance of orders from division headquarters, the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers was sent to the right to support a battery left unprotected by the withdrawal of a portion of Colonel McArthur’s brigade, and the Fifty-second Indiana, Colonel Smith, was ordered to the extreme left to repel any sally which the enemy might make from that quarter, a gap in his breastworks having been left for egress, leaving only the Twelfth Iowa and Fiftieth Illinois, with one battalion of Birge’s Sharpshooters, to engage the enemy along a line of half a mile in extent. At 2 p.m. orders came from General Smith to increase the number of skirmishers from my command and more completely engage the enemy’s attention, while he in person, with Colonel Lauman’s brigade and the Fifty-second Indiana, stormed the entrance previously mentioned.

The fortifications having been gained by General Smith and the enemy’s infantry having been driven back, I sent a messenger to General Grant, asking permission to move my brigade up to the support of Colonel Lauman, and, if possible, take the enemy’s batteries, which were pouring in upon him a murderous fire of grape, canister, and shell. While awaiting the return of the messenger information was received that the Stars and Stripes were flying over the main battery of the enemy, when orders were immediately given to cease firing, which having been complied with and the companies thrown out as skirmishers ordered to rejoin their commands, I ascertained the Stars and Stripes were raised by the rebels that we might be drawn within their reach. The messenger having returned, I abandoned the position, and with all the speed possible proceeded over the abatis, under a heavy fire of grape and canister. The distance being short, the discharges caused but little damage, overshooting us just enough to tear into shreds the colors of the Seventh Illinois, which regiment had been ordered by General Grant to rejoin me, two pieces of the battery it was supporting having been placed in position within the intrenchments, and succeeded, with the assistance of infantry, in silencing the battery of the enemy, giving us at a late hour full possession of his outer works on his right, lie having been driven to take cover under his inner intrenchments. The Fifty-second Indiana, from the lateness of the hour having been ordered back, {p.222} by direction of General Smith we were instructed to hold the position obtained during the night and immediately prepare for a combined assault the following morning, with the simple command from General Smith, “Take it, sir!” During the night the men rested upon their arms, and for the first time built fires, which enabled them to rest more comfortably.

Aroused at an early hour Sunday, the 16th, we partook of a scanty breakfast. Called to your headquarters, I was directed to order two regiments to the relief of Colonel Lauman, two additional regiments to their support a little retired, holding one regiment in reserve. The Seventh Regiment having expended more ammunition the day previous than any of the others, having an average of only nine rounds to the man, and being compelled to await the arrival of ammunition with which to fill the boxes, was selected as the reserve. About the time of the arrival of the ammunition, whilst the men were filling their boxes, the woods around were made to ring with loud and enthusiastic cheers from the troops under the command of Colonel Lauman and myself, announcing the unconditional surrender of Fort Donelson, giving us uninterrupted ingress into and peaceful possession of its entire rebel contents. A full and complete statement of the number of killed, wounded, and missing has in a previous report been supplied you.*

In accordance with your order to allude to and particularize those deserving of commendation, it affords me much pleasure to mention the following officers, viz: Colonel Bane and Adjutant Brown, of the Fiftieth Illinois; Colonel Smith and staff, of the Fifty-second Indiana; Colonel Woods and Major Brodtbeck, Twelfth Iowa, and Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock and Major Rowett, Captain Monroe, Company B; Captain Ward, Company A; Captain Lawyer, Company C, and Lieutenant Johnson, commanding Company I (Captain Mendell having been killed in the first engagement), of the Seventh Illinois Volunteers, and the following gentlemen of the medical staff, viz: Dr. R. L. Metcalf, surgeon, and James Hamilton, assistant surgeon, Seventh Illinois; Dr. Finley, assistant surgeon of the Twelfth Iowa, and Dr. Brown, assistant surgeon of the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers, who were constantly upon the field, regardless of danger and fatigue. Too high praise and commendation cannot be bestowed upon the medical staff of my command. Being almost entirely destitute of staff officers myself, I cannot refrain from an expression of both gratitude and approbation for the bravery and conduct exhibited by Lieut. B. F. Smith, acting assistant adjutant-general of the Third Brigade, and Private John C. Brand, composing my entire staff. Being repeatedly called upon to act in the same capacity myself rendered the labors necessary for the proper command of the brigade more arduous than upon any previous occasion.

There are doubtless many others deserving of especial mention at my hand for gallant conduct, but, being almost wholly unacquainted with four regiments of my command, I am unable to render to them the praise merited. Truth and justice require me to say that the entire command behaved in a manner deserving of approbation, cheerfully enduring the fatigue and exposure attendant upon the most inclement weather known in this latitude.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN COOK, Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division.

Brig. Gen. C. F. SMITH, Comdg. Second Division, District West Tennessee, U. S. Army.

* See p. 168.


No. 25.

Report of Col. J. J. Woods, Twelfth Iowa Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWELFTH IOWA INFANTRY, Fort Donelson, February 18, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to Special Orders, No. 2, headquarters Second Division, army in the field, Brigadier-General Smith commanding, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry in the recent attack on Fort Donelson, Tenn.:

On Wednesday, the 12th instant, the regiment, being a part of Col. J. Cook’s (Third) brigade, Second Division, marched from Fort Henry to the neighborhood of Fort Donelson, formed line of battle to the left of the Dover road, and slept on their arms ready for action.

Thursday morning, at 8.30 o’clock, we marched down to and up the Dover road about half a mile, when we filed to the left and formed line of battle; threw forward the flanking companies as skirmishers, and marched forward down a long slope that lay in front, the grape shot and shell of the enemy flying thick around us all the time. Our skirmishers advanced to the top of the hill that lay in front of us. The battalion halted at two-thirds of the distance to the top of the hill, where it was protected from the enemy’s fire by the ridge in front. It was but a few minutes after our skirmishers reached the top of the ridge in front when Private Edward C. Buckner, of Company A, was shot dead, a ball taking effect in the eye. No further damage occurred to the regiment that day, though the enemy kept up a constant fire.

The following night was very stormy, and, as we were ordered not to make fires, the men suffered from the wet and cold.

Early on Friday morning skirmishing began between our men and the enemy, which was kept up all day. During the day two of our men were struck with spent balls, but these did not disable them.

At night-fall eight companies retired and built fires, but passed an unpleasant night. Companies D and F remained as a guard over the ground we had occupied during the day.

Saturday until noon a random fire was kept up with the enemy. During this and the preceding days we were nobly supported by the coolness, bravery, and efficiency of a portion of Birge’s sharpshooters, who cooperated with us. Our right flank was protected by the Fiftieth Illinois, Colonel Bane commanding. Our front and left flanks were unsupported, except by our own skirmishers and the sharpshooters.

At about 2 p.m. Saturday, 15th, the Twelfth Iowa, Fiftieth Illinois, and sharpshooters were ordered to make a feint attack to draw the enemy’s fire. The men went cheerfully to the work assigned them, and kept up a warm fire on the enemy, while Colonel Lauman’s brigade, on our left, advanced on the enemy and got possession of a part of the enemy’s outworks and hoisted the American flag thereon. We were then ordered to their support. We moved rapidly by the left flank and charged over the down timber which the enemy had cut for his protection. At this time a galling fire of grape from the enemy poured in among us, wounding 8 or 10 of our men.

On reaching the breastworks some confusion was caused by the retreat of a portion of Colonel Lauman’s brigade, who, having expended all their ammunition, were compelled to fall back. By some exertion our men were rallied, and we opened a warm fire on the enemy, who also poured a warm fire of grape upon us from their battery on our right {p.224} and of musketry on our front. In this cross-fire we fought the enemy two hours, advancing on them into a ravine inside their breastworks. At length we were withdrawn outside of the works. During this time we lost 1 man killed and 27 wounded.

During all this time Lieutenant-Colonel Coulter behaved with the utmost coolness and bravery, performing his duties regardless of the danger to which he was exposed. Major Brodtbeck and Sergeant-Major Morrisy aided much in rallying the men.

When we began to march to support Colonel Lauman, Companies A and G were out skirmishing. I dispatched Adjutant Duncan to bring them up, which was speedily done, and he performed all other duties required of him promptly and effectively.

Surgeon Parker was on duty at the hospital. Assistant-Surgeon Finley performed faithful service in attending the wounded.

Lieut. J. B. Dorr, quartermaster, was performing his duty in forwarding supplies. His energy and efficiency cannot be too highly praised.

The color-bearer, Sergeant Grannis, showed much coolness amid the sharp fire of the enemy, and, without particularizing, every commissioned officer of the regiment performed his duties without flinching. The same may be said of the non-commissioned officers and privates, with but few exceptions.

J. J. WOODS, Colonel Twelfth Iowa Volunteers.

Capt. THOMAS J. NEWSHAM, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 26.

Report of Col. Crafts J. Wright, Thirteenth Missouri Infantry.

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 17, 1862.

SIR: I herewith report to you, under Order No. 2, the operations of this regiment against the enemy and the casualties which have resulted:

On Friday evening we were ordered to retain our position behind the sharpshooters as skirmishers, and which we had occupied during the day. We remained in this position without fires during the storm of rain, hail, and snow. The clothes of the men were drenched and frozen upon them. I sat upon a log wrapped in my blanket until 3 o’clock, when permission was given to go back half a mile and build fires to dry the men. Saturday, notwithstanding the severe duty and exposure of the previous day, we resumed our position at 8 o’clock a.m. We were ordered by General Smith to change position to prevent the enemy from advancing by one of the roads, and also to sustain a battery of several pieces planted for the same purpose. To be better prepared, our men threw off their knapsacks and blankets at the suggestion of General Grant. We thus prevented any advance in that quarter.

Late in the afternoon we were again changed and ordered to the trenches, through which the entrance was finally made. We were allowed, just as we reached our place, to withdraw and bivouac near by for the night. On Sunday morning we were ordered to the advance in the trenches. I was prepared to leave upon the ground whatever number was necessary to plant the Stars and Stripes of our country on the {p.225} intrenched position of the enemy, and all of my men stood to their places. I am happy to say no sacrifice was necessary, but that shortly after being in position I was enabled to send forward the color company (C) with the Stars and Stripes, and that thus your brigade were enabled to announce to our friends beyond and about that Fort Donelson had surrendered and the engagement ended. I can say all did their duty.


CRAFTS J. WRIGHT, Colonel Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers.

Col. JOHN COOK, Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division.


No. 27.

Report of Capt. Henry Richardson, Battery D, First Missouri Light Artillery.

CAMP NEAR FORT DONELSON, February 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report:

On the morning of Thursday, February 13, I placed my battery in position facing an outwork of the enemy, distant about 1,400 yards, and subsequently, by order of General Smith, moved about 500 yards to the right.

During the next day I engaged with one section a battery of the enemy, and being very warmly replied to, was obliged to cease firing after expending about 50 rounds.

During the night I sent my second section to occupy the point of the ridge upon which I was, distant about 400 yards to the right, and had a slight breastwork thrown up.

During the next day (Saturday) both sections tried to engage the enemy’s battery, but no reply was elicited. From the guns of the second section several shots were thrown into the enemy’s camp.

Late in the afternoon my first section was moved to the extreme right by order of General Grant, but returned without being engaged.

About 100 rounds were expended. One man is missing.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY RICHARDSON, Commanding Company D, First Missouri Light Artillery.

Lieut. CHARLES GREEN, Adjutant Second Battalion, First Missouri Light Artillery.


No. 28.

Report of Capt. F. Welker, Battery H, First Missouri Light Artillery.

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to furnish you the following report of the engagement:

On Thursday morning, February 13, Lieutenant Tannrath, of my company, received orders to take a position with one piece on the road leading to the enemy’s intrenchments and within about 800 yards of the enemy’s {p.226} guns. After firing 5 rounds the enemy’s fire became too severe to longer hold the position. The piece was then taken away, with the loss of I man killed. I next took a position farther to the right, on a hill opposite the enemy’s center. This position I held until late in the afternoon of Thursday.

February 14, after firing about 30 rounds, I received orders to take my battery to the right. Crossing the ravine, I took a position about the center of the right wing. Here I remained nearly all day Friday, waiting for orders to commence firing. Late in the afternoon of Friday Lieutenant Tannrath, with one piece, proceeded to take a position where the enemy were throwing shell and canister with fearful effect. In the face of a very severe fire the piece was placed in position, and after firing some 8 or 10 shots the enemy’s battery was silenced.

This position was held until Saturday morning, the 15th, when the enemy came out in force and drove our troops back. All the infantry having fell back, my piece was brought away. After this I received orders to take my battery to the left and support a charge made by the left wing. I took three pieces and placed them inside the enemy’s intrenchments, and held that position until Sunday morning, February 16.

I would mention that too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Lieutenants Tannrath and Edwards. All the rest behaved themselves with credit.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. WELKER, Capt. Comdg. Company H, First Regt. Mo. Light Artillery.

Lieut. CHARLES GREEN, Adjutant Second Battalion, First Regt. Mo. Light Artillery.


No. 29.

Report of Capt. George H. Stone, Battery K, First Missouri Light Artillery.


SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken in the action of the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th instant by Battery K.

Left camp near Fort Henry on the morning of the 12th instant; marched some 10 miles, and placed in position opposite intrenchments of the enemy, where I remained until the morning of the 15th instant, when I changed position and planted a section of battery on hill opposite the center of enemy’s column, where we opened fire with great effect, covering the advance of General Smith’s division on the left. At about 3 p.m. was ordered by General Smith to the left and to take position in intrenchments, which was done, when we opened a heavy fire of canister and shell on the enemy, forcing them from their position and silencing one of their guns. Remained in this position during the night under command of Lieutenant O’Connell, and marched in at head of column on the morning of the 16th, when the enemy surrendered.

Too much credit cannot be awarded to Lieutenant Hines for the gallantry and bravery with which he comported himself in the engagement of the 15th.

Sergeants Joyce and Donnelly are deserving of great credit, as also Private Miller; in short, where all the men were excellent it would be invidious to particularize.


Our loss in killed and wounded is none; 1 horse killed and 2 severely wounded.

Private Casey was wounded on the night of the 16th, supposed by a shot from pickets; slight.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. STONE, Captain Battery K, Second Battalion First Mo. Light Artillery.

Lieutenant GREEN, Adjutant Second Battalion First Missouri Light Artillery.


No. 30.

Report of Col. James C. Veatch, Twenty-fifth Indiana Infantry, Fourth Brigade, Second Division.


In compliance with your order I herewith respectfully submit a report of the part taken by the Twenty-fifth Regiment Indiana Volunteers in the actions which took place between our forces and the rebels on the left wing of our army on the 13th and 15th days of February, 1862, at Fort Donelson.

The Twenty-fifth Indiana Regiment marched with the brigade from Fort Henry on the 12th of February, and bivouacked at night on the extreme left of our lines, within less than half a mile of the enemy. Everything remained quiet during the night. At 10 o’clock a.m. on the 13th we moved forward in line of battle to the top of the hill which was between us and the enemy’s breastworks. Here I received your order to fix bayonets and charge the rebels, and, if possible, drive them from their works. The timber was so thick that we could only see here and there a part of the rebel works, but could form no idea of their range or extent. I sent forward, as directed, the flank companies-A and B, Captains Saltzman and Rheinlander-to deploy as skirmishers, which they did most admirably, and the regiment moved forward on the charge. Our flank companies as they advanced found the enemy’s works extended far to our left, and they very properly moved to the left and took position on a hill, where they did valuable service by preventing a fire on our flank from the enemy’s rifle pits, and in keeping silent a 6-pounder field piece that was brought to bear on us from that direction. At the foot of the hill the enemy poured on us a terrible fire of musketry, grape, and canister, with a few shells.

The rebel breastworks were now in plain view on the top of the hill. The heavy timber on the hill-side had been felled, forming a dense mass of brush and logs. Through and over these obstacles our men advanced against the enemy’s fire with perfect coolness and steadiness, never halting for a moment until they received your order. After a halt of a few minutes they again advanced within a short distance of the enemy’s breastworks, when their fire from a 6-pounder field piece and 12-pounder howitzer on our right was so destructive, that it became necessary to halt and direct the men to lie down to save us from very heavy loss. After remaining under a very heavy fire for two hours and fifteen minutes, with no opportunity to return the fire to advantage, the enemy being almost entirely hid, and seeing no movement indicating a further advance from any part of the line, I asked your permission to withdraw {p.228} my regiment, to save it from heavy loss where we could do no good. In retiring, owing to the nature of the ground and our exposed position, the men were thrown into slight confusion, but they rallied promptly at the foot of the hill and remained in that position until night, when we moved back, as directed by you, to the ground we occupied in the morning. We lost in this action 14 killed and 61 wounded.

On the 14th considerable firing was kept up between our skirmishers and the enemy’s sharpshooters, but nothing of importance occurred.

On the 15th, at 2 o’clock p.m., we formed a line of battle, and I sent forward Company B, Captain Rheinlander, to deploy as skirmishers and advance in front of the regiment. This order he executed promptly, and moved his company forward at double-quick. A few moments after, the order came to me to move my regiment by the left flank and follow to support the Fifty-second Indiana and Second Iowa Regiments. This movement left Captain Rheinlander without support, but he advanced boldly to the enemy’s rifle pits to the right of the point where they were being attacked by the Second Iowa and drove back the enemy, and was among the first, if not the very first, of our forces that mounted the breastworks.

We moved by the left flank to the creek bottom on our left and beyond some old houses, where the left halted and the right was brought forward, and we advanced in line of battle up the hill on the run, and entered the enemy’s works at the point where they had been taken by the Second Iowa. We pushed forward across the field in the direction of the heaviest firing until we reached the bottom of a deep hollow. Here we halted to form our line, which was somewhat broken in advancing, and prepared to move forward, but seeing the forces in front of us slowly retiring, we remained in line to cover them, and when they had all passed by us we marched back in good order to the breastworks, which we held during the night. Our loss in this action was 40 wounded, many of them severely.

I cannot bestow too high praise on the conduct of the officers in both of these actions. To Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan and Major Foster I am much indebted for the fearless and energetic manner in which they discharged their duties. Their conduct is worthy of the highest commendation. Adjutant Walker and Sergeant-Major Jones were brave, prompt, and faithful, and were ever ready to carry orders in the thickest of the fight. Captain Laird, of Company K, was severely wounded in the leg on the 13th while leading his company to the charge. He refused to leave the field, and when at last he was compelled to leave he cheered his men when he retired. Captains Saltzman and Rheinlander, commanding the flank companies, rendered very valuable service, and were often placed in exposed positions. The other captains and lieutenants, almost without exception, displayed great courage and energy, and are worthy of the highest praise. I could not mention one without naming all. The regimental band and chaplain were actively engaged in removing the wounded from the field and providing for their wants at the hospital. The conduct of the surgeon and assistant surgeon is esteemed worthy of especial mention. Asst. Surg. Arthur White devoted himself to relieving the wants of the wounded and suffering at the hospital, while the principal surgeon, Dr. John T. Walker, followed the regiment to the field, and received the wounded as they fell in the fight. It was the first time that our men had ever been exposed to the fire, and they stood it with the firmness of veterans. Many instances of personal courage and good conduct of non-commissioned officers and men occurred, but so numerous were they, that it would be difficult to point {p.229} out particular cases. The conduct of the various companies was uniformly good and worthy of the highest praise. The loss on the second day was not so great as the first, although the fire was more severe, but we were not so much exposed to the fire of grape, which was very destructive on the first day. Inclosed I send a list of the killed and wounded.*

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES C. VEATCH, Colonel Twenty-fifth Regiment Indiana Volunteers.

Col. J. G. LAUMAN, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Second Division.

* See p. 168.


No. 31.

Report of Col. James M. Tuttle, Second Iowa Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND IOWA INFANTRY, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report to you the part which my command took in the capture of this place:

The Second Regiment Iowa Infantry was transported up the Cumberland River on the steamer McGill, and landed about 3 miles below the fort on the 14th instant, and immediately marched to the headquarters of General Smith, where I arrived about 11 a.m. of the same day, and was by General Grant assigned to General Smith’s division and by General Smith to your brigade. When we arrived at the top of the hill, nearly opposite the right of the enemy’s works, in pursuance of an order from you I deployed Companies A and B as skirmishers. They immediately crossed a ravine in front of our line and skirmished until night, when they were called in.

In the mean time the regiment was assigned position on the extreme left of our forces, where we spent a cold and disagreeable night, without tents or blankets. We remained in this position until 2 p.m. the next day, when we were ordered to storm the fortifications of the enemy in front by advancing the left wing of the regiment, supported a short distance in the rear by the right wing. I took command of the left wing in person and proceeded in line of battle steadily up the hill until we reached the fortifications without firing a gun. On reaching the works we found the enemy fleeing before us, except a few, who were promptly put to the bayonet. I then gave the order to fire, which was responded to with fatal precision until the right wing, with Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, arrived, headed by General Smith, when we formed in line of battle, again under a galling fire, and charged on the encampment across the ravine in front, the enemy still retreating before us. After we had reached the summit of the hill beyond the ravine we made a stand and occupied it for over an hour.

In the mean time the enemy were being re-enforced, and one of our regiments poured a disastrous fire upon us in the rear. Our ammunition being nearly exhausted, I ordered my command to fall back to the intrenchments, which they did steadily and in good order.

I am not able to name the regiment which fired upon our rear, but I do know that the greater part of the casualties we received at that point {p.230} was from that source, for I myself saw some of my men fall who I know were shot from the hill behind us.

We then took our position behind the intrenchments, and soon afterwards, owing to an injury received, as reported among the casualties of the engagement, I retired from the field, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Baker in command until the following morning.

During the night our pickets, who were posted in the enemy’s camp, were fired upon several times; but with that exception all remained quiet until morning, when the enemy gave signal for a parley, which was succeeded by the joyful intelligence that they had surrendered the fort. We were then ordered by General Smith to take the post of honor in marching to the enemy’s fort, where we planted our colors upon the battlements beside the white of the enemy, for which generous consideration he has our hearty thanks.

When I come to speak of those who particularly distinguished themselves for coolness and bravery, so many examples occur to me, that it seems invidious to make distinctions.

Of those few who were in the most responsible positions-Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, Major Chipman, and Adjutant Tuttle-to say that they were cool and brave would not do them justice; they were gallant to perfection. Lieutenant-Colonel Baker had a ball pass through his cap and come out near his temple. Major Chipman was among the first to fall, severely wounded, while cheering on the men of the left wing, and refused to be carried from the field, but waved his sword and exhorted the men to press forward.

Captains Slaymaker and Cloutman fell dead at the head of their companies before they reached the intrenchments. Near them also fell Lieutenant Harper. His death was that of a true and brave soldier.

Captains Cox, Mills, Moore, and Wilkin were at the head of their companies marked examples of gallantry and efficiency.

Lieutenants Scofield, Ensign, Davis, Holmes, Huntington, Weaver, Mastick, Snowden, and Godfrey-in fact, nearly all of my officers, commissioned and non-commissioned-deported themselves nobly throughout the engagement.

Sergeant-Major Brawner deserves very honorable mention for his gallant conduct.

Surgeons Marsh and Nassau also deserve the highest praise for their skill and untiring devotion to the welfare of the wounded. Dr. Nassau was particularly noticed for his bravery on the field, taking off the wounded during a heavy fire from the enemy.

I cannot omit in this report an account of the color-guard. Color-Sergeant Doolittle fell early in the engagement, pierced by four balls and dangerously wounded. The colors were then taken by Corporal Page, Company B, who soon fell dead. They were again raised by Corporal Churcher, Company I, who had his arm broken just as he entered the intrenchments, when they were taken by Corporal Twombly, Company F, who was almost instantly knocked down by a spent ball, immediately rose, and bore them gallantly to the end of the fight. Not a single man of the color-guard but himself was on his feet at the close of the engagement.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. TUTTLE, Colonel Second Iowa Infantry.

Col. J. G. LAUMAN, Commanding Fourth Brigade.



No. 32.

Report of Lieut. Col. James C. Parrott, Seventh Iowa Infantry.

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 19, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the movement of the Seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry from February 12 to 15 inclusive:

The regiment left Fort Henry on the morning of the 12th and proceeded to the vicinity of Fort Donelson, where it arrived about 6 p.m. same day. The regiment, by your orders, was placed in position on an eminence about half a mile from the outer works of the enemy, to support the First Missouri Battery, consisting of two 20-pounder Parrott guns, where it remained all night, the regiment bivouacking without shelter or blankets.

On the morning of the 13th it was ordered by you to join its brigade on the extreme left wing, where it took part with said brigade in the assault on the rebel fortifications during the day. At sunset it returned to its former position, where it remained during the night, which was one of great inclemency.

On the morning of the 14th it took position in rear of ground occupied the day previous, where it remained quietly during the day and night, sending out through the day two companies as skirmishers.

On the 15th, about 2 p.m., you ordered us forward to the charge on the west end of the enemy’s fortifications, where it came up in good order and passed the intrenchments and rendered good service. It then took position in rear of the west breastworks, holding the position we had gained till next morning, when the capitulation took place.

I am proud to say that the officers and men of the regiment behaved themselves with coolness and courage and nobly retained the reputation formerly won.

Our casualties were 2 privates killed on the field; 2 lieutenants, 5 sergeants, 2 corporals, and 28 privates wounded, most of them slightly, and none mortally.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. PARROTT, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Col. J. G. LAUMAN, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Second Division.


No. 33.

Report of Col. William T. Shaw, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH IOWA INFANTRY, Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 19, 1862.

SIR: On February 13 my command, consisting of seven companies, was formed in line of battle by order of Colonel Lauman, commanding brigade, and ordered to advance with the Twenty-fifth Indiana upon the works in front and take a battery of two guns. I advanced under a heavy fire of musketry until I passed the point of a ridge on my right. I then received a heavy fire of grape from guns to the right, which, however, did but little damage, as the range was too high. Perceiving no {p.232} guns in front, and the line being much broken, owing to unevenness of the ground and the thick fallen timber, I halted my command to place men in the best position to advance, it being impossible to advance in line of battle; also to protect them as much as possible from the cross-fire from my right. I perceived at this time that the forces on my left, under the immediate command of Colonel Lauman, had halted. I waited to see by their movements whether we were to advance on the guns or the rifle pits, the latter being the direction pointed out to me by Colonel Lauman when I was ordered to advance on the guns: After waiting about an hour, and seeing no movement on my left, except from two advanced companies of skirmishers, who were retiring behind the main line, I withdrew my left wing, which was most exposed, out of range of the enemy’s guns, and remained there until night, keeping a few of my best marksmen sufficiently advanced to keep the enemy from coming outside their intrenchments to annoy my men by their marksmen.

About dark I received an order from Colonel Lauman to fall back and Lake my old position for the night, but by a subsequent order from General Smith I took a position one-half mile nearer the enemy.

My loss during the day was light, being but 2 killed and 14 wounded.

On Friday, the 14th instant, we remained in front of the enemy without changing our position.

Saturday, the 15th, I remained in same position until after noon, we being on the right of our brigade. Towards night the attack on the enemy’s works was made by a flank movement of the brigade, commencing on the left. Arriving in front of the enemy’s works, I deployed my left wing and marched them up the hill in line of battle. The right wing, owing to the nature of the ground, moved up by the left flank and formed inside the intrenchments. After remaining some time under a scattering fire of musketry and rather sharp fire of grape and shell, I formed my men behind the intrenchments on each side of two pieces of artillery, which had been placed in position after our entrance into the intrenchments, where we remained until morning, when the enemy surrendered.

My men behaved themselves well during both engagements, holding their fire till ordered and then delivering it with regularity and precision. I have never seen men behave themselves better, whether under fire or bearing with patience and fortitude the fatigue and hardships necessarily incident to so long an engagement in such weather.

My loss this day was 1 killed and 7 wounded.

Where all behaved so well it is difficult to mention individuals without doing seeming injustice to others, but may mention the valuable services rendered by Sergt, Maj. S. H. Smith, who was shot dead by my side while encouraging the men on to enter the breastworks of the enemy; also First Lieut. William W. Kirkwood, commanding Company K, rendered very valuable assistance in forming the line in front of the enemy’s breastworks.

Capt. Warren C. Jones, of Company I, also rendered valuable service in directing the fire of my marksmen, especially protecting the retiring of the skirmishers on the 13th instant.

WM. T. SHAW, Colonel Fourteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteers.

Col. J. G. LAUMAN, Commanding Fourth Brigade, Second Division.



No. 34.

Report of Col. Morgan L. Smith, Eighth Missouri Infantry, commanding Fifth Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH BRIGADE, Fort Heiman, Ky., February 18, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 15th instant, in obedience to your order, I stormed the hill on which the enemy were posted with my brigade, consisting of the Eighth Missouri and Eleventh Indiana Regiments, and retook and held the ground lost by some of our forces in the morning. I was gallantly supported by Colonel Cruft’s brigade. The hill was occupied by the First and Third Regiments of Mississippi Infantry, First Regiment Texas Infantry, Eighth Regiment Kentucky Infantry, and a battalion of Forrest Cavalry (Tennessee). The hill was covered at intervals with forest and dense underbrush. I deployed Company B, Eighth Missouri, Lieutenant Otis commanding, as skirmishers, to advance rapidly and draw their fire, and ascertain their position. I afterward deployed Company G, Captain Grier; Company H, Captain Swarthout; Company E, Captain Kirby, and Company A, Captain Johnson, with intervals of two paces, so that every advantage could be taken of trees for cover. In two instances their skirmishers and ours were occupying each side of the same tree for cover. It was here that the gallant Captain Swarthout, of Company H, fell. In his efforts to keep his men under cover he forgot himself, and received two rifle bullets, either of which would-have killed him instantly. After about an hour’s hard fighting, during which time we were advancing slowly, the enemy gave way. We pursued them for about a mile, to within 150 yards of their intrenchments, so closely that-some of their arms were thrown away and 5 prisoners were taken, 3 by Company A and 2 by Company B, Eighth Missouri.

I then posted the grand guard between the battle ground of the morning and their intrenchments, with orders not to let them put any grand guard between their intrenchments and us, and had details from the Eleventh Indiana and Eighth Missouri carrying the wounded from the battle ground of the morning to the rear nearly all night. The wounded thus carried off were principally from the Eighth, Eleventh, and Twentieth Illinois Regiments. The small loss that my brigade sustained was owing to the admirable manner in which all orders were executed and the perfect confidence that existed between the officers and men, the officers all vieing with each other in accomplishing their object with the least possible loss of their brave men.

The gallant Eleventh Indiana would have gladly been in the lead, but kindly yielded to their brothers, the Eighth Missouri, with the understanding that it opens the ball on the next occasion, for which it is patiently waiting. Suffice it to say that it was in line with the five companies of the Eighth Missouri, not deployed, on the hill exactly at the right time.

Annexed please find report of killed, wounded, and missing;* also reports of Major McDonald and Colonel McGinnis of their regiments.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

MORGAN L. SMITH, Colonel Eighth Missouri Volunteers, Comdg. Fifth Brigade.

Capt. FRED. KNEFLER, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Fort Henry, Tenn.

* See p. 189.


No. 35.

Report of Col. George F. McGinnis. Eleventh Indiana Infantry.


SIR: I beg leave to make the following report of the operations of the Eleventh Indiana, under my command, in the battle at Fort Donelson, on the afternoon of the 15th instant:

At about 1 o’clock the order was given to prepare for action. Our regiment was immediately formed in line of battle under a heavy fire from the enemy, and advanced in good order to sustain the Eighth Missouri, which, being on the right, was the first engaged. As the enemy occupied a very advantageous position on a hill covered with a thick undergrowth which almost hid them from our view, I directed Capt. N. R. Ruckle, of Company E, to deploy his company as skirmishers so far as to cover our whole line, advance as rapidly as the nature of the ground would permit, and find out the position of the enemy; and nobly was this duty performed. After a few well-directed rounds from our men the enemy began to retire, and the Eleventh, gallantly supported by the Eighth Missouri, advanced rapidly, driving the enemy before them, and soon occupied a position in advance of that from which a portion of our forces had been compelled to retire in the morning and within 500 yards of the enemy’s intrenchments. We held that position under a heavy fire from the enemy’s guns until ordered to fall back and take position for the night. The night was one of the coldest of the season, but being within 800 yards of the enemy’s guns, we were not, of course, permitted to build fires, although greatly needed. All, however, submitted willingly and cheerfully and without a word of complaint, expecting to meet the enemy again in the morning.

On the morning of the 16th we were again formed in line of battle, and advanced to within 400 yards of the enemy’s lines, expecting every moment to be attacked, when we heard the glorious news that Fort Donelson had surrendered.

I cannot close this report without sincerely thanking every company officer engaged in the action for the gallant manner in which they performed their duties, and especially First Lieuts. John P. Megrew, of Company B, and John L. Hanna, of Company F, who, being the only commissioned officers with their respective companies, controlled them to my entire satisfaction. Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, Major Elston, and Adjutant Macauley behaved with great gallantry, always at the post of greatest danger, encouraging all and cheering on to the conflict. To them I am much indebted for valuable assistance. Second Lieut. Henry McMullen, of Company C, while gallantly performing his duty, was disabled during the early part of the engagement, and was compelled to retire from the field.

Surgeon Thompson and Assistant Surgeon Brown are deserving of especial mention for their unremitting attentions to the wounded and dying, not only of our own command, but of all others who came under their observation. They labored incessantly for twenty-four hours, attending to all that were brought to their notice, thereby setting an example that it would have been well for other surgeons that could be mentioned to have imitated.


GEORGE F. MCGINNIS, Colonel Eleventh Indiana.

Col. MORGAN L. SMITH, Comdg. Fifth Brigade, General C. F. Smith’s Division.



No. 36.

Report of Maj. John McDonald, Eighth Missouri Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of my command in the late engagement with the enemy at Fort Donelson:

I was ordered by yourself on the 15th instant to take a position on the right wing of the brigade, to retake a hill on the right, which our forces, commanded by General McClernand, had lost in the morning. I made the attack, led by yourself, you at the time taking the command, giving all the necessary directions and commands-in fact, leading the entire engagement, which lasted some three hours. We regained the position and maintained it all that night by standing in position and stationing pickets within 80 yards of the enemy’s intrenchments. On the morning following we were notified that there was a flag of truce approaching, which brought the intelligence of the surrender of the enemy’s forts and forces. The following is a list of the killed and wounded, also the conduct in general of the officers and men most worthy of mention:

Company A, William A. Johnson commanding, were deployed as skirmishers, and rendered good service throughout the action. Captain Johnson, First Lieut. G. M. Crane, and Second Lieut. Nelson Patterson, are worthy of note for their coolness and bravery throughout the fight.

Company B, First Lieut. Edmund R. Otis commanding, were also deployed as skirmishers, leading the attack and doing excellent service, with but small loss. Much credit is also due Lieutenant Moffett for promptness and courage.

Company C, Second Lieut. Harry B. Harris commanding, took an active part in the engagement, meeting with no loss.

Company D, Capt. Giles A. Smith commanding, deserves great credit for his coolness and the condition in which he held his men during the fight.

Company E, Capt. D. T. Kirby commanding, were deployed as skirmishers, both officers and men acquitting themselves with much credit.

Company F, Capt. A. A. Jameson commanding, acquitted themselves with great credit, having none killed or wounded. First Lieut. J. W. Barr, of Company I, being attached to this company, did excellent service. The same is due to Second Lieut. Philip H. Murphy.

Company G, Capt. David P. Grier commanding, were deployed as skirmishers, causing great destruction in the enemy’s ranks. Captain Grier is a brave and efficient officer.

Company H, Capt. George B. Swarthout commanding, were deployed as skirmishers. The captain, a very brave officer, led his company, causing great destruction in the ranks of the enemy.

Company K, Second Lieut. Charles Vierheller commanding, did good service, having but 2 men wounded.

Some of the above officers and men were detached as sharpshooters, under the command of Capt. Hugh Neill, doing excellent service throughout the engagement.

First Sergeant Dwyer, Corporal Powell, Private Bracken, of Company A; First Sergeant Boyd, Private Sartore, Company B; First Sergeant Murray, and Private , Company E, being wounded, still remained at their posts as though nothing had happened. First Sergeant Musselman and Sergeants Scahill and Bogert, Corporals Vail and Boggs, Company F; Sergeants O’Donald and Crandall; Corporals Spence and {p.236} Bamford, and Privates Bennett, McCullough, and Taylor, Company G are worthy of much credit for their bravery and willingness when called upon as volunteers to go where danger was greatest.

The aggregate number of this regiment when going into battle was 680. Our loss was comparatively small for the average number of men and the victory achieved, which is attributed to the efficiency of Col. M. L. Smith, commanding the brigade. We captured during the engagement three of the enemy’s flags-one from the First Texas Regiment, one from the Second Mississippi, and one from the Fifty-second Tennessee. Capt. William Hill, acting lieutenant-colonel, and Capt. Charles McDonald, acting major, were promptly at their posts throughout the fight. In fact, all in my command acquitted themselves with much credit. All of which I have the honor to submit.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JOHN MCDONALD, Major, Commanding Eighth Regiment Missouri Volunteers.

Col. MORGAN L. SMITH, Comdg. Fifth Brigade, General C. F. Smith’s Div., U. S. Vols.


No. 37.

Report of Brig. Gen. Lewis Wallace, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION U. S. FORCES, District of West Tennessee, Fort Henry, February 20, 1862.

SIR: A report of the action of my division before Fort Donelson has been delayed from various causes. I submit it to the general speedily as possible.

The Third Division, assigned to me, consisted of the Thirty-first Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn commanding-Seventeenth Kentucky, Col. John H. McHenry; Forty-fourth Indiana, Col. Hugh B. Reed, and the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, Col. James M. Shackelford, all constituting the First Brigade, Col. Charles Cruft commanding; also, the First Nebraska, Lieutenant-Colonel McCord; Seventy-sixth Ohio, Colonel Woods; Sixty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Steedman, constituting the Third Brigade, Col. John M. Thayer commanding. A brigade numbered two in the order was not found together as an organization before or after the action. Three regiments-the Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis; Fifty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Baldwin, and the Fifty-eighth Illinois, Colonel Lynch, believed to be a portion of the last-mentioned brigade-came up on Saturday during the action and were attached to Colonel Thayer’s command.

The position of the Third Division was in the center of the line of attack, General McClernand being on the right and General Smith on the left. My orders, received from General Grant, were to hold my position and prevent the enemy from escaping in that direction; in other words, to remain there and repel any sally from the fort. Under the orders I had no authority to take the offensive. The line established for my command was on the cone of a high ridge, thickly wooded to the front and rear, and traversed by a road which made the way of communication from the right to the left of our army. The right of my division, when posted, was within good supporting distance from General {p.237} McClernand and not more than 500 yards from the enemy’s outworks; indeed, my whole line was within easy cannon-shot from them.

The evening of the 14th (Friday) was quiet, broken at intervals by guns from the rebels. At night pickets were sent to the front along the line, which was retired somewhat behind the ridge, to enable the men in safety to build fires for their bivouacs. They laid down as best they could on beds of ice and snow, a strong, cold wind making the condition still more disagreeable.

The morning of the 15th my division formed line early, called up by the sound of battle raging on the extreme right, supposed at first to be General McClernand attacking. The firing was very heavy and continuous, being musketry and artillery mixed. About 8 o’clock came a message from General McClernand, asking assistance. It was hurried to headquarters, but General Grant was at that time on board one of the gunboats, arranging, as was understood, an attack from the riverside. Before it was heard from, a second message reached me from General McClernand, stating substantially that the enemy had turned his flanks, and were endangering his whole command. Upon this Colonel Cruft was instantly ordered to move his brigade on to the right and report to General McClernand. Imperfectly directed by a guide, the colonel’s command was carried to the extreme right of the engaged lines, where it was attacked by a largely superior force, and, after the retreat or retirement of the division he was sent to support, for a time bore the brunt of the battle. After a varied struggle, charging and receiving charges, the enemy quit him, when he fell back in position nearer to support, his ranks in good order and unbroken except where soldiers of other regiments plunged through them in hurried retreat. In this way a portion of Colonel Shackelford’s regiment (Twenty-fifth Kentucky) and about 20 of the Thirty-first Indiana, with their commanding officers, became separated from their colors.

Soon fugitives from the battle came crowding up the hill in rear of my own line, bringing unmistakable signs of disaster. Captain Rawlins was conversing with me at the time, when a mounted officer galloped down the road, shouting “We are cut to pieces.” The result was very perceptible. To prevent a panic among the regiments of my Third Brigade I ordered Colonel Thayer to move on by the right flank. He promptly obeyed. Going in advance of the movement myself, I met portions of regiments of General McClernand’s division coming back in excellent order, conducted by their brigade commanders, Colonels Wallace, Oglesby, and McArthur, and all calling for more ammunition, want of which was the cause of their misfortune.

Colonel Wallace, whose coolness under the circumstances was astonishing, informed me that the enemy were following and would shortly attack. The crisis was come. There was no time to await orders. My Third Brigade had to be thrust between our retiring forces and the advancing foe. Accordingly, I conducted Colonel Thayer’s command up the road to where the ridge dips towards the rebel works, and directed the colonel to form a new line of battle at a right angle with the old one; sent for Company A, Chicago’ Light Artillery, and dispatched a messenger to inform General Smith of the state of affairs and ask him for assistance.

The head of Colonel Thayer’s column fired right double-quick. Lieutenant Wood, commanding the artillery company sent for, galloped up with a portion of his battery and posted his pieces so as to sweep approach by the road in front. A line of reserve was also formed at {p.238} convenient distance in rear of the first line, consisting of the Seventy-sixth Ohio and the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Illinois. The new front thus formed covered the retiring regiments, helpless from lack of ammunition, but which coolly halted not far off, some of them actually within reach of the enemy’s musketry, to refill their cartridge boxes, and, as formed, my new front consisted of Wood’s battery across the road; on the right of the battery the First Nebraska and Fifty-eighth Illinois; left of the battery a detached company of the Thirty-second Illinois, Captain Davidson, and the Fifty-eighth Ohio, its left obliquely retired. Scarcely had this formation been made when the enemy attacked, coming up the road and through the shrubs and trees on both sides of it, and making the battery and the First Nebraska the principal points of attack. They met the storm, no man flinching, and their fire was terrible. To say they did well is not enough. Their conduct was splendid. They alone repelled the charge. Colonel Cruft, as was afterwards ascertained, from his position saw the enemy retire to their works pell-mell and in confusion. Too much praise cannot be given Lieutenant Wood and his company and Lieutenant-Colonel McCord and his sturdy regiment. That was the last sally from Fort Donelson.

This assault on my position was unquestionably a bold attempt to follow up the success gained by the enemy in their attack upon oar right. Fortunately it was repelled. Time was thus obtained to look up Colonel Cruft’s brigade, which after considerable trouble was found in position to the right of my new line, whither it had fallen back. Riding down its front I found the regiments in perfect order, having done their duty nobly but with severe loss, and eager for another engagement. The deployment of a line of skirmishers readily united them with Colonel Thayer’s brigade, and once more placed my command in readiness for orders.

About 3 o’clock General Grant rode up the hill and ordered an advance and attack on the enemy’s left, while General Smith attacked their right. At General McClernand’s request I undertook the proposed assault. Examining the ground forming the position to be assailed (which was almost exactly the ground lost in the morning), I quickly arranged my column of attack. At the head were placed the Eighth Missouri, Col. M. L. Smith, and the Eleventh Indiana, Col. George F. McGinnis, the two regiments, making a brigade, under Colonel Smith. Colonel Cruft’s brigade completed the column. As a support two Ohio [Seventeenth and Forty-ninth Illinois] regiments under Colonel Ross were moved up and well advanced on the left flank of the assailing force, but held in reserve. Well aware of the desperate character of the enterprise, I informed the regiments of it as they moved on, and they answered with cheers and cries of “Forward!” “Forward!” and I gave the word.

My directions as to the mode of attack were general, merely to form columns of regiments, march up the hill which was the point of assault, and deploy as occasion should require. Colonel Smith observed that form, attacking with the Eighth Missouri in front. Colonel Cruft, however, formed line of battle at the foot of the hill, extending his regiments around to the right. And now began the most desperate, yet in my opinion the most skillfully executed, performance of the battle.

It is at least 300 steps from the base to the top of the hill. The ascent is much broken by outcropping ledges of rock and for the most part impeded by dense underbrush. Smith’s place of attack was clear, but rough and stony. Cruft’s was through the trees and brush. The {p.239} enemy’s lines were distinctly visible on the hill-side. Evidently they were ready. Colonel Smith began the fight without waiting for the First Brigade. A line of skirmishers from the Eighth Missouri sprang out and dashed up, taking intervals as they went, until they covered the head of the column. A lively fire opened on them from the rebel pickets, who retired, obstinately contesting the ground. In several instances assailant and assailed sought cover behind the same tree. Four rebel prisoners were taken in this way, of whom 2 were killed by a shell from their own battery while being taken to the rear.

Meantime the regiments slowly followed the skirmishers. About quarter the way up they received the first volley from the hill-top around which it ran, a long line of fire disclosing somewhat of the strength of the enemy. Instantly, under order of Colonel Smith, both his regiments laid down. The skirmishers were the chief victims, George B. Swarthout, captain of Company H, Eighth Missouri, was killed, gallantly fighting far in advance. Soon as the fury of the fire abated both regiments rose up and rushed on, and in that way they at length closed upon the enemy, falling when the volleys grew hottest, dashing on when they slackened or ceased. Meanwhile their own fire was constant and deadly. Meanwhile, also, Colonel Cruft’s line was marching up in support and to the right of Colonel Smith. The woods through which he was moving seemed actually to crackle with musketry. Finally the Eighth and Eleventh cleared the hill, driving the rebel regiments at least three-quarters of a mile before them and halting within 150 yards of the intrenchments behind which the enemy took refuge. This was about 5 o’clock, and concluded the day’s fighting. In my opinion it also brought forth the surrender.

While the fighting was in progress an order reached me through Colonel Webster to retire my column, as a new plan of operations was in contemplation for the next day. If carried out, the order would have compelled me to give up the hill so hardly recaptured. Satisfied that the general did not know of our success when he issued the direction,I assumed the responsibility of disobeying it, and held the battle ground that night. Wearied as they were, few slept, for the night was bitter cold, and they had carried the lost field of the morning’s action, thickly strewn with the dead and wounded of McClernand’s regiments. The number of Illinoisans there found mournfully attested the desperation of their battle and how firmly they had fought it. All night and till far in the morning my soldiers, generous as they were gallant, were engaged ministering to and removing their own wounded and the wounded of the First Division, not forgetting those of the enemy.

Next morning about daybreak Lieutenant Ware, my aide-de-camp, conducted Colonel Thayer’s brigade to the foot of the hill. Lieutenant Wood’s battery was also ordered to the same point, my intention being to storm the intrenchments about breakfast time. While making disposition for that purpose a white flag made its appearance. The result was that I rode to General Buckner’s quarters, sending Lieutenant Ross with Major Rogers, of the Third Mississippi (rebel) Regiment, to inform General Grant that the place was surrendered and my troops in possession of the town and all the works,on the right.

In concluding, it gives me infinite pleasure to call attention to certain officers and men of my division. If General McClernand has knowledge of the prompt assistance Colonel Cruft and his brigade carried his brave but suffering regiments in the terrible battle of Saturday morning his notice of their conduct will make it superfluous for me to praise it. In {p.240} the afternoon’s fight for the recapture of the hill the colonel led his tired column with unabated courage. Maj. Fred. Arn, Thirty-first Indiana; Col. James M. Shackelford, Twenty-fifth Kentucky; Col. Hugh B. Reed, Forty-fourth Indiana, and Col. John H. McHenry, Seventeenth Kentucky, and their field and company officers, all won honor and lasting praise, nor can less be given to the valor and endurance of the men who composed their regiments.

To the promptness and courage of Colonel Thayer, commanding Third Brigade, in the execution of my orders on the occasion, I attribute in a large degree the repulse of the enemy in their attack upon my position about 10.30 or 11 o’clock in the morning. There can be no question about the excellence of his conduct during that fierce trial. Lieutenant-Colonel McCord and his First Nebraska Regiment, and Lieut. P. P. Wood and his company, A, Chicago Light Artillery, have already been spoken of in terms warmer than mere commendation.

I have reserved for the last the mention of that officer whose mention I confess gives me most pleasure-Col. Morgan L. Smith. This officer led his old regiment, the Eighth Missouri, and the Eleventh Indiana, united as a brigade under his command, in the charge that resulted in the recapture of our position on the right. Words cannot do justice to his courage and coolness. All through the conflict I could see him ride to and fro, and could hear his voice, clear as a bugle’s, and as long as I heard it I knew the regiments were safe and their victory sure. Promotion has been frequently promised him; if it does not come now Missouri will fail to recognize and honor her bravest soldier.

To Major McDonald, commanding Eighth Missouri, and to Colonel McGinnis, Lieut. Col. W. J. H. Robinson, and Maj. I. C. Elston, of the Eleventh Indiana, and the officers and men of both those regiments, most honorable mention, is due.

Capt. Fred. Knefler, my assistant adjutant-general, and Lieuts. James R. Ross and Addison Ware, my aides-de-camp, rendered me prompt and efficient service in the field. Their courage and fidelity have earned my lasting gratitude. Nor am I less indebted to my orderlies, Thomas W. Simpson and Bird Fletcher, of Company I, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, both of whom are brave, intelligent soldiers, worthy promotion.

Of that portion of my division not mentioned as in action I would say they were being carefully saved for the proposed assault on Sunday. Had the surrender not taken place they would have been placed foremost in the attack. When my position was attacked in the forenoon they were under fire, and by their patient endurance and soldierly behavior won my fullest confidence. The regiments alluded to were the Seventy-sixth, Sixty-eighth, and Fifty-eighth Ohio and the Forty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Illinois.

Maj. T. W. Fry, surgeon, attached to my staff, who performed his duties in the most skillful manner, freely exposing himself, will at the earliest moment furnish a list of the casualties that happened in my division during the battle.

Sincerely hoping the general may prove as fortunate in every battle he may have occasion to fight, I beg leave to congratulate him on his success in this one, and subscribe myself, most respectfully, his very obedient servant,

LEW. WALLACE, General, Third Division.

Capt. JOHN A. RAWLINS, Asst. Adjt. Gen. U. S. Forces, District West Tennessee.



No. 38.

Report of Surg. Thomas W. Fry, U. S. Army, Medical Director.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, U. S. FORCES, Fort Henry, February 22, 1862.

The following is the official report of the killed, wounded, and missing of the Third Division of the army in the battle of Fort Donelson, on Saturday, the 15th day of January, 1862, so far as reported to me by brigade and regimental surgeons. Several regiments of the division remained at Fort Donelson, whose surgeons will no doubt report directly to you.*


* Nominal list omitted.


Commands.Killed.Wounded.Captured or missing.Aggregate.
Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.

11th Indiana422733
31st Indiana984461
44th Indiana313135
17th Kentucky43135
25th Kentucky211358579
8th Missouri1613947
Chicago Light Artillery33

In making this report I take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the promptness, faithfulness, and ability with which Brigade Surgeon Keenon and the surgeons and assistants of this division of the army performed their duties. They followed their regiments into the midst of danger and exposed their lives to aid the wounded. Surg. J. C. Thompson and Asst. Surg. Clay Brown, of the Eleventh Indiana, and Surgeon Bailey and Assistant Surgeon Winnis, of the Eighth Missouri, were exposed to a most terrible fire from the enemy, having been ordered to follow their men into the field of battle by the medical director, H. S. Hewitt. The surgeons of this division generally complain of discourteous treatment on the part of the medical director. When manifesting an earnest solicitude for their wounded and making inquiries as to the time and manner of transportation and ultimate destination they were rudely and offensively repulsed without the desired information. They also complain that in the exercise of extra and arbitrary power they were deprived the privilege of attending their own men, of dressing their wounds, or attending them when taken to the boats. The report of such conduct is to me a matter of deep regret, and against such conduct I beg leave to protest.

In my opinion, which is sustained by all the surgeons with whom I have conversed, the removal of those on whom amputations and other severe operations had been performed was unwise and highly injudicious, {p.242} endangering the lives of those who might otherwise recover. The houses occupied as hospitals could have been retained, and surgeons detailed to wait on them until recovery had so far advanced as to render removal comparatively safe. The hurry of moving, the necessary or careless displacement of dressings, the pain inflicted by incessant jarring must add fearfully to the already dangerous condition of the wounded. If necessary, surgeons and nurses in sufficient numbers would volunteer to render every service to those who were injured in defense of their government. Had dangers of an attack or of falling into the enemy’s hands existed, the necessity of removal would have been imperative, but no such danger existed. It is greatly to be feared that the mortality will be fearfully increased, more especially when steamboats crowded with the wounded, as was the case with the steamer Tuts, were sent off without a single surgeon. Dressings would necessarily be displaced, requiring immediate readjustment, and secondary hemorrhage likely to occur, which is always alarming, and especially when the patient is in motion. There were surgeons belonging to this division anxious to attend the wounded on their perilous journey whose services would have been cheerfully dispensed with by their regiments, but they were refused, and ordered to join their regiments, and the wounded sent without medical attention. Imperative duty compels me to report these facts, unpleasant though it be. That they were suffered to occur can be attributed alone to incapacity or willful neglect on the part of those having charge.

Most of the forenoon on the day of battle I was busily engaged at the hospital on the extreme right, in a narrow valley near the scene of action, where the wounded from General McClernand’s division were rapidly crowding in. Here the slightly wounded, the mangled, the dying, and the dead presented a scene which baffles description; and, adding to the difficulties and dangers of our position, hundreds of armed soldiers rushed in, and remained until a volley of musketry from the enemy caused them to seek other and safer quarters.

It was my fortune to administer to Lieutenant-Colonels White and Erwin, of the Eleventh and Thirty-first Illinois Regiments, in their last moments. They died without a murmur and without a struggle-Colonel White, if I mistake not, from a shot in the neck, and Colonel Erwin, in the side. When the hospital was fired on, Surgeon Thompson, of Illinois, and myself retired, with all the wounded that could be moved, to hospitals farther in the rear. Since the surrender, officers of the rebel army have informed me that the fire on the hospital was accidental and ceased the moment the flag was seen. About noon I established a general hospital on the extreme left, in the headquarters of General Grant, who very kindly and generously offered them for that purpose. Notwithstanding the abundant supply of hospital stores which the medical director informed me were on hand, nothing was sent us, neither medicine nor food, neither bandage nor plaster. The field service of the surgeons and such articles as could be pressed into service constituted our supply, and the little food obtained was secured by dint of perseverance from regimental quartermasters. That hospital stores and provisions were not supplied under such circumstances involves criminal neglect or incapacity on the part of those in charge of this department.

Kind and careful attention to the wounded soldier is a high and most sacred duty. Surgeon Sexton, of [52d] Indiana Regiment, and Assistant Surgeon Christy, of the Thirty-second Illinois, were aiding me at the hospital. Surgeon Marsh, of the Second Iowa, and Assistant Surgeon {p.243} Martin at times gave us most valuable assistance. Dr. Sexton, an efficient and skillful surgeon when sober, was so much under the influence of liquor for twenty-four hours as to be incapable of discharging the responsible duties of his office. Assistant Surgeon Christy was exceedingly kind, prompt, and skillful, rendering most timely and efficient aid.

In our hospital there were three amputations above the knee, a number of fingers taken off, balls extracted, and wounds such as described in the foregoing report dressed.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

THOS. W. FRY, Brigade Surgeon, Acting Medical Director.

H. S. HEWITT, Brigade Surgeon and Medical Director U. S. Forces.


No. 39.

Report of Col. Charles Cruft, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

HDQRS. 1ST BRIG., 3D DIV., DEPT. WEST TENNESSEE, Fort Henry, February 18, 1862.

I have the honor to report to you the part taken in the reduction of Fort Donelson and the fortifications near Dover, Tenn., on the 15th instant, by the First Brigade of your division. The brigade was composed of the Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn temporarily commanding; Twenty-fifth Kentucky Volunteers, Col. James M. Shackelford; eight companies of the Forty-fourth Indiana Volunteers, Col. Hugh B. Reed, and the Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteers, Col. John H. McHenry.

At 8.30 o’clock a.m. General Wallace’s order was received to put the brigade in rapid motion to the extreme right of our line, for the purpose of re-enforcing General McClernand’s division. It was speedily moved forward in column of companies, the Twenty-fifth Kentucky in advance, followed by the Thirty-first Indiana, the Seventeenth Kentucky, and the Forty-fourth Indiana. An order to halt the column at a point indicated for the formation of the regiments in line was not executed by the advance, owing to the pressing request of a messenger from one of the Illinois regiments, then to the right, to hurry forward and engage the enemy. The guide sent with the head of the column here shamefully abandoned it, not, however, until he had given Colonel Shackelford an improper instruction after passing Taylor’s battery in the direction of the enemy’s intrenchments, and entering the woods just beyond, the head of the column became suddenly engaged with a superior force of the enemy in front and to the right. This appeared to be a force that was endeavoring to outflank the battery and the line of infantry supporting it and pass into the ravine behind. A well-directed fire was opened on the Twenty-fifth Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana before they could form to resist it. The line of battle, however, was formed rapidly and steadily under continued volleys of the enemy’s musketry. The Seventeenth Kentucky and Forty-fourth Indiana were shortly brought up in good order and entered the action. The enemy’s fire upon the right continued to be very severe, and this assault was pressed up to within 20 feet of our lines. It continued for some minutes with much {p.244} fury and was replied to with effect by our men. I was then at the left of the line. At this juncture it was reported to me that two officers from other regiments then on the right came up, and, without consulting the colonel of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, ordered his men forward down the enemy’s line. They pressed down under a heavy volley and again opened their fire. While thus fighting, officers from the other regiments then at the right rode up and ordered the Twenty-fifth Kentucky to cease firing, and it accordingly did. Almost simultaneously with this, troops from the other brigade at the right retreated in confusion, and some of them passing obliquely against my line broke through it, disconnecting a portion of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, with Colonel Shackelford and his associate field and staff officers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, of the Thirty-first Indiana, with a few of the privates of his command.

The brigade was now left without support, occupying the extreme right of the line of investment and in advance of it half a mile. It was ordered to fall back in line and occupy the slope of the hill a few hundred feet in the rear of the point of attack. The movement was accomplished in good order. This brought the Forty-fourth Indiana in line on the left. A message was now received from one of the Illinois regiments, requesting that the left should not fire. This message was regarded, and the Forty-fourth Indiana commanded to reserve their fire till ordered. In the mean time a heavy fire was poured into the regiment by the enemy. The line was here twice attacked and the enemy each time repulsed. From this position an effective charge was made, forcing the enemy to retire for some distance. An attempt was now made to outflank my line on the right. It was continually worked to our right, however, to resist this. A company of the Thirty-first Indiana was detailed as skirmishers on the right, in the bushes beyond. The fight was still progressing, but at this time the regiment to our left, supporting the battery, gave way (from want of ammunition, as was said), and a portion rushed into our rear, creating some confusion in the Forty-fourth Indiana, carrying with them some men of that regiment and exposing it to the flanking fire of the enemy, who appeared at that point with a considerable force of both cavalry and infantry. It was ordered to return the fire, and soon repulsed the enemy. The whole brigade was now moved in line to the rear in complete order, and occupied a better position on a commanding ridge in front of the enemy. An ineffectual advance was again made by the enemy, which was repulsed, and the firing ceased, except some skirmishing between a small detail of men sent to the front and the enemy’s sharpshooters. Here the enemy drew oft; leaving us in possession of the ground, arid commenced retreating to the right, pursuing the woods, at times in sight, to a ridge across a large ravine about a half mile to our right, and establishing himself there in force. This threw him to the right and rear of us, and endangered the hospital buildings in our rear, to which our wounded had been conveyed.

The firing had now ceased on all sides. It being impossible to communicate with General Wallace or get dispatches to him, and information being casually received that the main line had been established farther back, it was deemed prudent to retire upon it. This was accordingly done, and the brigade was formed in column and marched to the high ground just north of the hospital buildings, with a view to protect them, to form part of the main line and to watch the enemy on our right. Upon communicating with the general commanding division, the position was regarded by him as well taken, and the order given to hold {p.245} it at all hazards. Here the men rested on their arms for some time, having been hotly engaged with the enemy at intervals for more than three hours.

This concluded our engagement of the morning. The brigade remained in position on the extreme right (a short distance from Colonel Thayer’s brigade), in view of the enemy during the subsequent action at the center, holding him in check and protecting the hospital. During the engagement at the center a volley was fired on the hospital by the enemy’s sharpshooters from the hills to the right, and but for the presence of the brigade it would doubtless have been taken. In this position valuable information was obtained as to the enemy’s movements on the right. From this point dispatches were sent and here subsequently General Wallace met me.

The ground on which the action occurred is a succession of hills and ravines, covered with a thick undergrowth of oak bushes. The deadened leaves of the oak shrubs were almost identical in color with the brown jean uniforms of the enemy, and rendered it almost impossible to distinguish their line until a fire revealed its locality. This fact, together with the character of the ground, gave the enemy a great advantage, and spread a feeling of uncertainty among the men as to the location of the attacking lines. It is impossible to say with accuracy what force of the enemy was encountered. From the best observations that could be made it is believed that there were at least five regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, the whole under command of Col. Roger W. Hanson.

At about 4 p.m. an order was received from General Wallace to cooperate with Colonel Smith’s brigade, consisting of the Eighth Missouri amid the Eleventh Indiana, in carrying the enemy’s works on the right, in the front of Dover, by storm. The officers and men, though much fatigued from the action of the morning and worn from loss of rest and lack of food, responded cheerfully to the order and wheeled into column, The enemy was in force on the hill, under cover of the wood on both sides of the only road leading up into the direction of the works. It was necessary to cross an open space of several hundred feet, exposed to the enemy’s fire, before the foot of the hill could be reached. The Eighth Missouri led the advance up the road. The Eleventh Indiana charged up the hill on the left. The Forty-fourth Indiana followed up the road. Five companies of the Thirty-first Indiana were ordered up the hill on the extreme left, and the remainder of this regiment, with the residue of the brigade, were ordered to the right, to outflank the enemy and attack in rear. The assault was a complete success. All the regiments behaved handsomely. The whole of my brigade was actually engaged. In a sharp and desperate fight of a few minutes’ duration the hill was carried by storm, and the enemy, with tremendous cheers, driven up to and within his breastworks. The flank attack of the portion of my brigade up the hill, in a line at a right angle to the main advance, was gallantly conducted, and contributed no doubt largely to the rout of the enemy. Colonel Dickey, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, during the attack, at my request dismounted four-fifths of his troops, armed with Sharp’s rifles, and led them up the hill in support of regiments engaged. His aid, however, was not required.

This action, a brilliant one in any view, was rendered more so from the fact that it was made in the face of a heavy fire of grape and shrapnel from the battery of the enemy located across the ravine to the left of the road, in full command of the hill and the approaches to it. After pursuing the enemy to the open ground in front of the fortifications, a {p.246} distance of over half a mile, an order was received to fall back to the hill where the attack was made and there encamp, hold the position during the night, and prepare to storm the works early in the morning. The regiments slept on the hill-side, and were aroused early the following morning (16th) and drawn up in column, ready to march to the assault, when intelligence of the surrender of the enemy was received. According to orders, I then marched the brigade through the enemy’s works to Dover, and took possession of the town and the large number of prisoners and amount of army stores which it contained.

As a whole, the officers and men of the various regiments of my command behaved well. They received the enemy’s fire with coolness and returned it with steadiness and effect. Orders were executed with commendable promptness and precision. In view of such general soldierly bearing it is difficult to discriminate individual instances of valor. Many such fell under my immediate observation and others are reported by commanders of regiments. These cases will form the subject of a subsequent report at an early day.

The members of the brigade staff are entitled to commendation for their conduct during the day. They accompanied me through every danger, and were at all times ready to brave any personal hazard. Capt. W. H. Fairbanks, acting assistant adjutant-general, was constantly in the field, at times also acting aide-de-camp. His conduct was creditable throughout. Lieut. Frank H. Bristow, acting aide-de-camp, discharged his duties in a courageous and satisfactory manner. He was fired upon frequently and had several narrow escapes. Private Charles Edwin Terry, my secretary, acted also as aide-de-camp during both actions, and exhibited a cool and determined bravery worthy of special notice.

I am, captain, very respectfully, yours, &c.,

CHARLES CRUFT, Colonel, Commanding.

Capt. FRED. KNEFLER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.


No. 40.

Report of Maj. Frederick Arn, Thirty-first Indiana infantry.


SIR: In obedience to your order, the regiment left its camp, near Fort Donelson, on the morning of the 15th February, 1862, with an effective force of 727 men. The order given to Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn was to follow the Twenty-fifth Kentucky Regiment and form in line on the left, and await further orders. Before the regiment could reach the position which it was to occupy it was exposed to a galling fire of musketry and artillery from the hill on our left, which was occupied by the enemy in strong force. The regiment was promptly formed in line of battle at the foot of the hill, and opened a cool and effective fire on the enemy until it was broken by the troops which gave way on our right and front and came rushing through our ranks near the center. Our lines were, however, promptly reformed on the hill to the right and rear of our position. This movement was made necessary by the movements of the enemy, who had outflanked and driven back the {p.247} Twenty-fifth Kentucky, formed in line at the foot of the hill occupied by your brigade in its new position. In the change of position a few men with Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn became detached from the regiment and were unable to rejoin it during the day.

From this position a most effective fire was poured into the enemy’s ranks, which was interrupted by Colonel Logan, who stated that we were firing into his brigade from our right. To ascertain the correctness of the statement you ordered me to deploy the first company, Captain Smith, as skirmishers. He soon reported that it was the enemy in force which we had been firing upon, and that their line extended a considerable distance beyond our right.

In accordance with your order I then moved the line farther to the right, the movement being executed with the greatest coolness and order. From this position the enemy’s fire was replied to with such precision that they soon gave way. You then ordered two companies to be deployed forward as skirmishers. I ordered Companies I and C to deploy in front of our line, which was promptly executed, and the woods and bushes were soon cleared of the enemy. At this time, the report reaching us that the enemy were forming in a hollow leading to the hospital in our rear, you ordered me to move with the brigade to the hill immediately in rear of the hospital. No further attack being made, the regiment was kept in this position till about 4 o’clock p.m. At this time I was ordered to march the regiment into the ravine below the fort, on the extreme right of our lines, and support the Eleventh Indiana and Eighth Missouri Regiments, which were ordered with us to assault the hills and drive the enemy within their works. I formed the regiment on the left of the Seventeenth Kentucky, and charged over the hills until we reached a ravine immediately below the enemy’s batteries, where we were exposed to a terrible fire of grape, shrapnel, and shells. To avoid this, I moved the regiment by the right flank farther up the ravine, when, the enemy having retreated within their works, we were ordered back to the position from which we charged.

I cannot speak too highly, colonel, of the coolness and bravery of the men and the gallant behavior of the officers who were with the regiment during the day. Where all were so prompt in performing their duty as brave soldiers it would be unjust to particularize. Although brought into action for the first time, under a terrible fire from an enemy concealed in a dense undergrowth of leafy oak bushes, they never for a moment lost coolness and presence of mind. They used their arms with the greatest deliberation, retaining their fire until they could procure a deliberate aim. In the afternoon engagement they exhibited, if possible, even more daring, not flinching in the least from the storm of iron which raked the bushes and plowed the ground around them.

In conclusion, colonel, permit me to congratulate you upon your escape from the terrible fire to which you exposed yourself continually during both actions without receiving any dangerous wounds, and also to thank you for giving your brigade and our regiment an opportunity to assist so materially in the consummation of the great victory.

I am, colonel, your most obedient servant,

FRED. ARN, Major Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers.

Col. CHARLES CRUFT, Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.



No. 41.

Report of Col. Hugh B. Reed, Forty-fourth Indiana Infantry.


SIR: On the morning of Saturday, February 15, the Forty-fourth Regiment Indiana Volunteers left their bivouac near the enemy’s lines and marched to the attack on Fort Donelson. By order of General McClernand, we first took position near the battery (which was afterwards assaulted by the rebels). In this position the enemy’s shot passed over our heads. Shortly afterwards we were ordered forward into line with our brigade (First). As we marched past the enemy’s breastworks we received a heavy fire, wounding some of our men. We took our position on the left wing of our brigade, in front of and in range of the enemy’s guns. They were invisible to us, while we were exposed to their view. There was part of a regiment of Union troops (Colonel Logan) on the slope of the hill between us and the enemy. Colonel Logan came to our lines and requested we would not fire, as it would endanger his men. I gave the order to the men to withhold their fire. We remained exposed to the enemy’s fire for fifteen or twenty minutes without being able to return it or to determine whether our friends were still in danger of our guns.

At this time, the enemy’s fire partly subsiding, the regimental colors were ordered forward and were planted 10 paces in front of our line of battle by First Lieutenant Story, of Company C. This failing to call forth a fire, Captain Bingham, of Company H, advanced to a point 10 or 12 paces in front of our line and waved our colors in the air. This drew his fire, which was most heartily responded to by our men, and was followed up in rapid succession on both sides. Our men behaved most gallantly. In the early part of the action Captain Cuppy, of Company E, was severely wounded while in advance of his men bravely cheering them on.

By this time, the regiment on our left having entirely changed their position, leaving our flank exposed, a movement was made by a well-mounted cavalry regiment and a body of infantry to turn our left wing. Captain Murray, Company B, was ordered to open fire upon them, and did so with terrible effect. Companies E and H were ordered to the support of Company B and poured in a well-directed fire, causing them to fall back in disorder.

At this time, finding my regiment was left entirely alone and unsupported, the regiments on our left having withdrawn and our brigade having changed position to the right, thus exposing both wings, of which the enemy were about to take advantage, the order was given to change position, to the right, which was done by right flank in good order, with the exception of a part of the left wing, which, from not having fully understood the order, became separated from the main body and some confusion ensued, but in a few minutes they rejoined us. Ours was the last regiment engaged with the enemy during the fight in the morning. Having joined our brigade, we took position on an adjoining elevation and awaited orders.

Major Stoughton, posted during the entire action in the most exposed position, deserves the highest praise for the cool courage and daring displayed.

I would gladly specify very many instances of personal bravery displayed. {p.249} Adjutant Colgrove acted with coolness and bravery during the entire day.

Too much credit cannot be bestowed on our men for their cool and determined courage, and especially during the trying time when exposed to the enemy’s bullets without being permitted to return them, both officers and men in this our first engagement; but where almost all performed their part so well, it would require too lengthy a list to name them personally, whilst many justly deserving might be unintentionally omitted.

The Forty-fourth Indiana does its duty. We lost in this engagement 7 killed, 34 wounded, and 2 missing.*

From our position on the hill where our column rested we could see the battle-field of the morning and the enemy again form his line of battle. At about 3.30 o’clock p.m. a renewed attack upon their lines was ordered by General Wallace. My regiment advanced to the foot of the hill occupied by the enemy, formed in line of battle in face of a storm of bullets. Finding ground in our front occupied by the Eighth Missouri Regiment, I advanced my regiment 100 yards, faced to the front, and charged up the hill at double-quick, our men loudly cheering. We advanced rapidly to summit of hill, firing at the enemy. The enemy soon retreated inside their intrenchments, closely followed by our troops. A fire was opened on us by their batteries, the shell falling near our lines. Whilst deliberating upon an attack upon their fortifications we received an order from General Grant to fall back to the brow of the hill, which was done. Here we bivouacked for the night.

The following morning (Sunday) we were ordered by you to march forward to attack the enemy’s works. When just ready to march the joyful intelligence was brought us that the enemy had surrendered, which was received with hearty cheers.

Our column being in motion, we were the first to march into the town of Dover.

I am, colonel, your very obedient servant,

HUGH B. REED, Colonel, Comdg. Forty-fourth Regiment Indiana Volunteers.

Col. CHARLES CRUFT, Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.

* But see revised list, p. 169.


No. 42.

Report of Col. John H. McHenry, jr., Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry.

FORT HENRY, February 18, 1862.

COLONEL: On the morning of the 15th instant my regiment, numbering 510 men, preceded by the Twenty-fifth Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana, took up our march, leaving behind our blankets, knapsacks, and a few great-coats. Hearing brisk firing on our right, we followed close upon the Thirty-first, and soon passed the right of the line of battle, when the enemy opened fire upon my right wing from behind clumps of bushes and trees, that entirely concealed them from our men. My right, with the exception of two companies on the left, were driven back from the line. I promptly rallied them on the next hill, and being joined by Captains Vaughan’s and Davison’s companies, from whom {p.250} we had become separated, the regiment was moved forward and supported the Forty-fourth Indiana on our left, which had sustained a severe shock from the enemy. We soon met the enemy, and drove them back from the position they occupied against us. The firing at this point was deadly and severe. I am greatly indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Stout and Major Calhoon for their successful efforts in encouraging the men and keeping them in their proper places in line of battle under fire of the enemy. Their efforts were particularly successful at this point, but their services were faithful and unceasing during the whole day. Lieutenant-Colonel Stout’s horse was severely wounded at this place.

About this time Colonel Logan, of Illinois, rode up and informed me that his regiment had entered between me and the enemy, and the brigade was by your order withdrawn a short distance. Some of the enemy were discovered in force on our left, where they encountered our troops and had a terrible battle, in which some 50 of my regiment, who had been separated at the first attack of the enemy, were engaged, under Adjutant Starling. This engagement was at the place where the regiment had encamped the night previous, and resulted most disastrously to our knapsacks and blankets, which had been left hanging upon the trees.

My regiment, with the Thirty-first and Forty-fourth Indiana, was withdrawn to the top of a neighboring hill, where we soon discovered the enemy in large force. We were ordered down, and I was instructed to throw my regiment out on the right, with a view of attacking the enemy, who occupied a strong position on a hill among the trees, where they could see us and were at the same time entirely concealed from our view. I ordered a charge up the hill, which, although hotly contested, was successful.

All of the officers and men behaved gallantly in this engagement. Captain Barnett led the charge on the right, and he, as well as his men, behaved nobly during the engagement. Captains Morton, Vaughan, and Davison were in the thickest of the fight, cheering their men, who behaved as gallantly as troops under the same circumstances could possibly have done. You witnessed this conflict, however, and are probably better prepared to describe it than I am myself. My regiment by your order bivouacked on this hill, where we remained during the night, and rose with the determination of renewing the attack, when we learned that the enemy had surrendered.

Captain Beckham, Lieutenants Brown, Keith, Harrison, Byers, Briggs, Davis, and Bandy deserve mention for their unceasing attention to their men during the Whole day, and I feel proud I have received this positive evidence of their good qualities as officers. Lieutenants Taylor and Rogers, in command of a company, behaved gallantly during the day.

Respectfully submitted.

JOHN H. MCHENRY JR., Colonel Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteers.

Colonel CRUFT, Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.



No. 43.

Report of Col. J. M. Shackelford, Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantry

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIFTH KENTUCKY REGIMENT, Camp Cloak, near Fort Henry, February 18, 1862.

SIR: Below I give you a list of the killed, wounded, and missing in the Twenty-fifth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers in the battle at Dover, on the 13th instant.

*Total1361064 84

Pursuant to your order, on Saturday morning, the 13th instant, I proceeded with my regiment in the direction of General McClernand’s extreme right. Following the guide you sent me, I passed General McClernand at his headquarters, and he ordered, me to go at double-quick. The guide continued with me, leading me within range of the enemy’s guns, until we passed in the rear of one of our batteries on the hill, when the guide left me, directing me to proceed around the hill. I then proceeded, in utter ignorance of the point at which I was needed and the position of the enemy, until I came up in the rear of one of General McClernand’s regiments, when the colonel came running down to me and appealed to me to come to his rescue, stating that his men were about out of ammunition. I halted my regiment, formed them, and led them up in the face of a most galling and terrific fire. My officers and men marched upon it with the coolness and firmness of regulars, and opened a most deadly fire upon the enemy.

After some time two officers came up, and, without consulting me, ordered my men to forward down the line. My men then moved down the line under a most deadly fire from the enemy. When I again opened fire upon them, and whilst my men were fighting as bravely and gallantly as men ever fought, some officers came upon my extreme right and ordered them cease firing; that some of my men were firing upon them off to the right of my regiment, moving through and breaking my line, when my command fell back, a number of the officers and men fighting as they retired. The regiment was subsequently reformed and entered the action.

Respectfully, yours,

J. M. SHACKELFORD, Colonel Twenty-fifth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers.

Colonel CRUFT, Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.

* But see revised list, p. 169.



No. 44.

Report of Col. John M. Thayer, First Nebraska Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.

HDQRS. 3D BRIG., 3D DIV., DEPT. WEST TENNESSEE, Fort Henry, February 18, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor herewith to submit a report of the part taken in the battle of Fort Donnelson by the brigade under my command, composed of the First Nebraska, Lieutenant-Colonel McCord; the Seventy-sixth Ohio, Colonel Woods; the Fifty-eighth Ohio and the Sixty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Steedman. There were also attached to my brigade during the action the Forty-sixth Illinois, Colonel Davis, the Fifty-seventh Illinois, Colonel Baldwin, and the Fifty-eighth Illinois, Colonel Lynch.

At 3 o’clock on the afternoon of Friday, the 14th instant, I moved the brigade forward, under orders from General Wallace, commanding the Third Division, of which this brigade constitutes a part, from the small settlement in the valley some 2 miles south of the fortifications to take up a position on the left of Colonel Cruft’s brigade, which had gone on in the direction of General McClernand’s division. After passing up a mile the line of battle was formed in the road fronting the valley leading to the western redoubt. No enemy appearing in that direction, we bivouacked for the night on the side of the road, the troops lying on the ground with their arms in their hands. At daylight the next morning the line was again formed. At about 10 o’clock I received orders from General Wallace in person to move forward with my command to the support of General McClernand, who had been engaged with the enemy during the morning. Passing along the central road leading to the breastworks half a mile I met and passed the column of General McClernand retreating. Moving my men at double-quick, we were soon between the forces of General McClernand and the enemy, who was rapidly approaching.

On arriving at a small opening in the timber I filed into the right, crossing the ravine and ascending the hill; placed Colonel Lynch’s Fifty-eighth Regiment on the right slope of the hill. The Chicago battery, Lieutenant Wood, taking position, by direction of the general, in the road, the Nebraska regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel McCord, was placed immediately on the right of the battery, on the line of the Fifty-eighth Illinois. A detached company of the Thirty-second Illinois (Company A, Captain Davidson) occupied the position next to the battery on the left. The Fifty-eighth: Ohio were in position on the left of this company. The line of battle was thus formed across the road at right angles with it. The Seventy-sixth Ohio was placed some 50 yards in the rear of the First Nebraska, and directed to lie upon the ground as a reserve. The Forty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Illinois were also held in reserve on the road inn the rear, ready and anxious for the fight. Colonel Steedman’s Sixty-eighth Ohio were stationed on a road on the left, leading to the fort. In this position we had not long to wait for the enemy, who soon approached, with a battery supported by a large body of infantry. Lieutenant Wood immediately commenced an effective fire with his battery, which was instantly returned by the enemy. The extreme left of the First Nebraska, resting on the battery, under orders previously given, at once opened a well-directed fire, which rapidly extended along the line to its right. This regiment continued an almost incessant discharge {p.253} of musketry for three-quarters of an hour, the battery continuing its firing at the same time, when the enemy were completely repulsed and fled. Nothing but the thick underbrush prevented a charge with the bayonet. The enemy made an effort three times to push forward through our lines, but were as often driven back.

Colonel Cruft’s brigade was engaged on my right in the direction of the river with the enemy’s forces, who were endeavoring to outflank his right. The enemy approaching the center of our lines, where my brigade was posted, evidently shows that it was his intention to open his way through and unite with the forces that should outflank Colonel Cruft, but in both of these attempts he was overcome and forced to retreat. I have since learned from the enemy that his force in the engagement which I have described, in addition to his battery, was three regiments of infantry and a squadron of horse, which were repulsed by one regiment of our infantry, the First Nebraska, and the Chicago battery. The enemy also admit a large number of killed and wounded in this action. The Nebraska regiment had but 3 killed and 7 wounded. The enemy poured volley after volley upon us, but, fortunately, aimed too high to do much execution. The Nebraska regiment being the only one engaged at this time, I was with it during the action, and am pleased to be able to say that every officer and soldier behaved very gallantly throughout. I cannot omit to speak in high terms of the soldierly bearing and efficient conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel McCord and Major Livingston during the engagement.

Colonel Woods and his regiment were also exposed to the full fire of the enemy, and their position was rendered the more trying, as I had directed them not to fire until ordered forward for that purpose, if the emergency should arise, which, however, was not necessary. In the afternoon Colonel Lynch was sent forward with his regiment to the assistance of our forces who were engaged on the right, where General Wallace with a part of his division had encountered the enemy, and who drove them back within their intrenchments, recovering the ground lost in the morning. Colonel Davis moved forward and took position on the road in front. The other regiments of the brigade remained in the positions occupied by them during the engagement and camped there that night. The next morning at daylight (Sunday), on receiving orders from General Wallace, I moved my command over to the road on the right and passed down the road to the base of the hill leading to the fortifications, where the line was formed in connection with our other forces, with the intention of storming the works, but before this could be attempted the enemy surrendered.

Not having received reports from the different regiments under my command during the battle, I am not able to submit a detailed report of its casualties.

I must acknowledge the efficient services in the prompt execution of orders of S. A. Strickland, my acting assistant adjutant-general, my aide-de-camp, Capt. Allen Blacker, and Lieut. Charles E. Provost.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN M. THAYER, Col. 1st Nebr., Comdg. 3d Brig., 3d Div., Dept. West Tenn..

Capt. FRED. KNEFLER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division



No. 45.

Message from the President of the Confederate States.


To the Speaker of the House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith copies of such official reports as have been received at the War Department of the defense and fall of Fort Donelson.* They will be found incomplete and unsatisfactory. Instructions have been given to furnish further information upon the points not made intelligible by the reports.

It is not stated that re-enforcements were at any time asked for; nor is it demonstrated to have been impossible to have saved the army by evacuating the position; nor is it known by what means it was found practicable to withdraw a part of the garrison, leaving the remainder to surrender; nor upon what authority or principle of action the senior generals abandoned responsibility, by transferring the command to a junior officer.

In a former communication to Congress I presented the propriety of a suspension of judgment in relation to the disaster at Fort Donelson until official reports could be received. I regret that the information now furnished is so defective. In the mean time, hopeful that satisfactory explanation may be made, I have directed, upon the exhibition of the case as presented by the two senior generals, that they be relieved from command, to await further orders whenever a suitable judgment can be rendered on the merits of the case.


* This message transmitted Pillow’s report of February 18 (No. 51), Floyd’s of February 27 (No. 48), and Wharton’s and McCausland’s reports (Nos. 49 and 50).


RICHMOND, VA., March 11, 1862.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: The reports of Brigadier-Generals Floyd and Pillow of the defense and fall of Fort Donelson are unsatisfactory. I can but hope that explanations may be made which will change the aspect given to the affair by their statements.

In the mean time you will order General A. S. Johnston to relieve both of those officers from command, and to indicate to them that information is wanted as to their failure to give timely notice of the insufficiency of the garrison to repel the attack and their failure to attempt to save the army by evacuating the post when it was found to be untenable, and especially why they abandoned the command and by what means their escape was effected; further, to state upon what principle was a selection made of particular troops, being certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade, to whose use the transportation on hand should be appropriated.

Copies of the reports received will be furnished to me for transmission to Congress.

Very respectfully, yours,




No. 46.

Reports of General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding the Western Department, and resulting correspondence.

NASHVILLE, TENN., February 14, 1862.


The latest from General Pillow at Fort Donelson:

We have just had the fiercest fight on record between our guns and six gunboats, which lasted two hours. They came within 200 yards of our batteries. We drove them back, damaged two of them badly, and crippled a third very badly. No damage done to our battery and not a man killed.

A. S. JOHNSTON, General.


HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Edgefield, February 15, 1862-5.15 p.m.


The attack at Fort Donelson was this morning renewed by the enemy at dawn with great vigor and continued until 1 o’clock, when the conflict was still raging. We had taken some 200 prisoners, forced their positions, and captured four pieces of artillery. At that hour the enemy were still bringing up re-enforcements for the attack. Our arms were successful, the field having been carried inch by inch, with severe loss on both sides. There is no intelligence since 1 o’clock.



EDGEFIELD, TENN., February 15-midnight, Via Chattanooga, Tenn., February 16, 1862-11.30 p.m.


We have had to-day at Fort Donelson one of the most sanguinary conflicts of the war. Oar forces attacked the enemy with energy and won a brilliant victory. I have the satisfaction to transmit the dispatch, after night-fall, of General Floyd, who was in command of our forces.

A. S. JOHNSTON, General, C. S. Army.

NASHVILLE, TENN., February 16, 1862.

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

I have received the following dispatch:

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 15, 1862-11 p.m.


The enemy having invested our lines, it was determined to attack them, which we did this morning at 5.30 o’clock. General Pillow led the attack upon the enemy’s right flank, and, after a most obstinate and sanguinary conflict, succeeded in driving the enemy from his position and forcing him back towards his left flank. General Buckner led the attack on the right, in which many of his troops displayed commendable determination and courage. General Johnson led his command with firmness and spirit in the conflict. Nothing could exceed the steady and determined courage of many of our troops, with numbers much less than half. The enemy maintained a successful struggle, which continued for nine hours, and resulted in driving him from the field, with a loss on his part of 1,240-odd killed and wounded, of whom 1,000 were killed. About 300 prisoners, six pieces of artillery, and 1,000 stand of arms were {p.256} captured. Our own loss amounted to about 500 killed and wounded. They have a force of forty-two regiments.

B. FLOYD, Brigadier-General.



NASHVILLE, TENN., February 16, 1862.


The following dispatch was received at 3.45 o’clock this morning:

FORT DONELSON, TENN., February 16, 1862.


Last evening there arrived in the river near Fort Donelson eleven transports, laden with troops. We are completely invested with an army many times our own numbers. I regret to say the unanimous opinion of the officers seems to be that we cannot maintain ourselves against these forces.

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brigadier-General.



NASHVILLE, TENN., February 17, 1862.


Fort Donelson was surrendered at 4.10 p.m. yesterday, after most gallant defense. Floyd saved about 1,000 men. He and Pillow are here. Buckner surrendered after they left. This army is across the Cumberland.

A. S. JOHNSTON, General.


WAR DEPARTMENT. C. S. A., Richmond, March 11, 1862.

General A. SIDNEY JOHNSTON, Decatur. Ala.,

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatches through Major Liddell. The reports of Brigadier-Generals Floyd and Pillow are unsatisfactory, and the President directs that both these generals be relieved from command till further orders. In the mean time you will request them to add to their reports such statements as they may deem proper on the following points:

1st. The failure to give timely notice of the insufficiency of the garrison of Fort Donelson to repel attack.

2d. The failure of any attempt to save the army by evacuating the post when found to be untenable.

3d. Why they abandoned the command to their inferior officer, instead of executing themselves whatever measure was deemed proper for the entire army.

4th. What was the precise mode by which each effected-his escape from the fort and what dangers were encountered in the retreat.

5th. Upon what principle a selection was made of particular troops, being certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade, to whose use all the transportation on hand was appropriated.

6th. A particular designation of the regiments saved and the regiments abandoned which formed part of the senior general’s brigade.


In addition to the foregoing, you are requested to direct Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson to make a full and detailed report as promptly as possible; also to require a like report of Colonel Forrest, and to ask Colonel Forrest to detail particularly in his report the time and manner of his escape, the road he took, the number of enemies he met or saw in making his escape, the difficulties, if any, which existed to prevent the remainder of the army from following the route taken by himself in his escape with his command.

You are further requested to make up a report from all the sources of information accessible to you of all the particulars connected with the unfortunate affair which can contribute to enlighten the judgment of the Executive and of Congress, and to fix the blame, if blame there be, on those who were delinquent in duty.

I am, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.


RICHMOND, VA., March 12, 1862.


MY DEAR GENERAL: The departure of Captain Wickliffe offers an opportunity of which I avail myself to write you an unofficial letter. We have suffered great anxiety because of recent events in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I have been not a little disturbed by the repetition of reflections upon yourself. I expected you to have made a full report of events precedent and consequent to the fall of Fort Donelson. In the mean time I made for you such defense as friendship prompted and many years’ acquaintance justified, but I needed facts to rebut the wholesale assertions made against you to cover others and to condemn my administration. The public, as you are aware, have no correct measure for military operations, and journals are very reckless in their statements. Your force has been magnified and the movements of an army [measured?] by the capacity for locomotion of an individual. The readiness of the people among whom you are operating to aid you in every method has been constantly asserted, the purpose of your army at Bowling Green wholly misunderstood, and the absence of an effective force at Nashville ignored. You have been held responsible for the fall of Donelson and the capture of Nashville. ’Tis charged that no effort was made to save the stores at Nashville and that the panic of the people was caused by the army. Such representations, with the sad forebodings naturally belonging to them, have been painful to me and injurious to us both; but, worse than this, they have undermined public confidence and damaged our cause.

A full development of the truth is necessary for future success. I respect the generosity which has kept you silent, but would impress upon you that the subject is not personal but public in its nature; that you and I might be content to suffer, but neither of us can willingly permit detriment to the country.

As soon as circumstances will permit it is my purpose to visit the field of your present operations; not that I should expect to give you any aid in the discharge of your duties as a commander, but with the hope that my position would enable me to effect something in bringing men to your standard.

With a sufficient force, the audacity which the enemy exhibits would no doubt give you the opportunity to cut some of his lines of communication, {p.258} to break up his plan of campaign, and, defeating some of his columns, to drive him from the soil as well of Tennessee as of Kentucky. We are deficient in arms, wanting in discipline, and inferior in numbers. Private arms must supply the first want; time and the presence of an enemy, with diligence on the part of commanders, will remove the second, and public confidence will overcome the third.

General Bragg brings you disciplined troops, and you will find in him the highest administrative capacity. General E. K. Smith will soon have in East Tennessee a sufficient force to create a strong diversion in your favor; or if his strength cannot be made available in that way, you will best know how to employ it otherwise. I suppose the Tennessee or Mississippi River will be the object of the enemy’s next campaign, and I trust you will be able to concentrate a force which will defeat either attempt.

The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi River, if the enemy’s gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but to one so well informed and vigilant I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be obtained.

With the confidence and regard of many years, I am, very truly, your



DECATUR, ALA., March 18, 1862.

[To President DAVIS:]

MY DEAR GENERAL: I received the dispatches from Richmond, with your private letter, by Captain Wickliffe,* three days since, but the pressure of affairs and the necessity of getting my command across the Tennessee prevented me from sending you an earlier reply.

I anticipated all that you tell as to the censures which the fall of Fort Donelson drew upon me and the attacks to which you might be subjected, but it was impossible for me to gather the facts for a detailed report or spare the time required to extricate the remainder of my troops and save the large accumulation of stores and provisions after the disheartening disaster.

I transmitted the reports of Generals Floyd and Pillow without examining or analyzing the facts, and scarcely with time to read them.

When about to assume command of the department the Government charged me with the duty of deciding the question of occupying Bowling Green, which involved not only military but political considerations. At the time of my arrival at Nashville the action of the Legislature of Kentucky had put an end to the latter, by sanctioning the formation of camps menacing Tennessee, by assuming the cause of the Government at Washington, and by abandoning the neutrality it professed, and, in consequence of their action, the occupation of Bowling Green became necessary as an act of self-defense, at least in the first step.

About the middle of September General Buckner advanced with a small force of about 4,000 men, which was increased by the 15th of October to 12,000, and, though accessions of force were received, continued at about the same strength till the end of the month of November (measles, &c., keeping down the effective force). The enemy’s force then was, as reported to the War Department, 50,000, and an advance impossible. No enthusiasm, as we imagined and hoped, but hostility, {p.259} was manifested in Kentucky. Believing it to be of the greatest moment to protract the campaign, as the dearth of cotton might bring strength from abroad and discourage the North and to gain time to strengthen myself by new troops from Tennessee and other States, I magnified my forces to the enemy, but made known my true strength to the Department and the Governors of the States. The aid given was small. At length, when General Beauregard came out, in February, he expressed his surprise at the smallness of my force and was impressed with the danger. I admitted what was so manifest, and laid before him my views for the future, in which he entirely concurred, and sent me a memorandum of our conference, a copy of which I send to you. I determined to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and gave the best part of my army to do it, retaining only 14,000 men to cover my front, and giving 16,000 to defend Donelson. The force at Donelson is stated in General Pillow’s report at much less, and I do not doubt the correctness of his statement, for the force at Bowling Green, which I supposed 14,000 men (the medical report showing only a little over 500 sick in hospitals), was diminished more than 5,000 by those who were unable to stand the fatigue of a march, and made my effective force on reaching Nashville less than 10,000 men. I inclose medical director’s report.* Had I wholly uncovered my front to defend Donelson, Buell would have known it and marched directly on Nashville. There were only ten small steamers, only three of which were available at Nashville, in the Cumberland, in imperfect condition, while the transportation of the enemy was great.

The evacuation of Bowling Green was imperatively necessary, and was ordered before and executed while the battle was being fought at Donelson. I had made every disposition for the defense of the fort my means allowed, and the troops were among the best of my forces, and the generals-Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner-were high in the opinion of officers and men for skill and courage, and among the best officers of my command. They were popular with the volunteers, and all had seen much service. No re-enforcements were asked. I waited the event opposite Nashville. The result of the conflict each day was favorable. At midnight on the 15th I received the news of a glorious victory; at dawn, of a defeat. My column was during the day and night (of the 16th) thrown over the river. A battery had been established below the city to secure the passage. Nashville was incapable of defense from its position and from the forces advancing from Bowling Green and up the Cumberland. A rear guard was left, under General Floyd, to secure the stores and provisions but did not completely effect the object. The people were terrified and some of the troops were disheartened. The discouragement was spreading, and I ordered the command to Murfreesborough, where I managed, by assembling Crittenden’s division and the fugitives from Donelson, to collect an army able to offer battle. The weather was inclement, the floods excessive, and the bridges were washed away, but most of the stores and provisions were saved and conveyed to new depots. This having been accomplished, though with serious loss, in conformity with my original design I marched southward and crossed the Tennessee at this point, so as to co-operate or unite with General Beauregard for the defense of the valley of the Mississippi. The passage is almost completed, and the head of my column is already with General Bragg, at Corinth.

The movement was deemed too hazardous by the most experienced members of my staff, but the object warranted the risk. The difficulty {p.260} of effecting a junction is not wholly overcome, but it approaches completion. Day after to-morrow, unless the enemy interrupts me, my force will be with Bragg, and my army nearly 50,000 strong. This must be destroyed before the enemy can attain his object.

I have given this sketch so that you may appreciate the embarrassments which surrounded me in my attempts to avert or remedy the disaster of Donelson before alluding to the conduct of the generals.

When the force was detached, I was in hopes that such dispositions would have been made as would have enabled the forces to defend the fort or withdraw without sacrificing the army.

On the 14th I ordered General Floyd, by telegram, “if he lost the fort, to get his troops back to Nashville.” It is possible this might have been done, but justice requires to look at events as they appeared at the time, and not alone by the light of subsequent information.

All the facts in relation to the surrender will be transmitted to the Secretary of War as soon as they can be collected, in obedience to his order. It appears from the information received that General Buckner (being the junior officer) took the lead in advising the surrender and General Floyd acquiesced, and they all concurred in the belief that their force could not maintain their position. All concurred that it would involve a great sacrifice of life to extricate the command. Subsequent events show that the investment was not so complete as their information from their scouts led them to believe. The conference resulted in the surrender. The command was irregularly transferred, and devolved on the junior general, but not apparently to avoid any just responsibility or from any want of personal or moral intrepidity.

The blow was most disastrous and almost without remedy. I therefore in my first report remained silent. This silence you were kind enough to attribute to my generosity. I will not lay claim to the motive to excuse my course. I observed silence, as it seemed to me the best way to serve the cause and the country. The facts were not fully known, discontent prevailed, and criticism or condemnation were more likely to augment than to cure the evil. I refrained, well knowing that heavy censures would fall upon me, but convinced that it was better to endure them for the present, and defer to a more propitious time an investigation of the conduct of the generals; for in the mean time their services were required and their influence useful. For these reasons Generals Floyd and Pillow were assigned to duty, for I still felt confidence in their gallantry, their energy, and their devotion to the Confederacy.

I have thus recurred to the motives by which I have been governed from a deep personal sense of the friendship and confidence you have always shown me and from the conviction that they have not been withdrawn from me in adversity.

All the reports requisite for a full official investigation have been ordered.

You mention that you intend to visit the field of operations here. I hope soon to see you, for your presence would encourage my troops, inspire the people, and augment the army. To me personally it would give the greatest satisfaction. Merely a soldier myself, and having no acquaintance with the statesmen or leaders of the South, I cannot touch springs familiar to you. Were you to assume command, it would afford me the most unfeigned pleasure to help you to victory and the country to independence. Were you to decline, still your presence alone would be of inestimable advantage. The enemy are now at Nashville, about 50,000 strong, advancing in this direction by Columbia. He has also {p.261} forces, according to the report of General Bragg, landing at Pittsburg, from 25,000 to 50,000, and moving in the direction of Purdy.

This army corps moving to join Bragg is about 20,000 strong. Two brigades (Hindman’s and Wood’s) are, I suppose, at Corinth; one regiment of Hardee’s division (Lieutenant-Colonel Patton commanding) is moving by cars to-day (20th March), and Statham’s brigade (Crittenden’s division). The brigade will halt at Iuka; the regiment at Burnsville. Cleburne’s brigade, Hardee’s division, except regiment at Burnsville, and Carroll’s brigade, Hardee’s division and Helm’s cavalry, at Tuscumbia; Bowen’s brigade at Courtland; Breckinridge’s brigade here; the regiments of cavalry of Adams and Wharton on the opposite bank of the river; Scott’s Louisiana cavalry at Pulaski, sending forward supplies; Morgan’s cavalry at Shelbyville ordered on.

To-morrow Breckinridge’s brigade will go to Corinth; then Bowen’s. When these pass Tuscumbia and Iuka, transportation will be ready there to further other troops to follow immediately from these points, and, if necessary, from Burnsville. The cavalry will cross and move forward as soon as their trains can be passed over the railroad bridge.

I have troubled you with these details, is I cannot possibly communicate them by telegram. The test of merit in my profession with the people is success. It is a hard rule but I think it right If I join this corps to the forces of Beauregard (I confess a hazardous experiment), those who are now declaiming against me will be without an argument.

Your friend,


I will prepare answers to the questions propounded by General Foote, chairman of the committee to investigate the causes, &c., of the loss of the forts, as soon as practicable; but, engaged as I am in a most hazardous movement of a large force, even the most minute detail requiring my attention for its accomplishment, I cannot say when it will be forwarded to the Secretary of War, to be handed to him if he thinks proper to do so.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. S. JOHNSTON, General, C. S. Army.

* See Davis to Johnston, March 12, p. 257.

** Not found.


No. 47.

Reports of Lieut. Col. Jeremy F. Gilmer, C. S. Army, Chief Engineer Western Department.*

ENGINEER’S OFFICE, Decatur, Ala., March 17, 1862.

COLONEL: The capture of Fort Henry was for the enemy a great success, which it was felt would embolden him to make an early attack upon Fort Donelson.

To meet this every effort was made to strengthen the defenses. Lines of infantry cover were laid out on commanding grounds around the place and fatigue parties were daily employed in their construction. To aid the local engineer in the work of defense I remained at the fort February 7, 8, and 9, when General Pillow took command of the whole. At his request 1 asked and received authority to remain and aid in the defense.


Immediately on his arrival the general took active measures to inform himself as to the character of the defenses and had the additional works pressed forward with the greatest activity. Having received re-enforcements and others being expected daily the lines of infantry cover were extended so as to embrace the town of Dover, where many Of our munitions were stored. The lines for these works being decided upon, they were at once pressed to completion and the batteries for the defense of the river strengthened.

By the night of the 12th these were in readiness and the heavy guns recently received at the fort were mounted. To provide an ample force of artillerists to work the heavy guns through a long-continued attack General Pillow detailed Capt. R. R. Ross and his company of well-drilled men from his battery to aid in the river defense. The selection of this officer and his command proved most fortunate, as in the obstinate attack that was made by the gunboats they performed noble and effective service.

Brigadier-General Buckner arrived at Fort Donelson on the afternoon of the 12th.

In the mean time the enemy had landed in large force on the bank of the river below and other troops were brought over from Fort Henry. The smoke of his gunboats was seen in the distance, warning us that a combined attack was to be expected. Skirmishes were frequent between our pickets and the enemy’s forces advancing to meet us.

On the 13th the besiegers opened with artillery upon our land defenses, and their sharpshooters annoyed our men constantly whenever exposed above the infantry covers, as at the field batteries. One of the gunboats commenced firing upon the river batteries early in the day, throwing shot and shell at long range. The same morning General Floyd arrived with re-enforcements, including three batteries of field artillery, which were placed in position as promptly as possible. The enemy’s fire was kept up throughout the day and responded to with spirit by our artillery and infantry. In the afternoon an attempt was made to storm the intrenchments on the heights near our center but failed, the assailants being handsomely repulsed. One of the guns in the river batteries was struck by a heavy shot from the gunboat, disabling the carriage and killing Lieut. Joseph Dixon, the local engineer officer. Our total loss during the day was considerable, but I am unable to report numbers.

The contest of the day closed. The enemy had gained no footing on our works nor produced any important impression upon them. But our forces were much fatigued, having been under arms all day, and this after three or four days’ hard labor upon the intrenchments. To add to their sufferings it turned suddenly cold in the afternoon and at dark commenced snowing, and so continued the greater part of the night. Inclement as was the weather, it was necessary (to guard against surprise) that the troops should be all night in position along the lines of infantry cover. The next day, the 14th, the besiegers brought up large re-enforcements, just landed from numerous transports, and extended their lines in great strength towards their right, enveloping our extreme left. They took positions that placed it in their power to plant batteries on the river bank above and cut off our communications. Such appeared to be their design. In consequence of these movements the firing of the enemy was less frequent than on the previous day.

Early on this afternoon the gunboats were observed to be advancing to attack the river batteries, and at 3 o’clock a vigorous fire was opened from five boats approaching en échelon. Our gunners reserved their fire {p.263} until the gunboats had come within effective range, and then at a signal every gun was fired-twelve in number. This fire told with great effect, penetrating the iron sides of the boats. The firing now became terrific, the enemy still advancing. In rear of the five boats first engaged a sixth was reported throwing curvated shot, which passed over our works, exploding in the air just above. After some time one of the boats was seen to pull back, probably disabled by our shot. The others continued to advance, keeping up a rapid fire.

Our batteries were well served and responded with great effect, disabling, as it was believed, two more of the gunboats. The engagement lasted until 4.10, the gunboats having approached to within 300 or 400 yards of our guns, when they withdrew from the contest. Our batteries were uninjured and not a man in them killed.

The repulse of the gunboats closed the operations of the day, except a few scattering shot along the land defenses. It was evident, however, from the movements of numerous bodies of troops around our lines, that the enemy had resolved to invest us, and, when prepared, to attack us in overwhelming numbers or press us to a capitulation by cutting off supplies and re-enforcements.

Generals Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner met in council soon after dark; I was present. After an interchange of views it was decided to attack the enemy on his extreme right and right center at 5 o’clock in the morning. It was believed that the enemy might be thrown back and an opportunity secured to withdraw in safety our forces; that possibly greater advantages might be gained by the attack, which, if well followed up on our part, would result in disaster to the invaders.

This being decided upon, the brigade commanders were at once sent for, and the positions for their respective commands in the order of attack assigned. Brigadier-General Pillow was to direct the movement against the right of the enemy; Brigadier-General Buckner that against his right center, advancing along the Wynn’s Ferry road. A few regiments were to remain to guard the lines.

About 5 o’clock next morning (the 15th) the left wing, under General Pillow, moved to the attack. Brisk fires were opened and kept up by the enemy and responded to with spirit from our lines, his men generally overshooting, while ours were constantly warned to aim low.

The enemy’s fire after some time extended towards their extreme right, indicating a design to turn our left. To meet this, a body of troops under Brig. Gen. B. It. Johnson made a flank movement and met the foe. After a long struggle the enemy finally gave way, at first falling back slowly. Our troops pressed forward, and about 9.30 o’clock his right wing was in full retreat. Now the cavalry on our extreme left was brought up and charged with effect on the retreating enemy. Six field pieces were captured at different points, and at a later hour of the day brought within the line of intrenchments. Our success against the right wing was complete.

I now accompanied General Pillow across the field to the point of attack assigned to General Buckner’s division. On our arrival there his division was in rear of the lines of infantry covers, the general and his officers encouraging the troops to renew the attack on the enemy, who still held position in their front. General Buckner stated that he had soon after the firing of General Pillow’s forces was heard, opened on the enemy with artillery, and followed it up by sending forward two of his best regiments to the assault; that they moved from the infantry covers with spirit and advanced steadily and in order against the enemy.


They were soon exposed to heavy fires of small-arms and of a field battery planted in their front, and they responded well for some time to the volleys of the besiegers; but finally their ranks were thrown into confusion, and they fell back rapidly in rear of our intrenchments. General Buckner continued to encourage his men, feeling that a little time was necessary to overcome the dispiriting effects of the repulse earlier in the day.

In the mean time the fires of our left wing were heard steadily advancing, driving the enemy back upon his right center. This was referred to with encouraging effect upon General Buckner’s division. Artillery fires were kept up against the enemy in his front, and soon afterwards he moved forward with his division to renew the attack. The enemy, being now pressed in front of his center by this advance and on his right flank by the pursuing forces of General Pillow’s division, retreated rapidly for some distance towards his left wing; but, receiving heavy re-enforcements, the pursuit was checked, and finally the retreating foe made a firm stand, opening from a field battery strongly supported by masses of infantry.

About 1 o’clock an order was given by General Pillow recalling our forces to the defensive lines. Our forces having returned, they were ordered to the positions they occupied the day previous, involving a march of over a mile for the troops on the extreme right. The enemy at the same time advanced with his re-enforcements to attack that flank, and by a prompt movement succeeded in effecting a lodgment within the lines just as our exhausted forces arrived.

A vigorous attempt to dislodge him failed, and at length our men, having suffered much, fell back, leaving him in possession of that portion of our defenses. The advantage gained by the enemy placed him in position to assault our right in full force with his fresh troops next morning. Such was the condition of affairs when the darkness of night closed the bloody struggle of the day. In the course of the night Generals Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner met in council. I was not present.

The following morning, about 3 o’clock, I was told by General Pillow that a surrender had been decided on. He invited me to join himself and staff, as they were not included in the proposed surrender. This I accepted, and accompanied him to Clarksville and Nashville, where I had the honor to report to you in person.

From information received the strength of the enemy at Donelson was estimated to be about 50,000. Our effective force was about 15,000.

The surrender at Fort Donelson made Nashville untenable by the forces under your command. Situated in a wide basin, intersected by a navigable river in possession of the invader; approached from all directions by good turnpike roads and surrounded by commanding hills, involving works of not less than 20 miles in extent, the city could not be held by a force less than 50,000. With all the re-enforcements to be hoped for your army could not be raised to that number before the place would have been attacked by heavy forces of the enemy both by land and water. The alternative was to withdraw to the interior of the State of Tennessee.

J. F. GILMER, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief Engineer Western Department.

Col. W. W. MACKALL, Asst. Adjt. Gen. Western Department, Decatur, Ala.

* See pp. 131-135 for so much of this report as relates to capture of Fort Henry.



ENGINEER BUREAU, Richmond, Va., December 2, 1862.

SIR: Indorsed on a letter of the 1st instant, from Brigadier-General Pillow to you, I have had the honor to receive your instructions, as follows:

On the allegations of General Pillow, as within, justice requires a supplemental report from Colonel Gilmer, and he will accordingly make it.

In the letter on which your instructions are indorsed General Pillow complains that in an order of your predecessor, reflecting on his conduct in the operations of the army at Fort Donelson, injustice was done him, and then states:

The knowledge of Colonel Gilmer, chief of engineers, is important for the information of the Government. His original report in regard to the result of the conference of general officers, on the night of February 14, at Dover, and his knowledge of the condition of the army when the field was won on the 15th, and his opinion of the practicability of a successful retreat from the battle-field on that day, is not as full as his knowledge of the facts will enable him to make.

As a preliminary to the supplemental report which I am directed to make, I have respectfully to state that my original report upon the defense of Fort Donelson was made the 17th of March last, to General Albert Sidney Johnston, then commanding the Western Department. That distinguished officer paid me the flattering compliment to say it gave him a clearer knowledge of the operations than he had received from other sources, which led me to suppose that my effort to report all that was “important for the information of the Government” had been successful. With this remark I have the honor to submit the following supplemental report:

On the evening of February 14, 1862, Generals Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner met in council at Dover, to decide upon a plan of action under the threatening state of affairs then existing. I was present by invitation. Although the gunboats had been repulsed that afternoon by the water batteries, it was evident from the movement of large bodies of troops towards the left of our lines that the enemy had resolved to complete the investment of the place by gaining the bank of the Cumberland River above, and then attack in overwhelming numbers, or force a capitulation by cutting off all supplies and re-enforcements. The necessity for prompt action was apparent, and, after mature deliberation and interchange of views, it was decided to attack the enemy at 5 o’clock next morning, on his extreme right and right center, with a view to drive him back and secure an opportunity to withdraw in safety our forces towards Charlotte and Nashville, Tenn. It was hoped even greater advantages might be gained by the attack, which, if well followed up on our part, might result In disaster to the besiegers. The brigade commanders were then sent for, the plan of operations explained and the positions for their respective commands in the order of attack assigned.

Brigadier-General Pillow was to direct the movement against the right of the enemy; Brigadier-General Buckner that against his right center, advancing along the Wynn’s Ferry road. A few regiments were to remain to guard the lines. The details of preparation for carrying out the plan decided upon, such as the number of rations that should be prepared; whether blankets and knapsacks should be taken or not; what should be the order of march on retreat for the different commands; who should take the advance, and who should protect the rear, {p.266} were not arranged, to the best of my recollection, in the council of February 14. The decision of the council was in general terms, and, as I have already stated, to attack the enemy, secure a retreat towards Charlotte, and if circumstances justified it, to follow up all advantages, and hurl the invaders back to their transports.

As decided in council, the attack on the right of the enemy was made next morning by the forces under General Pillow, and, after a hot and long-continued contest, the besiegers fell back, disputing obstinately each foot of ground. General Buckner’s division was brought up in front of their right center, and a part of his force, after he had prepared the way by his artillery, was advanced to the attack. For some time the result of the day appeared doubtful and but little advantage was gained in the center. The enemy was hotly engaged for hours on his right by Pillow’s division, and forced to yield point after point until he was thrown back on his right center, when the advance of Buckner’s forces united our strength, and for the moment gave promise of a brilliant victory. The forces by which we were first opposed were in full retreat and our men were eager in the pursuit, fatigued as they were by the long continued struggle of the day; but this bright picture was suddenly changed. Large masses of fresh troops were brought up by the besiegers, the contest was fast becoming unequal, and our men were well-nigh exhausted, having been under arms or on fatigue duty almost constantly for the four preceding days and nights, some of them for even a longer time. What was the strength of the re-enforcements brought forward to cover the retreat of the enemy and check our advance I am unable to state with any accuracy. It was very great, however, as was evident by the heavy masses that were seen to approach along the roads from the landing below (distant about 3 miles), and by the extent of the fire as they advanced to the contest.

It was now about 1 o’clock; the battle had been waged for about seven hours; the ground was covered with snow; the troops were hungry and fatigued, their ammunition falling short, and the besiegers largely re-enforced.

To commence a retreat at this time would have been hazardous, and must have resulted in great suffering, as a large part of the men were without their blankets, rations, or other preparations for a march. It was a choice of evils. Prompt decision and action were imperative. The commanding general must at once decide as to the practicability of making the contemplated retreat or wait the turn of events. A retreat commenced from the battle-field would have, in my opinion, resulted in the deliverance of a large part of the army, but much broken and demoralized.

Under these circumstances an order was given by General Pillow, and approved afterwards, as I understood, by General Floyd, to withdraw our forces and place them back to former positions within the lines. This was done as promptly as possible, but the enemy, by a quick advance of fresh troops against the extreme right of our lines, effected a lodgment within them before the returning troops could arrive for their defense. He afterwards reoccupied the ground from which he had been driven in the morning, and the sad sequel has been long since reported to the Government by the commanding generals.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. F. GILMER, Colonel of Engineers and Chief of Bureau.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.



No. 48.

Reports of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, C. S. Army.


SIR: Your order of the 12th of this month, transmitted to me from Bowling Green by telegraph to Cumberland City, reached me the same evening. It directed me to repair at once, with what force I could command, to the support of the garrison at Fort Donelson. I immediately prepared for my departure, and effected it in time to reach Fort Donelson the next morning (13th) before daylight. Measures had been already taken by Brigadier-General Pillow, then in command, to render our resistance to the attack of the enemy as effectual as possible. He had, with activity and industry, pushed forward the defensive works towards completion.

These defenses consisted in an earthwork in Fort Donelson, in which were mounted guns of different calibers to the number of thirteen. A field work, intended for the infantry support, was constructed immediately behind the battery and upon the summit of the hill in rear. Sweeping away from this field work eastward, to the extent of nearly 2 miles in its windings, was a line of intrenchments, defended on the outside at some points with abatis. These intrenchments were occupied by the troops already there and by the addition of those which came upon the field with me. The position of the fort, which was established by the Tennessee authorities, was by no means commanding, nor was the least military significance attached to the position. The intrenchments, afterwards hastily made, in many places were injudiciously constructed, because of the distance they were placed from the brow of the hill, subjecting the men to a heavy fire from the enemy’s sharpshooters opposite as they advanced to or retired from the intrenchments.

Soon after my arrival the intrenchments were fully occupied from one end to the other, and just as the sun rose the cannonade from one of the enemy’s gunboats announced the opening of the conflict, which was destined to continue for three days and nights. In a very short time the fire became general along our whole lines, and the enemy, who had already planted batteries at several points around the whole circuit of our intrenchments, as shown by a diagram herewith sent,* opened a general and active fire from all arms upon our trenches, which continued until darkness put an end to the conflict. They charged with uncommon spirit at several points along on the line, but most particularly at a point undefended by intrenchments, down a hollow, which separated the right wing, under the command of Brigadier-General Buckner, from the right of the center commanded by Colonel Heiman. This charge was prosecuted with uncommon vigor, but was met with a determined spirit of resistance-a cool, deliberate courage-both by the troops of Brigadier-General Buckner and Colonel Heiman, which drove the enemy, discomfited and cut to pieces, back upon the position he had assumed in the morning. Too high praise cannot be bestowed upon the battery of Captain Porter for their participation in the rout of the enemy in this assault. My position was immediately in front of the point of attack, and I was thus enabled to witness more distinctly the incidents of it.

The enemy continued their fire upon different parts of our intrenchments throughout the night, which deprived our men of any opportunity {p.268} to sleep. We lay that night upon our arms in the trenches. We confidently expected at the dawn of day a more vigorous attack than ever; but in this we were entirely mistaken. The day advanced and no preparations seemed to be making for a general onset; but an extremely annoying fire was kept up from the enemy’s sharpshooters throughout the whole length of the intrenchments from their long-range rifles. While this mode of attack was not attended with any considerable loss, it nevertheless confined the men to their trenches and prevented their taking their usual rest.

So stood the affairs of the field until about 3 p.m., when the fleet of gunboats in full force advanced upon the fort and opened fire. They advanced in the shape of a crescent, and kept up a constant and incessant fire for one hour and a half, which was replied to with uncommon spirit and vigor by the fort. Once the boats reached a point within a few hundred yards of the fort, at which time it was that three of their boats sustained serious injuries from our batteries and were compelled to fall back. The line was broken and the enemy discomfited on the water, giving up the fight entirely, which he never afterwards renewed.

I was satisfied from the incidents of the last two days that the enemy did not intend again to give us battle in our trenches. They had been fairly repulsed with very heavy slaughter upon every effort to storm our position, and it was but fair to infer that they would not again renew the unavailing attempt at our dislodgment when certain means to effect the same end without loss were perfectly at their command. We were aware of the fact that extremely heavy re-enforcements had been continually arriving day and night for three days and nights, and I had no doubt whatever that their whole available force on the Western waters could and would be concentrated here if it was deemed necessary to reduce our position. I had already seen the impossibility of holding out for any length of time with our inadequate numbers and indefensible position. There was no place within our intrenchments but could be reached by the enemy’s artillery from their boats or their batteries.

It was but fair to infer that while they kept up a sufficient fire upon our intrenchments to keep our men from sleep and prevent repose, their object was merely to give time to pass a column above us on the river, both on the right and the left banks, and thus to cut off all our communication and to prevent the possibility of egress. I then saw clearly that but one course was left by which a rational hope could be entertained of saving the garrison or a part of it-that was to dislodge the enemy from his position on our left, and thus to pass our people into the open country lying southward towards Nashville. I called for a consultation of the officers of divisions and brigades to take place after dark, when this plan was laid before them, approved, and adopted, and at which it was determined to move from the trenches at an early hour on the next morning and attack the enemy in his position.

It was agreed that the attack should commence upon our extreme left, and this duty was assigned Brigadier-General Pillow, assisted by Brigadier-General Johnson, having also under his command commanders of brigades Colonel Baldwin, commanding Mississippi and Tennessee troops, and Colonel Wharton and Colonel McCausland, commanding Virginians. To Brigadier-General Buckner was assigned the duty of making the attack from near the center of our lines upon the enemy’s forces upon the Wynn’s Ferry road. The attack on the left was delayed longer than I expected, and consequently the enemy was found in position when our troops advanced. The attack, however, on our part was {p.269} extremely spirited; and although the resistance of the enemy was obstinate, and their numbers far exceeded ours, our people succeeded in driving them, discomfited and terribly cut to pieces, from the entire left. The Kentucky troops, under Brigadier-General Buckner, advanced from their position behind the intrenchments upon the Wynn’s Ferry road, but not until the enemy had been driven in a great measure from the position he occupied in the morning.

I had ordered on the night before that the two regiments stationed in Fort Donelson should occupy the trenches vacated by Brigadier-General Buckner’s forces, which, together with the men whom he detached to assist in this purpose, I thought sufficient to hold them. My intention was to hold with Brigadier-General Buckner’s command the Wynn’s Ferry road, and thus to prevent the enemy during the night from occupying the position on our left which he occupied in the morning. I gave him orders upon the field to that effect.

Leaving him in position, then, I started for the right of our command, to see that all was secure there, my intention being, if things could be held in the condition that they then were, to move the whole army, if possible, to the open country lying southward beyond the Randolph Forge. During my absence, and from some misapprehension, I presume, of the previous order given, Brigadier-General Pillow ordered Brigadier-General Buckner to leave his position on the Wynn’s Ferry road and to resume his place in his trenches on the right. This movement was nearly executed before I was aware of it. As the enemy were pressing upon the trenches, I deemed that the execution of this last order was all that was left to be done. The enemy, in fact, succeeded in occupying an angle of the trenches on the extreme right of Brigadier-General Buckner’s command; and, as the fresh forces of the enemy had begun already to move towards our left to occupy the position they held in the morning, and as we had no force adequate to oppose their progress, we had to submit to the mortification of seeing the ground which we had won by such a severe conflict in the morning reoccupied by the enemy before midnight.

The enemy had been landing re-enforcements throughout the day. His numbers had been augmented to eighty-three regiments. Our troops were completely exhausted by four days and nights of continued conflict. To renew it, with any hope of successful result was obviously vain, and such I understand to be the unanimous opinion of all the officers present at the council called to consider what was best to be done. I thought, and so announced, that a desperate onset upon the right of the enemy’s forces, on the ground where we had attacked them in the morning, might result in the extricating of a considerable proportion of the command from the position we were in, and this opinion I understood to be concurred in by all who were present; but it was likewise agreed, with the same unanimity, that it would result in the slaughter of nearly all who did not succeed in effecting their escape. The question then arose whether, in point of humanity and a sound military policy, a course should be adopted from which the probabilities were that the larger proportion of the command would be cut to pieces in an unavailing fight against overwhelming numbers. I understood the general sentiment to be averse to the proposition. I felt that in this contingency, while it might be questioned whether I should, as commander of the army, lead it to certain destruction in an unavailing fight, I had a right individually to determine that I would not survive a surrender there. To satisfy both propositions, I agreed to hand over the command to Brigadier-General Buckner through Brigadier-General Pillow, and to make an effort {p.270} for my own extrication by any and every means that might present themselves to me. I therefore directed Colonel Forrest, a daring and determined officer, at the head of an efficient regiment of cavalry, to be present, for the purpose of accompanying me in what I supposed would be an effort to pass through the enemy’s lines. I announced the fact upon turning the command over to Brigadier-General Buckner that I would bring away with me by any means I could command my own particular brigade, the propriety of which was acquiesced in on all hands. This, by various modes, I succeeded in accomplishing to a great extent, and would have brought off my whole command in one way or another if I had had the assistance of the field officers who were absent from several of the regiments. The command was turned over to Brigadier-General Buckner, who at once opened negotiations with the enemy, which resulted in the surrender of the place.

Thus ended the conflict, running through four days and four nights, a large portion of which time it was maintained with the greatest fierceness and obstinacy, in which we, with a force not exceeding 13,000, a large part of whom were illy armed, succeeded in resisting and driving back with discomfiture an army consisting of more than 50,000 men.

I have no means of accurately estimating the loss of the enemy. From what I saw upon the battle-field; from what I witnessed throughout the whole period of the conflict; from what I was able to learn from sources of information deemed by me worthy of credit, I have no doubt that the enemy’s loss in killed and wounded reached a number beyond 5,000. Our own losses were extremely heavy, but, for want of exact returns, I am unable to state precise numbers. I think there will not be far from 1,500 killed and wounded.

Nothing could exceed the coolness and determined spirit of resistance which animated the men in this long and perilous conflict; nothing could exceed the determined courage which characterized them throughout this terrible struggle, and nothing could be more admirable than the steadiness which they exhibited, until nature itself was exhausted, in what they knew to be a desperate fight against a foe very many times their superior in numbers. I cannot particularize in this report to you the numberless instances of heroic daring performed by both officers and men, but must content myself for the present by saying in my judgment they all deserve well of their country.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


* Not found.


KNOXVILLE, TENN., March 20, 1862.

SIR: Your communication of the 16th instant, from Decatur, reached me here to-day, where I came in compliance with an order from Major-General Smith, who felt his position endangered from the advance of the enemy.

In that communication you say:

Under date of March 11th the Secretary of War says:

“The reports of Generals Floyd and Pillow are unsatisfactory, and the President directs that both these generals be relieved from command till further orders.” He further directs General Johnston in the mean time to request them to add to their reports such statements as they may deem proper on the following points:

“1st. The failure to give timely notice of the insufficiency of the garrison of Fort Donelson to repel attacks.


“2d. The failure of an attempt to save the army by evacuating the post when found to be untenable.

“3d. Why they abandoned the command to their inferior officer, instead of executing themselves whatever measure was deemed proper for the entire army.

“4th. What was the precise mode by which each effected his escape from the post and what dangers were encountered in the retreat?

“5th. Upon what principle a selection was made of particular troops, being certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade, to whose use all the transportation on hand was appropriated.

“6th. A particular designation of the regiments saved and the regiments abandoned which formed part of the senior general’s brigade.”

In obedience to this order I am directed by General Johnston to request your compliance with the wishes of the President in these particulars with as little delay as possible, and forward the report to these headquarters.

Under the same direction General Johnston has required a report from Colonel Forrest, detailing particularly the time and manner of his escape from Fort Donelson, the road he took, the number of enemies he met or saw in making his escape, and the difficulties which existed to prevent the remainder of the army from following the route taken by him in his escape with his command.

I give at once the additional information which seems to be asked for in the communication of the Secretary of War to which you refer.

The first charge is as follows:

The failure to give timely notice of the insufficiency of the garrison of Fort Donelson to repel attacks.

I presume the general knew, before I was ordered to Fort Donelson, that neither the works nor the troops sent there could withstand the force which he knew the enemy had in hand and which could be brought speedily to that point. I knew perfectly well that if the whole force under General Johnston’s command at Bowling Green had been sent to Fort Donelson it would prove utterly insufficient to repel the advance of the enemy up the Cumberland River. General Johnston’s entire force, including the troops at Donelson, as I understood it, did not exceed 30,000 men. I knew what I believe everybody else did, for it was made public through the newspapers, that the enemy had in Kentucky alone one hundred and nineteen regiments, and that he had nearly if not quite as many at Cairo, Saint Louis, and the towns near the mouth of the Cumberland. It was also known that the enemy had unlimited means of transportation for concentrating troops. How, then, was it possible for General Johnston’s whole army to meet that force, which was known to be moving towards the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers? The sequel proved that this information was correct, for not only were the troops occupying Kentucky sent up the Cumberland, but large additions were made to them from Missouri and Illinois, as stated by prisoners and by the official reports of their own commanders. I could not, under a sense of duty, call for re-enforcements, because the force under General Johnston was not strong enough to afford a sufficient number to hold the place. I consider the place illy chosen, out of position, and entirely indefensible by any re-enforcements which could he brought there to its support. It bad but thirteen guns, and it turned out that but three of these were effective against iron-clad steamers. I thought the force already there sufficient for sacrifice, as well as enough to hold the place until Bowling Green could be evacuated, with its supplies and munitions of war. This I supposed to be the main object of the movement to Donelson, and the only good that could be effected by desperately holding that post with the entirely inadequate means in hand for defense of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

With a less force than 50,000 men the situation at Fort Donelson was, in my judgment, quite untenable, and even with that force it could have been held for only a short time, unless a force of 20,000 men was supporting {p.272} it at Clarksville and 25,000 more at least had been stationed at Nashville. While these were my own views and opinions, I nevertheless transmitted to General Johnston the exact state of affairs at the fort at every stage of the conflict.

My views and opinions upon the defense of Fort Donelson and the means of extricating the army from the trap in which necessity had thrown it there had been set forth in a letter addressed to the general from Clarksville before I received orders to go to Fort Donelson, bearing date of February 12. I annex a copy of that letter:

CLARKSVILLE, TENN., February 12, 1862.


SIR: There is but little known satisfactorily of the enemy or their movements; up to 10 o’clock last night all was quiet as usual at the fort. General Buckner is now there. I have thought the best disposition to make of the troops on this line was to concentrate the main force at Cumberland City, leaving at Fort Donelson enough to make all possible resistance to any attack which may be made upon the fort, but no more. The character of the country in the rear and to the left of the fort is such as to make it dangerous to concentrate our whole force there; for, if their gunboats should pass the fort and command the river, our troops would be in danger of being cut off by a force from the Tennessee. In this event their road would be open to Nashville, without any obstruction whatever. The position at Cumberland City is better; for there the railroad diverges from the river, which would afford some little facility for transportation in case of necessity; and from thence the open country southward towards Nashville is easily reached. Besides, from that point we threaten the flank of any force sent from the Tennessee against the fort. I am making every possible effort to concentrate the forces here at Cumberland City. I have been in the greatest dread ever since I reached this place at their scattered condition. The force is inadequate to defend a line of 40 miles in length, which can be attacked from three different directions. We can only be formidable by concentration. A strong guard is all that can be left here and this no longer than your movement can be made. I shall begin today, if the engineers report favorably, to blockade the river at the piers of the railroad bridge. I have taken up an idea that a raft, secured against this bridge, can render the river impassable for the gunboats. If this is possible, it will be an immense relief to the movements above. I am quite sure this blockade can be made at a lower stage of water; but the present stage of water renders this experiment somewhat doubtful; still I will make every exertion to effect the blockade, if possible. I received by telegraph your authority to make any disposition of the troops which in my judgment was best, and acknowledged it by a dispatch immediately. I am acting accordingly.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

CHARGE 2.-The failure of any attempt to save the army by evacuating the post when found to be untenable.

I have been unfortunate if I have failed to show in my report of the battle at Fort Donelson that the fight on February 15, outside of our intrenchments, was nothing but an attempt to save the army by evacuating the fort, which the position and numbers of the enemy had already rendered untenable. In my report of February 27 I attempted to explain why we left our intrenchments on the 15th to give battle and the object I had in view in doing so. I said:

I had already seen the impossibility of holding out for any length of time with our inadequate numbers and indefensible position. There was no place in our intrenchments but could be reached by the enemy’s artillery from their boats or their batteries. It was but fair to infer that while they kept up a sufficient fire upon our intrenchments to keep our men from sleep and prevent repose, their object was merely to give time to pass a column above us on the river, both on the right and the left banks, and thus to cut off all our communications and to prevent the possibility of egress. I then saw clearly that but one course was left by which a rational hope could be entertained of saving the garrison or a part of it-that was to dislodge the enemy from his position on our left, and thus to pass our people into the open country lying southward towards Nashville.

Upon the failure of this enterprise, the causes of which carefully set forth in my report, it obviously became impossible to save the army by evacuating {p.273} the post; the attempt to save the army had been made. I thought then, and still think, that a more earnest attempt could not have been made by an equal number of men to accomplish any enterprise by force of arms. To extricate the army then involved the necessity of another battle that night, more desperate than that of the morning, because the enemy had been greatly re-enforced, and held their former position with fresh troops. There is such a thing as human exhaustion, an end of physical ability in man to march and fight, however little such a contingency may seem possible to those who sleep quietly upon soft beds, who fare sumptuously every day, and have never tried the exposure of protracted battles and hard campaigns. This point had been reached by our men; the conflict, toil, and excitement of unsuspended battle, running through eighty-four hours, was enough to wear out the physical strength of any men; especially so when the greater part of the time they were exposed to a storm of sleet, snow, and continued frost, and opposed to a force five or six times greater than their own, without shelter or fire. Many of the men had been frost-bitten, and a great many were so overcome by fatigue and want of sleep as to be unable to keep open their eyes standing on their feet in the face and under the fire of the enemy. In fact, the men were totally out of condition to fight.

There were but two roads by which it was possible to retire. If they went by the upper road, they would certainly have a strong position of the enemy to cut through, besides having to march over the battle-field strewn with corpses; and if they retired by the lower road, they would have to wade through water 3 feet deep; which latter ordeal the medical director stated would be death to more than half of the command on account of the severity of the weather and their physical prostration. It was believed in council that the army could not retire without sacrificing three-fourths of it. The consultation which took place among the officers on the night of the 15th was to ascertain whether a further struggle could be maintained, and it was resolved in the negative unconditionally and emphatically. General Buckner, whose immediate command was the largest in the fort, was positive and unequivocal in his opinion that the fight could not be renewed. I confess I was myself strongly influenced by this opinion of General Buckner; for I have not yet seen an officer in whose superior military ability, clear, discriminating judgment, in whose calm, unflinching courage and unselfish patriotism I more fully confide than in his. The loss to the Confederacy of so able, brave, and accomplished a soldier is irreparable.

From my own knowledge of the condition of the men I thought that but few of them were in condition to encounter a night conflict; so the plan of renewing the battle was abandoned, and thus the necessity of surrender was prevented. All agreed that the necessity existed. That conclusion having been reached, nothing remained but to consider the manner of it, and that is fully set forth in my former report.

CHARGE 3.-Why they abandoned the command to their inferior officer, instead of executing themselves whatever measure was deemed proper for the entire army.

The “abandonment of command” here imputed I suppose to mean the act of transferring to General Buckner, who was willing to execute it, the performance of the formalities of surrender. The surrender was a painful and inexorable necessity, which could not be avoided, and not a “measure deemed proper for the entire army.” On the contrary, my proposition to take away as large a portion of the forces as possible met, I am sure, with the approbation of the whole council. One of the reasons which induced me to make this transfer to General Buckner was {p.274} in order that I might be untrammeled in the effort I was determined to make to extricate as many of the command as possible from the fort, to which object I devoted myself during the night of the 15th. So that I accomplished the fact of bringing off troops from the position, I thought little of the manner of doing so. All possibility of further fighting was over. Not another gun was to be fired; no personal risk was to be incurred; certain and absolute freedom from all personal danger was se cured to those who surrendered; further danger, conflict, and toil could befall those only who should attempt to escape and those I chose to lead.

Nothing was to be done by those who remained but to hoist the white flag and to surrender. This I would not do, for the “measure” of surrender had not been thought of by myself or any officer present in the council as one proper for the “entire army.” I suppose it to be an unquestionable principle of military action that in case of disaster it is better to save a part of a command than to lose the whole. The alternative proposition which I adopted in preference to surrendering the “entire army” was to make my way out of the beleaguered camp with such men as were still able to make another struggle, if it could be accomplished; and, if it could not be, then to take any consequences that did not involve a surrender.

CHARGE 5.-Upon what principle a selection was made of particular troops, being certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade, to whose use all the transportation on hand was appropriated.

The answer to this charge leads directly to that of the fourth, and I therefore respond first to this. I presume it is well established that a senior general can select any troops under his command for any service or purpose or plan he may choose to execute; and if the means were offered of extricating only a portion of men from a general surrender, I presume the selection of this portion would rest with him rather than with any other person or persons. This would be a sufficient answer to the charge in question, if I chose to rely upon it, which I do not. My real answer I will give fully. It is untrue that “all the transportation on hand was appropriated to certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade.” It is untrue that a selection was made of “particular troops.” I am sure that quite as many men belonging to other brigades were provided with “means of escape” “by the transportation on hand” as were of the senior general’s brigade.

Late at night it was ascertained that two steamboats would probably reach the landing before daylight. Then I determined to let Colonel Forrest’s cavalry proceed on their march by the river road, which was impassable for anything but cavalry, on account of the backwater and overflow, while I would remain behind and endeavor to get away as many men as possible by the boats. The boats came a short time before daylight, when I hastened to the river and began to ferry the men over to the opposite shore as rapidly as possible.

The men were taken on indiscriminately as they came to the boats; but, in the first instance, more of the “senior general’s brigade” were present than of other troops, from this circumstance, namely, that when I determined not to surrender, I caused my brigade to be drawn up in line and to await my final preparation for a forward movement. This was promptly done, and as they were nearest the left flank, where the fight would first begin, so likewise were they nearest to the river landing. From this circumstance it happened that the troops from my immediate command were among the first to enter the boats; but all the men from all portions of the army who were present and could be gotten on board were taken indiscriminately, as far as I had any knowledge. No man of the army was excluded to make room for my brigade. On the contrary, {p.275} all who came were taken on board until some time after daylight, when I received a message from General Buckner that any further delay at the wharf would certainly cause the loss of the boat with all on board. Such was the want of all order and discipline by this time on shore that a wild rush was made at the boat, which the captain said would swamp her unless he pushed off immediately. This was done, and about sunrise the boat on which I was (the other having gone) left the shore and steered up the river. By this “precise mode” I effected my “escape,” and after leaving the wharf the Department will be pleased to hear that I encountered no dangers whatever from the enemy.

I had announced in council my determination to take my own brigade and attempt a retreat; and this,I presume, is what is referred to in the charge of “selecting certain regiments of the senior general’s brigade? I “selected” this command because they had been with me in the most trying service for seven months; had been repeatedly under fire; had been exposed to every hardship incident to a campaign; had never on any occasion flinched or faltered; had never uttered a complaint, and I knew were to be relied on for any enterprise that could be accomplished. In announcing this intention it was far from my purpose to exclude any troops who might think proper or might be physically able to join me in making the movement.

CHARGE 6.-A particular designation of the regiments saved and the regiments abandoned which formed a part of the senior general’s brigade.

My brigade consisted of the Thirty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, the Fiftieth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, the Fifty-first Regiment Virginia Volunteers, the Fifty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, and the Twentieth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers. No one of these regiments was either wholly saved or wholly left. I could obtain no reports from regiments until I arrived at Murfreesborough. There our morning reports show the aggregate of each regiment present respectively to have been: Of the Thirty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, 243; Fiftieth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, 285; Fifty-first Regiment Virginia Volunteers, 274; Fifty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, 184. The Twentieth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers handed in no report at Murfreesborough, and what there was of it was ordered away by General Johnston; but I am informed that their morning report will show over 300 as present. These reports were made before those who had been ferried over the river at Donelson had come up.

A considerable number of men from each of these regiments were “saved” and many of each were left behind. Of my own brigade, a great many who were left effected their escape by every means they could command and joined their regiments and companies, except the Twentieth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, which, by General Johnston’s order, was detached and sent home to recruit. This regiment, at the last accounts I had of it, immediately after the fight of Fort Donelson, numbered, as already stated, about 300 men; but I have no accurate information on the subject. The loss I felt most seriously was that of my three artillery companies of Virginia troops,* so remarkable for their efficiency and real gallantry, who had followed me so faithfully throughout my service in Virginia, and who fought so bravely during the whole of the trying conflict at Donelson.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Brig. Gen., C. S. A.

PETER OTEY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* It has been impossible to identify these batteries; they were probably French’s, Guy’s, and Jackson’s.


No. 49.

Report of Col. Gabriel C. Wharton, Fifty-first Virginia Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, FLOYD’s DIVISION, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 22, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the participation of this brigade in the engagement at Fort Donelson:

The advance of the brigade, the Fifty-first Regiment Virginia Volunteers, reached Dover, 1 mile from the fort, about 11 p.m. on Friday, the 7th, and immediately reported to Brig. Gen. B. R. Johnson, who was then in command, and was ordered to encamp near the wharf.

About 4 p.m. on the 8th the Fifty-sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers arrived and was ordered to encamp near the Fifty-first. From Saturday to Wednesday following there was skirmishing between our cavalry picket and the enemy.

On Wednesday our pickets were driven in and the enemy reported advancing in force. The brigade was then ordered to take position on the left of Brigadier-General Buckner’s division and near the center of our line of defense. Soon after taking position, the enemy commenced to throw shot and shell, which did no execution. Captain Porter’s battery was then ordered to take the position which had been assigned to this brigade and we were ordered to the support of the left wing, commanded by Brigadier-General Johnson. We were engaged during the evening and night in constructing breastworks and rifle pits.

During Thursday we were under a heavy fire from the enemy’s batteries. There were also frequent engagements with the infantry, in all of which the enemy were repulsed. Thursday night we remained again in the ditches.

On Friday there was skirmishing with the infantry and sharpshooters; occasionally sharp firing from the batteries. On Friday evening occurred the terrific cannonading between the gunboats and the fort, some of the shells from the boats exploding in and near our lines, but doing no injury.

On Saturday morning, at 4 o’clock the brigade was withdrawn from the ditches and placed in line, by order of Brigadier-General Pillow, to make an attack on the enemy’s extreme right flank. Colonel Baldwin’s brigade was placed in advance; this brigade followed next. About 6 o’clock the column was put in motion. We had scarcely passed beyond the line of our defense when the skirmishers of Colonel Baldwin’s brigade engaged the enemy’s pickets, and in a few minutes the engagement became general. We were then ordered to deploy and advance, which was done with spirit and promptness. The enemy, after a very obstinate resistance, was forced to retire, but were either rallied or re-enforced on the several ridges, from which they were again and again driven. Our men, cheering as they charged, pursued them nearly 2 miles, when orders were received that we should retire to our intrenchments. The brigade was very much exhausted, having been under fire or in the ditches for more than four days.

The loss of the Fifty-first was 9 killed, 43 wounded, and 5 missing. Of the Fifty-sixth, 8 were killed, 37 wounded, and 115 missing.

Lieut. Col. J. M. Massie commanded the Fifty-first Regiment; his bearing was most chivalric and gallant. Capt. G. W. Davis gallantly led the Fifty-sixth Regiment. Lieut. August Forsberg, attached to the brigade as engineer officer, rendered very efficient service in rallying {p.277} and leading the men, and throughout the day distinguished himself for gallantry and acts of daring. To mention the many individual instances of heroism and daring would too much lengthen this report; therefore suffice it to say that all the officers and men of both regiments behaved with commendable coolness and bravery.

Capt. Samuel H. Newberry, Lieutenants Henderson and Painter, of the Fifty-first, were wounded. Captain Dabney C. Harrison, of the Fifty-sixth, was mortally wounded while leading his men to a charge. Lieutenants Ferguson and Haskins were also wounded.

A number of improved arms were captured and brought to camp.

On Sunday morning, the 16th, brigade was ordered from Fort Donelson to Nashville, where valuable service was rendered in guarding and shipping Government stores.

Thursday, the 20th, the brigade was ordered to this place, where we are now encamped.

Respectfully submitted.

G. C. WHARTON, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Brig. Gen. JOHN B. FLOYD.


No. 50.

Report of Col. John McCausland Thirty-sixth Virginia Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FLOYD’S DIVISION, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of this brigade, February 13, 14, and 15, in the engagement near Fort Donelson between the Confederate States forces and the United States forces under General Grant:

On the morning of the 13th I received your orders to proceed at once from Cumberland City to Fort Donelson, where we arrived at daylight and were at once ordered to the trenches. This brigade was posted as a support to Green’s battery, on the left wing. During the entire day the enemy kept up an incessant fire of shot and shell upon the battery and its support. The men and officers behaved well under the circumstances, and soon became accustomed to the firing. There were 5 men wounded during the day.

On the 14th there was continued skirmishing with artillery and musketry. About 2 p.m. the gunboats commenced a heavy bombardment of the fort, the shells passing over and taking the line of works in reverse, and many passing over and through this brigade. However, we suffered no loss, and gathered several large shell-64-pounders, I think. About dark another battery was posted in front of our position, and during the night it was placed behind a good earthwork thrown up by the men.

About midnight I received orders to concentrate my brigade near the left wing, which was done promptly, and at daylight on the morning of the 15th the column, under General Pillow, sallied from the left and engaged the enemy in a short space of time. This brigade was a reserve for Colonel Baldwin’s brigade, but, the enemy pressing his right, I at once moved up to his support and engaged the enemy posted in thick undergrowth and in a rough and rolling country. I ordered the firing {p.278} to commence as soon as the enemy was in sight. They were advancing just in front of the Thirty-sixth Virginia Regiment. They in a short time were checked, and then I ordered a charge upon them. The men came up with a shout and charged the enemy, routed and pursued him for 2 miles, when we were called back by order of General Pillow.

The Thirty-sixth Virginia Regiment had 14 killed and 46 wounded, and the Fiftieth Virginia Regiment had 10 killed and 40 wounded.

On Sunday morning this brigade was ferried across the river, and are now arriving at this camp.

Lieutenant-Colonel [L. W.] Reid was wounded about the close of the action. He and Major [Thomas] Smith behaved gallantly during the day; in fact, men and officers all behaved well. We captured 1 field gun and 200 Enfield muskets.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. MCCAUSLAND, Brig. Gen. JOHN B. FLOYD. Commanding Second Brigade.


No. 51.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, C. S. Army, with resulting correspondence.

COLUMBIA, TENN., February 18, 1862.

On the 9th instant General A. S. Johnston ordered me to proceed to Fort Donelson and take command of that post. On the 10th instant 1 arrived at that place.

In detailing the operations of the forces under my command at Fort Donelson it is proper to state the condition of that work and of the forces constituting its garrison. When I arrived I found the work on the river battery unfinished and wholly too weak to resist the force of heavy artillery. I found a 10-inch columbiad and a 32-pounder rifled gun which had not been mounted. Deep gloom was hanging over the command, and the troops were greatly depressed and demoralized by the circumstances attending the surrender of Fort Henry and the manner of retiring from that place.

My first attention was given to the necessity of strengthening this work, mounting the two heavy guns, and to the construction of defensive works to protect the rear of the river battery. I imparted to the work all the energy which it was possible to do, working day and night with the whole command. The battery was without a competent number of artillerists, and those that were there were not well instructed in the use of their guns.

To provide for this want I placed the artillery companies under active course of instruction in the use of their guns. I detailed Captain Ross, with his company of light artillerists, to the command of one of the river batteries. These heavy guns being mounted and provision made for working them, and a proper supply of ammunition having been procured by my orders from Nashville, I felt myself prepared to test the effect of the fire of heavy metal against the enemy’s gunboats, though the work stood much in need of more heavy pieces.

The armament of the batteries consisted of eight 32-pounders, three 32-pounder carronades, one 10-inch columbiad, and one rifled gun of 32-pounder caliber.


The selection of the site for the work was an unfortunate one. While its command of the river was favorable, the site was commanded by the heights above and below on the river and by a continuous range of bills all around the works to its rear. A field work of very contracted dimensions had been constructed by the garrison to protect the battery; but the field works were commanded by the hills already referred to, and lay open to a fire of artillery from every direction except from the hills below.

To guard against the effects of fire of artillery from these heights a line of defensive works, consisting of rifle pits and abatis for infantry, detached on our right but continuous on our left, with defenses for our light artillery, were laid off by Major Gilmer, engineer, of General A. S. Johnston’s staff (but on duty with me at the post), around the rear of the battery and on the heights from which artillery could reach our battery and inner field work, enveloping the inner work and the town of Dover, where our principal supplies of commissary and quartermaster’s stores were in depot.

These works, pushed with the utmost possible energy, were not quite completed, nor were my troops all in position, though nearly so, when Brigadier-General Floyd, my senior officer, reached that station. The works were laid off with great judgment and skill by Major Gilmer, and were well executed and designed for the defense of the rear of the work; the only objection being to the length of the line, which, however, was unavoidable from the surroundings. The length of the line and the inadequacy of the force for its defense was a source of embarrassment throughout the struggle which subsequently ensued in the defense of the position.

I had placed Brigadier-General Buckner in command of the right wing and Brig. Gen. B. R. Johnson in command of the left. By extraordinary efforts we had barely got these works in defensible condition when the enemy made an advance in force around and against the entire line of outer works.


The assault was commenced by the enemy’s artillery against the center of our left wing, which was promptly responded to by Captain Green’s battery of field artillery. After several hours of firing between the artillery of the two armies the enemy’s infantry advanced to the conflict all along the line, which was kept up and increased in volume from one end of the line to the other for several hours, when at last the enemy made a vigorous assault against the right of our left wing, the position assaulted being a height commanded by Col. A. Heiman and defended by his brigade, consisting of the Tenth Tennessee, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel R. W. MacGavock, Colonel [W. M.] Voorhies’, Colonel [A. A.] Hughes’,* and Colonel [J. W.] Head’s regiments Tennessee Volunteers, and defended by Captain [Frank] Maney’s field battery..

This assault was vigorously made and the position as vigorously defended, and resulted in the repulse of the enemy here and everywhere around the line. The result of the day’s work pretty well tested the strength of our defensive line, and established beyond question the gallantry of the entire command, all of which fought gallantly their portion of the line.

The loss sustained by our forces in this engagement was not large, our men being mostly under shelter in the rifle pits; but we nevertheless {p.280} had quite a number killed and wounded, hat owing to the continued fighting which followed it was impossible to get any official report of the casualties of the day.

On the same day our battery on the river was engaged with one of the enemy’s gunboats, which occasioned quite a lively cannonading for more than an hour, in which the gallant Capt. Joseph Dixon, of the Engineer Corps, was killed instantly at the battery. This officer had been on duty for some months at the post, and had shown great energy and professional skill, and by his gallant bearing on that day, while directing the operations of the day, under my orders, had justly earned for himself high distinction. His death was a serious loss to the service and was a source of no little embarrassment in our after operations.

On the 12th [13th] we had quiet, but we saw the smoke of a large number of gunboats and steamboats a short distance below. We also received reliable information of the arrival of a large number of new troops, greatly increasing the strength of the enemy’s forces, already said to be from 20,000 to 30,000 strong.


On the 13th [14th] these re-enforcements were seen advancing to their position in the line of investment, and while this was being done six of the enemy’s iron-cased gunboats were seen advancing up the river, five of which were abreast and in line of battle and the sixth some distance to the rear. When these gunboats arrived within a mile and a half of our battery they opened fire on it.

My orders to the officers (Captains Shuster and Standewitz [Stankiewitz or Starkovitch],** who commanded the lower battery of eight guns, and Captain Ross, who commanded the upper battery of four guns) were to hold their fire until the enemy’s boats should come within point-blank range of their guns. This they did, though the ordeal of holding their fire while the enemy’s shot and shell fell thick around their position was a severe restraint to their patriotic impulses; but, nevertheless, our batteries made no response until the enemy’s gunboats got within range of their guns. Our entire line of batteries then opened fire. The guns of both parties were well served, the enemy constantly advancing, delivering direct fire against our batteries from his line of five gunboats, while the sixth boat, moving up in rear of the line, kept the air filled with shells, which fell thick and close around the position of our batteries.

The fight continued, the enemy steadily advancing slowly up the river, the shot and shell from fifteen heavy rifled guns tearing our parapets and plunging deep into the earth around and over our batteries for nearly two hours and until his boats had reached within the distance of 150 yards of our batteries. Having come in such close conflict, I could distinctly see the effects of our shot upon his iron-cased boats. We had given two or three well-directed shots from the heavy guns to one of his boats, when she instantly shrank back and drifted helpless below the line. Several shot struck another boat, tearing her iron case and splintering her timbers and making them crack as if by a stroke of lightning, when she, too, fell back. Then a third received several severe shots, making her metal ring and her timbers crack, when the whole line gave way and fell rapidly back from our fire until they passed out of range.

Thus ended the first severe and close conflict of our heavy guns with the enemy’s gunboats, testing their strength and the power of our heavy guns to resist them. The shot from our 32-pounder guns produced but {p.281} little effect. They struck and rebounded, apparently doing but little damage; but I am satisfied, by close observation, that the timbers of the frame-work did not and could not withstand the shock of the 10-inch columbiad or 32-pounder rifled gun.

These gunboats never renewed the attack. I learned from citizens living on the river below that one of the injured boats sank and that the others had to be towed to Cairo. This information may or may not be true but it is certain that all of the boats were repulsed and driven back after a most vigorous and determined attack, and that two of the boats were badly damaged and a third more or less injured.

It is difficult to overestimate the gallant bearing and heroic conduct of the officers and men of our batteries who so well and so persistently fought our guns until the enemy’s determined advance brought his boats and guns into such close and desperate conflict. Where all did their duty so well it is almost impossible to discriminate. The captains already named and their lieutenants (whose names, for want of official reports, I cannot give) all deserve the highest commendation. Lieut. George S. Martin, whose company is at Columbus, Ky., but who was ordered to that post by Major-General Polk, commanded one of the guns, particularly attracted my attention by his energy and the judgment with which he fought his gun. The wadding of his gun having given out, he pulled off his coat and rammed it down his gun as wadding, and thus kept up the fire until the enemy were finally repulsed.

On the evening of this day we received information of the arrival of additional re-enforcements of infantry, cavalry, and light artillery by steamboat, all of which were disembarked a short distance below our position.


On the 14th instant the enemy were busy throwing his forces of every arm around us, extending his line of investment entirely around our position and completely enveloping us.

On the evening of this day we ascertained that the enemy had received by steamboat additional re-enforcements. We were now surrounded by an immense force, said by prisoners whom we had taken to amount to fifty-two regiments, and every road and possible avenue of departure cut off, with the certainty that our sources of supply by river could soon be cut off by the enemy’s batteries placed upon the river above us.

At a meeting of general officers, called by General Floyd, it was determined unanimously to give the enemy battle next day at daylight, so as to cut open a route of exit for our troops to the interior of the country, and thus save our army. We had knowledge that the principal portion of the enemy’s forces were massed in encampment in front of the extreme left of our position, commanding the two roads leading to the interior, one of which we must take in retiring from our position.

We knew he had massed in encampment another large force on the Wynn’s Ferry road, opposite the center of our left wing, while still another was massed nearly in front of the left of our right wing, his fresh arrival of troops being encamped on the bank of the river two miles and a half below us, from which latter encampment a stream of fresh troops were constantly pouring around us on his line of investment, and strengthening his general encampment on the extreme right. At each of his encampments and on each road he had in position a battery of field artillery and 24-pounder iron guns on siege carriages. Between the encampments on the roads was a thick undergrowth of brush and {p.282} black-jack, making it impossible to advance or maneuver any considerable body of troops.

The plan of attack agreed upon and directed by General Floyd to be executed was that, with the main body of the forces defending our left wing, I should attack the right wing of the enemy, occupying and resting on the heights reaching to the bank of the river, accompanied by Colonel Forrest’s brigade of cavalry; that General Buckner, with the forces under his command, and defending the right of our line, should strike the enemy’s encampment and forces on the Wynn’s Ferry road; that the forces under Colonel Heiman should hold his position, and that each command should leave in the trenches troops to hold the trenches. In this order of battle it was easy to be seen that if my attack was successful and the enemy was routed his retreat would be along his line of investment towards the Wynn’s Ferry encampment, and thence towards his reserve, at the gunboats below. In other words, my success would roll the enemy’s force in retreat over upon General Buckner, when by his attack in flank and rear we could cut up the enemy and put him completely to rout.

Accordingly dispositions were made to attack the enemy. At 5 o’clock on the morning of the 15th I moved out of my position to engage the enemy. In less than one-half hour our forces were engaged. The enemy was prepared to receive me in advance of his encampment, and he did receive me before I had assumed a line of battle and while I was moving against him without any formation for the engagement. For the first half hour of the engagement I was much embarrassed in getting the command in position properly to engage the enemy. Having extricated myself from the position and fairly engaged the enemy, we fought him for nearly two hours before I made any decided advance upon him. He contested the field most stubbornly.

The loss of both armies on this portion of the field was heavy-the enemy’s particularly so, as I discovered by riding over the field after the battle. The enemy, having been forced to yield this portion of the field, retired slowly towards the Wynn’s Ferry road-Buckner’s point of attack.

The fight was hotly contested and stubborn on both sides, and consumed the day till 12 o’clock to drive the enemy as far back as the center, where General Buckner’s command was to flank him. While my command was slowly advancing and driving back the enemy, I was anxiously expecting to hear General Buckner’s command open fire in his rear, which, not taking place, I was apprehensive of some misapprehension of orders, and came from the field of battle within the work to ascertain what was the matter. I there found the command of General Buckner massed behind the ridge within the work, taking shelter from the enemy’s artillery on the Wynn’s Ferry road, it having been forced to retire before the battery, as I learned from him. My force was still slowly advancing, driving the enemy towards the battery. I directed General Buckner immediately to move his command around to the rear of the battery, turning its left, keeping in the hollow, and attack and carry it. Before the movement was executed my forces, forming the attacking party on the right, with Colonel Forrest’s regiment of cavalry, had reached the position of the battery. Colonel Forrest’s cavalry gallantly charged a large body of infantry supporting the battery, driving it and forcing the battery to retire, and taking six pieces of artillery-four brass pieces and two 24-pounder iron pieces.

In pursuing the enemy, falling back from this position, General Buckner’s forces became united with mine, and engaged the enemy in a hot {p.283} contest of nearly an hour, with large forces of fresh troops that had now met us. This position of the enemy being carried by our joint forces, I called off the further pursuit, after seven and a half hours of continuous and bloody conflict. After the troops were called off from the pursuit, orders were immediately given to the different commands to form and retire to their original position in the intrenchments.

The operations of the day had forced the entire command of the enemy around to our right and in front of General Buckner’s position in the intrenchments, and when he reached his position he found the enemy advancing rapidly to take possession of his portion of our works. He had a stubborn conflict, lasting one and a half hours, to regain his position, and the enemy actually got possession of the extreme right of his works, and held them so firmly that he could not dislodge him.

The position thus gained by the enemy was a most important and commanding one, being immediately in rear of our river batteries and field work for its protection. From it he could readily turn the in trenched work occupied by General Buckner and attack him in reverse, or he could advance, under cover of an intervening ridge, directly upon our battery and field work. While the enemy held the position it was manifest we could not hold the main work or battery.

Such was the condition of the two armies at night-fall, after nine hours of conflict, on the 15th instant, in which our loss was severe, and leaving not less than 1,000 of the enemy dead upon the field. We left upon the field nearly all of his wounded, because we could not remove them. We left his dead unburied, because we could not bury them. Such carnage and conflict has perhaps never before occurred on this continent. We took about 300 prisoners and a large number of arms.

We had fought the battle to open the way for our army and to relieve us from an investment which would necessarily reduce us and the position we occupied by famine. We had accomplished our object, but it occupied the whole day, and before we could prepare to leave, after taking in the wounded and dead, the enemy had thrown around us again in the night an immense force of fresh troops and reoccupied his original position in the line of investment, thus again cutting off our retreat. We had only about 13,000 troops all told; of these we had lost a large proportion in the three battles. The command had been in the trenches night and day for five days, exposed to the snow, sleet, mud, and ice-water, without shelter and without adequate covering and without sleep. In this condition the general officers held a consultation, to determine what we should do. General Buckner gave it as his decided opinion that he could not hold his position a half hour against an assault of the enemy, and said he was satisfied the enemy would attack him at daylight the next morning. The proposition was then made by the undersigned to again fight our way through the enemy’s line and cut our way out. General Buckner said his command was so worn-out and cut to pieces and demoralized that he could not make another fight; that it would cost the command three-fourths its present numbers to cut its way out; that it was wrong to sacrifice three-fourths of a command to save one-fourth, and that no officer had a right to cause such a sacrifice. General Floyd and Major Gilmer I understood to concur in this opinion. I then expressed the opinion that we could hold out another day, and in that time we could get steamboats and set the command over the river and probably save a large portion of it. To this General Buckner replied that the enemy would certainly attack him in the morning and that he could not hold his position a half hour.

The alternative of these propositions was a surrender of the position {p.284} and command. General Floyd said he would not surrender the command nor would he surrender himself a prisoner. I had taken the same position. General Buckner said he was satisfied nothing else could be done, and that therefore he would surrender the command, if placed in command. General Floyd said he would turn over the command to him, if he could be allowed to withdraw his command. To this General Buckner consented. Thereupon the command was turned over to me, I passing it instantly to General Buckner, saying I would neither surrender the command nor myself. I directed Colonel Forrest to cut his way out.

Under these circumstances General Buckner accepted the command and sent a flag of truce to the enemy for an armistice of six hours, to negotiate for terms of capitulation. Before this flag and communication were delivered I retired from the garrison.

Before closing my report of the operations of the army at Donelson I must, in justice to the officers and commands under my immediate command, say that harder fighting or more gallant conduct in officers and men I have never witnessed. In the absence of official reports of brigade and regimental commanders, of which I am deprived by the circumstances detailed in this report, I may not be able to do justice to the different corps. I will say, however, that the forces under my immediate command during the action bore themselves most gallantly throughout the long and bloody conflict. I speak with especial commendation of the brigades commanded by Colonels [Wm. E.] Baldwin, [G. C.] Wharton, [John] McCausland, [J. M.] Simonton, and [Joseph] Drake, and of Captains Maney and Green, who fought their guns under the constant and annoying fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters and of the concentrated fire from his field batteries, from which both commands suffered severely. Captain Maney was himself wounded, and had several lieutenants killed and wounded and many of his company killed and wounded; so did Captains Porter and Graves. If I should hereafter receive the reports of regimental and brigade commanders, giving me detailed information of the conduct and bearing of officers and men, I will make a supplemental report.

The absence of official reports deprives me of the means of giving lists of the killed and wounded of the different commands. I am satisfied that in such a series of conflicts our loss was heavy. I know the enemy’s was, from passing over the field of battle in the evening, immediately after the battle, in company with General Floyd. His loss in killed was terrible, exceeding anything I have ever seen upon a battlefield.

Our total force in the field did not exceed 10,000 men, while, from what I saw of the enemy’s force and from information derived from many prisoners of the enemy, we are sure he had between 30,000 and 40,000 men in the field.

I must acknowledge many obligations to Major Gilmer, engineer, for especial and valuable services rendered me in laying off these works and the energy displayed by him in directing their construction, and for his counsel and advice. I likewise acknowledge my obligations to Capt. Gus. A. Henry, jr.,my assistant adjutant-general; to Col. John C. Burch, my aide-de-camp; to Major Field, to Lieutenant Nicholson, to Lieut. Charles F. Martin, and Colonel Brandon, my volunteer aides-de-camp; to Major Haynes, my assistant commissary, and Major Jones, my assistant quartermaster, for the prompt manner in which they executed my orders under trying circumstances throughout the long and continued conflicts, and to Major Gilmer, who accompanied me to the field and was {p.285} on duty with me during the entire day, also to Captain Parker, of my staff; whom I assigned to the command of Captain Ross’ field battery, with new recruits as gunners, and who fought and served them well. The conduct of these officers, coming under my immediate attention and observation, met my hearty approval and commendation. Colonel Brandon was severely wounded early in the action.

Colonel Baldwin’s brigade constituted the front of the attacking force, sustained immediately by Colonel Wharton’s brigade. These two brigades deserve especial commendation for the manner in which they sustained the first shock of battle, and, under circumstances of great embarrassment, threw themselves into position and followed up the conflict throughout the day. Being mostly with these two brigades, I can speak from personal knowledge of the gallant conduct and bearing of the two brigade commanders, Colonels Baldwin and Wharton. I must also acknowledge my obligations to Brig. Gen. B. R. Johnson, who assisted me in the command of the forces with which I attacked the enemy and who bore himself gallantly throughout the conflict; but having received no official report from him, I cannot give the detailed operations of his command.

I have pleasure in being able to say that Colonel Forrest, whose command greatly distinguished its commander as a bold and judicious commander, and reflected distinguished honor upon itself, passed safely through the enemy’s line of investment, and trust it will yet win other honors in defense of our rights and just cause of our country.

GID. J. PILLOW, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

Capt. CLARENCE DERRICK, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Hughes’ regiment was the Twenty-seventh Alabama.

** Probably Stankieuriz.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, Decatur, Ala., March 14, 1862.

The position we occupied was invested on February 11 by a force which we estimated to be about 20,000 strong. This force had approached us partly by water, but mainly by land, from Fort Henry. I considered the force we had sufficient to repulse the assault of this force. We repulsed everywhere a vigorous assault made by the enemy against our position.

Fresh troops, however, continued [to arrive] every day by water until the 14th. We are satisfied the enemy’s forces were not short of 30,000 men. Our impressions of his strength were confirmed by information derived from prisoners we had taken on that day. That evening the enemy landed thirteen steamboat loads of fresh troops.

It was now manifest we could not long maintain our position against such overwhelming numbers. I was satisfied that their last troops were of General Buell’s command. We felt the want of re-enforcements, but did not ask for them, because we knew they were not to be had. I had just come from Bowling Green, and knew that General Johnston could not spare a man from his position; he had, in fact, already so weakened himself that he could not have maintained his position against a vigorous assault. Under these circumstances, deeming it utterly useless to apply for re-enforcements, we determined to make the best possible defense with the force in-hand.

Our investment by a force of 30,000 men on the 14th being completed, and the enemy on that evening having received thirteen boat loads of fresh troops, a council of general officers was convened by General Floyd, {p.286} at which it was determined to give the enemy battle at daylight next day, so as to cut up the investing force, if possible, before the fresh troops were in position.

In that council I proposed, as the plan of attack, that with the force in the intrenchments of our left wing and Colonel [R. W.] Hanson’s regiment, of General Buckner’s division, I would attack the enemy’s main force on his right, and, if successful, that would roll the enemy on his line of investment to a point opposite General Buckner’s position, when he would attack him in flank and rear, and drive him with our united commands back upon his encampments at the river.

To this proposition, so far as allowing me to have Colonel Hanson’s regiment, General Buckner objected, and I waived the point, saying I only asked the assistance of that regiment because my portion of the labor to be performed was by far the greatest, and that upon my success depended the fortunes of the day, and that a very large portion of the force I had to fight were fresh troops and badly armed.

General Buckner then proposed, as a modification of my plan of battle, that he should attack the enemy simultaneously with my attack; that his attack should be against the position on the Wynn’s Ferry road, where he had a battery nearly opposite the center of the left wing, and that he would thus lessen the labors for my command and strike the enemy in a more vital point. To this modification I agreed, as an improvement upon my proposed plan.

In carrying out this plan thus agreed upon it became proper for Colonel Heiman’s brigade to maintain its position in the line, otherwise the enemy might turn the right of General Buckner’s position and take his forces on the right flank, and thus defeat our success. It was arranged accordingly.

General Floyd approved this plan of battle and ordered that it should be carried out next morning at daylight. I then sent for all the commanders of brigades, to explain to them our situation (being invested), our purpose and plan of battle, and to assign to each brigade its position in my column; all of which was done, and I gave orders to have my whole force under arms at 4.30 o’clock and to be ready to march out of our works precisely at 5 o’clock.

At 4 o’clock I was with my command, all of which was in position, except Colonel Davidson’s brigade, none of which was present. I Immediately directed General B. R. Johnson, who was present, and to whose immediate command Colonel Davidson’s brigade belonged, to dispatch officers for that brigade, and to ascertain the cause of its delay. He did so. I likewise sent several officers of my staff upon the same duty. Both sets of officers made the same report, viz, that Colonel Davidson had failed to give any orders to the colonels of his brigade, and that Colonel Davidson was sick. It is proper to state that he was complaining of being unwell when the orders were received. The instructions to the brigade commanders were given about 2 o’clock that morning. My command was delayed in its advance about half an hour by the necessity of bringing up this brigade.

My column was finally ready and put in motion about 5.15 o’clock. I moved with the advance, and directed General B. R. Johnson to bring up the rear. The command of Colonel Davidson’s brigade devolved upon Colonel Simonton, which, owing to the reasons already stated, was brought into column in the rear and into action last, under General Johnson, to whose report for its good behavior on the field I particularly refer, having in my original report omitted to state its position on the field.


Many of these incidents, not deemed essential to the proper understanding of the main features of the battle of February 15, were omitted in my original report, but are now given as parts of its history. In my original report I gave the after operations in the battle of February 15, and shall now pass over all the events occurring until the council of general officers, held on the night of the 15th. The lodgment of the enemy’s force in the rifle pits of General Buckner’s extreme right, late in the evening of the 15th of February, induced General Floyd to call a meeting of general officers at my headquarters on that night.

We had fought the battle of the 15th to open the way through the enemy’s line of investment to retire to the interior. The battle had occupied the day, and we were until about 12 o’clock that night bringing in the wounded. At about 1 o’clock we had all the commanders of regiments and brigades assembled, and given orders to the entire command to be under arms at 4 o’clock, to march out on the road leading towards Charlotte. I had given instructions to Major Haynes, my commissary, and Major Jones, my quartermaster, immediately after our evacuation of the place to burn all their stores.

About 3 o’clock (perhaps a little earlier) we received intelligence from the troops in the trenches that they heard dogs barking around on the outside of our lines and they thought the enemy were reinvesting our position. General Floyd immediately directed me to send out scouts to ascertain the fact. This duty was performed; when the scouts returned they reported the enemy in large force occupying his original positions and closing up the routes to the interior. Not being satisfied with the truth of the report, I directed Colonel Forrest to send out a second set of scouts, and at the same time directed him to send two intelligent men up the bank of the river, to examine a valley of overflowed ground lying to the rear and right of the enemy’s position, and if the valley of overflowed ground could be crossed by infantry and cavalry, and to ascertain if the enemy’s forces reached the river bank.

The one set of scouts returned and confirmed the previous reports, viz, that the woods were full of the enemy, occupying all of his previous positions in great numbers. The scouts sent up the river to examine the overflow reported that the overflowed valley was not practicable for infantry; that the soft mud was about half-leg deep, and that the water was about saddle-skirt deep to the horses, and that there was a good deal of drift in the way. We then sent for a citizen, whose name is not remembered, said to know that part of the country well, and asked his opinion. He confirmed the reports of the river scouts. In addition to the depth of the water, the weather was intensely cold. Many of the troops were frost-bitten, and they could not have stood a passage through a sheet of water.

With these facts all before Generals Floyd, Buckner, and myself (the two former having remained at my quarters all the intervening while), General Floyd said: “Well, gentlemen, what is best now to be done?” Neither General Buckner nor myself having answered promptly, General Floyd repeated his inquiry, addressing himself to me by name. My reply was that it was difficult to determine what was best to be done, but that I was in favor of cutting our way out. He then asked General Buckner what he thought we ought to do. General Buckner said his command was so worn down, cut up, and demoralized that he could not make another fight; that he thought we would lose three-fourths of the command we had left in cutting our way out, and that it was wrong; that no officer had the right to sacrifice three-fourths of the command to save one-fourth; that we had fought the enemy from the trenches, we {p.288} had fought his gunboats, and had fought him in the open field, to cut our way through his line of investment; that we were again invested with an immense force of fresh troops; that the army had done all it was possible to do, and that duty and honor required no more. General Floyd then remarked that his opinion coincided with General Buckner’s.

Brig. Gen. B. R. Johnson had previously retired from the council to his quarters in the field, and was not present. I