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CH, IX.

FORT HENRY CAPTURED

113

1862.

Donelson, the design being to prevent River. The expedition was entirely reinforcements to Fort Henry, or the successful. The railroad bridge, about retreat of the garrison, or to attack it twenty-five miles above Fort Henry, on receipt of orders. The army, how. was partly destroyed, so that the enemy ever, owing to the badness of the could not use it; the boats proceeded roads, and necessary delays, was not in as far up the river as Florence, Alatime to share in the capture of Fort bama, forcing the rebels to burn six of Henry; it was accomplished by the their steamers and much valuable pronaval force alone.

perty ; two steamers were captured, About ten o'clock, the gun boats together with a gun boat partly finishmoved towards the fort, and when ed, and a large supply of excelwithin a mile, commenced the assault. lent lumber.

Lieut. Phelps This was a little after noon, and the met with many cheering evidences of firing on both sides was rapid and the loyal feelings of the people in Tensteadily continued; but the boats were nessee and Alabama. too much for the fort. Within an hour The fall of Fort Henry opened the and a quarter the rebel flag was hauled way for an immediate advance upon down and the fort surrendered. The Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland troops in the fort, numbering some River. This imposing fortification was 4,000 or 5,000, escaped before General situated near the boundary of Tennes Grant could intercept them. Eighty- see, on the west bank of the river, about three prisoners were taken, Gen. Tilgh- 100 miles from its mouth. It was conman being one; there was also a large nected by a direct road with Fort amount of stores, which fell into our Henry, and served as an out-post or hands. The chief casualty of the day river defence of Nashville, some eighty was produced by a shot which pene- miles above. By the aid of railroad trated the boiler of the Essex, and communications, reinforcements had caused the wounding and scalding of been hurried to Donelson, and warned twenty-nine officers and men, including by the fate of Fort Henry, the rebels Commander Porter.

determined to retain, if possible, so This victory was regarded with much important a barrier against the apsatisfaction at the North ; the dispatch proach of our army into Tennessee. of Commodore Foote was read in both Two days after Fort Henry fell, Houses of Congress; and the thanks Gen. Pillow took command of Fort of the people were conveyed to our Donelson, and added in various ways gallant naval force which had done to its defences. Naturally it was a such good service.

strong position, being on a sloping ele. Directly after the surrender, Lieuten- vation over a 100 feet high, with other ant-Commanding Phelps proceeded, by hills and ravines densely wooded all order of Commodore Foote, with the around. Two water batteries were gun boats Conestoga, Tyler and Lexing. added, supplied with heavy ordnance; ton, some 200 miles up the Tennessee on the summit were trenches, oi rifle

VOL. IV.-15

1862.

pits, protected by abattis of felled and for additional troops under Gen. trees and interlaced brushwood; and Wallace. The investment, however, in every suitable spot howitzers and was drawn closer, and there was some field pieces were stationed. Its gar- beavy firing of artillery. Several move rison amounted to nearly 20,000 men, ments were made against special points, so important was it deemed by the and the greatest bravery was displayed rebels to hold the place. Floyd, who by our men; but when night came, the arrived with reinforcements on the 13th troops occupied the same position as in of February, was chief in command, the morning. In fact, it became evident and was aided by Pillow, Buckner, B. that the present was a far more serious K. Johnson, and others.

undertaking than the one which was so Nothing daunted at the prospect, speedily settled in the capture of Fort Gen. Grant and Commodore Foote Henry. hastened forward preparations for the In the evening, the gun boats and reattack, although there was, as there inforcements arrived, and the morrow always seems to be, delay at a moment was to test the question at issue.

when time was precious. Foote, Meanwhile, the mild and beautiful

with his gun boats, was to at- weather, under which the army had tack the water batteries; while Grant left Fort Henry, changed suddenly to

, was to invest the fort on land. The winter's severity and keenness. A latter was first on the spot. He left heavy rain set in, which turned in the Fort Henry early on the morning of night to a storm of snow and sleet; and the 12th of February, with a force of many of our troops, being without about 25,000 men, in two divisions, blankets or tents, were exposed to the commanded by Gens. McClernand and utmost rigors of the situation; while, C. F. Smith. The weather was mild if they lighted a fire, they were immeand spring like, and by noon the ad. diately exposed to the enemy's guns. vance was reported to be within two The sufferings of our troops that night miles of the works at Fort Donelson. will not soon be forgotten. Once, the As our troops came up the enemy's rebels made a sortie and strove to cappickets were driven in, and a semi- ture one of our batteries; but the 20th circular line of investment was formed Indiana, lying in the woods below it, before the fortifications. Gradual ap. repulsed them, after a sharp and brief proaches were made to the works, with skirmish.* occasional sharp skirmishing along the About midnight, Commodore Foote line, the enemy retiring to their defen- arrived in the immediate neighborhood ces beyond the ravine which separated of the fort, and early the next morning, the two armies.

Feb. 14th, on conference with General During Thursday, the 13th, no general attack was made upon the rebel * Pollard takes comfort to himself in the remark, entrenchment, General Grant being in that the men who fought so well at Fort Donelson

were all Western men, not one, he says of the hated waiting for the arrival of the gun boats, | “ Yankees” being present.

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CAPE

CL IX.]

CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON.

115

1862.

Grant, a joint attack, the same day, Pillow passed the command over to was determined upon. Grant, by the Buckner, and during the night, embark: addition of some 8,000 troops, under ed abont 5,000 troops in steamboats, Wallace, felt strong enough for the as- and made their escape. The next sault by land; and Foote, though not morning early, Buckner sent a flag of fully confident, did not hesitate to truce, asking for terms, etc. Grant was undertake his part of the work. Be- short and sharp in his reply: “no terms, tween two and three o'clock in the except unconditional and immediate afternoon, the conflict began with four surrender, can be accepted,” he said. iron-clad

gun boats in advance and two Buckner, protesting against Grant's wooden ones in the rear ; but though" ungenerous and unchivalrous terms," bravely handled, they were unable to gave up the contest, and on Sunday keep up the contest for more than an morning, Feb. 16th, the Union bour, and having become unmanageable, flag waved over this strong. they drifted slowly down the stream. hold of the rebellion.

Grant now thought it advisable to Our loss was severe, being 446 killed, invest Fort Donelson as completely as 1,735 wounded, and 150 prisoners; possible, and await repairs to the gun total 2,331. The rebel loss was 231 boats. His purpose, however, was killed, 1,007 wounded, and 13,829 prifrustrated by the enemy. They saw soners; total 15,067. In addition to and felt the danger of being surround the large number taken prisoners, there ed, and determined at once to make an fell into our hands about fifty cannon, effort to fight their way out. Accord- 3,000 horses, 20,000 stand of arms, and

, ingly, they resolved to begin at day- a large quantity of commissary stores.* light, on the 15th of February, and cut

This important victory was peculopen an exit for their troops into the iarly gratifying to loyal men every- : interior of the country. The assault where. Gen. Grant congratulated his was made at the time specified, on the troops for the triumph over rebellion right of our whole line, and for seve gained by their valor, and for their ral hours the rebels fought with des- readiness, during four successive nights, perate bravery and resolution. They without shelter, and exposed to the bitgained some advantage during the ter inclemency of the season, to face the fight, but were in turn repulsed, with enemy in the position chosen by himfearful loss on both sides, and were

self. On the other hand, as can readily driven behind their inner works, be imagined, Davis and the rebel au.

. When night came on, our troops held thorities were deeply mortified at the

fall of Fort Donelson. In a message to the position they had gained, and remained under arms till morning, in

his Congress, March 11th, he pronountending at dawn of day to recommence

ced Floyd's and Pillow's reports “inthe attack. Satisfied that they could not hold the rendered was only about 5,000, and assert that, all told,

* Some southern writers say, that the number sur. fort without reinforcements, Floyd and the troops at Fort Donelson amounted to only 13,000.

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