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CHAP. XLIX.] THE CONFEDERATES FORCED BACK.
Successful assault ibly advancing. It forced its way up the steep hill. As Buckner's troops came on, they encountered such a fire as hurled them out of the way. The abatis was torn aside, the key-point of the fort was seized; the Confederates fled into the work. Smith had gained possession of the high ground from which the entire right of the defenses of Donelson might be enfiladed.
Buckner's withdrawal from the ground that had been conquered in the morning now weakened and demoralized the Confederate left: At this instant Wallace made his attack on that front. It was impossible to resist him. The Confeder ates here also recoiled to their own works. The opportunity they had won at one moment was lost. Not only was the line of investment renewed, but the fort had be come untenable: had daylight lasted half an hour longer it would have been taken. The losses on each side amounted to about two thousand killed and wounded.
The Confederates forced back into the fort.
Darkness fell upon Donelson. The cold was more than twenty degrees below the freezing point. The woods were covered with a sleety incrustation of ice; they sway. ed and crackled in the night air. Grant fell asleep in a negro hut, Smith on the hard-frozen ground. On the battle-field there lay four thousand Americans, many of them dead, many freezing to death. Wallace, whose troops were nearest the scene of agony, employed his men until "far in the morning in ministering to our own wounded, but we did not forget those of the enemy." A piteous wail for water was heard in all directions, for the cannon were now silent. It smote on the ears of Floyd. The arms that he had scattered all over the South had been used!
He called a council of war at Pillow's head-quarters. It was concluded that any attempt to renew the sortie
They hold a night would be absolutely disastrous. Buckner declared that he could not hold the position for half an hour after daylight. In his opinion there was no escape from a surrender.
"There is nothing for us but to capitulate," exclaimed Floyd determines to Floyd; "yet I can not surrender-I can not surrender. You know the position in which I stand." He asked advice of his subordinates, some of whom did not hesitate to express very plainly disappro bation of his intention of escaping from the fort. Buckner, thinking it dishonorable not to share the fate of the men, said, "You must judge for yourself." "General," said Floyd to him, " if we put you in command, will you let me take away my brigade?"
He carries off the
Floyd now turned the command over to Pillow, who turned it over to Buckner. Pillow then Virginia troops. crossed the river in a scow. Floyd escaped with his Virginia brigade. By the light of lanterns they went on board a steam-boat at the wharf, many of the men half tipsily staggering under their knapsacks, all shivering with the cold. A crowd was cursing and hissing at the fugitives. But in this her hour of dire humiliation Virginia was not without soldiers who vindicated her honor. There were those who disdained to follow such a shameful example, who chose to remain and share the fate of Buckner and his men.
ESCAPE OF FLOYD AND PILLOW.
At daylight Grant was ready to make the assault. He had now 27,000 men, but only eight light batteries of artillery. A white flag was seen on Donelson, and a note was received from Buckner, to which Grant at once replied:
Grant ready for the assault.
"SIR,-Yours of this date, proposing an armistice and appointment of commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms other than an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"U. S. GRANT.”
CHAP. XLIX.] THE SURRENDER OF DONELSON.
To this Buckner replied:
"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.”
Surrender of the fort.
Hereupon Grant rode over to Buckner's head-quarters, and spontaneously consented that the offi given by Grant. cers should keep their side-arms, and both officers and men their personal baggage. He desired to do nothing that might have the appearance of inflicting humiliation.
Nearly 15,000 prisoners, 17,600 small-arms, and 65 guns were taken. That such was the number of prisoners was shown by the fact that rations were issued at Cairo to 14,623. Grant's losses were 2041, of whom 425 were killed.
The spoils of the victory.
In his congratulatory order to his troops, Grant tells them that "for four successive nights, with out shelter during the most inclement weather known in this latitude, they had faced an enemy in large force, and in a position chosen by himself, and had compelled him to surrender without conditions, the victory achieved being not only great in the effect it must have in breaking down the rebellion, but also in this, that it had secured the greatest number of prisoners of war ever taken in any battle on this continent."
Grant's congratulatory order to his troops.
The inauguration of Davis as permanent President of the Confederate States occurred simultaneously with the reception of the news of the fall of Donelson. In a special message which he was constrained to send to the Confederate Congress,
Davis's dissatisfaction with Floyd and Pillow.
Davis characterizes the report he had received as incomplete and unsatisfactory. "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 principles of action the senior generals abandoned responsibility by transferring the command to a junior officer." The delinquent generals were required to give information on the point "why they abandoned the command to their inferior officer instead of executing themselves whatever measure was deemed proper for the entire army, and also what were the precise means by which each had effected his escape from the fort, and what dangers were encountered in the retreat, and upon what principle a selection was made of particular troops, being certain regiments of General Floyd's brigade."
Notwithstanding the great obligations the Confederate They are relieved government was under to Floyd, he and from command. Pillow were relieved of their commands. The investment of Donelson was followed by the im mediate evacuation of Bowling Green; its fall by the abandonment of Nashville, which was at once occupied by Buell..
Nashville was so central and so important to the South The fall of Nash- that at one time it was a competitor with Richmond for the honor of becoming the metropolis of the Confederacy. A dispatch had been received on Saturday night by Johnston from Pillow, congratulating him on a great Confederate victory won by the garrison of Fort Donelson. The city was in a delirium of delight. But on Sunday morning, while the people were at church engaged in returning thanks, news came that the fort had fallen. The surrender of Nash
Results of the surrender of Donelson.
FALL OF NASHVILLE.
ville was inevitable. A scene of hideous confusion at once ensued. The congregations rushed into the streets. Every conveyance at hand was seized for the purpose of escaping from the place. Trunks and valuables were thrown from upper windows; women in mortal, but very needless terror, fled away, and a mob hastened to plunder the abandoned Confederate stores.
But the disaster did not end here. The Confederate General Polk had at once to evacuate Co
lumbus and fall back to Island No. 10. Columbus-the so styled Gibraltar of the West-was occupied by national troops.
and evacuation of Columbus.
It was not only on the west, but also on the east of Nashville that misfortunes befell the ConMill Spring. federate cause. General Zollicoffer, with a force of about 5000 men, was encamped on the south side of the Cumberland, at Mill Spring, in Wayne County. In front of him lay General Schoepf, inactive, with a force of about 8000, at Somerset. General Thomas had been ordered to take command of this force (January 17th, 1862), and had scarcely done so, when four regiments that he had near Somerset were attacked by General Crittenden, who had superseded Zollicoffer. The attack was made at night, and intended to be a surprise. In this, however, it proved a failure, Thomas having strongly picketed the roads between himself and the enemy.
The pickets having been driven in, the Confederates made a desperate charge, and the battle was continued for two hours; a bayonet charge by an Ohio regiment decided it, the Confederates escaping to an intrenched camp they had near the river, Zollicoffer being killed. The loss on the Confederate side was 300 killed and wounded, and 50 prisoners; on the national, 39 killed, and 207 wounded. Pursued to their camp, the Confederates were shelled