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necessity of strengthening the defences upon tnat islaná with additional men, armament, and ammunition. Mr. Benjamin replied verbally to his appeals for reinforcements, that he had not the men to spare for his command. Gen. Wise urged upon the secretary that Gen. Huger had about 15,000 men in front of Norfolk, lying idle in camp for eight months, and that a considerable portion of them could be spared for the defence of the rear of Norfolk, and especially as his (Gen. Wise's) district supplied Norfolk and his army with nearly or quite all of his corn, pork, and forage.
The reply to all these striking and urgent appeals was a peremptory military order from Secretary Benjamin, dated the 22d of January, requiring Gen. Wise to proceed immediately to Roanoke Island. With ready military pride the unfortunate general received the orders, without a murmur in public; it being known only to his most intimate friends the circumstances under which he left Richmond on the stern and unpropitious mission which promised nothing to himself but disaster, the mistaken calumnies of the public, and death in the midst of defeat.
The facts we have referred to are of record. The committee of Congress that investigated the affair of Roanoke Island de clared that the Secretary of War, Mr. J. P. Benjamin, was responsible for an important defeat of our arms, which might have been safely avoided by him; that he had paid no practical attention to the appeals of Gen. Wise; and that he had, by plain acts of omission, permitted that general and an inconsiderable force to remain to meet at least fifteen thousand men, well armed and equipped. The comunittee referred to was open to any justification that might have been sought by the Secretary of War, or his friends: none was offered; and the unanimous conclusion of the committee, in sharp and distinct terms, was put upon the public record, charging a Cabinet officer with a matter of the gravest offence known to the lawe and the interests of the country.
The effect of war is always, in some degree, public demora.ization; and the gravest charges are often lost and swallowed op in the quick and feverish excitements of such times. But whatever mav have been the charities of speedy oblivion with respect to the charges against Mr. Benjamin, the public were
at least, not prepared for such an exhibition of trust and honor as was given him by the President, in actually promoting hin, after the developments of the Roanoke Island disaster, and giving him the place in his cabinet of Secretary of State Whatever may have been the merits of this act of the Presi dent, it was at least one of ungracious and reckless defiance to the popular sentiment; and from the marked event of the surrender of Roanoke Island and its consequences, we must date the period when the people had their confidence weakened in the government, and found no other repose for their trust than in the undirrinished valor and devoted patriotism of the troops in the field
The Situation in Tennessee and Kentucky.-The affair at Woodsonville.-Death of Colonel Terry.-The Strength and Material of the Federal Force in Kentucky.-Condition of the Defences on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.-The Confederace Congress and the Secretary of the Navy.-The Fall of Fort Henry.-Fort Donelson threatened. The Army of General A. S. Johnston.-His Interview with General Beauregard. Insensibility of the Confederate Government to the Exigency.-General Johnston's Plan of Action.-BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON.-Carnage and Scenery of the Battle-field. The Council of the Southern Commanders.-Agreement to surrender. -Escape of Generals Floyd and Pillow.-The Fall of Fort Donelson develops the Crisis in the West.-The Evacuation of Nashville.-The Panic.-Extraordinary Scenes. Experience of the Enemy in Nashville.-The Adventures of Captain John Morgan.-General Johnston at Murfreesboro.-Organization of a New Line of Defenc South of Nashville.-The Defence of Memphis and the Mississippi.-Island No. 10.Serious Character of the Disaster at Donelson.-Generals Floyd and Pillow "re lieved from Command."-General Johnston's Testimony in favor of these Officers.President Davis's Punctilio.-A sharp Contrast.-Negotiation for the Exchange o Prisoners.-A Lesson of Yankee Perfidy.-Mr. Benjamin's Release of Yanke Hostages.
THE unequivocal demonstrations of the Federals for an ad vance upon Tennessee through Kentucky, urged the Confederate government to send all the disposable forces at its command to strengthen the army of the southwestern division. Near the close of the year 1861, the Floyd Brigade and several regiments belonging to Tennessee and other Confederate States were sent from Virginia to Bowling Green, in southern Ken tucky, the principal strategic point of the southwestern army. The command of that army was given, as we have seen, to General Albert Sidney Johnston.
Early in December, the Federal army occupied Muldraugh's Hill, Elizabethtown, Nolin, Bacon's Creek, and other points on the railroad, from forty to sixty miles below Louisville. Later in that month, a body of them advanced to Munfordville, on Green River, about seventy-five miles below Louisville, and about thirty-five miles above Bowling Green. A portion of this advance crossed the river at Munfordville to Woodsonville on the opposite shore, where they were attacked by the advance Confederate forces under Brig.-general Hindman and defeated with a loss of about fifty killed. The Confederates lost four
killed and nine wounded. Their conduct was marked by the most impetuous valor. On charging the enemy, Col. Terry, of the Texas Rangers, was killed in the moment of victory. In the death of Col. Terry, said General Hardee, in his official report, “his regiment had to deplore the loss of a beloved and brave commander, and the whole army one of its ablest officers." His name was placed in the front rank of the gal lant sons of Texas, whose daring and devoted courage had added to the lustre of our arms and to the fruits of more than one victory.
The fight at Woodsonville was on the 17th of December. When the enemy reached that place in force, the Confederates fell back some fifteen or twenty miles, in the direction of Bowling Green. For some weeks thereafter, the whole South was excited with reports to the effect that the Federals were advancing upon Bowling Green in three columns, of 20,000 each. But the unanticipated success of the Federals in two important movements at other points within the department of General Johnston, enabled them to accomplish their object without an attack upon Bowling Green, and forced upon the Confederates the necessity of evacuating that post.
The North had collected an immense army in Kentucky, under command of Major-general Buell, a general of great skill, remarkable for the caution of his operations, but having with this quality the rare combination of energy, courage, and
unwearied activity. The whole force of the Federals in Kentucky consisted of about one hundred thousand infantry, eleven thousand cavalry, and three thousand artillerists, divided into some twenty odd batteries. It is remarkable that this immense army was composed almost entirely of Western men, and that the “Yankee” proper was scarcely represented in its ranks. Of the Eastern States, only Pennsylvania had troops in Kentucky, and those comparatively few. Every Western State, with the exception of Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, was represented by more or less regiments.
A large force of the Federals had been collected at Paducah, at in mouth of the Tennessee river, with a view to offensive operations on the water. This river was an inportant stream. It penetrated Tennessee and Alabama, and was navigable for steamers for two or three hundred miles. The Provisiona
Congress, at Richmond, had appropriated half a million dol. lars for floating defences on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers; but owing to the notorious inefficiency of the Navy Department, presided over by Mr. Mallory of Florida, who was remarkable for his obtuseness, slow method, and indifferent intellect, and whose ignorance even of the geography of Kentucky and Tennessee had been broadly travestied in Congress, both rivers were left open to the incursions of the enemy. On the Tennessee there was nothing to resist the enemy's advance up the stream but a weak and imperfectly constructed fort. The Cumberland was a still more important river, and the key to Nashville; but nothing stood in the way of the enemy save Fort Donelson, and from that point the Federal gunboats could reach Nashville in six or eight hours, and strike a vital point of our whole system of defences in the
On the 4th of February, the enemy's expedition up the Tennessee, under Gen. Grant, arrived at Fort Henry, the only fortification on the Tennessee river of any importance, situated near the lines of Kentucky and Tennessee, on the east bank of the stream. On the morning of the 6th, the fort was attacked.
Our works were untenable, but it concerned us to save oui little army. To defend the position at the time, Gen. Tilgh man, commanding division, had Col. Heiman's 10th Tennessee, Irish volunteers, eight hundred strong; Col. Drake's Mississippi volunteers, four hundred strong; Col. Hughes’ Alabama volunteers, five hundred strong; and Lieut.-col. Gantt's Tennessee volunteers, cavalry, three hundred strong; one company of light artillery, commanded by Lieut. Culbertson, Confederate States artillery, and Captain Jesse Taylor's company of artillery, sixty strong, forming the garrison of Fort Henry, and manning its batteries of nine or ten guns.
A sudden rise in the river found Fort Henry, on the morning of the attack, completely surrounded by water, containing only Capt. Taylor's company of artillery. The two thousand men of all arms, who formed Gen. Tilghman's command, were half a mile off, beyond a sheet of back-water. Gen. Grant's army was on the direct road, between them and Fort Donel. Ron, on the Camberland, and within two miles of the fort, and