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rear of the position occupied by the enemy's batteries. The advance of his infantry column was covered by artillery. The movement, combined with the brisk fire of three batteries, induced a rapid retreat of the enemy, who abandoned a section of his artillery. At the same time that Buckner's infantry was thus penetrating the line of the enemy's retreat, Forrest, with a portion of his cavalry, charged upon their right, while Pillow's division was pressing their extreme right about half a mile further to the left. It now appeared that the crisis of the battle was past. Victory, success as they had sought, seemed to be within the grasp of the Confederates. The Wynn's Ferry road was now not only open, but cleared of the enemy entirely on one side, and for a mile and a half on the other. Of this posture of affairs, Gen. Buckner, in his official report, writes: "I awaited the arrival of my artillery and reserves, either to continue the pursuit of the enemy, or to defend the position I now held, in order that the army might pass out on the road, which was now completely covered by the position occupied by my division. But Gen. Pillow had prevented my artillery from leaving the entrenchments, and also sent me reiterated orders to return to my entrenchments on the extreme right. I was in the act of returning to the lines, when I met Gen. Floyd, who seemed surprised at the order. At his request to know my opinion of the movement, I replied that nothing had occurred to change my views of the necessity of the evacuation of the post, that the road was open, that the first part of our purpose was fully accomplished, and I thought we should at once avail ourselves of the existing opportunity to regain our communications. These seemed to be his own views; for he directed me to halt my troops and remain in position until he should have conversed with Gen. Pillow, who was now within the entrenchments. After that consultation, he sent me an order to retire within the lines, and to repair as rapidly as possible to my former position on the extreme right, which was in danger of attack."

It was long a source of keen regret among those few people in the Confederacy who knew the real history of the Fort Donelson battle, that their army did not attempt a retreat at the precise period of opportunity. But a few moments of that superabundant caution, which hesitates to seize the crisis, and insists upon reconnoitring an advantage, are often fatal upon a field of battle. It was thought by those superiour to Gen. Buckner in command, that it would be hazardous to attempt a retreat while the enemy, though defeated, was near at hand with fresh troops.

The hesitation was fatal. The effect of the violent attack of the Confederates on the enemy's right, followed up by Gen. Buckner's advance on his centre, had been to roll over his immense masses towards the right of the Confederate works, immediately in front of their river batteries. The advantage was instantly appreciated. The enemy drove back the Confed



erates, advanced on the trenches on the extreme right of Gen. Buckner's command, getting possession, after a stubborn conflict of two hours, of the most important and commanding position of the battle-field, being in the rear of our river batteries, and, advancing with fresh forces towards our left, drove back our troops from the ground that had been won in the severe and terrible conflict of the early part of the day.

After nine hours of combat, the enemy held the field; he had changed the fortune of the day by a quick and opportune movement; and he now held the Confederates in circumstances of desperation. Of the results of the day, Gen. Floyd reported: "We had fought the battle to open our 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 the 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 snow, sleet, mud, and ice and water, without shelter, without adequate covering, and without sleep."

The field of battle was thickly strewn with dead and wounded. The loss of the Confederates was estimated at fifteen hundred. That of the enemy Gen. Floyd conjectures, in his official report, to have been at least five thousand.

Ghastly spectacles were abundant, as the eye ranged over this scene of mortal strife; for the ground was in many places red with frozen blood, and the snow which lay under the pine thickets was marked with crimson streams. There were two miles of dead strewn thickly, mingled with firearms, artillery, dead horses, and the paraphernalia of the battle-field. Many of the bodies were fearfully mangled, and the ponderous artillery wheels had crushed limbs and skulls. The dead were promiscuously mingled, sometimes grappling in the fierce death-throe, sometimes facing each other as they gave and received the fatal shot and thrust, sometimes huddled in grotesque shapes, and again heaped in piles which lay six or seven feet deep.

"I could imagine," says an eye-witness of the field of carnage," nothing more terrible than the silent indications of agony that marked the features of the pale corpses which lay at every step. Though dead and rigid in every muscle, they still writhed, and seemed to turn to catch the passing breeze for a cooling breath. Staring eyes, gaping mouths, clenched hands, and strangely contracted limbs, seemingly drawn into the smallest compass, as if by a mighty effort to rend asunder some irresistible bond

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which held them down to the torture of which they died. One sat against a tree, and, with mouth and eyes wide open, looked up into the sky, as if to catch a glance at its fleeting spirit. Another clutched the branch of an overhanging tree, and hung half-suspended, as if in the death-pang he had raised himself partly from the ground; the other had grasped his faithful musket, and the compression of his mouth told of the determination which would have been fatal to a foe, had life ebbed a minute later. A third clung with both hands to a bayonet which was buried in the ground. Great numbers lay in heaps, just as the fire of the artillery mowed them down, mangling their forms into an almost undistinguishable mass."

Late in the night of the 15th of February, another conference of general officers was called. It was, indeed, a memorable one. Gen. Pillow appears to have favoured a proposition for a desperate onset upon the right of the enemy's forces, with the prospect of thus extricating a considerable proportion of the command. Gen. Buckner remarked, that it would cost the command three-fourths its present numbers to cut its way out, and it was wrong to sacrifice three-fourths to save one-fourth; that no officer had a right to cause such a sacrifice. The alternative of the proposition was a surrender of the position and command. Gen. Floyd declared that he would not surrender himself a prisoner, and proposed to escape with such portion of his command as was possible on two small steamers, which had arrived from Nashville during the night. Gen. Pillow remarked that he thought there were no two persons in the Confederacy whom the "Yankees" would prefer to capture than himself and Gen. Floyd, and asked the latter's opinion as to the propriety of his accompanying him. To this inquiry Gen. Floyd replied that it was a question for every man to decide for himself. Gen. Pillow then addressed the inquiry to Gen. Buckner, to which Gen. Buckner remarked that he could only reply as Gen. Floyd had done; that it was a question for every officer to decide for himself, and that in his own case he regarded it as his duty to remain with his men and share their fate, whatever it might be.

It was then arranged that the command should be passed. Gen. Buckner asked, "Am I to consider the command as turned over to me?" Gen. Floyd replied, "Certainly, I turn over the command." Gen. Pillow replied quickly, "I pass it. I will not surrender." Gen. Buckner then called for pen, ink, paper, and a bugler, and prepared to open communication with the Federal commander.

A number of men had fallen in battle; some of the sick and wounded had been removed; and detachments of troops had escaped under Floyd, Pillow, and Forrest; leaving the number surrendered by Gen. Buckner to the enemy less than nine thousand men. Gen. Grant had demanded "Unconditional Surrender "-words, which the Northern populace afterwards attached to his name as a peculiar title to glory; and Gen.

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Buckner replied: "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."

The fall of Fort Donelson was the heaviest blow that had yet fallen on the Confederacy. It opened the whole of West Tennessee to Federal occupation, and it developed the crisis which had long existed in the West. Gen. A. S. Johnston had previously ordered the evacuation of Bowling Green; and the movement was executed while the battle was being fought at Donelson. Gen. Johnston awaited the result of the battle opposite Nashville. At dawn of the 16th of February he received the news of a defeat. Orders were at once issued to push the army forward across the river as soon as possible. The city papers or extras of that morning published despatches announcing a "glorious victory." The city was wild with joy. About the time the people were assembling at the churches, it was announced by later extras that "Donelson had fallen." The revulsion was great. Governor Harris had been informed of the fact early in the morning, and had proceeded to Gen. Johnston's head-quarters to advise with him as to the best course to adopt under the altered circumstances. The General said that Nashville was utterly indefensible; that the army would pass right through the city; that any attempt to defend it with the means at his command would result in disaster to the army, and the destruction of the city; that the first and highest duty of the governor was to the public trusts in his hands, and he thought, to discharge them properly, he should at once remove the archives and public records to some safer place, and call the Legislature together elsewhere than at Nashville. Gen. Johnston retreated with his army towards Murfreesboro', leaving behind him a scene of panic and dismay.

The confusion at Nashville did not reach its height until a humane attempt was made to distribute among the poor a portion of the public stores which could not be removed. The lowest passions seemed to have been aroused in a large mass of men and women, and the city appeared as if it was in the hands of a mob. A detachment of Forrest's cavalry endeavoured to enforce order. Houses were closed, carriages and wagons were concealed, to prevent the mob from taking possession of them. Horses were being seized everywhere. After every other means failed, Forrest charged the mob, before he could get it so dispersed as to get wagons to the doors of the departments, to load up the stores for transportation. The loss of public stores by depredations was not less than a million of dollars. "In my judgment," said Col. Forrest, "if the quartermaster and commissary had remained at their posts, and worked diligently with the means at their command, the government stores might all have

been saved between the time of the fall of Fort Donelson and the arrival of the enemy in Nashville."

We shall complete this chapter by a brief account of a defeat of Confederate arms that preceded by several days the fall of Fort Donelson, and took place on a widely separated theatre of the war. The thread of Confederate disaster takes us here from the tributaries of the Mississippi to the low and melancholy sea-line of North Carolina.



About the middle of January, 1862, Gen. Burnside entered Pamlico Sound at the head of an expedition, consisting of more than sixty vessels. of all kinds, twenty-six of them gunboats, and with at least fifteen thousand It readily became apparent that Roanoke Island was the first object of his attack. This important island lies in the broad inlet between Pamlico and Currituck Sounds, and about midway between the main land and the narrow strip of bank which dykes out the ocean. It was of great moment to the South to defend it, for its possession by the enemy would unlock to them Albemarle and Currituck Sounds, open to them eight rivers, give them access to the country chiefly supplying provisions to Norfolk, and enable them to menace that city, and the four canals and two railroads running through the country by which it was surrounded.


Gen. Henry A. Wise, who had been ordered to the command of the department embracing Roanoke Island, declared that it should be defended at the eense of twenty thousand men, and many millions of dollars. But to his stimate of the importance of the position he found that the Richmond authorities had a deaf ear. On the 7th of January, 1862, Gen. Wise assumed command, and made an examination of the defences. He found them inadequate, in his opinion, to resist even the force then at Hatteras, and as the Burnside expedition began already to point to the North Carolina coast, he called urgently for reinforcements. He addressed a letter to Mr. Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of War, and followed it by a personal interview, in which he strenuously insisted that more troops should be sent to the island. He urged that a large part of Gen. Huger's command, at Norfolk, might be safely detached, and used for the defence of Roanoke. He argued that the fifteen thousand men under Huger were idle, and were only kept at Norfolk in view of a possible attack, and that they would much more advantageously defend the city, by guarding the approaches through the Sound, than by remaining inactive. He explained that Roanoke Island guarded more than four-fifths of all Norfolk's supplies of corn, pork and forage, and that its capture by the enemy would cut the command of Gen. Huger off from all its most

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