網頁圖片
PDF

their hands to "be used against their masters.

The day following this proclamation, there was a spirited engagement on the south side of Green River, opposite Munfordsville, at Rowlett's Station, where the troops were restoring the railroad bridge which had been destroyed by the rebels. Our force was largely outnumbered, but bravely repelled the enemy. Falling back towards Bowling Green, the Gibraltar of Kentucky, as it was called, the rebels concentrated a large force there, under Johnston, while McCook's, Nelson's and Mitchell's divisions of Buell's army threatened the position in front.

At this time, early in January, Humphrey Marshall had gathered a force of some 3,000 rebels in the extreme eastern part of the state, on the Big Sandy River, and had entrenched himself in the neighborhood of Paintville. From hence he expected to sweep Eastern Kentucky, take possession of Frankfort, and set up the secession "Provisional" Governor, G. W. Johnson. Gen. Buell, however, sent Col. Garfield after him with a brigade of infantry and some 300 cavalry. The march was one of great difficulty and toil, owing to the deep mud in the roads and the

wet, inclement winter season.

Marshall hastily retreated, on the 7th of January, closely pursued by Garfield's troops. On the 9th, at noon, a reinforcement having arrived, the enemy were further pursued toward Prestonburg. Night coming on, when near the town, they slept on their arms on the field, and early the next morning, moved on Marshall's main body at

Middle Creek Forks, three miles be j yond Prestonburg. Marshall's force was about 2,500 men, with three cannon, planted on a hill. Garfield had less than 2,000; but the fight was con ducted with so much ability and bravery on his part, that the enemy was driven from all his positions. Our lost ( was only two killed and twenty-five wounded.

By this decisive battle, Kentucky was freed from Marshall and his force: and Gens. Thomas and Schoepf were j | left at liberty to look after Zollicoffer. On the borders of Wayne and Pulaski County, Zollicoffer held an advantageous position on both sides of the Cum-!' berland, which he fortified with great skill. The spot which he had selected was at Mill Springs, a bend of the Cumberland, where, at its junction with the White Oak Creek, was afforded water protection on three sides. In this area, on a range of hills several hundred feet above the river, j and supporting one another, Zollicoffer 1 had built his works, and he had encamped there some 12,000 men, with about 800 cavalry and fifteen pieces of artillery. Zollicoffer was joined, early in January, by Gen. G. B. Crittenden, son of the venerable senator from Kentucky, who took command, and issued a proclama- i, tion after the usual style. In front of ,1 the rebel position was Gen. Schoepf, with about 8,000 men, while Gen. Thomas was stationed with his division ., some distance to the north, at Lebanon

In this position of affairs, Gen. Thomas was charged with the important duty of dislodging and defeating the enemy. On the 17th of January, i Cu. IX.]

Thomas reached Webb's or Logan's Cross Roads, about ten miles north of Zollicoffer's position, and, on conference with Schoepf, made arrangements for the attack. The roads were almost impassable, and the movement was consequently somewhat less rapid; on the19th, however, the battle took place, Crittenden havius: found himself in such a position of affairs that he must either be stormed out and run away, or make an advance. He chose the latter, and probably thinking that the Union force was less than it proved, he expected to gain a victory without difficulty. This was on Sunday morning, and after a severe contest of four or five hours, the rebels were driven back to their entrenchments. During the night, they abandoned everything and retired, burning the ferry boats, and being in a very demoralized condition. Twelve pieces of artillery and a large amount of ammunition and stores, together with 1,000 horses and mules, fell into our hands. Zollicoffer was killed, and the lebel loss was very heavy; our loss, in all, was 232.

The news of this battle at Mill Springs, or Logan's Cross Roads, was received with enthusiasm at the North.

| It furnished complete evidence of the courage and perseverance of our troops,

1 and their ability to meet the

rebels, who, it had been assumed, were superior in a hand to hand contest. This decisive victory broke up the enemy's line in Kentucky, opened the path into East Tennessee, and proved the commencement of a series of successful military operations in the progress of the war in the West.

in

At the same time that these movements, just detailed, were going on, Gen. Halleck was busily engaged in making preparations for operating against the left of the enemy's line on the Mississippi and the northern boundary of Tennessee. The navy department, during the autumn and winter, had pushed forward, at St. Louip ^nd Cincinnati, the getting ready the gun boats and mortar fleet; these had gathered at Cairo for an onward movement down the Mississippi. The iron covered gun boats were specially constructed for the service. They were broad in proportion to their length, so as to sit firmly on the water and support with steadiness the heavy batteries for which they were intended. The largest were of the proportion of about 175 feet to 50, drawing five feet when loaded. They were firmly built of oak with extra strength at the bows and bulwarks, and were sheathed with wrought iron plates two and a half inches in thickness. To ward off the shots of the enemy, the sides of the boats, both above and below the knee, were made to incline at an angle of 45°, so that they could be struck at right angles only by a plunging fire. These boats were so built that, in action, they could be kept " bow on," and use their bow battery and broadsides with tremendous effect. Seven out of the twelve gun boats were iron-clad, and carried armament of the heaviest character. The mortar boats (some thirty or more in number) were about 60 feet long and 25 wide, and were surrounded on all sides by iron-plate bulwarks six or seven feet high. The huge mortar which they carried, bored to admit a 13-inch shell, with 17 inches of thickness from the edge of the bore to the outer rim, weighed over 17,000 pounds; while the bed or carriage on which it was placed weighed 4,500 pounds. From this formidable engine shells might be thrown a distance of two and a half to three and a half miles. Each boat was manned by a captain, lieutenant and twelve men, most of the men being western boatmen and volunteers, familiar with navigation and the peculiar service in which they were to be engaged.* Commodore Foote, a veteran but energetic officer, was placed in command of the flotilla.

BATTLE AT MILL SPRINGS.

Towards the close of the month, January 27th, President Lincoln issued his "General War Order, No. 1," as follows:

"Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces. That especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe, the Army of the Potomac, the army of Western Virginia, the army near Munfordsville, Kentucky, the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on that day. That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given.

* For a full discussion of the subject of the construction of new vessels for the navy, the iron-clad navy, the monitors, etc., togother with valuable statistics, see Dr. Boynton's " History of the Navy during the Rebellion," vol. pp. 117-243.

That the heads of departments, and especially the secretaries of war and of the navy, with all their subordinates, and the general-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for prompt execution of this order."

Eager to anticipate, if possible, the wishes of the president, Commodore Foote and Gen. Grant, with the approval of Gen. Halleck, determined to make an attack upon Fort Henry, at the beginning of February. The Tennessee River, in consequence of an unusual rise in the water at this time, offered a very favorable opportunity for navigation and transport of troops; and the expedition consisting of four' iron-clad gun boats, and a fleet of transports with the land forces, set sail from Paducah, on the 4th of February, at daylight. Fort Henry was distant some 65 miles by the river, and in the afternoon, the flotilla reached a point about four miles below the fort,, where a body of troops, under Gen. McClernand, was landed. The object was, to make a detour and take the work in the rear, while the gun boats made the attack from the water. Gen. Grant having brought up additional troops the next day, the land and naval force advanced to the attack on Thursday, Feb. 6th. Some 15,000 of the troops, , under Gen. C. F. Smith, proceeded by the left bank on the Kent lcky shore, to take and occapy the heights commanding the fcrt. About an equal number moved across the country to the rear of the fort, on the road to Fort

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Donelson, the design being to prevent reinforcements to Fort Henry, or the retreat of the garrison, or to attack it on receipt of orders. The army, however, owing to the badness of the roads, and necessary delays, was not in time to share in the capture of Fort Henry; it was accomplished by the naval force alone.

About ten o'clock, the gun boats moved towards the fort, and when within a mile, commenced the assault. This was a little after noon, and the firing on both sides was rapid and steadily continued; but the boats were I too much for the fort. Within an hour and a quarter the rebel fiag was hauled down and the fort surrendered. The troops in the fort, numbering some 4,000 or 5,000, escaped before General Grant could intercept them. Eightythroe prisoners were taken, Gen. Tilghman being one; there was also a large amount of stores, which fell into our hands. The chief casualty of the day was produced by a shot which penetrated the boiler of the Essex, and caused the wounding and scalding of twenty-nine officers and men, including Commander Porter.

This victory was regarded with much satisfaction at the North; the dispatch of Commodore Foote was read in both Houses of Congress; and the thanks i of the people were conveyed to our gallant naval force which had done such good service.

Directly after the surrender, Lieutenant-Commanding Phelps proceeded, by order of Commodore Foote, with the gun boats Conestoga, Tyler and Lexington, some 200 miles up the Tennessee

VOL. IV.—15

River. The expedition was entirely successful. The railroad bridge, about twenty-five miles above Fort Henry, was partly destroyed, so that the enemy could not use it; the boats proceeded as far up the river as Florence, Alabama, forcing the rebels to burn six of their steamers and much valuable property; two steamers were captured, together with a gun boat partly finished, and a large supply of excellent lumber. Lieut. Phelps met with many cheering evidences of the loyal feelings of the people in Tennessee and Alabama.

The fall of Fort Henry opened the way for an immediate advance upon Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River. This imposing fortification was situated near the boundary of Tennes see, on the west bank of the river, about 100 miles from its mouth. It was connected by a direct road with Fort Henry, and served as an out-post or river defence of Nashville, some eighty miles above. By the aid of railroad communications, reinforcements had been hurried to Donelson, and warned by the fate of Fort Henry, the rebels determined to retain, if possible, so important a barrier against the approach of our army into Tennessee.

Two days after Fort Henry fell, Gen. Pillow took command of Fort Donelson, and added in various ways to its defences. Naturally it was a strong position, being on a sloping elevation over a 100 feet high, with other hills and ravines densely wooded all around. Two water batteries were added, supplied with heavy ordnance; on the summit were trenches, oi rifle pits, protected by abattis of felled trees and interlaced brushwood; and in every suitable spot howitzers and field pieces were stationed. Its garrison amounted to nearly 20,000 men, so important was it deemed by the rebels to hold the place. Floyd, who arrived with reinforcements on the 13th of February, was chief in command, and was aided by Pillow, Buckner, B. K. Johnson, and others.

Nothing daunted at the prospect, Gen. Grant and Commodore Foote hastened forward preparations for the attack, although there was, as there always seems to be, delay at a moment when time was precious. Foote, with his gun boats, was to attack the water batteries; while Grant was to invest the fort on land. The latter was first on the spot. He left Fort Henry early on the morning of. the 12th of February, with a force of about 25,000 men, in two divisions, commanded by Gens. McClernand and C. F. Smith. The weather was mild and spring like, and by noon the advance was reported to be within two miles of the works at Fort Donelson. As our troops came up the enemy's pickets were driven in, and a semicircular line of investment was formed before the fortifications. Gradual approaches were made to the works, with occasional sharp skirmishing along the line, the enemy retiring to their defences beyond the ravine which separated the two armies.

During Thursday, the 13th, no general attack was made upon the rebel entrenchment, General Grant being in waiting for the arrival of the gun boats,

and for additional troops under Gen. Wallace. The investment, however, was drawn closer, and there was some heavy firing of artillery. Several move ments were made against special points, and the greatest bravery was displayed by our men; but when night came, the troops occupied the same position as in the morning. In fact, it became evident that the present was a far more serious undertaking than the one which was so speedily settled in the capture of Fort Henry.

In the evening, the gun boats and reinforcements arrived, and the morrow was to test the question at issue. Meanwhile, the mild and beautiful weather, under which the army had left Fort Henry, changed suddenly to winter's severity and keenness. A heavy rain set in, which turned in the uight to a storm of snow and sleet; and many of our troops, being without blankets or tents, were exposed to the utmost rigors of the situation; while, if they lighted a fire, they were immediately exposed to the enemy's guns. The sufferings of our troops that night will not soon be forgotten. Once, the rebels made a sortie and strove to capture one of our batteries; but the 20th Indiana, lying in the woods below it, repulsed them, after a sharp and brief skirmish.*

About midnight, Commodore Foote arrived in the immediate neighborhood of the fort, and early the next morning, Feb. 14th, on conference with General

* Pollard takes comfort to himself in the remark, that the men who fought so well at Fort Donelson were all Western men, not one, ho says of the hated "Yankees" being present.

« 上一頁繼續 »