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Grant, a joint attack, the same day, was determined upon. Grant, by the addition of some 8,000 troops, under Wallace, felt strong enough for the assault by land; and Foote, though not fully confident, did not hesitate to undertake his part of the work. Between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, the conflict began with four iron-clad gun boats in advance and two wooden ones in the rear; but though bravely handled, they were unable to keep up the contest for more than an hour, and having become unmanageable, they drifted slowly down the stream.
Grant now thought it advisable to invest Fort Donclson as completely as possible, and await repairs to the gun boats. His purpose, however, was frustrated by the enemy. They saw and felt the danger of being surrounded, and determined at once to make an effort to fight their way out. Accordingly, they resolved to begin at daylight, on the 15th of February, and cut open an exit for their troops into the interior of the country. The assault was made at the time specified, on the right of our whole line, and for several hours the rebels fought with desperate bravery and resolution. They gained some advantage during the fight, but were in turn repulsed, with fearful loss on both sides, and were driven behind their inner works. When night came on, our troops held the position they had gained, and remained under arms till morning, intending at dawn of day to recommence the attackSatisfied that they could not hold the fort without reinforcements, Floyd and
Pillow passed the command over to Buckner, and during the night, embarked about 5,000 troops in steamboats, and made their escape. The next morning early, Buckner sent a flag of truce, asking for terms, etc. Grant was short and sharp in his reply: "no terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted," he said. Buckner, protesting against Grant's "ungenerous and unchivalrous terms," gave up the contest, and on Sunday morning, Feb. 16th, the Union flag waved over this stronghold of the rebellion.
Our loss was severe, being 446 killed, 1,735 wounded, and 150 prisoners; total 2,331. The rebel loss was 231 killed, 1,007 wounded, and 13,829 prisoners; total 15,067. In addition to the large number taken prisoners, there fell into our hands about fifty cannon, 3,000 horses, 20,000 stand of arms, and a large quantity of commissary stores.*
This important victory was peculiarly gratifying to loyal men everywhere. Gen. Grant congratulated his troops for the triumph over rebellion gained by their valor, and for their readiness, during four successive nights, without shelter, and exposed to the bitter inclemency of the season, to face the enemy in the position chosen by himBelf. On the other hand, as can readily be imagined, Davis and the rebel authorities were deeply mortified at the fall of Fort Donelson. In a message to his Congress, March 11th, he pronounced Floyd's and Pillow's reports "in
* Some southern writers say, that the number surrendered was only about 5,000, and assert that, all told, the troops at Fort Donelson amounted to only 13,000.
complete and unsatisfactory," and professed himself in the dark as to the reasons for their movements. He accordingly suspended them from command for the present.
The fall of Fort Donelson hastened the crisis in rebel affairs in the West. The rebel Gen. A. S. Johnston had before this seen that Bowling Green, Kentucky, was untenable, and orders were given to evacuate it. This was done on the 14th of February, when Gen. Mitchel took immediate possession. By a forced march of eighty miles, the rebel force reached Nashville on the 16th, and under Johnston's command passed on to Murfreesboro, thirty-two miles distant, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Commodore Foote with his gun boats ascended the Cumberland, destroying the extensive iron works, six miles above Dover, and reaching Clarksville on the 19th of February. The enemy had fled, and great alarm was manifested respecting the purpose of our advancing force.
Of course, Nashville followed the fate of Donelson. "Without the latter, it was defenceless; and hence, when the news came, on Sunday forenoon, that the fort was lost, the city was thrown into consternation. Floyd destroyed the bridges over the Cumberland, and hastened away. "An earthquake," says Pollard, "could not have shocked the city more. The congregations at the churches were broken up in confusion and dismay ; women and children rushed into the streets, wailing with terror ;' trunks were thrown from threestory windows in the haste of the fugitives; and thousands hastened to leave
their beautiful city in the midst of the most distressing scenes of terror and confusion, and of plunder by the mob."
On the 24th of February, the Union forces reached Nashville, which was formally surrendered by the mayor into Gen. Buell's hands. A general order was issued congratulating all who loved the Union on the success of our arms, and promising protection and support to all peaceable, well disposed citizens. Andrew Johnson was soon after appointed military governor of Tennessee, and early in March, arrived at Nashville, and entered vigorously upon his new and difficult duties. The newspapers were placed under military sxipervision. The municipal officers were required, on the 26th of March, to take the oath of allegiance. The city council refused: the mavor and some others were arrested, and the city councilmen ejected from office. Numerous other arrests were made, and Gov. Johnson used the strong hand in repressing disunion practices in Tennessee.
As by the taking of Nashville Columbus was seriously endangered, orders were issued by Beauregard and Johnston, on the 18th of February, to destroy part of the track and bridges of the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, preparatory to a removal of the forces at Columbus to Island No. 10, about forty-five miles below, on the Mississippi River. This was soon after accomplished; and on the 4th of March, when an armed reconnaissance was made as far as Columbus by the gun boats and transports with troops, it was found to have been abandoned by the rebels, as wholly untenable.
General Halleck, in command of the department, issued, Feb. 2 2d, an order for the regulation and behavior of the troops. Among other things he said, "it does not belong to the military to decide upon the relation of master and slave. Such questions must be settled by civil courts. No fugitive slave will, therefore, be admitted within our lines or camps, except when specially ordered by the general commanding."
The successful operations of our army produced much excitement in the South, and the leaders in the rebellion began to understand better what a gigantic struggle it was in which they had engaged. Every man, young and old, was called for. Boards of police in every county in Mississippi were appointed preparatory to drafting; and the governor of Arkansas, by proclamation, drafted into immediate service every man in the state subject to military duty, requiring him to respond within twenty days. In this way, and under such pressure, was begun that system of measures which resulted in the passing of a conscription act by the Confederate Congress, April 16 th, and the raising a large force during the ensuing summer months.*
In a previous chapter (see p. 89) we
• By this act all over eighteen and under thirty were conscripted for the war, and none were allowed exemption who were at the time in service, whether under eighteen or over thirty-five. All this was irrespective of Itate laws and regulations. In September, 1862, another act of conscription was passed, calling out every man between thirty-five and forty-five, and all youths as soon as they became eighteen years of age. The work was carried on with unrelenting vigor and energy, and every means resorted to in order to collect and have ready for use a military force sufficient to meet the immense army our government was bringing into the field.
have spoken of the movements in Missouri, and the general result up to the close of 1861. Sharp skirmishing I took place at Mount Zion, Dec. 28th, j and at Fayette, January 8th; but without material result. Our forces under Gens. Sigel and Asboth, and Cols. J. | C. Davis and Carr, combined at the close of the month, under com- „„
mand of Gen. S. R. Curtis, a distinguished officer of the U. S. army. Early in February, these divisions I pushed rapidly from Rolla, the termination of railroad communication with St. Louis, toward Springfield, where the rebel General Price had taken up his headquarters and secured supplies for j his men. He had raised an army of 4,000 men, built huts, and was in a rather comfortable position, as he , thought; but the approach of Curtis warned him of danger. A sharp skir- | mish took place near Springfield; and Price, on the 12th of February, during the night, decamped, the U. S. troops entering the town early next morning. Immediately the pursuit after Price was begun, and continued a hundred miles I or more from Springfield into Arkansas, , On the 18th, the state line was crossed; on the 19th, Price, having had some reinforcements, attempted to make a stand at Sugar Creek; but was speedily defeated. On the 23d of February, Curtis entered and took possession of Fayetteville, capturing a number of prisoners, , stores and baggage. The enemy burnt part of the town before leaving on their flight over the Boston Mountains.*
* Gen. Halleck, in a dispatch, made mention of a shocking exhibition of the malice of the rebels : " forlytwo officers and men of the 5th Missouri cavalry wire