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hour's mutual cannonade, a '24-pound 6hot from the fort pierced the Essex at an unguarded spot, and, tearing through her thick oak planking as though it had been cheese, penetrated her starboard boiler, instantly filling her from stem to stern with burning 6team, killing both her pilots at their post of duty, and severely scalding Capt. W. D. Porter and nearly 40 of his gunners and crew. Thus completely disabled, the Essex drifted out of the action, to the great joy of the Rebels, who for a moment thought the victory their own; but her consorts kept on firing and Hearing for twenty minutes more, when they were within 600 yards of the Rebel guns, whereof all but four had by this time been silenced: one having burst, disabling every man who served it, while the vent of the great 10-inch columbiad had been closed, rendering it useless; while our fire at short range grew hotter and hotter.

Gen. McClernand, as Com. Foote had apprehended, had not yet worked

his way through the miry woods and over the difficult trails he was obliged to traverse in order to reach and occupy the main road from Henry to Donelson. Had he been directed to start at 6 instead of 11 that morning, he would probably have intercepted and captured Tilghman's entire force. As it was, the latter says he ordered all but the hundred or so inside the fort, and employed in working its guns, to take the road to Donelson, under Col. Ileiman, his second in command; and that order was obeyed with great promptness and celerity. Tilghman remained himself with the handful in the fort; and, at 1:45 p. M., seeing further defense alike impotent and hopeless, and being urged by his officers to surrender, he, intending to negotiate for terms, raised a flag of truce, which, being unperceived, amid the dense smoke, had no effect on the fire of the fleet. Five minutes later, by the advice of his officers, lie, havingceased firing, lowered his flag, thereby surrender

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ing at discretion.1* Our loss in this conflict, in addition to that on the Essex, was 1 killed and 9 wounded on the Cincinnati; none on our other vessels. Gen. Tilghman says our total casualties were reported to him at 73, while his own were 21. Com. Foote reports his captures at 60 or 70 men, besides the General and his staff, and a hospital-ship containing 60 invalids, with barracks, tents, &c, sufficient for 15,000 men."

Fokt Donelsox—two miles below Dover, where the Cumberland makes a short bend westward from its northerly course—was a much larger and stronger work than Fort Henry, covering a level plateau of nearly a hundred acres, which surmounts the steep bluff, 100 feet high, with two strong water batteries on the bank at its base, of 9 and 3 guns respectively, one of them a 10-inch columbiad, three 64-pounders, and the rest 32-pounders; all protected by very heavy earthworks, and all bearing on the approach up the river. The fort itself had but 8 heavy guns mounted in addition to the field batteries of its garrison. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow" had been in command there" until the arrival " of Gen. John B. Floyd,1' when the number of its defenders had been swelled by successive re

"Gen. Grant's official dispatch says: "In a little over one hour, all the batteries were silenced." Com. Foote says: "The Rebel flag was hauled down after a very severe and closely contested action of one hour and fifteen minutes" Gen. Tilghman says he surrendered "after an engagement of two hours and ten minutes." The time probably seemed longer on that side than on ours.

"Tilghman says ho surrendered 66 beside his sbff(ll'), and 16 on the hospital-boat; and adds thMt his escaping force was overtaken, some three miles from Fort Henry, by our

enforcements to about 15,000 " .men. Most of them were Tennesseans, with about 2,000 Mississippians, 1,200 Virginians, 1,000 Kentuckians, and a thin regiment each from Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. The fort was commanded by two or three points farther inland, within cannon-shot; the country rolling to the bluffs of the Tennessee: some of the hills midway having an elevation of about 300 feet. Deep ravines, with'steep, rocky sides, especially near the bluffs of the Cumberland, separated these hills, and, with the tall, dense, primitive forests generally prevailing, afforded admirable positions for defensive warfare. A heavy and difficult abatis in good part surrounded the fortress landward, rendering assault at many points all but impracticable.

Gen. Grant, bringing Smith's division across the Tennessee, and sending an officer down that river to turn back all vessels ascending it with troops or supplies, crossed from Fort Henry" to the neighborhood of Donelson, gradually extending his lines" so as to invest the Rebel stronghold nearly from river to river, by a line some three miles long, and 100 to 300 rods distant from the Rebel rifle-pits and batteries, which formed an irregular crescent, encircling their fort at a distance of one

cavalry, who were easily repulsed, but who picked up about 20 of his stragglers, while several of his field-guns were lost on the way, owing t:> poor teams and bad roads.

"Of Nashville, Tennessee. "Since Jan. 18.

"Fob. 13. "Of Virginia.

w The Richmond Dispatch has a letter from one of the officers, dated Augusta, Ga., Feb. 22, who says: "Our troops number about 18,000." Tho Nashville Patriot, of about Feb. 1!), gives a list of the regiments present, with the strength of each, which foots up 13.820, and is evidently incomplete. "Feb. 12. ■ Feb. 13.

or two miles. Skirmishing by sharpshooters on both sides was maintained with spirit throughout the day, mainly from behind the trees of the great forest, which at most points covered our army and the space between the hostile lines. The weather was thus far like a clear, bright, Northern October, and our men in the highest spirits.

Com. Foote now arrived" with his gunboats—four iron-clad, and two wooden—and it was determined that he should attempt to silence and carry the water batteries. He did so at 3 p. M. next day, steadily advancing with his iron-clads to within 400 yards of the Rebels' great guns; when, by an hour's desperate fighting, he had driven most of the enemy's gunners from their batteries, and seemed on the point of complete success. Just here, however, the wheel of his flag-ship St. Louis and the tiller of its consort, the Louisville, were shot away, rendering both boats unmanageable, and causing them to drift helplessly down the river. All his iron-clads had endured serious damage: the St. Louis having received 59 shots, and each of the others about half so many, with an aggregate loss of 54 killed and wounded. Of his twelve guns, one had burst, while the enemy had brought over 20—most of them very heavy—to bear upon him from Donelson, as well as the water batteries, to which the gunners returned on observing his predicament, and again poured in their hottest fire. Com. Foote, perceiving victory hopeless, gave up the contest, and retired with his boats down the river, badly crippled.

Gen. Grant decided to complete the investment of the fort, at least on that side, while he fortified his weak points, and awaited the return of the gunboats in fighting condition. Floyd, however, not concurring in that view of the matter, decided to assume at once a vigorous offensive, while his men were elated with their defeat of the gunboats. Massing" heavily on his extreme left, commanded by Pillow, and ordering Buckner," in the center, to attack likewise, he made a desperate effort to beat back our investing and augmenting forces, and open for his army a line of retreat up river toward Nashville. The attack of Pillow on our right, held by Gen. McClernand, was impetuous, daring, and persistent. After two hours' desperate fighting, McClernand was worsted and fell back on our center, sending urgently for riienforcements, but still contesting every inch of ground. Two or three of his regiments were badly broken, and several more reported out of ammunition; which should not have been, since it was not yet noon. Our men, however, had the bad habit generally of using ammunition wastefully, loading and firing as fast as possible, even when there was not one chance in a thousand of hitting an enemy. The Rebels usually economized their cartridges, firing only when they could do so with effect.

Pillow, still successful and slowly advancing, about noon joined hands with Buckner in the center, and took command of their united forces, when a charge was made by Forrest's cavalry on our infantry supporting a

"Gen. Simon B. Buckner, of Kentucky; formerly commander of hor State Guard.

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battery of six pieces, which was taken."

Gen. Grant—not expecting this striking proof of Rebel vitality—was some miles distant on a gunboat, conferring with Com. Foote, when McClernand's cry for assistance reached headquarters. Gen. Lew. Wallace, commanding our center, ordered Col. Cruft, with his first brigade, to the rescue. Cruft, misdirected by his guide, took a wrong road; but it led him nevertheless into the fight, and served to draw off some Rebel attention from McClernand's overmatched column. Meantime, Col. Thayer," commanding his 3d brigade, was ordered by Wallace to the further support of McClernand; and his fresh troops, admirably handled, uniting with Cruft's, succeeded in stopping and turning back the Rebel advance.

Gen. Grant reached the scene of conflict about 3 p. M., and, after a survey of the ground, ordered a general advance; Gen. Lew. Wallace leading the attack on the enemy's left, while Gen. C. F. Smith, on our left, should charge his right. This combined effort proved entirely successful. Wallace recovered all the ground lost during the day, resting at 5 p. M. within 150 yards of the intrenchments whence Buckner had sallied, only to return baffled at night; while Gen. Smith's charge on our left, magnificently led by him against breastworks whereof the defense had doubtless been weakened to strengthen Pillow's effort, succeeded with little loss. The 2d Iowa

"Col. Hanson, 2d Kentucky, and Col. Cook, 32d Tennessee, as well as Maj. Brown, 20th Mississippi, officially report that, after Buckner's defeat of McClernand, on the morning of the 15th, there was no obstacle to the escape of their entire force southward or up the Cumber

Vol. n.—4

went into them on a run, closely followed by the 7th and 14th, with the 25th Indiana, cutting down or chasing off their defenders; and the position thus gained was soon made secure against any effort to retake it. So closed the work of that bloody day.

Since the siege began, the weather had suddenly changed to cold, with a light snow, followed by a piercing N. W. wind, rendering the sufferings on either side fearful and almost universal. Our men were without tents, and at many points without fires; while the Rebels, worse clad and little better sheltered, shivered in their fireless trenches through weary day and sleepless night. Hundreds on either side were frost-bitten; and it is said that quite a number of the wounded, left uncared for by the shifting tide of battle, were actually frozen to death.

The night following the conflict just described was one of anxiety and trouble on the part of the Rebels. Gen. Grant's force had been increased by the arrival of transport after transport, until it must have amounted to 30,000, if not nearer 40,000 men, and was magnified by their apprehensions to 50,000." The effort to cut their way out through our right had been gallantly made, and had signally failed. Their outnumbered, roughly handled force, had endured 84 hours of alternate fighting and watching, while suffering all the hardships of a Winter campaign, and were so outworn as to

land. Col. Hanson eays the way of escape remained open till they were ordered back to the trenched, late in the afternoon.

"John M., 1st Nebraska.

""Eighty-three regiments," says one of theirreports.

fall asleep standing in line of battle, when actually under fire. The position gained by Smith would enable him to take other of their intrenchments in reverse, or to advance under cover of a ridge directly upon their most important battery and fieldwork. Buckner declared that his post would certainly be attacked in the morning, and that he could not hold it half an hour; he thought they might yet fight their way out, with a loss of three-fourths of their number, but did not deem it right to sacrifice so large a proportion. These representations being undisputed, a surrender became inevitable. Yet Floyd, the sunset of whose career as Secretary of War had not appeared brilliant at the North, at once protested that he would never surrender. Buckner—who, for obvious reasons, was scarcely more popular with Kentucky Unionists than was Floyd with those of the Free States—presented no such obstacle. Floyd, therefore, turned the command over to Pillow, who passed it to Buckner, whose late superiors now devoted their attention to the means of escape. Two Rebel steamboats having arrived a little before daylight from above,Floyd filled them with his soldiers, especially those of his own brigade, and, a little before mnrise, cast off and 6teamed up the river, leaving the residue to their fate." Col. Forrest, with some 800 cavalry, escaped by the road up the immediate bank of the river, which was partly overflowed, and therefore deemed impracticable for infantry, but which Forrest's troopers appear to have traversed without difficulty or loss.

During the night, a negro had escaped from the Rebel lines, and given our leaders their first clear information of the straits of the enemy. Gen. Grant was therefore not surprised at receiving, about daylight, the following overture:

"Headquarters Fort Donelson, "Feb. 16, 1862. "sir: In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the commanding officer of the Federal forces the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces at this post under my command. In that view, I suggest an armistice until 12 o'clock to-day.

"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, S. B. Buckner,

"Brig.-Gen. 0. S. Army. "To Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding D. S. forces near Fort Donelson."

The reply was hardly so diplomatic, but quite lucid—as follows:

"Headquarters On The Field, "fort Donelson, Feb. 16,1863. "To Gen. 8. B. Buckner:

"sir: Yours of this date, proposing an armistice and the appointment of commissioners to settle on the terms of capitulation, is just received.

"No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted.

"I propose to move immediately on your works.'

"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, U. S. Grant,

"Brig.-General Commanding."

Gen. Buckner's response closed the correspondence thus:

"Headquarters Dover (tenn.), "Feb. 16, 1862. "Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant, U. S. Army:

"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, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose "I am, sir, your servant,

"S. B. Buckner, "Brig.-General C. S. Army."

■ Maj. W. M. Brown, 20th Miss., in his official J away about 1,500; but this is probably an unreport, says one of the boats did not appear to j der-estimato. As all would naturally wish to go, have over 50 men on board, and that Flnyd took , il is probable that all went who could.

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