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whelming strength from all our forces in that part of Kentucky, resolved to anticipate it;" and, at midnight after the next day," advanced with his entire available force, consisting of six Tennessee, one Alabama, and one Mississippi regiments of infantry, six cannon, and two battalions of cavalry, to strike and surprise the three or four Union regiments which he was assured were alone posted between him and Somerset. He struck them as he had expected, but did not surprise them; Gen. Thomas having taken the precaution to send out strong pickets of infantry on the roads leading toward the enemy, with a picket of cavalry still farther in advance. These were encountered by Crittenden's vanguard before daylight;" but, after firing, retired slowly and in good order, and reported to Col. M. C. Manson, commanding the advance brigade, who in ten minutes had his two regiments—10th Indiana and 4th Kentucky, Col. S. S. Fry— in readiness; and the Rebels, in that hour of darkness, necessarily proceeded with caution, doubling themselves as they advanced. Thomas was of course at the front, having ordered up his remaining regiments, within ten minutes afterward. The charge of the Rebels was desperate, and the battle raged with great fury for nearly, two hours, during which the muskets of the combatants were often fired through the same fence. Barely five Union regiments in all—the 10th Indiana, 2d Minnesota, 9th Ohio, 4th Kentucky, and 1st Kentucky cavalry,
• A Rebel letter to the Louisville (Nashville) Courier, says:
“The enemy in front occupied Somerset with several regiments, and Columbia with an equal force on the 17th and 18th, it rained so much
with Kinney's battery—were seriously engaged; but the 12th Kentucky, and two or three Tennessee regiments, reached the field just as the day was won by a charge of the 9th Ohio on our left flank with fixed bayonets, supported by a galling fire from the 2d Minnesota in front, under which the Rebels gave way and fled, scarcely halting until they reached their intrenched camp by the river; leaving one gun on the battle-field and another by the way. In the heat of the battle, when the combatants were scarcely separated by an open space, Gen. Zollicoffer was shot by Col. Fry, and fell dead on the field, where his body was left by his followers. Col. Fry's horse was shot dead directly afterward. Col. Robert L. McCook, 9th Ohio, was wounded in the leg, and also had his horse shot. The Rebels lost 192 killed, 62 wounded and captured, besides those carried off by them, and 89 taken unhurt. Our loss was 39 killed, and 207 wounded. It rained, as usual, and the roads were horrible; but the victors, considerably rêenforced, were, before 4 P. M., in front of the intrenchments at Camp Beech Grove, within which the flying Rebels had taken refuge an hour or two before. Shelling was immediately commenced on our side, feebly responded to on the other; and this continued until 7 at night, when our soldiers desisted and lay down to rest. Gen. Schoepf's brigade came up that night, and were so disposed by Gen. Thomas as to make sure of the capture of
that Fishing creek could not be crossed; and so the Somerset force of several thousand could not join the force from Columbia before the 20th.
* Jan. 18–19. * Sunday, Jan. 19.
structed—mainly by slave labor– at a point some 80 or 90 miles up the Tennessee and Cumberland, where those rivers first approach within 10 or 12 miles of each other, a few miles south of the Kentucky line, and north of the Louisville and Memphis Railroad, two strong and spacious works; FoRT HENRY, commanding the Tennessee from its eastern bank, and FoRT DoNELsoN, controlling the passage of the Cumberland from the west, a little below the Tennessee village of Dover. A dirt road connected the two forts, whereof the garrisons were expected to support each other if assailed. Fort Henry, situated on a point or bend of the river, and scarcely above its surface when in flood, menaced the approach by water for a mile on either hand, but was overlooked by three points" within cannon-shot on either bank of the river. It covered two or three acres of ground, mounted 17 large guns, 11 of them bearing upon any vessels approaching from below, with a spacious intrenched camp in its rear, and a wide abatis encircling all. It was defended by Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, of Kentucky, with 2,600 linen. To Brig.-Gen. U. S. Grant, of Illinois, was assigned the task of its reduction, with the powerful aid of Commodore A. H. Foote and his fleet of seven gunboats, four of them partially iron-clad. Leaving Cairo" with some 15,000 men on steam transports, he moved up the Ohio to the mouth of the Tennessee, then ascended that stream to within ten miles of Fort Henry, where his transports halted,” while Com. Foote,
with his gunboats, proceeded cautiously up the river, shelling the woods on either side to discover any masked batteries that might there be planted. Having pushed this recon
noissance far enough to receive a 32
pound ball through the unprotected side of one of his boats, Gen. Grant decided that the proper landing-place for the troops was about four miles below the fort, where he and they were debarked" accordingly. The next day was spent in preparations, and the next appointed for the attack: Gen. Grant directing the main body of his forces, under Gen. John A. McClernand, to move diagonally across the country and seize the road leading from the fort to Donelson and Dover, while Gen. C. F. Smith, with his brigade, advanced along the west bank of the river, and Com. Foote, with his gunboats, moved slowly up and attacked the fort from the water. Com. Foote formed his vessels in two lines: the iron-clads Cincinnati (flag-ship), Essex, Carondelet, and St. Louis, in front, while the old wooden Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington, formed a second line some distance astern, and out of the range of the enemy's fire, throwing shell over the iron-clads into and about the fort. Thus advancing slowly and firing deliberately, the iron-clads steadily neared the fort, using only their bowguns, because unwilling to expose their weak, unsheltered sides to the heavy guns of the fort, one of them having a caliber of 128 and another of 60 pounds, and but 12 of ours in all of our front line being available. For a moment only was there hesitation in the attack; when, after an
* So says Gen. Tilghman's official report.
11 Feb. 2, 1862. 1- Feb. 4-5. ** Feb. 4.
hour's mutual cannonade, a 24-pound shot 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 steam, 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 nearing 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. Heiman, 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, he, having ceased firing, lowered his flag, thereby surrenderFort DoNELsoN—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,” when the number of its defenders had been swelled by successive re
ing at discretion.” 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.”
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, af. forded 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
* 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 he surrendered 66 beside his staff (11), and 16 on the hospital-boat; and adds that his escaping force was overtaken, some three miles from Fort Henry, by our
cavalry, who were easily repulsed, but who
incomplete. 21 Feb. 12. ** Feb. 13.