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vised of the serious injury to the fleet, and informed tha
Commodore Foote, leaving his two ironclads least injurec
to protect the transports at the landing, would proceed ti
Cairo with the other two, repair them, hasten the oompletioi
of the Benton and mortar-boats, and return to the prosecu
tion of the siege. General Grant, upon this, made up hi
mind to intrench, and with reinforcements complete th
investment of the enemy's works. Beaching the lines abou
Dne o'clock on his retiu-n, he learned the state of affairs
ordered General C. F. Smith to prepare to storm the work
in his front, repaired to the right, inspected the conditio]
of the troops, and gave orders to be ready to attack whei
General Smith should make his assault.

The Fifty-second Indiana had been detached from Oolone


Cook's brigade to watch a gap in the intrenohments, near the
extreme right of the besieged line. At two o'clock General
Smith ordered the assault by Lanman's brigade ; the Fifty-
second Indiana was temporarily attached to the brigade.
The assaulting force was formed in column of battalions
of five companies each. The Second Iowa was in advance,
with General Smith in its centre, and followed in order by
the Fifty-second Indiana, Twenty-fifth Indiana, Seventh
Iowa, and Fourteenth Iowa. Birge's sharpshooters, de-
ployed on each flank, opened a skirmishing fire. The col-
umn advanced silently, without firing, crushed down the
abattis, covered the hiU-side with battalions, heedless of the
fire from the garrison, pressed on to the works, leaped over,
formed in line, and drove the defending regiment to further

Just at this time General Buokner was gaining this, the
extreme right of the line of intrenohments, with Hanson's
regiment, which had left it in the morning for the sortie.
Hanson pushed his men forward, but the works were occu-
pied. The Thirtieth Tennessee, which had been holding
that portion of the works during the day, fell back to an-
other ridge or spur, between the captured work and the
main fort. Lauman's brigade pushed on to assault that posi-
tion. Hanson's regiment, the Third, Eighteenth, and Forty-
first Tennessee and Fourteenth Mississippi, came to the aid
of the Thirtieth ; portions of Porter's and Graves' batteries
were brought up. The Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Tennessee,
the garrison of the fort, hastened out in support. General
Smith sent for Cook's brigade and artillery. Lieutenant-
Colonel McPherson sent up two ten-pound Parrott guns.
Buckner held the inner ridge, to which his men had retired,
and intrenched it in the night. Smith held the works he
had gained, an elevation as high as any within the line. His


battery established there, enfiladed part of the line still
held, and took in reverse nearly the whole of the intrench-
ments. In the charge, the column, including Birge's sharp-
shooters, but excluding the Fifty-second Indiana, lost 61
killed and 321 wounded; of these, the Second Iowa lost
41 killed and 157 wounded. General Smith, though sixty
years old, spent the night without shelter, on the captured

General Grant, having set in motion 0. F. Smith's attack,
rode to the right and ordered the troops there to take the
offensive and regain the ground that had been lost. Gen-
eral Lewis Wallace moved with a brigade commanded by
Colonel Morgan L. Smith, and made of the Eighth Missouri
and Eleventh Indiana, in advance. These two regiments
belonged to Smith's division, and marched from Fort Henry
to Donelson with Wallace. Colonel M. L. Smith, in his re-
port, calls this command the Fifth Brigade, Third Division.
The regimental commanders in their reports style it, Fifth
Brigade, General O. F. Smith's division. Following was
Cruft's brigade. General Wallace says, in his report: "As
a support, two Ohio regiments, under Colonel Boss, were
moved up and well advanced on the left flank of the assail-
ing force, but held in reserve." Colonel Boss, of the Sev-
enteenth Illinois, arriving at the front that morning and
reporting for duty, was at once assigned to the command of
the brigade composed of the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth
Illinois, and, as ordered by General McClernand, moved with
General Wallace in support and reserve, till recalled about
dark by McClernand. An Ohio regiment, the Twentieth,
Colonel Whittlesey, did go out in support and reserve, but
it was not under Colonel Boss, and it remained close to the
enemy's works all night.

The column approached the ridge held by Drake's bri-


gade and the Twentieth. Mississippi. M. L. Smith's brigade
came in front, where the slope was bare ; Oruf t had to push
up through bushes. General Wallace speaks with admira-
tion of the advance by Smith. He advanced his line and
ordered it to lie down, and to continue firing while lying
down. As soon as the fire of the enemy on the summit
slackened, the regiments rose, dashed up the hill, and lay
down again before the fire from the hill-top could be made
efiective. In a short time, with rapid bounds, the summit
was gained. Cruft's brigade pushed up through the bushes.
Drake fell back within the intrenchments. Wallace sta-
tioned his picket-line close to the enemy's works. The re-
tiring Confederate force took with them six captured pieces
of artillery, several thousand small arms, and between two
and three hundred prisoners ; but returned to their trenches
weary, disappointed, disheartened.

In the night General Floyd and General Buckner met with
General Pillow and his staff, at General Pillow's headquar-
ters, to consider the situation. After some recrimination
between Pillow and Buckner whether the intention and plan
had been to commence the retreat directly from the battle-
field, or first to cut a way out and then return to the works,
equip for a march and retreat by night, it was agreed to
evacuate that night and march out by the ground which had
been gained. Pillow ordered the chief quartermaster and
the chief commissary to burn the stores at half-past five
in the morning. Precaution was taken, however, before ac-
tually preparing for the movement, to send out scouts to see
if the way were still clear. The scouts returned with re-
port that the National forces had reocoupied the ground.
This b'eing doubted, other scouts were sent out, who brought
the same report in more positive terms. Pillow proposed
to cut a way out. Buckner said that was now impossible,


and Floyd acquiesced. Pillow at last assented to this, but
proposed to hold the fort at least one day longer and take
the chances of getting out. Buckner said that was impossi-
ble ; a lodgement had been made in the key of his position ;
assault would certainly follow as soon as it was light, and
he could not withstand it. It was remarked that no alter-
native was left but to surrender. General Floyd said he
would never surrender — he would die first. Pillow said sub-
stantially the same. Buckner said, if he were in command,
he would surrender and share the fate of the garrison. Floyd
inquired of Buckner, "If the command should devolve on
you, would you permit me to take out my brigade ? " To which
Buckner replied, "Yes, if you leave before the terms of ca-
pitulation are agreed on." Forrest asked, " Gentlemen, have
I leave to cut my way out?" Pillow answered, "Yes, sir,
cut your way out," and asked, " Is there anything wrong in
my leaving ? " Floyd replied, " Every person must judge for
himself of that ? " "Whereupon General Pillow said, " Then
I shall lesave this place." General Floyd turned to General
Pillow and told him, " General Pillow, I turn the command
over, sir." General Pillow said, "And I pass it." General
Buckner said, " And I assume it," and countermanded the
order for the destruction of the commissary and quarter-
master stores, and ordered white flags to be prepared and
a bugler to report to him.

At eleven o'clock that night Floyd telegraphed to General
A. S. Johnston a glorious victory. Four hours later, at the
close of the council or conference, he telegraphed : " We
are completely invested by an army many times our num-
bers. I regret to say the unanimous opinion of the officers
seems to be that we cannot maintain ourselves against these

Colonel Forrest reported that upon examination he found


that deep mud and water made an escape by land, between
the investing force and the river, impracticable for infantry.
Forrest marched out with all the cavalry but Gantt's Ten-
nessee battalion and two companies of Helm's Kentucky
cavalry, taking with him the horses of Porter's battery and
about two hundred men of various commands. There was
not a steamboat at the landing ; General Floyd had sent all
up the river with wounded and prisoners. Not a skiff or
yawl could be found. A little flatboat or scow was got by
some means from the other side of the river, and on this
General Pillow crossed the river with his staff and Colonel
Gilmer. Two steamboats retur»ed at daybreak, one of them
bringing " about four hundred raw troops." The four hun-
dred raw troops were dumped on shore, and Floyd took pos-
session of the boats. Floyd's brigade, consisting of four
Virginia regiments and the Twentieth Mississippi, had been
divided during the siege. The four Virginia regiments were
organized into two brigades, and the Twentieth Mississippi
attached to another command. Two Virginia regiments
were ferried across the river, and the Twentieth Mississippi,
understanding that they were to be taken on board with
Floyd, stood on guard and kept off the growing crowd of
clamorous soldiers while the other two Virginia regiments
embarked. The rope was cut and Floyd steamed up the
river, leaving the Twentieth Mississippi and his aid-de-camp,
Lieutenant Breckenridge Drake, behind. It was said after-
ward that word was received from General Buckner that the
boat must leave at once, or it would not be allowed to leave.
Soon after daybreak, Sunday the 16th, the men of Lau-
man's brigade heard the notes of a bugle advancing from
the fort. It announced an officer, who bore to General Grant
a letter from General Buckner, proposing the appointment
of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation, and


also proposing an armistice nntil noon. General Grant re-
plied, ackaowledging the receipt of the letter, and adding :
"No terms except an unconditional and immediate surren-
der can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon
yonr worts." Buctner 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 ungener-
ous and unchivalrous terms which you propose." White
flags were displayed along the works ; the National troops
marched in, and General Girant at once made the follow-
ing order: "All prisoners taken at the surrender of Fort
Donelson will be collected as rapidly as practicable near
the village of Dover, under their respective company and
regimental commanders, or in such manner as maybe deemed
best by Brigadier-General S. B. Buckner, and will receive
two days' rations preparatory to embarking for Cairo. Pris-
oners are to be allowed their clothing, blankets, and Snch
private property as may be carried about the person, and
commissioned oificers will be allowed their side-arms.''

There is disagreement as to the number of guns captured.
There were thirteen in the water-batteries and eight in the
fort. Besides, there were eight artillery companies, whose
field-pieces were disposed in nine positions along the line of
intrenchments. Six of these companies were those of Maney,
Porter, Graves, Green, Guy, Jackson. The other two are called
Boss and Murray in the account in the Nashville Patriot, and
called Parker and French on the pen-sketch of the works show-
ing the position of the light batteries, found among the Con-
federate records. The number of pieces in these batteries
is not given. Badeau gives the number of guns surrendered
at sixty-five, and no reason is seen why that is not correct.


There is no means of determining witli any precision the
number of the garrison. General Grant, on the day of the
surrender, reported the number of prisoners taken as twelve
to fifteen thousand. Badeau says the number captured was
11,623 ; and that rations were issued at Cairo to that num-
ber of prisoners taken at Fort Donelson. According to a
report or estimate made by Major Johnson, of the first Mis-
sissippi, and found among his papers in Mississippi in 1864,
the number ", engaged " was 15,246, and the number surren-
dered 11,738. General Floyd gives no estimate. General
Pillow, in his brief to the Secretary of War of the Confed-
eracy, defending himself from charges, gives thirteen thou-
sand as about the number engaged in the defence ; while
General Buckner, in a report made after he was exchanged,
says the aggregate of the army within the works was never
greater than twelve thousand. An estimate published in
the Nashville Patriot soon after the surrender makes the
number engaged 13,829.

Major Brown's estimate was evidently the most deliberate
and careful, yet it is not free from error. It is not accurate
in the number of casualties. The regimental reports made
after the surrender are not numerous, but they present some
means of testing Major Brown's estimate. According to
that estimate, the Eighth Kentucky lost 19 killed and 41
wounded ; according to the official report of Colonel Simon-
ton, commanding the brigade, the loss of the Eighth Ken-
tucky was 27 killed and 72 wounded. According to Major
Brown's estimate, two of the Virginia regiments lost none
killed or wounded, and the aggregate of the loss of the four
regiments was 13 killed and 113 wounded; according to
the brigade reports, every regiment lost both killed and
wounded, the aggregate being 41 killed and 166 wounded.
Major Brown's estimate omits the Kentucky caivalry bat-


talion of three companies. It names also only seven artil-
lery companies, while the Nashville Patriot's account and the
memorandum on the manuscript plan of the intrenchments
name eight. This estimate is also incomplete. It gives
only the number engaged belonging to regiments and com-
panies, and thereby excludes brigade and division command-
ers, and their staff and enlisted men at their headquarters;
it also excludes the " four hundred raw troops " (the reports
give them no other designation) who arrived too late to be
engaged, but in time to be surrendered ; and the estimate
being only of those engaged, excludes sick, special duty
men, and all except the muskets and sabres present for duty
in the works. Such an estimate of "effective" or "en-
gaged " is no basis for a statement of the number surren-
dered. The morning report of Colonel Bailey's regiment, the
Forty-ninth Tennessee, for January 14th, was 680 effectives
out of an aggregate of 777. His last morning report before
the surrender was 393 effectives out of an aggregate of 773.
Major Brown's estimate gives this regiment 372 engaged.
Colonel Bailey's morning report of those present with him
on the way from Donelson to Cairo, which included none
from hospitals, was, officers and men, 490.

There is no report of trustworthy accuracy, giving either
the aggregate or the effective strength. Ten thousand five
hundred prisoners were put into the charge of Colonel Whit-
tlesey, of the Twentieth Ohio ; of which number he sent north,
guarded by his own regiment, about sis thousand three hun-
dred ; another, but much smaller body, was put into the hands
of Colonel Sweeney. Besides these, were the wounded ajid
sick in hospital, in camp, and some left on the field. Col-
onel Whittlesey, at the time, estimated the entire number
taken charge of, including sick and wounded, at 13,000.
General Floyd said that the boats which carried across and


Up the river his four Virginia regiments, took at the same
time about as many other troops ; and he says he took up
the river with him 986, oiHcers and men, of the four Vir-
ginia regiments. Pillow reported, on March 14th, that sev-
eral thousand infantry had got out in one way or other,
many of whom were at that time with him at Decatur, Ala.,
and the rest under orders to rendezvous there. They con-
tinued slipping out after the surrender. General B. B. John-
eon, on the Tuesday after the surrender, not having reported
or been enrolled as a prisoner, walked with a fellow-officer
out of the intrenchments at mid-day, and, not being chal-
lenged, continued beyond the National camps and escaped.
The accounts of the escape by boat with Floyd, on horse
with Forrest, and by parties slipping out by day and by night
through the forest and undergrowth and the devious ra-
vines, fairly show that 5,000 must have escaped. There was
scarcely a regiment or battery, if, indeed, there was a sin-
gle regiment or battery, from which some did not escape.
Eleven hundred and thirty-four wounded were sent up the
river by boat the evening before the surrender, and General
Pillow estimated the killed at over four hundred and fifty.
This accounts for an aggregate of over nineteen thousand
five hundred, sufficiently near the estimate of nineteen thou-
sand sis hundred — ^the number in the place during the siege,
and the additional four hundred, who arrived only in time
to be surrendered.

General Floyd surmised the killed and wounded to be
fifteen hundred. Pillow estimated them at two thousand.
The National loss was, in McOlernand's division, 1,445 killed
and wounded, and 74 missing ; in C. F. Smith's division, 306
killed, 1,045 wounded, and 167 missing ; and in Lewis Wal-
lace's division, 39 killed, 248 wounded, and 5 missing — ^mak-
ing an aggregate of 3,329 killed, wounded, and missing.


General Grant sat down before the place Wednesday the
12th, at noon, with 15,000 men, and with that number closed
in upon the works and made vigorous assaults next day.
Eeinforcements began to arrive at the landing Thursday
evening, and when the place surrendered his army had
grown by reinforcements to twenty-seven thousand. Grant
had no artillery but the eight field-batteries which he brought
over from Fort Henry to Donelson. These were not fixed in
position and protected by earthworks, but were moved from
place to place and used as batteries in the field.

The defensive line from Columbus to Bowling Green,
broken by the capture of Fort Henry, was now shattered.
General A. S. Johnston evacuated Bowling Green on Feb-
ruaiy 14th, and on the 17th and 18th moved with the main
body of his troops from Nashville to Murfreesboro. The
rear-guard left Nashville on the night of the 23d, and the
advance of Buell's army appeared next morning on the op-
posite bank of the river. Columbus was evacuated shortly
after. The National authority was re-established over the
whole of Kentucky, the State of Tennessee was opened to
the advance of both army and fleet, and the Mississippi was
cleared down to Island Number Ten.

General Halleck telegraphed on February 17th, the day
after the surrender, to General McOlellan : " Make Buell,
Grant, and Pope major-generals of volunteers, and give
me command in the West. I ask this in return for Donel-
son and Henry.'' Next day, the 18th, he telegraphed to
General Hunter, commanding the Department of Kansas,
thanking him for his aid in sending troops ; and to Grant,
ordering him not to let the gunboats go up higher than
Clarksville, whence they must return to Cairo immediately
upon the destruction of the bridge and raih-oad. On the
19th he telegraphed to Washington : "Smith, by his cool-


ness and bravery at Fort Donelson, when the battle was
against us, turned the tide and carried the enemy's out-
works. Make him a major-general. You cannot get a bet-
ter one. Honor him for this victory, and the whole country
will applaud." On the 20th he telegraphed to McOlellan,
"I must have command of the armies in the West. Hesita-
tion and delay are losing us the golden opportunity." Upon
the receipt in Washington of the news of the surrender of
Fort Donelson, the President at once appointed Grant
major-general, and the Senate immediately confirmed the
appointment. BueU and Pope shortly after received the
same promotion. Later, in March, 0. F. Smith, McClernand,
and Lewis Wallace were confirmed to the same rank. On
March 11th, General Halleck was assigned to the command
of the Department of the Mississippi, embracing all the
troops west of a line drawn north and south indefinitely
through Knoxville, Tenn., and east of the western boun-
dary of Arkansas and Missouri. On February 15th, Grant
had been assigned to the command of the Military District of
Tennessee, the limits of which were not defined, and General
W. T. Sherman succeeded to the command of the District of




A DIVISION belonging to General Pope's command in Mis-
souri went with General Curtis to Pea Eidge and Arkansas.
A considerable portion of what was left was sent up the Ten-
nessee and Cumberland to General Grant. On February
14, 1862, General Pope was summoned to St. Louis by Gen-
eral Halleck, and on the 18th General Halleck pointed out
to him the situation at New Madrid and Island No. Ten, and
directed Vn'm to organize and command a force for their re-
duction. On the 19th Pope left for Cairo to defend it from
an attack thea apprehended from Columbus. This appre-
hension being found to be groundless, he proceeded by steam-
boat, with a guard of 140 men, thirty miles up the river, and
began at once to organize his expedition.

Major-General Polk, commanding at Columbus, having
received instructions from the Confederate War Department,
through General Beauregard, to evacuate Columbus and
select a defensive position below, adopted that embracing
Madrid Bend on the Tennessee shore. New Madrid on the
Missouri shore, and Island No. Ten between them. The
bluffs on the Missouri shore terminate abruptly at Com-
merce. Thence to Helena, Arkansas, the west bank of the
Mississippi is everywhere low and flat, and in many places
on the river, and to much greater extent a few miles back
from the river, is a swamp. From Columbus to Fort Pillow,


the Tennessee shore is of the same character. The river
flowing almost due south for some miles to Madrid Bend,
curves there to the west of north to New Madrid, and there
making another bend, sweeps to the southeast and then
nearly east, till, reaching Tiptonville, a point nearly due
south of Madrid Bend, it turns again to the south. Island
No. Ten begins at Madrid Bend and looks up the straight
stretch of the river. From Island No. Eight, about four
miles above Island No. Ten, the distance across the land to
New Madrid is six miles, while by river it is fifteen. The
distance overland from Island No. Ten to Tiptonville is five
miles, while by water it is twenty-seven. Commencing at
Hickman, between Madrid Bend and Columbus, a great
swamp, which for a part of its extent is a sheet of water
called Eeelfoot Lake, extends along the left bank of the
Mississippi, and discharges its waters into the Mississippi
forty miles below Tiptonville, leaving between it and the
river the peninsula which lies immediately below Island
No. Ten, and opposite New Madrid. Immediately below
Tiptonville the swamp for many miles extends entirely to
the river. The peninsula is, therefore, substantially an
island, having the Mississippi on three sides, and Eeelfoot
Lake, with its enveloping swamp, on the other. A good
road led from the Tennessee shore, opposite Island No. Ten,
along the west border of the swamp and the lake to Tipton-
ville. The only means of supply, therefore, for the forces
on Island No. Ten and this peninsula, were by the river. If
the river were blockaded at New Madrid, supplies must be
landed at Tiptonville and conveyed across the neck of the
peninsula by the road. From this peninsula there was no
communication with the interior except by a small flat-
boat which plied across Eeelfoot Lake, more than a mile
across, by a channel cut through the cypress-trees which


cover the lake. Supplies and reinforoements could not,
therefore, be brought to any considerable extent by the land

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Online LibraryPublic Library Commission of IndianaThe army in the civil war.. → online text (page 5 of 16)