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south of the enemy's position; the second division, under command of Brigadier-General C. F. Smith, taking the direct or telegraph road to the fort; the third division, subsequently placed under the lead of Brigadier-General L. Wallace, being sent round by Paducah and Smithland, ascending the Cumberland, under the escort of the gunboats. Each of these divisions consisted of about ten regiments of infantry, batteries, and cavalry.
First Division, Brigadier-General McClernand.— \st Brigade, Col. Oglesby, acting.—8th Illinois, Lieut. Col. Rhodes; 18th Illinois, Col. Lawler; 29th Illinois, Col. Reardon; 13th Dlinois, Col. Dennis; 31st Illinois, Col. J. A. Logan; Schwartz's battery; Dresser's battery; A battalions Illinois cavalry. 2d Brigade, Col. W. H. L. Wallace, acting.— 11th Illinois, Lieut. Col. Hart; 20th Illinois, Col. Marsh; 48th Illinois, Col. Smith; 49th Illinois, Col. Hainey; Taylor's battery; McAllister's battery; 4th and 7th Illinois cavalry, Cols. Kellogg and Dickey.
Second Division, Brigadier-General C. F. Smith.—1st Brigade, Col. Cook, acting.—7th Illinois, 50th Illinois, 12th Iowa; 13th Missouri, Col. Wright; 52d Indiana; 3 batteries Missouri 1st artillery, Maj. Cavender commanding; Capts. Richardson, Stone, and Walker. 2d Brigade, Col. Lauman, acting.—7th Iowa, Lieut.-Col. Parrott; 2d Iowa, Col. Tuttle; 14th Iowa, Col. Shaw; 25th Indiana, Col. Veatch; 56th Indiana.
Third Division, Brigadier-Genera I Lewis Wallace.—1st Brigade, Col. Croft, acting.—17th Kentucky, 25th Kentucky, 31st Indiana, 44th Indiana, Col. Hugh B. Reed. 2d Brigade, Col. Thayer, acting.—1st Nebraska, Lieut. Col. McCord; 13th Missouri, Col. Wright; 48th Ohio, Col. Sullivan; 58th Ohio, Col. Bousenwein; Willett's Chicago battery.
By nine o'clock all the forces were on the march. The division of General McClernand took the upper or southern road to Dover. The division of General Smith proceeded by the northern or telegraph road, running directly to the fort. The route lay through broken and undulating lands. Small streams of the purest water were crossed at every ravine. The hills were in places covered with green pines and tall, heavy timber. The weather was mild and spring-like; the men in admirable spirits, marching in regular order, and the surrounding scenery almost tropical in its luxuriance. At about two o'clock in the afternoon the advanced skirmishers of McClernand's division came in sight of the enemy's tents stretching between the hill upon which the fort was situated, and the next, on Dover ledge.
Word was passed back to General Grant that the enemy and his camp had been sighted. General Grant at once ordered up the rear of the column. Dresser's battery was posted on an eminence overlooking the tents, and a few shells sent into the camp. There was a general and promiscuous scattering of men from the camps into the earthworks to right and left. General Grant immediately ordered the division of General Smith into line of battle on the ravine baok of the main elevation. A column of men was pushed up on the left of the fort. Scouts returned saying that the breastworks could be discovered on the extreme left. An hour or two was then spent in reconnoitering along the various hills surrounding the enemy's position.
This preliminary skirmish was soon over, and the enemy had fallen back within his intrenchments, when the shades of night fell upon the two armies. Many of the Federal soldiers, in anticipation of an engagement, had relieved themselves of their overcoats, blankets, and haversacks, and were altogether unprepared for the experience of the night. But cheerfully kindling their camp-fires, under a mild and genial temperature, they gathered around the cheerful blaze and gradually fell into slumberous dreams of home, of conquest, or of love.
During the night the enemy made a sortie on the extreme right of the Federal lines, which by its suddenness created some confusion for the time, but he was repulsed and compelled to retire.
On Thursday, the 13th, the attack commenced. The morning sun rose brightly on the scene. The men were soon engaged in cooking what provisions could be obtained. Several hogs running at large in tho woods had been shot for breakfast, and a sumptuous meal was made from their flesh. At sunrise the firing of riflemen, commenced. The enemy could be descried behind his breastworks. The most available positions were selected for batteries, and by eight o'clock a regular exchange of shot and shell had commenced across the ravine which separated the combatants. Taylor's battery was on the extreme right, next came Schwartz's, further to the left. Further still was a section of an Illinois battery. Across a deep ravine and in the centre of the position was Captain Richardson's First Missouri Light Artillery, on the point of a ridge provokingly near the enemy's lines. Higher upon the same rise was McAlister's battery of twenty-four pound howitzers, and on the left could be heard at intervals an Iowa battery.
The long established form of opening the fight by a contest of sharpshooters and artillery was observed. For two hours nothing was to be heard but the loud thuds of cannon, with the relief of a sharp crack of rifles, and an occasional report of a musket, which in the distance could hardly be distinguished from a field piece. Major Cavender, of the Missouri First, sighted his twenty pound Parrott rifle guns. Two or three shots had been sent whizzing through the trees, when "clash" came a shot in front of the piece. Without moving a muscle the major completed his task, and bang! went a response. Bang went another from the sister-piece under the intrepid captain. A second was received from the fort, passing over the hill, exploding just in the rear, a third burst directly over head, and the combat was kept up with spirit. Dresser's battery poured out shell from his large howitzers in splendid style. The enemy held a slight advantage in position, and had the range with accuracy. The shells were falling fast around the batteries, doing however but little injury. A few minutes and a round shot passed over th» gun, and carried away the shoulder and part of the breast of artilleryman Bernhard of Richardson's battery, killing him almost instantly. The captain shifted his position three times during the morning, whenever the enemy got his range with too much accuracy.
On the extreme right Schwartz and Taylor were blazing away fearlessly. The ground between them and the intrenchments was nearly cleared of trees, and they could observe by the smoke the position of each other with accuracy. The firing from the batteries in McClernand's division was continuous. An attempt had been made by the enemy to capture Taylor's battery, which had been gallantly repulsed. The rebels had reached close upon the battery, and only an incessant shower of canister saved it from capture, the infantry not being formed in position to support it effectually. The Twentieth Illinois came up in time to drive the enemy into their works.
In the afternoon General McClernand determined to make a formidable assault of a redoubt of the enemy, fronting the centre of his right. The redoubt was the only one which could be distinctly seen, owing to timber and undergrowth. At this point the ground was for the most part void of large timber, the barren extending even beyond the road on the ridge which the Union troops passed. The batteries of this redoubt had a very perfect range, and gave the troops considerable uneasiness, by blazing away at them whenever they passed over the brow of the
• hill. Three regiments were detailed for the work—the Forty-eighth, Seventieth and Forty-ninth Illinois. They advanced in line of battle order, the Forty-ninth, Colonel Morrison, on the right, the Seventeenth, under command of Major Smith, in the centre, and the Fortyeighth, Colonel Hainley, on the left. Colonel Morrison, as senior Colonel, led the attack. The advance was a most beautiful one. With skirmishers arrayed in front, the three regiments swept down the hill, over a knoll, down a ravine, and up the high hill on which the redoubt was situated, some two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet
• in height, covered with brush and stumps, all the time receiving a galling fire of grape, shell and musketry, with a precision which would have done them credit on the parade ground. The breastworks were nearly reached, when Colonel Morrison, while gallantly leading his men, was struck by a musket ball. The captain of the company on his right was also killed, while the Forty-ninth fell into some confusion; but unappalled the Seventeenth still gallantly pressed forward and penetrated even to the very foot of the works. But it was not in the power of man to scale the abattis before them. Brush piled upon brush, with sharp points, fronted them wherever they turned; so, after a few interchanges of musketry with the swarming regiments concentrated there, the word for retiring was given. It was done in good order, by filing off to the left and obliqueing into the woods below; but many a gallant soldier was left behind underneath the intrenchments he had vainly sought to mount. They were not, however, destined to die unavenged. Scarcely, had their retiring columns got out of range, ere Taylor's Chicago battery opened on the swarming rebel masses with shell and shrapnell. The effect was fearful. Each gun was aimed by the captain himself, and when its black mouth belched out sudden thunder, winrows of dead men fell in its track.
While this heavy firing had been heard on the right, General Smith, had ordered the enemy to be engaged on the left. The Twenty-fifth Indiana, at the head of a brigade, led the way. They had reached a position on the brow of a hill where the successful assault was afterwards made, and were met by the enemy in force, who swarmed behind the works, pouring a deadly hail of bullets and grape into them. The leading regiment broke in disorder after sustaining a hot fire, and the whole line fell back out of range. The object of the sortie had been accomplished, and the enemy's forces drawn from the other side, but the advantage did not result, as might have been anticipated, in the occupation of the fort on the right by General McClernand.
Six companies of the famous regiment of riflemen, raised by Colonel Berge, accompanied the expedition from Fort Henry, and two companies afterwards arrived by the transports. This was a corps of picked men skilled in the use of the rifle, drawn from the Northwest.
These hardy pioneers started out in the morning, with a hard biscuit in their pocket and a rifle on their shoulder, for the rebel earthworks, where they remained until relieved by a fresh gang. So adventurous were they, that many of them crept within fifty yards of the rifle-pits and exchanged words as well as shots with the enemy.
One piece in front of Dresser's battery was kept in silence during the morning by the sharpshooters picking off their gunners. At last a shell from a Union battery, falling short, drove them away. One valiant southerner, to prove his bravery, jumped into the rampart to take aim; in an instant he was pierced by three balls, and fell out of the intrenchment, where he lay till nightfall.
The firing for the rest of the day was slow, and appeared Jby general consent to be abandoned. The Unionists seemed to have failed in every attempt on the fort. Wounded men were being brought in on stretchers; some limped along, supported by comrades, others staggered forward with bleeding hands and battered heads tied in handkerchiefs. The ambulances had brought in the maimed and seriously wounded. In the gray dusk of evening men came forth with spades to dig the graves of their fellow-soldiers, whose remains, stiffened in death, were lying under the pale stars.
Hardly had the camp-fires been kindled for the night when a drizzling shower set in, which soon turned into a steady fall of rain. The wind grew suddenly colder. The weather, hitherto so pleasant, was chilled in an hour to a wintry blast. Snow began to fall, and the mercury sank below freezing point.
Many of the soldiers had lost their overcoats and blankets during the day. Not a tent, except hospital tents, in the command. Provisions growing very scarce—the muddy, wet clothing freezing upon the chilled limbs of the hungry soldiers. It was a most comfortless night. Not five houses could be found within as many miles, and these were used as hospitals. Various expedients were devised to ward off the cold. Saplings were bent down and twigs interwoven into a shelter; leaves piled up made a kind of roof to keep off the snow. Large fires were kindled, and the men lay with their feet to the fire. The victims who perished of cold, exposure, hunger and neglect, on this night, will fill up a long page in the mortality record of that eventful siege.
On Friday, the conflict was maintained only by the pickets and sharpshooters, General Grant having concluded to await the arrival of additional forces, before assaulting the works.
Hitherto the investment had been made by the divisions of Generals McClernand and Smith, about ten thousand men each, including the cavalry and artillery. A third division had been sent up the Cumberland, and should, by reasonable calculation, have been opposite Fort Henry on Wednesday night. Here was Friday morning and no transports arrived. What could have befallen them? General L. Wallace, who had been left in command at Fort Henry, was summoned over, and arrived on Friday evening with two regiments of his brigade. Couriers were seen dashing along from the headquarters to the point where the boats were expected to land. About ten o'clock came the joyful intelligence that the gunboat fleet, with fifteen transports, had landed five miles below the fort. The troops from Fort Henry were pouring in, and close upon them came the troops from the boats. The men had heard something of the fighting, and moved up in splendid order, expecting to be marched directly into battle.
At about half past two o'clock the sound as of thunder, with long reverberations in the distance, told that the river guns had at last opened their mouths, and wero paying their compliments grandly to