Today in History:

31 Series I Volume VII- Serial 7 - Ft. Henry-Ft. Donelson


Meantime the enemy had occupied the main ridge to a point nearly opposite the right of my position, and opened a heavy fire on my reserve, which was returned with good effect. In order more effectually to prevent his attempt to outflank me I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Monroe, of the Twenty-second Kentucky, with 120 of his own and the Fourteenth Regiment, two cross the creek a short distance below the point I occupied, and drive back the enemy from his position. This he did in gallant style, killing 15 or 20. Inch by inch the enemy, with more than three times our number, were driven up the steep ridge nearest the creek by Colonel Cranor and Major Pardee.

At 4 o'clock the re-enforcement under Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, of the Forty-second Ohio, came in sight, which enabled me to send forward the remainder of my reserve, under Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, to pass around to the right and endeavor to capture the enemy's guns, which he had been using against us for three hours, but without effect. During the fight he had fired 30 rounds form his guns, but they were badly served, as only one of his shells exploded, and none of his shot, not even his canister, took effect. At 4.30 he ordered a retreat. My men drove him down the slopes of the hills, and at 5 o'clock he had been driven from every point. Many of my men had fired 30 rounds. It was growing dark, and I deemed it unsafe to pursue him, lest my men on the different hills should fire on each other in the darkness. The firing had scarcely ceased when a brilliant light streamed up from the valley to which the enemy had retreated. He was burning his stores and fleeing in great disorder. Twenty-five of his dead were left on the field, and 60 more were found next day thrown into a forge in the hills. He has acknowledged 125 killed and a still larger number wounded. A field officer and 2 captain were found among the dead. Out loss was 1 killed and 20 wounded, 2 of whom have since died. We too 25 prisoners, among whom was a rebel captain. Not more than 900 of my force were actually engaged, and the enemy had not less than 3,500 men.

Special mention would be invidious when almost every officer and man did his duty. A majority of them fought for five hours without cessation. The cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, did not reach me until the next morning, when I started them in pursuit. They followed 6 miles and took a few prisoners, but, their provisions being exhausted, they returned. A few howitzers would have added greatly to our success.

On the 11th I crossed the river and occupied Prestonburg. The place was almost deserted. I took several horses, 18 boxes quartermaster's stores, and 25 flint-lock muskets. I found the whole community in the vicinity of prestonburg had been stripped of everything like supplies for an army. I couldn't find enough forage for my horses for over one day, and so sent them back to Paintsville. I had ordered the first boat that arrived at Paintsville to push on up to Prestonburg, but I found it would be impossible to bring up our tents and supplies until move provisions could be brought up the river. I therefore moved down to this place on the 12th and 13th, bringing my sick and foot-sore men on boats.

I am hurrying our supplies up to this point. The marches over these exceedingly bad rods and the night exposures have been borne with great cheerfulness by my men, but they are greatly in need of rest and good care.

I cannot close this communication without making honorable mention of Lieutenant J. D. Stubbs, quartermaster of the Forty-second Ohio, and senior quartermaster of the brigade. He has pushed forward the transportation