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CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON.
WE illustrate on the
preceding page a thrilling scene in the attack upon Fort Donelson, which took place on 14th, 15th, and 16th ult., the fort surrendering
General Grant on the morning of 16th. The victory was complete, resulting, as
it did, in the capture of 15,000 rebel troops, an immense amount of war
material, and the persons of Generals
A. S. Johnston and Buckner. General
Floyd sneaked off with his brigade of five thousand men on Saturday
night. A special
dispatch from Fort Donelson says:
The forces were about equal in
numbers, but the rebels had
all the advantage of position, being well fortified on two immense hills, with
their fort near the river on a lower piece of ground. From the foot of their
intrenchments rifle pits and abattis extended up the river behind the town of
Dover. Their fortifications on the
side back from the river were at least four miles in length. The water battery,
in the centre of the fortifications, where it came down to the river, mounted
nine heavy guns.
The rebels were sure of success. In any other cause, and against less brave
troops, they could easily have held the position against a hundred thousand men.
At daylight Saturday the enemy opened on the Eighteenth Illinois, when Colonel
Oglesby's brigade was soon engaged, and was soon followed by Wallace's and
M'Arthur's brigades, the latter acting under
General McClernand, as the position
of the troops had been changed during the night, and General Grant had been
called away during the night to the gun-boats. The movements of all the troops
except those attached to General M'Clernand's division were made without any
thing except general orders. At a suggestion from General M'Clernand,
Wallace sent up four regiments to support his division, who were nearly out of
From the commencement till near ten o'clock the fighting was terrific. The
troops on the right were disposed as follows: M'Arthur's brigade, composed of
the Ninth, Twelfth, Forty-first, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Illinois regiments;
next, General Oglesby's brigade, consisting of the Eighth, Thirteenth,
Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois regiments; Schwartz's and
Dresser's batteries; next was General Wallace's brigade of the Eleventh,
Twentieth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-eighth Illinois regiments. These three
brigades composed General M'Clernand's division, and bore the brunt of the
It was found that the enemy was concentrating his main force to turn our right,
which was done by our men getting out of ammunition, and in the confusion of
getting up reinforcements retreating about half a mile. As soon as the division,
which had stood its ground manfully for three hours, retired, the enemy occupied
the field, when General Grant ordered General Smith to move forward his division
and storm the enemy's works on our left.
This order was obeyed with great alacrity, and soon the cheers of our daring
soldiery were heard, and the old flag displayed from within the enemy's
General Grant then sent word to General M'Clernand and General Wallace that
General Smith was within the enemy's intrenchments, ordering their forces to
move forward and renew the attack on the right. One of General Wallace's
brigades-the Eleventh Indiana, Eighth Missouri, and some Ohio regiments—were
rapidly thrown into position, and company A, of the Chicago Light Artillery, was
planted in the road, and as the rebels, supposing we were in retreat, came
yelling out of their works into the road, the Chicago boys poured a hail—storm
of grape and canister into their ranks, slaughtering dozens of them.
Simultaneously with this the infantry commenced firing at will, and the rebels
went pell-mell back into their works, our men advancing and taking possession of
the ground lost, and a hill besides. Fresh troops, who had not been
in the action, were then
thrown forward, and as the shades of night drew on were in a strong
position to participate in a simultaneous attack to be made on Sunday morning.
Some of our best officers and men have gone to their long
home. Hardly a man that went over the field
after the battle but
discovered some comrade who had fallen.
We lost three lieutenant-colonels, and at least one-quarter of all the other
officers were wounded or killed.
During Saturday night a contraction of all our lines was made for a simultaneous
assault from every point, and orders were given by General Grant to take the
enemy at the point of the bayonet. Every man was at his post, the Fifty-seventh
Illinois on the extreme right.
At daylight the advance was made, and when the full
light of day broke forth
white flags were hung in many places on the enemy's works.
An officer at a convenient point was informed that they had stacked their arms
and surrendered early in the morning.
The following correspondence passed between the commanders :
GENERAL BUCKNER TO GENERAL GRANT.
February 18, 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 argue upon terms of capitulation of
the forces at this post under my command; in that view I suggest an armistice
until twelve o'clock to-day.
I am, very
respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Brigadier-General, C. S.
To Brigadier-General U.
S. Grant, commanding
United States forces near
GENERAL GRANT'S REPLY TO GENERAL BUCKNER.
HEAD-QUARTERS ON THE FIELD,
FORT DONELSON, February 16,
To General S. B.
SIR,—Yours of this date,
proposing an armistice and the
appointment of commissioners to
settle on the terms of
capitulation, is just
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,
GENERAL BUCKNER ACCEPTS
1862. Brigadier-General U. S. Grant, U. S. A.
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
unchivalrous terms which you propose. I am, Sir, your servant,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Brigadier-General C. S. A
Our force was soon in the enemy's
camp, when the rebel
officers gave up their swords.
Immediately on the receipt of the news of the capture of Fort Donelson by the
Secretary of War, he sent the name of General Grant to the President for
promotion to a Major-Generalship.
OUR ARMY IN KENTUCKY.
ON page 141 we give a couple of illustrations of the progress of the war in
Kentucky. One of them, from the pencil of our artist, Mr. H. Mosier, represents
GENERAL MITCHELL'S DIVISION CROSSING
GREEN RIVER ON 10TH OCTOBER. The strategic
movements of General Buell had already rendered the rebel stronghold at Bowling
Green untenable, and General Mitchell has by this time occupied it. General
Mitchell is the well-known astronomer; a soldier by education, his heart and
soul are in the war, and he will do his duty.
Our other illustration represents the CAMP OF
THE FOURTH KENTUCKY REGIMENT ON THE CUMBERLAND, lately occupied by the 17th
Tennessee under the late
General Zollicoffer. Mr. Oscar D. Kress, who sends us
the sketch, writes: "I send you a sketch of a portion of Zollicoffer's camp,
recently occupied by the 17th Tennessee Regiment (rebel), now held by the 4th
Kentucky (Union), commanded by
Colonel Speed S. Fry, who killed Zollicoffer at
the recent battle. We took possession of this camp on the 20th, the day after
the battle, the rebels flying during the night, leaving every thing behind
SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 1862.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END.
THE capture of Fort Donelson, with 15,000 men, including both the Generals
Buckner and Bushrod Johnston, is probably the culminating point in the struggle
between the United States Government and the malcontents. At the hour we write
General Buell, with 80,000 men, is pressing upon the Cumberland River; while
General Grant, with 50,000, and
Flag-officer Foote, with his gun-boat and mortar
fleet, are ascending the same stream from the bend at Dover. Rumor states that
the remnant of the garrison of Fort Donelson, with part of the Bowling Green
army, have taken refuge at Clarksville, and seem disposed to make a stand there.
If they do, they will inevitably share the fate of the army which has just
surrendered. The events of the past week have rendered its indisputable masters
of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, of
Nashville and all Northern Tennessee,
and of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. Wherever we meet the enemy we shall
be three to one, and by far superior to them in equipments, commissariat,
clothing, transportation, and arms.
The fate of
Columbus, Memphis, and consequently
New Orleans, is now sealed. It
is hardly probable that the right reverend
rebel Leonidas Polk will wait to be
caught in the trap he has built for himself at Columbus. If he does, we shall
by-and-by take him and all his force without firing a gun. If he evacuates his
present post, the rebels themselves admit that they can not defend any other
the Mississippi. One Union army of enormous strength will advance on
Memphis from Nashville, while another Union army under
Halleck's generals will
Price before them through Arkansas, and both will meet on the Mississippi
in time to co-operate with Flag-officer Foote's gun-boat and mortar-fleet.
Unless some unforeseen accident occurs the whole Mississippi will be ours, from
the Gulf to Cairo, by 15th March.
Burnside is cutting off the retreat of the Virginia army through
North Carolina, and making ready to take Norfolk. When he was at the mouth of
the Roanoke the people of Weldon fled from their houses.
Norfolk should be in
our possession as soon as Memphis.
Dupont and Sherman are moving against Savannah, and
Porter's fleet is on the way to Mobile and New Orleans.
Against such a combination of forces working together on such a plan, how long
can the rebellion last?
ABOLITION AND FREE TRADE.
THE latest foreign canard about this country is to the effect that the
Confederate envoys have offered to purchase the recognition of the Southern
Confederacy by granting to Europe absolute free trade for fifty years, and by
emancipation of every negro born at the South after the
recognition. British journals gravely discuss the proposal, and many of them
declare that it should be accepted. Some of our more malignant foes expatiate
upon the liberality of the proposed scheme of emancipation, and pronounce the
rebels in advance of the Government of the United States on the subject of
We hazard nothing, however, in asserting that no such proposal has been or will
be made. No Southern man at the present day believes that emancipation is
desirable or possible at any future time. Every leader of the rebellion has
placed himself on record in favor of the perpetual slavery of the negro race, as
their natural and normal condition, and as the only condition upon which the
white race can live side by side with the black. In the emphatic language of
Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens, the revolution of 1776 established the
right and the capacity of white men to govern themselves; the revolution of 1861
is to establish, for all future time, the inequality of the white and black
races, and the inalienable right of the former to the service of the latter.
Slavery is, in a word, the cause, end, and aim of the present rebellion. It was
begun to prevent the restriction of slavery within its present limits. It is
carried on to secure, protect, and extend slavery. If it had been successful, it
would have consolidated slavery and postponed emancipation for many generations.
To believe that any Southern envoys have proposed to surrender slavery for any
consideration whatever is to suppose them guilty of unnecessarily giving up the
only thing they
are fighting for, and yielding gratuitously the whole point at issue.
Thirty years ago there were consistent and conscientious emancipationists at the
South. Charles J. Faulkner, of Virginia, the rebel leader, was one of them. But
in those days cotton was an insignificant article of produce, and male adult
negroes were not worth over $300 in Virginia. Slaveholding was unprofitable.
Since then the extension of cotton culture, and a foreign demand for slave
produce, which has risen to the enormous figure of $225,000,000 per annum, have
completely crushed out the old sentiment of good Southern men on the subject of
slavery. Commerce has commanded the aid of religion and morals, and it is now
deemed both impious and disreputable in good Southern society to question the
propriety of slaveholding. If the culture of cotton were abandoned, or its
consumption checked, the old sentiments of Washington and Jefferson would revive
at the South, and schemes of emancipation would be mooted. But so long as cotton
is the staple product of the South, and the world is clothed with it, no
Southern man of any mark will venture to contemplate the
abolition of slavery,
and Southern clergymen and statesmen will expend their best efforts in
bolstering up the institution with texts from the Bible and moral apophthegms.
The Southern envoys are much more likely to propose to Europe to establish a
monarchical Government over their Confederacy, with a European Prince at its
head, than to admit the possibility of extinguishing slavery at any future
That Messrs. Yancey, Rost, Mann,
Mason, and Slidell may have talked about free
trade is quite likely. But, after all, what have they to offer in this
connection? When the Constitution of the United States was formed it was
supposed that the public revenue would be derived from direct taxation, and the
slaveholders were allowed votes for three-fifths of their slaves, on condition
of paying taxes in proportion. In the course of a few years it was discovered
that a well-contrived tariff of duties on foreign imports would, with the
proceeds of the sale of the public lands, provide revenue enough; and the idea
of direct taxation was abandoned—not to be revived till now. The Government
under which the
Southern States have prospered so wonderfully during the past
sixty years has been almost entirely supported by duties on imports levied at
three Northern ports—New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. The South may be said
never to have paid any taxes at all.
If, as an independent power, the rebels propose to dispense with customs duties
on imports, how are they to raise revenue? They have already tried one plan—an
export duty on cotton. Foreigners will tell them that this is worse than the
Morrill Tariff. It is literally making foreigners support their government. As
to direct taxes, they have never paid any yet, and when a direct tax on slaves
was hinted at in the South Carolina Convention, the member who made the
suggestion was silenced on the spot. In Alabama, about a year ago, a war tax was
imposed by the Legislature, but it was found impossible to collect it. It would
seem that foreigners, before committing themselves to the recognition of the
Southern Confederacy, would require some guarantee that its citizens would pay
direct taxes to support their Government. Without such a guarantee, a promise to
admit foreign goods free of duty for fifty or any other term of years would be
likely to be more honored in the breach than the observance. What guarantee
could the rebels offer?
We have never believed that foreigners would interfere in our contest if we
performed our part with vigor and determination. The British aristocracy would
like to see this country divided and ruined, because we are a rival to England,
and because the ruin of this republic would delay the progress of democracy in
England for many years. The class of people who are represented by the London
Times, the Morning Post, and the London Herald were evidently disappointed at
the pacific solution of the
Mason-Slidell affair. But there is a limit to the
capacity of these malignant enemies of the Union; and so long as France
continues to be guided by the grand principles of right and honor which have
always marked her foreign policy, that limit lies this side of war. It is not in
the power of the Southern envoys to offer any temptation to Europe which can
overcome the principles of France, or the fears and the necessities of England.
WHERE IS BURNSIDE?
ONE of the stories of the dark day at
Bull Run is, that when
McDowell came in
sight of the enemy's batteries, and saw that bloody work was at hand, he rose in
his saddle inquiringly and asked earnestly, "Where is Burnside?" as if
instinctively turning toward the man whom he knew to be a skilled soldier.
That day Burnside, with the Rhode Island line, the New York 71st, and the other
troops of his command, gave brave account of themselves. The months pass, and
the whole country, not a single General, asks earnestly "Where is Burnside?" And
from the roar of appalling wintry surges, from the thick smoke of sharp battle,
from the heart of
the enemy's country and the rear of his position, comes the quiet voice of the
leader, "Here, where I meant to be!"
The men he leads are men in earnest. They went to fight and to conquer. They
knew that the terrible chance of battle was for every one of them. But they knew
also that they were but the vanguard; that all were soldiers in this war whether
they had marched or were only waiting—that victory must be snatched from all
odds and from discomfiture itself—and the knowledge cleared the eyes that were
fixed upon success, and strengthened the hands that have hewn out the great
victory of Roanoke.
And now if you ask again "Where is Burnside?" the answer rings from the lips of
millions of grateful countrymen, "Fast in our hearts forever!"
FOOTE-ING UP THE REBEL ACCOUNT.
BUT while the South wind brings us the welcome music from Virginia, the West
wind is not less eloquent. The gallant
capture of Fort Henry by Foote's brave
little boats that "moved to within six hundred yards of the batteries"—the blaze
of victory that paled the stern resistance—the pressing forward of Phelps and
his men up the Tennessee into Alabama.—the welcome of the
old flag along the
shore, as if summer had come again: the summer of hope and security into those
hearts winter-bound with doubt—the enlistments of men —the offers of more—all
this is glad tidings. That gun-boat Canestoga pushing into the heart of the
rebel section seems like a firm ray of dawn piercing the night.
Before these words are read there must be news from Fort Donelson; from Price,
perhaps, and from how many more! If there shall be a great battle at Bowling
Green, or at any point, and the Western rebel army be signally defeated, the
Confederates can hardly help feeling the shock to the very heart of their
treason. They must begin to withdraw from Manassas-for why should they then
remain? Richmond will be directly threatened. The defeat in the West will clear
the rebels from the border States; the movements upon the sea-board will clear
Virginia; the active rebellion will be shut up in the Gulf States, and the
interfering hand of Europe will be stayed. Then Victory must be organized. Then
we shall have to look practically at the question, How can peace be made
Meanwhile the nation is beginning to feel its strength, as it has long known its
purpose. Conscious strength is itself an inspiration. The army of the nation
will be more invincible after every victory. It is alive and glowing along the
Pamlico Sound replies to the Tennessee:
"And Jura answers from her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps that call to her aloud
—Thus much was written before this Tuesday the 18th of February—when the glad
tidings came pouring in from the West. Let it stand. While the busy fingers of
the printers were picking up the type which were to tell of our hopes and
anticipations, the telegraph was clicking off the news that they had been more
than realized: In Kentucky, Bowling Green abandoned; in Missouri, Price in full
retreat, with our forces in hot pursuit; in Tennessee, Fort Donelson
surrendered. What a dispatch might not Grant have sent to
Washington: "We have
met the enemy, and they are ours. Four Generals, a score of Colonels, Majors and
Captains by the hundred, fifteen thousand men prisoners!" And now, as we write,
we hear the shouts of the newsboys announcing the capture of Savannah. We close
the paragraph not knowing whether the report is true, but our readers will know
before these words meet their eyes.
THE reports of and about the results of the labor of the Investigating Committee
in Congress, and the speeches of Mr. Dawes and Mr. Van Wyck, will hardly fail to
show the most sanguine man that our patriotism has not entirely purged the
nation of the deepest selfishness and the most threatening corruption. Party
hacks, whether orators or newspapers, will of course turn the facts to party
account. They will endeavor to make it appear that the corruption in the
management of contracts belongs peculiarly to the administration of the party
that is in power. And the endeavor will be partially successful when it is shown
that all those who have profited by the corruption belong to that party—but not
These revelations do not indicate a partisan but a national evil. The difficulty
did not begin with the war, but the war made it conspicuous by so greatly
increasing opportunity. The close observer of our national life for the last
twenty years must have asked himself constantly the question whether our mental
and moral education kept counteracting pace with the inevitable demoralization
of great prosperity. A commercial nation is always in danger of losing its
liberties, because it is willing to sell them for peace and high profits. Virtue
is in the old story and in universal experience the companion of poverty; and
the saints come out of the cottages, not the palaces.
The most dangerous symptom in our condition now, as for many years past, is the
want of a high moral tone. For the moment a nation which is ruled by its own
will loses faith in principles it is precisely in the condition of a man who
does the same thing. The Rule of Three and the law of gravity are whimsical
compared with the spiritual laws. Consequently, whenever that nation, whether
from ignorance of their value arising from long familiarity, or from that sodden
spiritual stupidity which springs from incessant devotion to personal advantage,
actually disbelieves in the fundamental laws; and, for the ostensible reason
that men and parties are equally knavish, but from the real reason that they
exclusively regard their immediate individual interest, connives at injustice.
in the laws and at moral sophistication, that nation is as certainly ruined as a
liar and a swindler who is at the same time a coward. (Next