Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fort Donelson, Feb 14, 1862

From Civil War Diary of Samuel K Cox, 17th Kentucky USA  /  Feb 14, 1862:
"When we reached the top of the hill on which we were to fight there was one continual volley of musketry for miles around.  I then began to think of the danger I was in and wished a thousand times that I was a home guard but consoled myself...that I was not the only great man in the fight and that they were as likely to be killed as myself.  We remained on the hill all day without firing a shot."
"I counted 667 shots from the Boats & Fort."*

This is the best description of the 17th's first day of action, being deployed under General Grant and his Army of the Tennessee.  After the Union gunboats were forced to withdraw from the impact of the fort's 12 heavy guns the Confederates declared a premature victory, but Grant was repositioning his men to the enemy's left to seal off their possible retreat.  The 17th was in the middle of this new right flank under command of Brig.Gen. Wallace (Cruft's Division) alongside the 25th KY, 31st IN and 44th IN from Calhoun.  They spent that night on the ground in the sleet and snow.  A "No Fires" order was in effect.

Eyewitnesses at the Battle of Fort Donelson, 1998
Compiled and edited by David R. Logsdon, Kettle Mills Press  ISBN 0-9626018-4-5

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