Sunday, March 18, 2012

Battle of Fort Donelson

Official Report of Col. Lauman.


FORT DONELSON, Feb. 18th, 1862.

GENERAL – I have the honor to report the following movements of the 4th Brigade 2nd Division.

We left fort Henry on the morning of the 12th inst., arriving near Fort Donelson the same evening.  Immediately on our arrival I received your order to move the 7th Iowa Infantry to the front to support a battery of Major Cavender’s 20 pounder Rifle Parrott guns, which were placed in a position to command a portion of the rebel works.  I obtained permission from you to associate the Regiment of Birge’s Sharp’s Shooters in the movement, and placed the two regiments in position where they remained during the night.

In accordance with order, on the morning of Thursday the 13th inst., I moved the left wing of my brigade, consisting of the 14th Iowa, Col. Shaw, and 25th Indiana, Col. Veatch, from their encampment towards the enemy, who were entrenched about a mile distant therefrom.

The advance was made steadily and in as good order as the nature of the ground would admit of, until we reached the ravine at the base of the hill on which where the enemy’s fortifications – Here we halted, until the line could be formed, when the 25th Indiana under Col. Veatch, moved steadily up the hill towards the entrenchments under a most galling fire of musketry and grape until their onward progress was obstructed by the fallen timber and brush wood.  Having, however, succeeded in obtaining an advantageous position they held it unflinchingly for more than two hours and until ordered to fall back out of the range of the enemy’s fire.  The loss of this regiment in killed and wounded was very severe.  The 14th Iowa advanced at the same time, and took position on the right and across the ravine and did good execution.  Whilst these two regiments were taking the above positions the 7th Iowa Infantry under Lieut. Col. Parrott, came up in fine style and took position in the centre, between the 25th Indiana and then 14th Iowa.

The 1st Regiment Sharp Shooters, Western Division, Lieut. Col. B. S. Compton, were posted on the hill to the extreme right, except a detachment of about sixty, who were deployed as skirmishers, and rendered most effective service in that capacity and proving by their deadly aim that they are a most valuable arm of the service.  We held this position until night when we fell back to the position occupied in the morning.  On the following day we remained in camp skirmishing with the rebels during the day and night.

On Saturday the 15th inst. at about two o’clock, I received your order to advance with my whole brigade and assault the heights on the left of the position attacked by us on the previous Thursday.  The Brigade was promptly in motion in the following order.

The Second Iowa, Col. Tuttle, led the advance followed by the 52nd Indiana, (temporarily attached to my Brigade,) who were ordered to support them.  This regiment was followed closely by the 25th Indiana, the 7th Iowa and the Iowa 14th.  The Sharp Shooters were previously deployed as skirmishers on our extreme right and left.  Col. Tuttle led the left wing of his regiment in line of battle up the hill supported by the right wing advancing at a distance of about one hundred and fifty yards in the rear.  So soon as he came within range of the enemy’s fire he led his men forward without firing a gun up to and charged into the rebel works, driving the enemy before him and planting his colors on the fortifications.  He was closely followed by the other regiments in the order of advance before named.  The enemy were closely pursued and driven behind their upper works. – Night coming on, we held in the position we had gained, and remained under arms until morning intending at the dawn of day to recommence the attack.  In this engagement the 2nd Iowa suffered terrible.  Captains Slaymaker and Cloutman fell just as they entered the enemy’s fortifications.  Cloutman was instantly killed and Slaymaker died gallantly shouting to his men to go forward and consummate the work.

In the morning, as day dawned we were attracted to the inner fortifications by the sound of a bugle and saw the rebels displaying a white flag.  In instantly dispatched Lieut. Col. Parrott to ascertain the intent of it.  Who reported that an officer wished to see me.  I repaired to the spot and received from him offers of capitulation, which I at once forwarded to you – the result is well known.

It would afford me much pleasure to particularize the various instances of personal bravery displayed on the occasion by officers under my command, but when all behaved so well, it would be invidious to particularize, but I cannot refrain from mentioning, in this connection, the bravery of Col. Tuttle, Lieut. Col. Baker, and Major Chipman, (who received a severe wound in the thigh) of the Iowa Second, Col. Veatch and Lieut. Col. Morgan, of the Indiana 25th and Col. Shaw, of the Iowa 14th, also Lieut. Col. Parrott and Major Rice, who led the Iowa 7th and to whom I return my warmest acknowledgements foe the gallant manner in which they led their regiment in the engagement on the 13th and 15th.  They did all that men possibly could do, and well sustained the reputation of the Iowa 17th.

For the kindness, attention and skill manifested by the Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons towards the unfortunate wounded for so many consecutive hours, I return my most sincere thanks.

The total loss in killed and wounded, is as follows:

Second Regiment Iowa Infantry Volunteers
Killed,                                                         41
Wounded,                                                 157
Total,                                                         198

25th Reg’t. Indian Infantry Volunteers
Killed,                                                         14
Wounded,                                                 101
Total                                                          115

Seventh Reg’t Iowa Infantry Volunteers
Killed,                                                           2
Wounded,                                                   37
Total                                                            39

14th Reg’t Iowa Infantry Volunteers
Killed,                                                           3
Wounded,                                                   23
Total                                                            26

Birge’s Sharp Shooters
Killed,                                                           1
Wounded,                                                     3
Missing,                                                        1
Total,                                                             5

Killed,                                                         61
Wounded,                                                 621
Missing                                                         1
Total                                                          383

I herewith append the report of the Colonels of the Regiments attached to my Brigade, to which I invite your particular attention.  With Sentiments of high regard,

I remain respectfully,
Your ob’t servant,

Col. Com’ng. 4th Brig. 2d Division

To Brig. Gen. C. F. Smith
Commanding Second Division

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 1, 1862, p. 1

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