FORT DONELSON, TENNESSEE, Feb. 17, 1862.
I am again safe. My life is still prolonged. Let me hope it is for some good purpose. We have had a great battle, the fight lasting for three days, but you will hear of it, and the great result to flow out of it long before this reaches you.
I commanded the Fourth brigade of the Second division, and my command made their mark. * * * Poor Jack Slaymaker was killed, gallantly leading his men to the charge on the last day — indeed, the only day the Second were in the engagement. Capt. Cloutman fell, also bravely doing his duty. Harry [Doolittle] was wounded very severely, but the surgeons say he will recover. I left my command to see him and poor Jack last evening. I have ordered Jack's remains to be properly cared for, to send home to his parents, and will see that it is done properly, although my time is so occupied I have scarcely time to write this note, nor do I know when or how it will leave here. I am now in command of Fort Donelson, and my brigade are quartered in the fortifications. We will be ordered forward soon, I hope, and I sincerely trust our success will be the harbinger of a speedy close of the horrid rebellion. I received your two letters just before we were ordered into action, and I had to laugh over your congratulations at my good quarters in Smithland, when for two nights I had been camped under a tree, and it raining and snowing on me, without a tent. But my health is improving. My cold under which I have been suffering is getting better, and I am able to endure a great deal of hardship.
Gen. Smith (Paducah Smith) is a good soldier. The reputation of the Iowa Seventh is as bright as ever, although their loss is trifling. The state may well be proud of their troops.
I lost all of my bedding yesterday, and doubt very much if I find it again. We marched out of camp leaving everything behind, and our friends helped themselves. I will look after Harry — I think he will do well. Dr. Marsh says the wound in his stomach did not penetrate far enough to do any serious injury. I trust this may be so. He is in good spirits, and bore his flag like a hero. Love to all. Good bye.
J. G. Lauman.
SOURCES: Army Service Schools Press, Donelson Campaign Sources Supplementing Volume 7 Of The Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies In The War Of The Rebellion, p. 160-1; Samuel H. M. Byers, Iowa In War Times, p. 104-5