Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

bombardment commences. The roads are cut up terribly. The artillery mires down upon the hills; the Seventh lifts them out. We are now away on the Tennessee bluffs. Looking up the river we see a smoke; we hear a sullen roar.

What means it It is a smoke and a roar from the gun-boat Essex. The ball is now open. In quick succession the mad machines of war give vent to their deathdealing elements. The troops seem eager for the fray, but it is evident the way the artillery is miring down, that it will only be a naval battle. Shot and shell, like living monsters, are now flying over and into Fort Henry. Moving on, the imposing scene is lost to our view ; but like the rumble and roar of distant thunder, the echoes roll over the bluffs and cliffs of the Tennessee. All day we keep winding around through the woods, seeking to get to the rear of the Fort. Towards evening a inessenger comes riding back and his voice rings out, “Fort Henry's flag is down and the rebels are flying.” It being imposible for the advanced troops to get to the rear in time to cut off the retreat, they now move up and take possession of the works. We go into camp in the woods one mile from the rebel works. Having been: ordered to leave our knapsacks with the wagons this. morning, we have in consequence no blankets nor overcoats to-night. It is cold. The soldiers are suffering; a bleak winter wind is blowing around them, but a rebel flag went down to-day, and the soldiers' hearts are glad, glad because in its stead floats the old Union's loved banner.

Friday, 7th.--This morning the soldiers stand in groups, shivering around the camp fires. A chilling north wind whistles fiercely through these forests of pine. Last night an accident happened Company I, by the falling of part of a tree, wounding Captain Mendell, First Sergeant John E. Sullivan, and Sergeant Luke Norton. The latter's arm was broken; the Captain is hurt very badly, but we hope not seriously, for we will need the Captain in the coming battles. We move camp to-day inside the fortifications. Loud huzzas rend the air as the soldiers behold the old flag waving over the Fort. Our quarters to-night are close by the Fort in rebel barracks. We now have our blankets and overcoats. The cold winds do not reach us; we are comfortable and happy.

Saturday, 8th. This morning we are still at the Fort. This place looks as though it had passed through a terrible storm. We will now take a stroll over the works. They have been furrowed by sweeping shell. Dark and wild must have been the storm around here, ere the flag was lowered. It seems as though nothing of human construction could have survived it. Thirty remained at the guns. We walk a little farther, and oh! what a spectral sight! What a mangled mass, what a dark picture! They are fallen rebel soldiers. The thirty who remained in the Fort and worked the guns in those hours of darkness, have been excavated from the rubbish. It is sad to think how they fell; how they died fighting against the old flag—against the

country which fostered their fathers and them in the lap of human freedom. I will turn from this scene; it is too heart rending. I will wend my way to the bivouac fires. This evening the few captives of Fort Henry are forwarded to Cairo. Among the number are General Tighlman and his Assistant Adjutant General.

Sunday, 9th.—This morning troops are landing. Everywhere around Fort Henry, inside and outside the fortifications, the camp fires are burn

ing About twenty thousand troops throng the I woods. General Grant is evidently preparing for some great work.

Monday and Tuesday, 10th and 11th.--Troops are landing all the while, from Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The great northwest seem to be flocking in. The Seventh move their camp back in the woods and pitch their tents on high ground. We are more comfortable now; not so much crowded. We are out where the free winds blow. It is rumored that General Grant designs moving upon the rebels in their stronghold at Fort Donelson. We may ad

Ere another sun shall have been far on its journey, the army perhåps will be tramping, and while it is drifting on its path, may the God of heaven who smiled upon Europe's great battle fields, smile upon the army of the Republic as she flings her banners to the wind and battles for the world's last hope, for liberty, fidelity, and truth.

Vance soon.

CHAPTER IV.

[ocr errors]

Our March to Fort Donelson-The Battle of Fort Donelson

The Surrender-Our Losses-Our Camp at Clarksville-Our Trip up the Cumberland to Nashville-Return to ClarksvilleDescending the Cumberland - Ascending the Tennessee-The Fleet-Landing at Pittsburg Landing-Our Camp there-Rumors of the Enemy's Advance.

Wednesday Morning, 12th.—There is a clear blue sky over head. Aids and orderlies are moving hither and thither; drums are beating and bugles are blowing as if to say, “Up boys and be ready, for Grant is on his restless steed.” The army is soon in motion; the banners are fluttering, and pennons flying. We look away through the woods and behold their beautiful light streaming around stalwart men. It is early when our brigade (the 3d) commanded by our Colonel, “John Cook," moves from camp in the woods near Fort Henry. The Seventh at the appointed time takes up the line of march, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Babcock. The regiment is in fine spirits; the hearts of the men beat high. In their mind's eye they weave wreaths of fame. They seem to foresee themselves crowned with glory. But do they dream that they will see blood flow at their feet; that some of their number will go down in their glory ere the sun makes many more circuits around the world?

A great many regiments have moved on before us. At ten minutes past one o'clock we hear the report of

artillery. It comes from the gun-boats on the Cumberland. We move on briskly, and go into camp two miles from Fort Donelson. The siege of this rebel Gibralter has already commenced. The gunboats keep muttering. Echoes come from the river like echoes from wrathful thunder. But by and by the regiment falls asleep on their bed of leaves, and all night long we hear in our dreams the bolts of war, and behold the surge of men in terrible battle.

Thursday, 13th.—This is a beautiful still morning, though its stillness is occasionally interrupted by the heavy cannonading on the Cumberland. After hastily eating our breakfast, we are ordered into line.

Soon Colonel Babcock gives the command "forward !” Going a short distance we are ordered to “halt!” “unsling knapsacks!" "draw overcoats !" We throw them in the fence corners, and move forward on double-quick time. Soon we are in the fray. While marching over a hill and down towards a ravine, the Seventh encounters a masked battery. It is our first encounter-our initiation. But oh, how fierce! we are only seventy-five yards from the battery's wrathful front. Grape and canister fall thick and fast. There is a little hesitation, but with their gallant Colonel and enthusiastic Major, the men stand the tempest. Colonel Babcock, with his quick perception, discovers at once the situation of his regiment, and with the ready aid of Major Rowett, succeeds in making a flank movement, paseing from the rebel battery's immediate front to a more congenial locality. In this, our first engage

« ZurückWeiter »