War on Two Fronts: Shiloh to Gettysburg

By John Cannan | Go to book overview

H.L. BEDFORD


The Defense of Fort Donelson

Following the swift capitulation of Fort Henry, Grant and Foote believed the use of gunboats against the fortifications at Fort Donelson might lead to the surrender of that position as well. As Grant's troops began sealing off the garrison from escape by land, the naval war vessels attempted to bombard the fort's guns at close range on 14 February. The move met with disappointing failure as two ships were disabled and another heavily damaged. Foote was injured with a wound that would eventually kill him. An instructor of artillery at the fort, H.L. Bedford witnessed the repulse of the Federal flotilla and recounted his experiences in an address which was originally published in the Southern Society Historical Papers.

The operations of the army at this place having proved disastrous to the Confederate cause, it has been condemned as a strategic point, and no one seems particularly anxious to acknowledge the responsibility of its selection. It was the general impression at the Fort that its location had been ordered by the Tennessee authorities as being the most eligible point on the Cumberland River, in close proximity to Fort Henry on the Tennessee. The original intention evidently was the obstruction of the Cumberland. The engineer in charge, Lieutenant Dixon, while tracing the outlines of the earthworks, never dreamed that a persistent stand against an invading army would ever be attempted, and I feel warranted in suggesting that General A.S. Johnston regarded it simply as a protection to his rear.

When I received orders in October, 1861, to report there as Instructor of Artillery, Colonel E.W Munford, aide to General Johnston, informed me that he was instructed by his chief to impress upon me that the Cumberland river cut his rear, and the occupation of Bowling Green was dependent upon the proper guarding of that stream. If, then, Fort

-18-

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War on Two Fronts: Shiloh to Gettysburg
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface to the Series 9
  • Chapter I - Fort Henry and Fort Donelson *
  • Gunboats on the Tennessee 13
  • The Defense of Fort Donelson 18
  • Fort Donelson Surrenders 27
  • Chapter II - Pea Ridge *
  • Bloody Arkansas 56
  • Chapter III - Shiloh *
  • U.S. Grant Shiloh 62
  • Shiloha Private's View 76
  • Behind Confederate Lines 89
  • Drummer Boy of Shiloh 103
  • Chapter IX - Kentucky Invaded *
  • The Iuka-Corinth Campaign 106
  • A Yankee in Mississippi 125
  • My Old Kentucky Home 135
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home 136
  • Chapter V - Vicksburg *
  • The Perryville Campaign 138
  • Charge of the First Tennessee at Perryville 161
  • On to Vicksburg.. 165
  • Champion Hills and Black River 178
  • Capturing Vicksburg 190
  • Treating the Wounded at Vicksburg 203
  • Chapter VI - Chancellorsville *
  • Hooker Takes Command 214
  • The Chancellorsville Campaign 222
  • Lee Triumphant 238
  • Routing the Yankees 271
  • Jackson's Mortal Wound 283
  • Misadventures in the Wilderness 292
  • Behind Confederate Lines 302
  • Chapter VII - The Road to Gettysburg *
  • Riding with J.E.B Stuart 310
  • On to Gettysburg 326
  • The Iron Brigade's Great Battle 330
  • Chapter VIII - The Second Day of Slaughter *
  • Gettysburgthe Second Day 342
  • The Stand of the 20th Maine 357
  • Until God Stopped Them.. 365
  • Both Sides Were Whipped .. 371
  • On the Attack against Sickles 375
  • Under Fire 383
  • Chapter IX - Highwater Mark of the Confederacy *
  • In Pickett's Ranks 390
  • All This Has Been My Fault.. 395
  • Retreat from Gettysburg 401
  • The Girl I Left behind 411
  • When This Cruel War Is over 412
  • Sources 413
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