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Re: [civilwarwest] Battle of Fort Donelson

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  • Dick Weeks
    As most of you know I do not get involved in as many of these discussions as I would like to simply because of time constraints. However, when time allows I do
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2009

      As most of you know I do not get involved in as many of these discussions as I would like to simply because of time constraints. However, when time allows I do enjoy researching some of the questions that come up. The question about whether or not the entire command at Fort Donelson could have escaped as Forrest did with his command I found to be very interesting and wanted to look into it further.  In doing a little research I found the following in Forrest's report on the action.  The OR is dated February, 1862: 

      ". . . .The enemy could not have reinvested their former position without traveling a considerable distance and camped upon the dead and dying, as there had been great slaughter upon that portion of the field, and I am clearly of the opinion that two-thirds of our army could have marched out without loss, and that, had we continued the fight the next day, we should have gained a glorious victory, as our troops were in fine spirits: believing we had whipped them, and the roads through which we came were open as late as 8 o'clock Sunday morning, as many of my men, who came out afterwards, report. . . ."

      However, in Pillow’s OR  there was an inclosure of a statement by Forrest dated March 15, 1862 where he said:

      ". . . .I marched out the remainder of my command, with Captain Porter's artillery horses, and about 200 men of different commands up the river road and across the overflow, which I found to be about saddle-skirt deep. The weather was intensely cold; a great many of the men were already frost-bitten, and it was the opinion of the generals that the infantry could not have passed through the water and have survived it. . . ."

      This statement does not seem to infer that Forrest had changed his mind but seemed to be a way of providing cover for the commanders for not evacuating the entire command.  For my own opinion, I tend to agree that infantry could not have made that march without losing a lot of men to the severe cold.

      I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
      Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
      http://www.civilwarhome.com
    • Carl Williams
      Thanks, Shotgun, he does say the generals had the opinion it should not be tried. I m guessing if it was up to Forrest he would have tried to pull it off.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 3, 2009
        Thanks, Shotgun, he does say "the generals" had the opinion it should
        not be tried. I'm guessing if it was up to Forrest he would have tried
        to pull it off. Perhaps it should have been tried.

        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Dick Weeks" <shotgun@...> wrote:
        >
        > As most of you know I do not get involved in as many of these
        discussions as I would like to simply because of time constraints.
        However, when time allows I do enjoy researching some of the questions
        that come up. The question about whether or not the entire command at
        Fort Donelson could have escaped as Forrest did with his command I
        found to be very interesting and wanted to look into it further. In
        doing a little research I found the following in Forrest's report on
        the action. The OR is dated February, 1862:
        >
        > ". . . .The enemy could not have reinvested their former position
        without traveling a considerable distance and camped upon the dead and
        dying, as there had been great slaughter upon that portion of the
        field, and I am clearly of the opinion that two-thirds of our army
        could have marched out without loss, and that, had we continued the
        fight the next day, we should have gained a glorious victory, as our
        troops were in fine spirits: believing we had whipped them, and the
        roads through which we came were open as late as 8 o'clock Sunday
        morning, as many of my men, who came out afterwards, report. . . ."
        >
        > However, in Pillow's OR there was an inclosure of a statement by
        Forrest dated March 15, 1862 where he said:
        >
        > ". . . .I marched out the remainder of my command, with Captain
        Porter's artillery horses, and about 200 men of different commands up
        the river road and across the overflow, which I found to be about
        saddle-skirt deep. The weather was intensely cold; a great many of the
        men were already frost-bitten, and it was the opinion of the generals
        that the infantry could not have passed through the water and have
        survived it. . . ."
        >
        > This statement does not seem to infer that Forrest had changed his
        mind but seemed to be a way of providing cover for the commanders for
        not evacuating the entire command. For my own opinion, I tend to
        agree that infantry could not have made that march without losing a
        lot of men to the severe cold.
        >
        > I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
        > Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
        > http://www.civilwarhome.com
        >
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