Page images
PDF
EPUB

fort from morning until night on that day. About from Seward to Garrison. They all, from Lincoln six thousand men remained with General Buck to the lowest minion, hated, with a venomous haner, and he surrendered these with the fort on tred, John B. Floyd. Therefore he could not surSunday, the 16th of February. Our loss in killed, render. To that noble old man it would have wounded, and missing was not more than one been too deep a humiliation. Had he surrenthousand. The loss of the enemy was immense; dered, the vile Northern rabble would have hooted it could not have been less than six thousand in and howled at his heels, from the Ohio to the St. killed and wounded. The ground on the slope in Lawrence. He would have been hawked at by front of the rifle pits was literally covered with the Yankee owls in every city and village through his dead and dying. Never were troops handled which he passed. Therefore General Floyd better than ours were at Fort Donelson. Never “ could not surrender.” Did he do wrong, then, did men fight with greater resolution. The force in leaving Fort Donelson, and saving all that he brought against them was immensely superior in could of the garrison? I think not. He did men and munitions of war, and for three days they right in saving a part, if he could not save the held out, fighting each day fresh troops, and re-whole. He was willing to make the effort to pulsing them with terrible slaughter." That the save all, but in this he was opposed; he then did victory was not ours is not the fault of those who the next best thing, he saved all he could. It fought on that ensanguined field. Had five was said by one high in authority, that he could thousand fresh troops arrived on Saturday even not understand how seven thousand men could ing the victory would have been ours.

surrender with arms in their hands. How, then, I now desire to state a few facts in relation to could it be conceived that twelve thousand men the surrender, not for the purpose of doing any could surrender with arms in their hands, which injustice to the living, but to do justice to the would have been the case had General Floyd redead. In stating these facts I do not wish to mained at Fort Donelson. draw any invidious distinction between the troops When it was known on the march from Murfrom the different States who fought at Fort freesboro’ to Decatur that the President had susDonelson. They all fought well, and they all de- pended General Floyd for the part he took at serve well of their country. As long as success Fort Donelson, a feeling of regret pervaded the seemed possible, the different State troops vied army. It was supposed that his suspension would with each other in bravery and gallantry. "When be of short duration. Men of common sense success seemed impossible, then murmurs were could not see wherein he had done wrong. He heard, and there was dissatisfaction expressed at had the sympathies of the whole army, and all the non-arrival of reënforcements. When the hoped that he would soon be reinstated by the question was mooted, whether the garrison “fall President. But he never was. He was too proud back" or surrender, loud disclaimers were heard against the former. It was said, “ Are we to leave

"To bow the supple hinges of the knee

That thrift might follow fawning," our homes and families, and fall back fighting for other States ? No; we have fought enough; we and he went down to the grave with the censure will surrender and go home.”

of the President upon him. What a pity it could The troops that fought at Fort Donelson were not have been otherwise! General Buckner was volunteers, many of them “ home guards," who promoted for the part he acted at Fort Donelson, had left their homes, as they thought, to fight at and he deserved it. General Pillow was reinFort Donelson, and then go home. They had no stated in his command, but General Floyd was idea, if unsuccessful there, to “ fall back" and left to go down to the grave with this foul censure fight indefinitely. These men fought bravely as clinging to him to the last. Why was this? Did long as there was a show of victory; but when the good of the cause require that it should be the dark hour came, and the question was surren- so? Let us suppose that, in refusing to surren. der or fall back, they preferred the former. There der at Fort Donelson, he committed a wrong. were many such at Fort Donelson. It was said Did the good of the country require that he that these men had some weight in influencing should never be forgiven? If General Floyd General Buckner to remain. If true, it is no ar-committed a wrong, General Pillow was guilty of gument against his humanity, honor, or patriotism. a like offence. General Pillow was reinstated in On the contrary, he deserves credit for remaining his command. Why was not the same justice with his men, to share their fortunes, good or rendered towards General Floyd? The writer of evil. There was another class of men at Fort this is a friend and ardent admirer of President Donelson, who were not from any particular State, Davis. He has full confidence in his patriotism, but from all the States there represented, who integrity, and ability; but he is constrained to say had determined never to surrender - who pre- that the old patriot, who has gone down to his ferred death to surrender. The head and front grave, was wronged at his hands. A more patri. of this class was General Floyd. When he said, otic man than John B. Floyd did not live in the “I cannot surrender," there was a deep meaning limits of this Confederacy. He was brave and in it. He had been Secretary of War under the able, honest and sagacious, kind and courteous Buchanan administration. He had sent the arms to those under him, and one of the truest men I belonging to the Government South, and the ever knew. Those who served under him at Fort whole North howled like demons over it. He Donelson, who saw him sharing the dangers and had been denounced by the whole abolition tribe, perils of his men, his face and breast bared to the

[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

whole North howled like demons over it. He Donelson, who saw him sharing the dangers and had been denounced by the whole abolition tribe, perils of his men, his face and breast bared to the

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »