James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
aggravated by physical discomfort. When they had left Fort Henry, the weather was warm and springlike; many of them had left blankets and overcoats behind; next day a driving north wind brought a storm of sleet and snow, which, continuing through two nights, tried the patience and endurance of the men, who were without tents and who could not risk fires because of the proximity of the enemy.
Cast down by the fall of Fort Henry, the Confederate generals were now elated at the repulse of the gunboats which had not cost them a single man or gun, but, after observing the arrival of reënforcements for Grant, they were satisfied that he would soon be able to beleaguer the fort completely, and that to save the garrison, they must cut their way through the besiegers and recover the road to Nashville. They determined to make the attempt early the next morning.
Extending beyond the earthwork of Fort Donelson was a winding line of intrenchments nearly two miles in length, protected at certain points with abatis. These intrenchments were occupied by the Confederates, whose total force was 21,000. At five oclock on the morning of February 15, they fell upon McClernand, who, after a stubborn resistance to superior numbers, was obliged to fall back in some confusion. The fugitives who crowded up the hill in the rear of Lew Wallaces line brought unmistakable signs of disaster. A mounted officer galloped down the road shouting We are cut to pieces.1 The Confederates had gained possession of the Nashville road, but were too broken and