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integrity and sagacity, placed himself upon a firm footing. Prior to the outbreak of the war he took a deep interest in our citizen soldiery, and on the formation of the Chicago Highland Guards, a Scotch company, he was elected its first lieutenant and soon after captain. When the war broke out he sprang at once into the ranks and devoted himself heart and soul to the service of his adopted country. He was elected Lieut.-Colonel of the Washington Independent Regiment, of which the Highland Guards formed a part, and a few weeks later was elected Colonel of the 12th Illinois regiment. When the troubles commenced in Kentucky, he was stationed with his regiment at Paducah, and from thence was ordered to Fort Henry. At Fort Donelson he was an acting Brigadier, and in that terrible conflict displayed such bravery and coolness as to win his commission. At Shiloh he displayed the same bravery, and was wounded by a ball which passed through his foot, disabling him for more than a month, at the expiration of which time he again joined his brigade in the army of the Tennessee, under General Grant. Since that time he has been almost constantly in the service, without rest or cessation, and has gained for himself an enviable name for all the qualities which should distinguish the model soldier.
CAMPAIGNS OF THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.
Reorganization Of The Army Of The Cumberland—Second Attack On Fort DonelSon—Gallant Defense By The 83d Illinois, Col. Harding—The Rebels Driven Off—Col. Colborn's Brigade Captured At Spring Hill—Defeat Of John Morgan At Milton—The 123d And 80th Illinois In The Fight—Splendid Conduct Of The 80th—Granger Attacked By Van Dorn—Defeat Of The Rebels At McminnsVille—Col. Streight's Expedition—The Roll Of Honor—Names Of Illinois Soldiers Distinguished For Bravery.
IN a preceding chapter we closed the operations of the Army of the Cumberland with the battle of Stone River, which took place on the last days of 1862 and the first of 1863. On the 5th of January, General Rosecrans established his headquarters at Murfreesboro. The army occupied a position in front of the town and a series of formidable earth-works, completely surrounding it, was thrown up to protect it as a base of future operations. On the 9th of January the army was re-organized into three corps, called the 14th, 20th and 21st, and commanded respectively by Generals Thomas, McCook and Crittenden. The collection of supplies occupied considerable time, being somewhat retarded by the rain and the operations of the enemy's cavalry, who were overrunning the country and often captured men and wagons. Many of the transports on the Cumberland River were also captured and burned by gangs of Forrest's and Wheeler's men.
On the 31st of January, General Jeff. C. Davis, at the head of a division of infantry and two brigades of cavalry, moved from camp on an expedition in the direction of Rome and Franklin, and was absent thirteen days, visiting various places, and returned with one hundred and forty-one prisoners.
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On the 3d of February an attack was made on Fort Donelson, in another part of the department. On the 2d, the rebel General Forrest, at the head of a large force, had taken a position at Palmyra for the purpose of interrupting the navigation of the Cumberland, and on the next day he advanced upon the fort both from above and below. The garrison consisted of nine companies of the 83d Illinois, under Col. Harding, a battalion of the 5th Iowa cavalry, Flood's battery, and some wounded men. The battery consisted of four rifled guns and one 32-pounder siege gun mounted on a pivot on the northwest corner of the fort. Col. Harding learning that the rebels were approaching, telegraphed to Col. Lowe, at Paducah, and asked for rein forcemeats. That officer sent word back for Col. Harding to send out scouts and ascertain the exact force of the rebels. This was done. Col. Lowe had nearly all his available force out on scouting expeditions and could not send aid, but learning that the gunboats were coming up the river, he sent word to them of the condition of affairs at Fort Donelson, and telegraphed Col. Harding to hold the place at all hazards, until dark, when help would come. The Colonel promised to do as ordered; with what success, the sequel £hows. The rebels made their appearance at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and attacked the fort from the eastward, thinking that the weakest point. The rebel batteries were well placed and poured in a hot fire, which was followed up by several unsuccessful charges upon the works by the infantry and dismounted cavalry, with the intention of carrying them at the point of the bayonet. Ammunition within the fort was scarce, and under Col. Harding's orders hia riflemen fired slowly and deliberately, so that each shot was effective. Flood's battery had to be used as a siege battery or series of batteries, as occasion offered, and was worked with most consummate skill. It was the first fight of the 83d, but they stood like veterans,, and every shot told with fatal effect upon the thick ranks of the^ assailants. The fight continued for six hours with small loss to the 83d. Col. Harding was everywhere encouraging and sustaining his men. Wherever the fight was most severe or the danger most imminent, there he was, sword in hand, advising, commanding and! urging on his men.
But the rebel force was overpowering, and Col. Harding knew ho could not continue the fight much longer. Nearly all his ammuni tion was exhausted and his men were worn out with fatigue, x Night had come and the battle was still raging but there were no signs of reinforcements. Thus far the enemy had been unable to surround the fort on its three "sides unprotected by the river, but now an exultant shout arose. The rebels had completely encircled the fort, and a flag of truce was sent in from General Wheeler demanding the surrender of the fort. Col. Harding sent back an indignant refusal and the battle was renewed with double fury. The rebels charged again and again upon the works, but were each time met and repulsed with the deadly fire of our riflemen or their no less deadly bayonets. The 32-pounder siege gun annoyed the rebels with its fearful fire. A second flag of truce was sent in and rejected, and the rebels then concentrated their efforts to capture the gun. A charge was made, joined in by several mounted men, upon the piece. The gunners discovering the object of the rebels, had double-shotted it with grape and canister. A large force was moving swiftly to the south side of the gun, intending to flank it, get on its rear and cut off the gunners. The assailants advanced and were on the point of seizing it, when the gunners rapidly swung it round and poured its contents full into the faces of the rebels. The havoc was dreadful and the assailing party fled precipitately, and the attempt to capture the gun was not renewed.
Help was now near at hand. The gunboats were heard coming up the river, and at 8 o'clock in the evening Capt. Fitch, with his fleet appeared before the astounded enemy. After the arrival of the reinforcements, Col. Harding ordered his men to cease firing and gather into a protected position out of the reach of the shot and shell from the gunboats. The naval force was divided, half the fleet going above and the other below. The first gun was fired from the Fairplay, which opened with grape and shrapnel. The Lexington followed, with her heavier metal, and the Brilliant, Silver Lake and Robb followed. The St. Clair took an excellent position and did fearful execution. At the opening of the gunboat cannonade the rebel force was formed with the mass of its body below the fort, the right upon the graveyard at the top of the hill, and the left upon the river bank ready to make the final attack upon the fort, which
THE EIGHTY-THIED. 499
they imagined was to secure victory. The firing of the gunboats, however, disconcerted their plans, and soon after the boats opened they broke ranks and fled in confusion. In twenty minutes after the fleet opened fire there was not an uninjured rebel to be seen.
This, as we have stated, was the first fight of the 83d, and most gallantly they bore themselves. For half a day, with a few rounds of ammunition, they sustained their position against great odds and contemptuously refused the rebel demands for surrender. Few regiments in the service have made a more gallant fight. Their loss was only thirteen killed, fifty-one wounded and twenty taken prisoners, while the rebel loss was two hundred and fifty killed, six hundred wounded and one hundred and five prisoners.
After this battle a period of inactivity ensued, which was broken by the defeat and capture of a Federal brigade at Spring Hill on the 5th of March. On the 4th, an expedition under the command of Col. John Colburn, consisting of part of the 33d and 85th Indiana, 22d Wisconsin and 19th Michigan, numbering 1,589 men, together with the 124th Ohio, six hundred cavalry and one battery of six small guns, was ordered to proceed from Franklin to Spring Hill. After skirmishing, they were attacked on the morning of the 5th by a large force under Yan Dorn and Forrest, and a severe struggle ensued which was protracted until Forrest obtained a position in the rear, cutting off retreat, when Col. Colburn, finding his ammunition failing, surrendered.
Meanwhile General Sheridan, with his division, and Col. Minty, with a force of 800 cavalry, made a successful expedition. A portion of the force which had captured Col. Colburn was overtaken and driven from the field, and the force of Van Dorn was followed to Duck River when the expedition returned to Franklin.
On the 18th of March, an expedition consisting of the 105th Ohio 101st Indiana, 80th Illinois, Col. Allen, 123d Illinois, Col. Monroe, forty men of Stoke's Tennessee Cavalry, and two sections of the 19th Indiana battery, numbering about 1,400 men, under command of Col. A. S. Hall, left Murfreesboro and moved in the direction of Liberty. That night Gainesville was occupied, and on the next morning an advance was made, when a slight skirmish ensued. The enemy slowly retired, followed by Col. Hall, until they were over