862ai: Union Forces at the Siege of Fort Donelson Tennessee 12-16 February 1862

by Brett Schulte on May 18, 2010 · 4 comments

Back to the George Nafziger American Civil War Order of Battle Collection


 	    Union Forces  
 	   at the Siege of 
      Fort Donelson Tennessee
 	 12-16 February 1862 

Army of Tennessee
Commanding General:  Brigadier General U.S.Grant

1st Division: Major General J.A. McClernand
     1st Brigade: Colonel R.J.Oblesby
          8th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          18th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          29th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          30th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          31st Illinois Infantry Regiment
          Illinois Light Artillery, Battery A
          2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Battery E
          A/, B/2nd Illinois Cavalry Regiment
          C/2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment          
          I/4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment          
          Carmichael's Illinois Cavalry
          Dollins Illinois Cavalry
          O'Harnett's Illinois Cavalry
          Stewart's Illinois Cavalry
     2nd Brigade: Colonel W.H.L.Wallace
          11th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          20th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          45th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          48th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery B
          2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Battery D
          4th Illinois Cavalry Regiment
     3rd Brigade: Colonel W.R.Morrison
          17th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          49th Illinois Infantry Regiment
2nd Division: Brigadier General C.F.Smith
     1st Brigade: Colonel J. McArthur
          9th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          12th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          41st Illinois Infantry Regiment
          81st Ohio Infantry Regiment
     3rd Brigade:  Colonel J.Cook
          7th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          50th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          52nd Illinois Infantry Regiment
          14th Iowa Infantry Regiment
          13th Missouri Infantry Regiment
          1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery D
          1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery H
          1st Missouri Light Artillery, Battery K
     4th Brigade: Colonel J.G.Lauman
          25th Indiana Infantry Regiment
          2nd Iowa Infantry Regiment 
          7th Iowa Infantry Regiment 
          14th Iowa Infantry Regiment 
          Birge's Sharpshooters
     5th Brigade: Colonel M.L.Smith
          8th Missouri Infantry Regiment           
          11th Indiana Infantry Regiment 
3rd Division: Brigadier General L. Wallace
     1st Brigade: Colonel C.Cruft
          31st Indiana Infantry Regiment
          44th Indiana Infantry Regiment
          17th Kentucky Infantry Regiment
          25th Kentucky Infantry Regiment 
     2nd Brigade: 
          46th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          57th Illinois Infantry Regiment
          58th Illinois Infantry Regiment
     3rd Brigade: Colonel J.M.Thayer
          1st Nebraska Infantry Regiment
          58th Ohio Infantry Regiment
          68th Ohio Infantry Regiment
          76th Ohio Infantry Regiment
     Artillery: 
          1st Illinois  Artillery,  Battery A
          A/32nd Illinois 

U.S.  War Department,  The War of the Rebellion, 
A Compilation of Official Records of the Union and 
Confederate Armies,  Government Printing Office; 
Washington, D.C., 1882

Source: George Nafziger Order of Battle Collection


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy October 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Very detailed order of battle. Any idea on the total numbers of Union cannon present at the Fort Donelson battle? I’m scouring the Official Records right now but so far haven’t found anything. If you’re interested however in the numbers of Confederate artillery at Fort Donelson and its environs I can be of some help.

The fort had a Lower Battery and an Upper Battery. The Lower Battery consisted of eight 32-pdrs. and one 10-inch Columbiad.
The Upper Battery was much smaller, with two carronades and one rifled gun.
(from the after-action report of Capt. B.G. Bidwell found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 394 on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0007;node=waro0007%3A3;view=image;seq=411;size=100;page=root )

Inside the fort itself were one large 8-inch howitzer (described as “good”) and two small 9-pdrs. (described as being “of little account”).
(after-action report of Lieut. Col. Milton Haynes found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 388 and featured on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0007;node=waro0007%3A3;view=image;seq=404;size=100;page=root )

Aside from these pieces there was other artillery in the vicinity and helping with the defense as well, the field artillery of the divisions making up the rest of the expanded garrison, defending the line of entrenchments facing west and south ringing the fort. These amounted to another 35 cannon in total in seven batteries, the numbers found by adding up the individual battery gun holdings found in the after-action reports of Brig. Gen. Bushrod Johnson found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 359 on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0007;node=waro0007%3A3;view=image;seq=375;size=100;page=root ; and Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 329 on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0007;node=waro0007%3A3;view=image;seq=345;size=100;page=root
as well as two of the batteries’ holdings found in “The Battle of Fort Donelson” article on the website CivilWarHome.com found at http://www.civilwarhome.com/ftdonelson.html

You may have already known all this but if not I am glad to be of whatever assistance I can. This is an excellent blog and please keep up the good work. Best wishes to everyone there.

Reply

Brett Schulte October 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Billy,

Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more detail than what you see here. If you find the answer, definitely let us know! I’m doing the same kind of detailed work on the Siege of Petersburg now.

Brett

Reply

Billy October 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Brett,
You’re most welcome. And today with a lot of digging I did manage to find exact numbers for the Union artillery in Grant’s force besieging Fort Donelson. The Official Records are pretty amazing, I’m still dumbfounded at the amount of information there. While the after-action reports found in Series I, Vol. 7 pertaining to Fort Donelson, though a voluminous amount of records, some 78 individual records in all, contained some of what I needed, like McClernand’s detailed report, it doesn’t contain Brig. Gen. Charles Smith’s account of the battle however I found that Series I, Vol. 52 does, apparently his was found too late to go in its appropriate place. An old book specifically about one of the batteries that took part in the battle revealed the remaining bit of information needed. OK so here goes:

There were eight batteries supporting Grant’s offensive against Fort Donelson, viz.
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Bty. B (Taylor’s Bty.)
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Bty. D (McAllister’s Bty.)
2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Bty. A (Dresser’s Bty.)
2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Bty. E (Schwartz’s Bty.)
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Bty. D (Richardson’s Bty.)
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Bty. H (Welker’s Bty.)
1st Missouri Light Artillery, Bty. K (Stone’s Bty.)
1st Illinois Light Artillery, Bty. A (Wood’s Bty., the “Chicago Artillery”)

The after-action report of Brig. Gen. John McClernand found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 175 on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar&cc=moawar&idno=waro0007&node=waro0007%3A3&view=image&seq=191&size=100
shows the first four as amounting to the following:
Bty. B, 1st Ill. (Taylor’s) – four 6-pdr. howitzers and two 12-pdr. howitzers
Bty. D, 1st Ill. (McAllister’s) – three 24-pdr. howitzers
Bty. A, 2nd Ill. (Dresser’s) – three 6-pdr. rifled James guns
Bty. E, 2nd Ill. (Schwartz’s) – two 6-pdr. howitzers and two 12-pdr. howitzers

The after-action report of Brig. Gen. Charles Smith found in Official Records, Vol. 52, pg. 7 and featured on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0109;node=waro0109%3A2;view=image;seq=15;size=100;page=root
shows the following for the next three batteries:
Bty. D, 1st Missouri Light – four rifled Parrotts
Bty. H, 1st Missouri Light- four rifled Parrotts
Bty. K, 1st Missouri Light – four rifled Parrotts
Smith also notes that they were a mix of 10- and 20-pdr. Parrotts. The EXACT mix may be able to be inferred from the Battle of Shiloh/Pittsburgh Landing in which they also took part, in which they also had four Parrotts apiece, and in which the mix was as follows: Bty. D: four 20-pdr. Parrotts; Bty. H: two 10- and two 20-pdrs. ; Bty. K: four 10-pdrs. which is shown on your own order of battle for Shiloh/Pittsburgh Landing. It would be almost a certainty that their gun holdings didn’t change between February and April 1862 if the total numbers and types remained the same so I think it’s safe to say that the three Missouri batteries had these holdings of four 20-pdrs., two 10 and two 20s and four 10-pdrs. respectively at Donelson.

As for the remaining battery, Bty. A, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, I found it in a book called History of Battery A, First Illinois Light Artillery Volunteers by C.B. Kimbell, Cushing Printing Co., Chicago, Ill., 1899, pg. 36
in which the author states: “On the 1st of November [1981], we received all of our new harnesses and two new howitzers, and were now a full six gun Battery.”
In reading further he mentions the death of one of his battery’s artillerymen but mentions no change in the numbers of their howitzers before Fort Donelson so it’s safe to presume they still had their full complement of six pieces.

Which gives us a grand total of 34 artillery pieces for Grant’s force, a mixed bag of howitzers, Parrott rifles and James rifles. (This is all of course not counting the shipboard guns of Foote’s gunboat flotilla, which if you want to know the names of the gunboats involved in the Fort Donelson fight were the following:
The ironclads St. Louis, Carondelet, Pittsburgh and Louisville and the timberclads Tyler and Conestoga. This was found in the after-action report of Flag Officer Andrew Foote found in Official Records, Vol. 7, pg. 166 on the website of Cornell University found at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moawar;cc=moawar;idno=waro0007;node=waro0007%3A3;view=image;seq=182;size=100;page=root

Some non-Official Records sources, like some blogs, mention there being seven gunboats in the attack on Fort Donelson but I have looked into this and the seventh one, Lexington, was busy patrolling the Tennessee River at the time and took no part in the battle. It was only six.)

Hope this helps in some way.

-Billy

Reply

Billy October 13, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Correction:
In the above comment I misquoted C.B. Kimbell in his book about Battery A, 1st Illinois Light Arty. in which he says “On the 1st of November…”
It should read [1861], not “1981” of course, I was typing too fast I guess.

Reply

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