1863 February 14: Battle of Dover and Other News
The following news items are from the February 14, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press. The Battle of Dover, also known as the Second Battle of Fort Donelson, took place on February 3, 1863. The The 800-man Federal garrison at Dover, Tennessee, was attacked by a Confederate force, half the size reported here, who were repulsed with heavy losses—closer to 700 than the 500 mentioned here; Union loss was actually 126 men.
Mr. Stephens’ Negro Regiment bill has passed the House of Representatives, by a vote of 83 to 55. [Thaddeus Stevens]
The rebels are making a bold attempt to stop navigation on the Cumberland. At last advices a battle was in progress at Fort Donelson.
A Battle has been fought and a victory won at Fort Donelson. The rebels 5,000 strong attacked the Federal garrison of 800 men, and after a battle of nine hours, retreated with a loss of 500 killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our loss is 50 killed and wounded.
Port Hudson, below Vicksburg, is not yet captured as reported. It is defended by heavy batteries and 10,000 rebel soldiers. It is said that there are 50,000 rebel troops at Grenada. It is reported that 15,000 rebels are south of the Charleston railroad moving North. Raids in all directions are expected.
CAIRO, Feb. 3.—Vicksburg dates of the 30th ult., says Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] had arrived.—The work of widening and deepening the canal was progressing. The rebels planted a battery on the Mississippi shore, which commands the lower end of the canal. The “Whig” of the 22d, says that Longstreet [Confederate Gen. James Longstreet], with 13 brigades, had gone to Tennessee.
The gunboat New Era was attacked on Sunday night at 11 o’clock, near Island No. 10, by guerrillas, with three pieces of cannon. The New Era returned the fire with shell. The conflict lasted until near daylight, when the rebels retired. Their force was believed to be between 2,000 and 3,000.
The operator at Paducah reports that the command at Fort Donelson was attacked at an early hour this morning, and at 4 o’clock this P. M. the engagement was still going on. Reinforcements have gone forward.
NEW YORK, Feb. 3.—Advices from New Orleans of the 27th ult., state that the last of the transports of the Banks expedition left for up river on the 26th. Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] went up on the 24th. Only sufficient troops were left to defend New Orleans, with four or five gunboats. It is inferred that his destination is Port Hudson.
NEW YORK, Feb. 4.—A Vicksburg telegram of the 30th states that scouting parties had appeared opposite the city. It is supposed they are erecting batteries. There was no movement among the fleet.
A Petersburg telegram claims a rebel victory in the affair near Suffolk. Loss less than fifty. A Chattanooga dispatch says Wheeler’s crvalry [sic: cavalry]¹ attacked a fleet of twenty-five transports and two gunboats, on the Cumberland on Friday, destroying five. On Saturday they destroyed a locomotive and five cars at Lowergore, capturing fifty men.
1. Wheeler’s cavalry was led by Joseph Wheeler (1836-1906). For much of the Civil War he served as the senior cavalry general in the Confederate Army of Tennessee and fought in most of its battles in the Western Theater. He was a graduate of West Point and after graduating attended the U.S. Army Cavalry School.