Root Beer Lover
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|I think ultimately the only real difference would have been getting troops out of a bad situation. Which is why it makes little sense to me that they stayed and lost so many men as POWs rather than try to at least break out and maybe cut things in half or better. Why fall back to the trenches? As you say, they shouldn't have been trying to defend that situation, but they did. Colonel John Brown reported that his orders on the 15th were to give his brigade three days cooked rations as they were to attempt to turn Grant's right wing and then fall back to Nashville. He reports that infantry support for a battery on the Wynn's Ferry road fell back allowing him to capture the battery before chasing the fleeing infantry and forcing them to give up the field. In fact looking at this, http://www.civilwarhome.com/ftdonelson.htm, it looks like up until 1 pm the battle may have been going the Confederates way. So why if the goal on the 15th was to make a retreat possible did they then fall back to the trenches?
I could understand this if they planned to hold the fort, but it doesn't seem at that point they did. And then Flyod and Pillow decided to escape and left Buckner in command (Buckner apparently thought it was his duty to face the same fate as the men which may have been another reason command fell to him). If there were plans to try to make a possible retreat then why change them if there were apparently no plans to hold the fort. I mean the thing with Beauregard sounds like it was prior to the battle, maybe just after the fall of Fort Henry at the latest.