“Colonel Mason, with portion of the Seventy-first Ohio, surrendered Clarksville to the guerrillas.”

Aug 23 1862  I have just learned that Clarksville TN, just north of Nashville has been surrendered to the rebels along with its garrison of 200 men without firing a shot. The officer in command was Col. Mason.  “Colonel Mason was one of the officers who had led their regiments off the field at almost the first fire of the rebels at Shiloh. He was by nature and education a gentleman, and was terribly mortified at his action when the battle was over. He came to me with tears in his eyes and begged to be allowed to have another trial. I felt great sympathy for him and sent him, with his regiment, to garrison Clarksville and Donelson. He selected Clarksville for his headquarters, no doubt because he regarded it as the post of danger, it being nearer the enemy. But when he was summoned to surrender by a band of guerillas, his constitutional weakness overcame him. He inquired the number of men the enemy had, and receiving a response indicating a force greater than his own he said if he could be satisfied of that fact he would surrender. Arrangements were made for him to count the guerillas, and having satisfied himself that the enemy had the greater force he surrendered and informed his subordinate at Donelson of the fact, advising him to do the same. The guerillas paroled their prisoners and moved upon Donelson, but the officer in command at that point marched out to meet them and drove them away.”

I wrote to Gen. Halleck to inform him,

Major General H. W. HALLECK:

GENERAL: Colonel Mason, with portion of the Seventy-first Ohio, surrendered Clarksville to the guerrillas. Prisoners were paroled and sent down the river. I ordered them to Benton Barracks, and have put Donelson and Henry under command of Colonel Lowe, and have ordered six companies of infantry up to re-enforce him.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 5, p 321

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXVII

O.R., I, xvii, part 2, p 186

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