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The Battle of Fort Donelson
February 11-16, 1862

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Other Names: None
Location: Stewart County, TN
Campaign: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)

Principal Commanders:
Union: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote [US]
Confederate: Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow, and Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buckner [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army in the Field [US]; Fort Donelson Garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 17,398 total (US 2,331; CS 15,067)

Description: After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, after the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s investment lines, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. This was a major victory for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a catastrophe for the South. It ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning the nom de guerre “Unconditional Surrender.”

Sources:
National Park Service
The Civil War, American Heritage (Doubleday, 1960)


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