Fort Henry and Donelson Campaign febuary 1862

Prodded by Abraham Lincoln's call for a general movement of the army and navy against the "insurgent forces," General Halleck ordered General Grant to take Fort Henry, the sole Confederate bastion defending the Tennessee River.

Mounting only 17 cannon and constructed on low ground that was partially flooded, Fort Henry was unexpectedly weak. In view of these limitations, the fort's commander, Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, decided to save the major part of his Confederate garrison by sending all but some artillerists, and a few sick, overland to the stronger Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.

On February 6, as Grant's 15,000 troops slogged south to position themselves for the attack on Fort Henry, a flotilla of seven Federal gunboats, led by Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote, steamed forward and pounded the fort into submission, thus opening the lower Tennessee River to Union control.

Fort Henry's collapse forced General A.S. Johnston, supreme Confederate commander in the West, to evacuate middle Kentucky and fall back on Nashville. Johnston sent 15,000 men under Brigadier General John B. Floyd, to reinforce and defend Fort Donelson. On

The commander of the naval squadron in the attacks on Forts Henry and Donelson, Andrew Hull Foote (below), was a strict disciplinarian who, nevertheless, enjoyed the respect of the men who served under him. Foote was injured when a Confederate shell from Fort Donelson crashed into the pilot-house of his flagship, the St. Louts, disabling the ship and making her an easy target for the rebel gunners.

Forts Henry And DonelsonFort Henry And Fort Donelson Campaign

As Grant's forces advanced south towards ForiHenry, and Foote's seven gunboats steamed upstream to pour fire into the partially flooded fort, the Confederate commander, Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, decided to surrender, and evacuate his garrison east to Fort Donelson. Slowed by rain-soaked terrain, McClernand's Federal division was unable to block the Confederate garrison's retreat (see map left).

As Grant's forces advanced south towards ForiHenry, and Foote's seven gunboats steamed upstream to pour fire into the partially flooded fort, the Confederate commander, Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, decided to surrender, and evacuate his garrison east to Fort Donelson. Slowed by rain-soaked terrain, McClernand's Federal division was unable to block the Confederate garrison's retreat (see map left).

ill your cartridge boxes, quick, and XT get into line. The enemy is trying to escape and he must not be permitted to do so."

Grant to McClemand during the attempted Confederate breakout.

(Yj Feb 4-5,4.30am: Grant begins to ^ disembark McGemand's division

Feb 5, night: Majorit)' of Smith's division ^ lands 011 west side of river

(O Feb 6,11am: McClernand, supported by ^ brigade of C.F. Smith's division, advances toward Fort Henry

Feb fi, I lam: Smith heads south to seize " Fort Heiman;Giant,s unaware that-Confederates have cracuated'it

^ Feb 6,1 lam: Fooie's giinboatrscam Jr upstream and open fheou Fort Jfain1. which surrenders

(^g^) Grant occupies Fort Henry y Feb 11: Grant pushes advance elements of - army to within seven miles of Fort Donelson

Febll: Foote sends three gunboats on ^ raid up Tennessee. Remainder of flotilla,^, returns to Ohio River to aid-seizure of

' Febl2: Hctlemaiid attdl Sfnitb partially ' invest DondscMt. Foote*sJtetlUa arrives with Wallace's Fresh division

February 12, Grant marched overland and promptly invested Donelson. Late on the 13th, Foote's gunboat flotilla arrived, together with a fresh division under Brigadier General Lewis Wallace. On February 14, Confederate shore batteries . decisively repulsed an attack by Foote's gunboats. As a fierce winter storm gripped the region, Grant was forced to tighten the investment.

In the bitterly cold dawn of February 15, " "while Grant was absent at a meeting with i Foote on his flagship, Floyd's Confederates stormed forth from their snow-covered trenches in a devastating surprise assault on Grant's right. Confederate musketry and artillery fire hammered General XlcClernand's division, forcing it to retreat over a mile. By noon, the Confederate ' 'eséapg- route down the Charlotte Road to

Feb 5, night: Majorit)' of Smith's division ^ lands 011 west side of river

(O Feb 6,11am: McClernand, supported by ^ brigade of C.F. Smith's division, advances toward Fort Henry

Feb fi, I lam: Smith heads south to seize " Fort Heiman;Giant,s unaware that-Confederates have cracuated'it

^ Feb 6,1 lam: Fooie's giinboatrscam Jr upstream and open fheou Fort Jfain1. which surrenders y Feb 11: Grant pushes advance elements of - army to within seven miles of Fort Donelson

Febll: Foote sends three gunboats on ^ raid up Tennessee. Remainder of flotilla,^, returns to Ohio River to aid-seizure of

' Febl2: Hctlemaiid attdl Sfnitb partially ' invest DondscMt. Foote*sJtetlUa arrives with Wallace's Fresh division

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Responses

  • jessica
    Where is fort henry map?
    6 years ago

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