On January 30, 1862, 15,000 men under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant and supported by gunboats and river vessels of the United States Navy were dispatched to capture and hold Fort Henry. Indeed, the Confederate defense line had several weak points on the western front, and these were Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. For a long time the rebel strongholds were kept out of reach of the main force, but Grant put an end to this.
When the fort commander saw the Federals approaching, he sent most of the men to Fort Donelson. The Union army advanced slowly over muddy roads, but 7 gunboats charged ahead up the river and forced the defenders to surrender with several volleys. The Confederate soldiers surrendered before Grant’s infantry appeared on the scene, and the Tennessee River was opened to ships as far as the Alabama. After the capture of Fort Henry, Grant sent a somewhat startled Halleck a telegram: “I will capture and destroy Fort Donelson and return to Fort Henry on February 8”.
During the Battle of Fort Donelson, Grant captured 12,000 men and earned the nickname “The Unconditional Surrender”. After this victory, Grant marched South, but made a mistake in deploying troops at Shilon, which Southern General Albert Sidney Johnston took advantage of, and a bloody one-day battle ensued. The southern army managed to be pushed out only the next day with new reinforcements. The Battle of Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the war with 25,000 casualties on both sides. Southern general AS Johnston died here and Grant was relieved of command for several months.
According to iamaccepted, the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee made it no longer possible to use the Tennessee River in the area for the rapid transportation of supplies and Confederate troops.
A dangerous crack had appeared in the Columbus-Manassas southern defense line. The signing of the surrender of the South ends the four-year civil war. One of the happy endings of this war was the fact that General Lee, President Davis, and their comrades accepted defeat with dignity. However, the silence of the war trumpets did not immediately mean peace and quiet. Fights broke out in the political arena. It took years for the wounds to heal and true reconciliation between the two feuding parties. The period of 1865-1877 is called the period of radical reconstruction of the South.
Today, Fort Donelson is a national battlefield protected by the National Park Service and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The battlefields also include the National Cemetery, which covers an area of 62,080 square meters and contains the burials of 670 Union soldiers who died during the Battle of Fort Donelson. A number of veterans from later wars are also buried here.