Posted by: ushistoryfiles | August 3, 2009

Fort Donelson

A few weeks ago my darlin’ and I took a trip up to Fort Donelson.  Unfortunately, it was a rainy weekend and we didn’t get to hike the trails.  (As an interesting aside, the area around Fort Campbell sent my TomTom into a serious state of confusion.)

February 14, 1862 saw Union gunboats under the command of Andrew H Foote open fire on the 12 guns of the Confederate river batteries at Fort Donelson.  The duel lasted an hour and a half with the Confederates inflicting serious damage on Foote’s fleet and forcing them to retreat.

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Meanwhile, General Ulysses Grant encircled Fort Donelson on the land side.  On February 15, the Confederates struck the Union right in an attempt to clear a route to Nashville.  The battle raged all morning with Union forces with the Union army slowly giving ground.  Just as the way seemed clear, Confederate commanders ordered their units to return to their trenches.  Grant meanwhile launched a counterattack regaining much of the lost ground a closing the way to Nashville.

IMG_6773Confederate Generals John Floyd and Gideon Pillow left Fort Donelson in the command of General Simon Buckner and fled with about 2,000 men to Nashville.  On February 16 Buckner surrendered to Grant.

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RIVER BATTERIES:  These river batteries defended / controlled the Cumberland River.  Here Confederate gunners thrashed Andrew Foote’s gunboats wounding Foote in the process.

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DOVER HOTEL:  Built between 1851 and 1853, the hotel was used for riverboat travelers before and after the war (it remained in business into the 1930s).  It served as General Buckner’s headquarters during the battle and was the location where Buckner and Grant worked out the details of the surrender.

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  1. […] year with the battles of Forts Henry and Donelson (see a previous post of mine on Fort Donelson here), Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stones River, and many more.  It […]


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