The Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Donelson

Posted: 2/11/2012
Author: Laura June Davis
The Surrender of Fort Donelson - February 16, 1862

Today marks the beginning of the Battle of Fort Donelson's sesquicentennial—February 11-16, 1862.

After capturing Fort Henry on February 6th, Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant advanced towards Fort Donelson. Five days of fighting ensued in which the Confederates failed to break through Grant’s lines. Finally, on February 16th, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally to Grant.

The impact of this Union victory was dramatic: it ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union, exposed Tennessee to Union attacks via the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, and advanced Grant's career significantly. It is from the Battle of Fort Donelson that Grant earned the nom de guerre “Unconditional Surrender.”

In honor of Fort Donelson's sesquicentennial, we will be posting a multi-day "From the Archives" series on The Front Line blog. We suggest you come back and visit us often! And, if you are in Tennesse this week, check out these great sesquicentennial events in honor of the battle.

Image Credit: Harper's Weekly, March 1, 1862.

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