Battle of Fort Donelson

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Battle of Fort Donelson

Other Names: None

Location: Stewart County

Campaign: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)

Date(s): February 11-16, 1862

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

Battle of Fort Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson.jpg
Kurz and Allison (1887)

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

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

Result(s): Union victory

Summary: 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.” Fort Donelson was part of Gen. Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan.

Battle of Fort Donelson
A Tennessee Civil War History

Fort Donelson Battlefield Map
Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson Map.jpg
Digitally Enhanced Battle of Fort Donelson Map

Background: On February 4-5, Grant landed his divisions in two different locations, one on the east bank of the Tennessee River to prevent the garrison at Fort Henry from escaping and the other to occupy the high ground on the Kentucky side to ensure the fall of both Forts Heiman and Henry. After Union Flag-Officer Foote's gunboats began bombarding the forts, Confederate Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman recalled the troops building Fort Heiman to assist in the defense of Fort Henry. Tilghman soon realized that he could not hold Fort Henry. Thus, he ordered his barbette-mounted cannons to hold off the Union fleet while he sent most of his men to Fort Donelson, 11 miles away.

Recommended Reading: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover). Description: This book presents one of the most detailed descriptions of the Fort Henry and Fort Donelson Campaign. The volume describes the preparation, logistics, and the execution of the campaign. The book details the futile (and brief) defense of the poorly designed Fort Henry. It demonstrates the willingness of General Ulysses Grant, unlike many of his general officer brethren in the Union Army at that time, to take immediate action against Fort Donelson. Continued below.

It shows some of Grant’s sloppiness in combat situations (as at Shiloh, where he did not bother preparing a stout defense or at Belmont when he lost control of his troops), for instance, when he left Fort Donelson to meet with the naval commander--leaving his army leaderless at the time when the Confederates attempted a breakout. But the book also well describes his tenacity. After the near breakout, Grant takes initiative once again. The description of the dysfunctional Confederate command structure (from Albert Sydney Johnston on down to the commanders on the ground at Fort Donelson) is excellent, although, perhaps, Simon Bolivar Buckner may not have been quite as ineffective as depicted… A valuable book that warrants being in the library of Civil War buffs.

Battle of Fort Donelson

Fort Donelson
Fort Donelson Commanders.jpg
The Leaders

Fort Henry - Fort Donelson Map
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Setting the Stage

 

(Right) Civil War Map showing movement from the Battle of Fort Henry to the Battle of Fort Donelson.

 

In a joint army-navy operation a fleet of seven gunboats - four ironclads and three wooden ones -- under Union naval Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote steamed out of Cairo, Illinois, on February 2, leading the transports carrying Grant's force.

 

"No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." Ulysses S. Grant, February 16, 1862

Fort Donelson History
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On February 4-5, 1862, Grant landed his divisions in two different locations, one on the east bank of the Tennessee River to prevent the garrison at Fort Henry from escaping or receiving reinforcements from Fort Donelson and the other to occupy the high ground on the Kentucky side to ensure the fall of both Forts Heiman and Henry. After gunboats under the command of Union naval Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote began bombarding the forts, Confederate Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, realizing that Fort Heiman could not be held, recalled the 1,100 troops building the fort to cross the river and assist the nearly 2,000 soldiers defending Fort Henry. The Confederates hoped that the muddy roads would make it impossible for the Union army to set up artillery on the partially completed Fort Heiman.

 

On February 6, Tilghman surrendered Fort Henry after 70 minutes of bombardment, because it was surrounded by rising water and could not be supported by infantry. Tilghman decided to withdraw all troops from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson (11 miles away) with the exception of one battery which he left behind to delay the Union assault and secure his retreat. After the capture of both Fort Henry and the uncompleted Fort Heiman, the latter was occupied by troops under Brig. Gen. Lew Wallace on February 6. Thus, the surrender of Forts Heiman and Henry enabled the Federals' wooden gunboats to ascend the Tennessee River south to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and set the stage for Grant's successful assault against Fort Donelson 11 miles to the east on the Cumberland River.

 

The Approach and Engagement at Fort Donelson

Evening, Feb. 14
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(Right) Map of Union and Confederate Battlefield Positions on the evening of February 14, 1862.

The morning of February 14 dawned cold and quiet. Early in the afternoon a furious roar broke the stillness, and the earth began to shake. Andrew H. Foote's Union gunboat fleet, consisting of the ironclads St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Corondolet, and the timberclads Conestoga and Tyler, had arrived from Fort Henry via the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers and were exchanging "iron valentines" with the eleven big guns in the Southern water batteries.

During this one and one-half hour duel the Confederates wounded Foote and inflicted such extensive damage upon the gunboats that they were forced to retreat. The hills and hollows echoed with cheers from the southern soldiers.

Confederate Breakout Attempt
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(Right) Map of Confederate breakout attempt, morning February 15, 1862.

The Confederate generals—John Floyd, Gideon Pillow, Simon Buckner and Bushrod Johnson—also rejoiced; but sober reflection revealed another danger. Grant was receiving reinforcements daily and had extended his right flank almost to Lick Creek to complete the encirclement of the Southerners. If the Confederates did not move quickly, they would be starved into submission. Accordingly, they massed their troops against the Union right, hoping to clear a route to Nashville and safety. The battle on February 15 raged all morning, the Union Army grudgingly retreating step by step. Just as it seemed the way was clear, the Southern troops were ordered to return to their entrenchments—a result of confusion and indecision among the Confederate commanders. Grant immediately launched a vigorous counterattack, retaking most of the lost ground and gaining new positions as well. The way of escape was closed once more.

Floyd and Pillow turned over command of Fort Donelson to Buckner and slipped away to Nashville with about 2,000 men. Others followed cavalryman Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest across swollen Lick Creek. That morning, February 16, Buckner asked Grant for terms. Grant's answer was short and direct: "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." Buckner surrendered.

Fort Donelson Civil War Battlefield
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Battle of Fort Donelson History Marker

Union counterattack Fort Donelson
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Union and Confederate movements during Battle of Fort Donelson

(Right) Map of Union counterattack, afternoon February 15, 1862.

On the morning of February 16, Buckner sent a note to Grant requesting an armistice and terms of surrender. The note first reached General Charles F. Smith. Smith stated "I'll make no terms with Rebels with arms in their hands-my terms are unconditional and immediate surrender". When the note finally reached Grant Smith again told Grant "no terms to the Rebels". Buckner had expectations that Grant would offer generous terms because of their previous relationship. In 1854, Grant had lost a command in California allegedly because of a drinking problem, and U.S. Army officer Buckner had loaned him money to get home after his resignation.

But Grant showed he had no mercy toward men who had rebelled against the Union. His reply was one of the most famous quotes from the war, giving him his nom de guerre of "Unconditional Surrender": Sir: Yours of this date proposing Armistice, and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.
I propose to move immediately upon your works.
I am Sir: very respectfully
Your obt. sevt.
U.S. Grant
Brig. Gen.

River Battery at Fort Donelson
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Lower River overlooking the Cumberland River

The Escape
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Aftermath

Soon after the surrender, civilians and relief agencies rushed to assist the Union Army. The U.S. Sanitary Commission was one of the first to provide food, medical supplies, and hospital ships to transport the wounded. Many civilians came in search of loved ones or to offer support. Although not officially recognized as nurses, women such as Mary Bickerdyke cared for and comforted sick and wounded soldiers.

Fort Donelson Attack
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After the fall of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River on February 16, the two major water transportation routes in the Confederate west, bounded by the Appalachians on the east and the Mississippi River on the west, became Union highways for movement of troops and material.

And with the capture of Fort Donelson and its sister fort, Henry, the North had not only won its first great victory, it had also gained a new hero—"Unconditional Surrender" Grant, who was promoted to major general. Subsequent victories at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga would lead to his appointment as lieutenant general and commander of all Union Armies. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox would send Grant to the White House.

Following the capitulation of Fort Donelson, the South was forced to give up southern Kentucky and much of Middle and West Tennessee. The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and railroads in the area, became vital Federal supply lines. Nashville was developed into a huge supply depot for the Union army in the west. The heartland of the Confederacy was opened, and the Federals would press on until the "Union" became a fact once more.

"The weather was intensely cold; a great many of the men were already frost-bitten, and it was the opinion of the generals that the infantry could not have passed through the water and have survived it." Nathan Bedford Forrest, Colonel, Commanding Forrest's Regiment of Cavalry at the Battle of Fort Donelson

Forts Donelson and Henry Map
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Fort Donelson and Fort Henry Battlefield Map

Fort  Donelson: United States of America [Union] Order of Battle

Brigadier General U.S. Grant, Commanding

First Division (Brigadier General John A. McClernand)

1st Brigade (Oglesby)
   8th, 18th, 29th, 30th, 31st Illinois Infantry
   Battery D, E,  2d Illinois Light Artillery
   Companies A, B, 2d Illinois Cavalry
   Company C, 2d US Cavalry
   Company I, 4th US Cavalry
   Carmichael's Illinois Cavalry
   O'Harnett's Illinois Cavalry
   Stewart's Illinois Cavalry

2d Brigade (W.H.L. Wallace)
   11th, 20th, 45th, 48th
Illinois Infantry
  
Battery B, D, 1st Illinois
Light Artillery
   4th
Illinois Cavalry

3d Brigade (Morrison passed to W.H.L. Wallace)
    17th, 49th Illinois Infantry

 

Second Division (Brigadier General Charles F. Smith)

1st Brigade (McArthur)
   9th, 12th, 41st
Illinois Infantry

3d Brigade (Lauman)
  
25th Indiana
Infantry
   2d, 7th, 14th
Iowa
Infantry
   Birge's Western Sharpshooters

 

2d Brigade (Cook)
   Batteries D, H, K Missouri Light Artillery
   7th, 50th Illinois Infantry
   12th Iowa Infantry
   13th Missouri Infantry

4th Brigade (M.L. Smith)
  
8th Missouri
Infantry
   11th
Indiana Infantry

  Third Division (Brigadier General L. Wallace)

1st Brigade (Cruft)
   31st, 44th
Indiana Infantry
   17th, 25th
Kentucky Infantry

3d Brigade (Thayer)
   1 st Nebraska Infantry
   58th, 68th, 76th Ohio Infantry

2d Brigade (attached to 3d Brigade)
   46th, 57th, 58th Illinois Infantry

Not Brigaded
   Company A, 32nd
Illinois Infantry
  
Battery A, 1st Illinois (Chicago Light Artillery)

US Navy

Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote, USN, Commanding Naval Fleet Fort Donelson

St. Louis (Paulding); Carondelet (Walke); Louisville (Dove); Pittsburg (Thompson); Tyler (Gwinn); Conestoga (Phelps)

Fort Donelson: Confederate States of America Order of Battle

Brigadier General John B. Floyd, Commanding

Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow's Division

Colonel Heiman's Brigade
  10th, 30th, 42nd, 48th, 53d Tennessee
Infantry
  27th Alabama
Infantry
  Maney's Tennessee Battery
Light Artillery
Colonel Simonton's Brigade
   1st, 3d Mississippi
Infantry
   7th Texas
Infantry
   8th Kentucky
Infantry 
Colonel Wharton's Brigade
   51st, 56th Virginia Infantry

Colonel Drake's Brigade
  4th Mississippi
Infantry
  15th Arkansas
Infantry
  26th Alabama Infantry ( 2 companies
Colonel Baldwin's Brigade
   26th Tennessee
Infantry
   20th, 26th Mississippi Infantry 

 

Artillery
Guy's Battery
, Goochland (VA) Light Artillery
Green's Tennessee Battery
Light Artillery
French's Virginia Battery
Light Artillery

Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner's Division

Colonel Brown's Brigade
  3d, 18th, 32nd Tennessee
Infantry
  Porter's Tennessee Battery
Light Artillery
  Graves' Cumberland Kentucky Light Artillery 

Colonel Baldwin's Brigade  
   2d Kentucky
Infantry
   14th Mississippi
Infantry
   41st Tennessee
Infantry
   Jackson's Virginia Battery Light Artillery

Colonel Nathan B. Forrest's Cavalry Brigade

3d Tennessee Cavalry Regiment
9th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
  1st Kentucky Cavalry Regiment

Colonel John W. Head's Fort Donelson Garrison Units

30th, 49th, 50th Tennessee Infantry
          Maury's Tennessee Battery
Light Artillery (Ross)
          Taylor's Company Tennessee
Light Artillery (Stankiewicz)
          Water Battery Heavy Artillery (Culbertson)

Location of Forts, Henry, Donelson, and Heiman
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Civil War Preservation Trust Map

Fort Donelson National Cemetery

Poem, Bivouac of the Dead
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Fort Donelson National Cemetery
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(Tennessee)

In July 1862, Congress passed legislation giving the President of the United States the authority to purchase land for the establishment of cemeteries “for soldiers who shall die in the service of their country”.

 

The legislation effectively began the national cemetery system. In 1863, the Union Army abandoned the Confederate works and constructed a new fortification on the ground that became the cemetery site. A freedmen's community developed around the new Union fort. Four years later (1867), this same site was selected for the establishment of the Fort Donelson National Cemetery (15.34 acres) and 670 Union soldiers were reinterred here. These soldiers (which included 512 unknowns) had been buried on the battlefield, in local cemeteries, in hospital cemeteries, and in nearby towns. (These totals include five known and nine unknown soldiers from the United States Colored Troops.)

 

The high percentage of unknown soldiers (512) can be attributed to the "haste in cleaning up the battlefield" and the fact that civil war soldiers did not carry government-issued identification. In 1867, Fort Donelson Cemetery was established as the final resting for Union soldiers and sailors initially buried in the Fort Donelson area. Today the national cemetery contains both Civil War veterans and veterans who have served the United States since that time. Furthermore, many spouses and dependent children are also buried here. The cemetery is presently unavailable for additional burials.

Fort Donelson Battle Map
Civil War Fort Donelson Battlefield Map.gif
Civil War Fort Donelson Battlefield Map

(Sources and related reading below.)

Recommended Reading: Men of Fire: Grant, Forrest, and the Campaign That Decided the Civil War. From Publishers Weekly: The bloody February 1862 Union victory at Fort Donelson on Tennessee's Cumberland River is remembered as the Union's first big success—and as the battle in which Ulysses S. Grant held firm for Confederate unconditional surrender. Former journalist Hurst (Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography) attempts to make the case that Grant's western theater victory at Donelson indelibly shaped his military career, as well as that of Confederate Lt. Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest, and that the battle turned the tide of the Civil War unalterably in the North's favor. Writing forcefully and engagingly, Hurst does a thorough job of reconstructing the military aspects of the battle and never shies away from illuminating the war's horror. Continued below.
His focus is on Grant, the Confederate generals who faced him (John Floyd, Gideon Pillow, Simon Buckner and Bushrod Johnson) and the ever-aggressive Forrest, best known for his battlefield viciousness and his postwar role in creating the Ku Klux Klan. It's a stretch, though, to postulate that the 1862 victory at Donelson propelled the Union to victory more than three years later. Certainly, as Hurst says, western theater action often is overlooked in assessing the Civil War. But one can't ignore the impact on the war's outcome of the massive battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, Wilderness and Cold Harbor that came after Donelson. AWARDED 5 STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org

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Related Studies:

 

Recommended Reading: Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862. Review: The bloody and decisive two-day battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict. The conflagration at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. Continued below.

The offensive collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him. On the morning of April 6, Johnston boasted to his subordinates, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!" They nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg Landing and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River. Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Edward Cunningham, a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship. Western Civil War historians Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest. Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863 (LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997. Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. About the Author: Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh, Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.

 

Recommended Reading: Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland. Description: The Twin Rivers Campaign, aka the Union campaign against Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, was a direct result of Gen. Winfield Scott’s Anaconda Plan… But, after the Twin River forts were captured by a Federal army-navy force and coupled with the fall of Nashville, the Union enjoyed a fresh and much needed momentum. The fall of the forts signaled the beginning of the Confederate collapse in the West, which ultimately decided the war. Continued below.

Benjamin Franklin Cooling, author of several Civil War studies, conveys the actions of both Federal and Confederate authorities before and during the campaign, and applies the exact words of the frontline soldiers’ to the subject. The campaign is described in good detail, and with great writing. With little written about this dramatic and pivotal campaign, it is a great joy to read Mr. Cooling's book. The maps in this book, while not the best, are well above average. They cover the fighting at the forts in very good detail. The illustrations are helpful as well. I encourage Civil War buffs to read this book and enjoy the history of this rarely written about pivotal campaign.

 

Recommended Reading: Naval Campaigns of the Civil War. Description: This analysis of naval engagements during the War Between the States presents the action from the efforts at Fort Sumter during the secession of South Carolina in 1860, through the battles in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Mississippi River, and along the eastern seaboard, to the final attack at Fort Fisher on the coast of North Carolina in January 1865. This work provides an understanding of the maritime problems facing both sides at the beginning of the war, their efforts to overcome these problems, and their attempts, both triumphant and tragic, to control the waterways of the South. The Union blockade, Confederate privateers and commerce raiders are discussed, as is the famous battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack. Continued below…

An overview of the events in the early months preceding the outbreak of the war is presented. The chronological arrangement of the campaigns allows for ready reference regarding a single event or an entire series of campaigns. Maps and an index are also included. About the Author: Paul Calore, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, was the Operations Branch Chief with the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense before retiring. He is a supporting member of the U.S. Civil War Center and the Civil War Preservation Trust and has also written Land Campaigns of the Civil War (2000). He lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

 

Recommended Reading: Naval Strategies of the Civil War: Confederate Innovations and Federal Opportunism. Description: One of the most overlooked aspects of the American Civil War is the naval strategy played out by the U.S. Navy and the fledgling Confederate Navy, which may make this the first book to compare and contrast the strategic concepts of the Southern Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory against his Northern counterpart, Gideon Welles. Both men had to accomplish much and were given great latitude in achieving their goals. Mallory's vision of seapower emphasized technological innovation and individual competence as he sought to match quality against the Union Navy's (quantity) numerical superiority. Welles had to deal with more bureaucratic structure and to some degree a national strategy dictated by the White House. Continued below...

The naval blockade of the South was one of his first tasks - for which he had but few ships available - and although he followed the national strategy, he did not limit himself to it when opportunities arose. Mallory's dedication to ironclads is well known, but he also defined the roles of commerce raiders, submarines, and naval mines. Welles's contributions to the Union effort were rooted in his organizational skills and his willingness to cooperate with the other military departments of his government. This led to successes through combined army and naval units in several campaigns on and around the Mississippi River.

 
Recommended Reading: Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns (Great Campaigns of the Civil War). Description: When Vicksburg fell to Union forces under General Grant in July 1863, the balance turned against the Confederacy in the trans-Appalachian theater. The Federal success along the river opened the way for advances into central and eastern Tennessee, which culminated in the bloody battle of Chickamauga and then a struggle for Chattanooga. Chickamauga is usually counted as a Confederate victory, albeit a costly one.
That battle—indeed the entire campaign—is marked by muddle and blunders occasionally relieved by strokes of brilliant generalship and high courage. The campaign ended significant Confederate presence in Tennessee and left the Union poised to advance upon Atlanta and the Confederacy on the brink of defeat in the western theater.
 

Consider Also: CIVIL WAR IN WEST SLIP CASES: From Stones River to Chattanooga [BOX SET], by Peter Cozzens (1528 pages) (University of Illinois Press). Description: This trilogy very competently fills in much needed analysis and detail on the critical Civil War battles of Stones River, Chickamauga and Chattanooga"Cozzens' comprehensive study of these three great battles has set a new standard in Civil War studies....the research, detail and accuracy are first-rate."

 

Recommended Reading: Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War 1861-65 (New Vanguard). Description: At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on the Mississippi River. In the first few months, moreover, both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use. These ships were transformed into powerful naval weapons despite a lack of resources, trained manpower and suitable vessels. Continued below.

The creation of a river fleet was a miracle of ingenuity, improvisation and logistics, particularly for the South. This title describes their design, development and operation throughout the American Civil War.

Sources: National Park Service; Fort Donelson National Battlefield; Library of Congress; National Archives and Records Administration; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT); Vicksburg National Military Park; Cooling, Benjamin Franklin, The Campaign for Fort Donelson, U.S. National Park Service and Eastern National, 1999; Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001; Esposito, Vincent J., West Point Atlas of American Wars, Frederick A. Praeger, 1959; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville, Random House, 1958; Gott, Kendall D., Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry—Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862, Stackpole books, 2003; Kennedy, Frances H., Ed., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States), Oxford University Press, 1988; Nevin, David, and the Editors of Time-Life Books, The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West, Time-Life Books, 1983; Woodworth, Steven E., Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861–1865, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

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