James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Page 87

  “Fort Henry is ours,” telegraphed Grant to Halleck on February 6. “I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson on the 8th.” 1  4   Albert Sidney Johnston, the departmental commander of the Confederate Army, esteemed by Jefferson Davis the ablest of Southern generals, was dismayed at the fall of Fort Henry and determined “to fight for Nashville at Donelson,” assigning to this enterprise the better part of his army. 2  5   Heavy rains made the roads temporarily impassable for artillery and wagons; moreover, Grant desired the coöperation of the gunboats which were detained for needed repairs; hence he was unable to fulfil his promise to the letter; but, having sent the gunboats and some of the troops round by water, he left Fort Henry on the morning of February 12 with his main force and marched across country toward Donelson, arriving in front of the enemy about noon. Here he began the investment of the fort and, amid constant skirmishing, extended it next day “on the flanks of the enemy.” 3 On February 14, Foote attacked with his gunboats, hoping for a repetition of the success at Fort Henry. The same courage and determination were in evidence, but the conditions were different and fortune adverse. He proved no match for the Confederate batteries, two of the iron-clads were rendered unmanageable, “drifting helplessly down the river,” and the other two, badly damaged, soon followed. Foote had been wounded; the Navy was for the moment out of the contest. 4 “I concluded,” wrote Grant, “to make the investment of Fort Donelson as perfect as possible, and partially fortify and await repairs to the gunboats.” 5 That night the disappointment of the Union troops was
Note 1. O. R., VII, 124. [back]
Note 2. O. R., VII, 259. [back]
Note 3. Grant’s report, O. R., VII, 159. [back]
Note 4. Foote, O. R., VII, 166. [back]
Note 5. O. R., VII, 159. [back]