Monday, September 24, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1861

Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, headquartered in Cairo, Illinois, sends troops to occupy Smithland, Kentucky…thereby saving the strategically important mouth of the Cumberland River from capture by the Confederates. The 687-mile Cumberland River, which empties into the Ohio River, offered a “superhighway” into the Middle South, originating in eastern Kentucky and curving into northern Tennessee before returning to Kentucky. On September 6, Grant had staged a similarly bloodless occupation of Paducah, Kentucky, situated at the mouth of the Tennessee River, an even more important watercourse. The Tennessee stretches 652 miles from Alabama, through Tennessee and into Kentucky to the Ohio River. Using his own initiative, Grant has scored two early victories for the Union.

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