Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Friday, Feb. 7, 1862

The Day After

There is little time for Grant to savor the capture of Fort Henry (pictured above: Fort Henry the day after its surrender). After looking over Fort Henry, Grant and his staff, escorted by some cavalry, reconnoiters his next target, Fort Donelson. He approaches within a mile, scopes out the surrounding terrain, thinks about the fort’s commanders (of whom he had a low opinion), and tells his staff he expects no serious opposition if they move quickly.

Fort Henry yielded a considerable harvest of stores, so Grant gives orders for its disposition and for the confinement of approximately 100 Confederate prisoners, including General Tilghman

Fresh from their capture of Fort Henry, Union gunboats go chugging up (south) on the Tennessee River, deep into enemy territory, to see what trouble they can cause the Confederacy.

Meanwhile, Grant’s telegraphed declaration that he will take Fort Donelson next hangs in the air, awaiting Halleck’s reply. Will the ever-cautious Halleck agree or disapprove before Grant begins his advance tomorrow?

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

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