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CHAPTER IV.

FORT HENRY AND FORT DONELSON.

GE

ENERAL FREMONT'S administration of affairs in Mis

souri having proved unsatisfactory he was relieved on Nov. 9th, 1861. On the same day General Halleck succeeded with both civil and military authority. The new command included Missouri, Arkansas, Western Kentucky, and all the territory over which Fremont had had civil control. At the same time that part of Kentucky and Tennessee lying east of the Cumberland river was erected into the department of the Ohio. Buell was given command of this.

Halleck continued Grant, giving him the district of Cairo, which included Paducah. Here he held him for two months, organizing and disciplining the incoming troops. Early in January, 1862, McClellan, then General-in-Chief, ordered Halleck to move a force toward Mayfield and Murray in Kentucky. This order was sent to Grant, who at once sent McClernand from Cairo and Bird's Point with six thousand men, and C. F. Smith with two brigades from Paducah. The object was to threaten Columbus and the entire Confederate line, so as to prevent reinforcements being sent to Buckner at Bowling Green. This order was given on January 6th; on the roth it was countermanded, but too late, for Grant was on his way. Though there was no

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GEN. HALLECK.

fighting, the Confederate reinforcements were detained at Columbus. Nashville was threatened, and Brig.-Genl. Geo. H. Thomas, one of Buell's subordinates, fought and won the battle of Mill Spring, in Kentucky.

Smith on his return pronounced the capture of Ft. Henry feasible. On January 22d Grant sent this report to Halleck, and asked permission to visit him at St. Louis to talk the matter over. On the 23d he started on the visit, but Haileck would not hear to his proposition to capture the fort. Neither McClellan nor Halleck were yet ready for a move up the Tennessee.

Grant was too full of the idea to abandon it quietly. On January 28th he telegraphed Halleck, “ I will take and hold Ft. Henry, on the Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there."

On the next day he wrote: “In view of the large force now concentrating in this district, and the present feasibility of the plan, I would respectfully suggest the propriety of subduing Ft. Henry, near the Kentucky and Tennessee line, and holding the position. If this is not done soon there is but little doubt that the defences on both the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers will be materially strengthened. From Ft. Henry it will be easy to operate either on the Cumberland (only twelve miles distant), Memphis or Columbus. It will beside have a moral effect on our troops to advance thence on the rebel States. The advantages of this move are as perceptible to the general commanding as to myself, therefore further statements are unnecessary."

On the 28th Commodore Foote, in charge of the naval force in this region, wrote to the same effect. At last Halleck yielded, and on the 30th sent detailed instructions to Cairo, which were received February ist. On the 2d Grant started from Cairo with seventeen thousand men on transports, accompanied by seven ironclads under Foote. Two days

afterward the land force was disembarked three miles below Ft. Henry, with a view of attacking it in the rear, while the gunboats made an attack in front.

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Ft. Henry was on the east bank of the Tennessee, and at this time was surrounded by water, owing to a flood in the

river. On the opposite side was the unfinished Ft. Heiman. The Confederate force was under command of Brig.-Genl. Tilghman. It numbered twenty-eight hundred men. Though the heights on which Ft. Heiman were situated commanded the river and Ft. Henry, they were evacuated on the first approach of danger, owing to the unfinished condition of the fort. Ft. Henry was a strong field-work, with bastioned front, defended by seventeen heavy guns, twelve of which bore on the river. On the land side was an entrenched camp, outside of which were lines of rifle-pits. As soon as the intention of the Federals became known Tilghman ordered reinforcements from the Sandy river and Ft. Donelson.

Grant desired to capture both forts with their garrisons. C. F. Smith was sent with two brigades to invest Ft. Heiman, the fact that it had been evacuated not then being known. McClernand was sent to the rear of Ft. Henry, with orders to take and hold the straight road to Ft. Donelson. This was February 6th. The Confederates were receiving reinforcements rapidly. McClernand was admonished that success

might depend on the celerity of his movements, and his troops were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to charge and take the fort by storm, promptly on receipt of orders. At II A. M. on the 6th the march began. The gun-boats moved at the same hour, and before noon attacked the water batteries at a distance

of six hundred yards. GEN. McCLERNAND.

In an hour and a half, after a severe fire, every Confederate gun was silenced, no vessel having received serious injury except the Essex. The Fort surrendered, and Genl. Tilghman and sixty men were captured.

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The rest of the garrison were stationed in the out-works two miles off. Before surrender these had been ordered to retreat on Ft. Donelson, which order they promptly obeyed.

The Fort had surrendered so quickly that Grant's land force had not time to reach the Ft. Donelson road and intercept the retreating foe. Pursuit was ordered, but only with the effect of capturing a few prisoners and two abandoned guns. Even had the fort not fallen quicker than either Grant or Foote supposed, the march of McClernand could hardly have been made effective, for he had to construct roads through woods and waters at great loss of time. Nor would delay of another day for purposes of investment have insured a greater capture, for Tilghman had resolved to retire his men to Ft. Donelson as quickly and safely as possible, the fight at the fort being kept up solely for that purpose. The losses were few. Foote lost

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two men killed, thirty-seven wounded, beside the nineteen lost by a casualty on the Essex. Tilghman reported five killed and sixteen wounded. Several of the gunboats were struck and pierced

Grant at once telegraphed Halleck : “Fort Henry is ours.

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