Battle of Fort Donelson: Characters



1) Ulysses S. Grant (Union)
  • 18th President of the United States

  • successfully captured Fort Henry on February 6, 1862 and Fort Donelson on February 16

  • at Fort Donelson the Union Army and Navy experienced stiff resistance from the Confederate forces.

  • Grant’s first attack on Fort Donelson was countered by Pillow's forces, pushing the Union Army into disorganized retreat eastward on the Nashville road. However, Grant was able to rally the troops; he resumed the offensive and the Confederates forces surrendered. Grant’s surrender terms were popular throughout the nation: “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender.” With these victories, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to major general of volunteers.

2) Misc. Union or Confederate soldiers dealing with the snow storm.

  • Freezing temperatures - a snow storm arrived the night of February 13, with strong winds that brought temperatures down to 10–12°F (-12°C) and deposited 3 inches (8 cm) of snow by morning. Guns and wagons were frozen to the earth. Because of the proximity of the enemy lines and the active sharpshooters, the soldiers could not light campfires for warmth or cooking, and both sides were miserable that night, many having arrived without blankets or overcoats.

3) Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd (Confederate)
  • Lost the crucial battle of Fort Donelson

  • Johnston sent Floyd to reinforce Fort Donelson and assume command of the post there. Floyd assumed command of Fort Donelson on February 13 just two days after the Union army had arrived at that spot, also becoming the third post commander within a week.

  • Floyd was not an appropriate choice to defend such a vital point, having political influence, but virtually no military experience. General Johnston had other experienced, more senior, generals (P.G.T. Beauregard and William J. Hardee) available and made a serious error in selecting Floyd. Floyd had little military influence on the Battle of Fort Donelson itself, deferring to his more experienced subordinates.

  • headquarters for this battle in the Dover Hotel.

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