“It is my impression that by following up on our success, Nashville would be an easy conquest”

Feb 21 1862, Wrote Gen. Cullum, “I am now in possession of Clarkesville but will move no force there except Gen. Smith’s Div. until I hear from Gen. Halleck.  There is a considerable amount of Army stores at Clarkesville, particularly flour and bacon, which it will be necessary to move if the Army is to fall back this way.

“I would suggest however that points above Forts Henry and Donelson would be more advantageous for us to occupy than where we now are.  I would say about the R. R. crossing on the two rivers.

“It is my impression that by following up on our success, Nashville would be an easy conquest, but I only throw this out as a suggestion based simply upon information from people who have no sympathy with us.  White flags are flying from here to Clarkesville and rumor says the same thing extends to Nashville.  At Nashville I understand one party put the white flag on the State House but it was torn down by another party.

“I wrote you some days ago to have forwarded blankets and overcoats to issue to troops who lost theirs on the field of battle.  The men are suffering for them.

“Shoes and other clothing are beginning to be wanted to some extent.

“I am ready for any move the Gen. Commanding may order.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 257

O.R., I, vii, 423-4

“Clarkesville is evacuated and I shall take possession on Friday”

Feb 19 1862 Wrote Gen. Cullum, “Clarkesville is evacuated and I shall take possession on Friday next [Feb 21] with one Division under Gen. Smith.  If it is the desire of the Gen. Comd.g Dept. I can have Nashville on Saturday week [Mar 1].  To do this I will have to retain transportation as it arrives.  Please inform me early of the desire of the Gen. Comd.g on this point at as early a day as possible.

“As soon as I got possession of Fort Donelson I commenced sending the sick and wounded to Paducah as seems to have been the desire of Gen. Halleck.  No distinction has been made between Federal and confederate sick and wounded.  Generally the prisoners have been treated with great kindness and I believe they appreciate it.  — Great numbers of Union people have come in to see us and express great hope for the future.  They say secessionists are in great trepidation, some leaving the country, others expressing anxiety to be assured that they will not be molested if they will come in and take the oath.

“The amount of supplies captured here is very large, sufficient probably for twenty days for all my army.  Some articles will be deficient such as coffee.  Of rice, I don’t know that we will want any more during the war.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 245-6

O.R., I, vii, 637-8

“Hereafter Guard Duty will be performed by the 1st and 2nd Divisions”

Feb 18, 1862 Issued General Orders No 4, “Hereafter, until otherwise ordered, Guard Duty will be performed by the 1st and 2nd Divisions and Col. McArthur’s Brigade which for the present will be attached for orders to the 2nd Division.

“The 1st Division will guard all roads and passes into the entrenchments from the river above Dover, to the road leading West to Fort Henry.

“The 2nd Division, with the Brigade attached, will guard from the Fort Henry road to the river below the Fort, and furnish the Guard for the Fort.

“The 4th Division, now organizing, will furnish all other Guards, such as for Commissary and Quarter Masters Stores, at Steam Boat Landing, Hospitals, etc.

“Brig Gen. S. A. Hurlburt will have especial charge of the interior police regulations of the camps inside of the grounds occupied by the other Divisions.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 237-8

O.R., I, vii, 633-4

“If everything looks favorable I will take and garrison Clarkesville in a few days”

Feb 17 1862 Wrote Gen. Cullum, “I am getting off the prisoners captured as rapidly as possible.  Think the last will be off tomorrow.  I fear they will prove an Elephant.  I would suggest the policy of paroling all prisoners hereafter and taking a receipt for them from the commanding officer so that exchanges may all be made on paper.

“Seeing the trouble I have had myself, I began to pity you the moment the first cargo started.

“Send me 5000 blankets and 1000 overcoats as soon as possible.  Many were lost on the battle field and the men are now without.

“We want blanks of all kinds and particularly Muster roll for the approaching muster.

“P.S.  If everything looks favorable I will take and garrison Clarkesville in a few days.  At present I am not ready.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 235

O.R., II, iii, 271-2

“I am pleased to announce to you the unconditional surrender this morning of Fort Donelson”

Wrote Gen. G. W. Cullum, Chief of Staff, Dept. of the Mo. “I am pleased to announce to you the unconditional surrender this morning of Fort Donelson, with twelve to fifteen thousand prisoners, at least forty pieces of Artillery and a large amount of stores, horses, mules and other public property.  I left Fort Henry on the 12th inst. with a force of about 15000 men, divided into two Divisions under the commands of Gens. McClernand and Smith.  Six regiments were sent around by water the day before, convoyed by a gun boat, or rather started one day later than one of the gunboats, and with instructions not to pass it.

“The troops made the march in good order, the head of the column arriving within two miles of the Fort, at 12 o’clock M.  At this point the enemies’ pickets were met and driven in.

“The fortifications of the enemy were from this point gradually approached and surrounded with occasional skirmishing on the line.  The following day, owing to the non-arrival of the Gunboats and reinforcements sent by water, no attack was made, but the investment was extended on the flanks of the enemy and drawn closer to his works, with skirmishing all day.  The evening of the 13th, the Gunboats and reinforcements arrived.  On the 14th, a gallant attack was made by Flag Officer Foote, upon the enemies’ works, with his fleet.  The engagement lasted probably one hour and a half and bid fair to result favorably to the cause of the Union when two unlucky shots disabled two of the Armoured boats so that they were carried back by the tide.  The remaining two were very much disabled, also having received a number of heavy shots about the pilot houses and other parts of the vessels.

“After these mishaps I concluded to make the investment of Fort Donelson as perfect as possible and partially fortify and await repairs to the gunboats.  This plan was frustrated however by the enemy making a most vigorous attack upon our right wing, commanded by Gen. J. A. McClernand, with a portion of the force under Gen. L. Wallace.  The enemy were repelled after a closely contested battle of several hours in which our loss was heavy.  The officers, and particularly field officers, suffered out of proportion.  I have not the means yet of determining our loss even approximately, but it cannot fall far short of 1200 killed, wounded and missing.  Of the latter I understand through Gen. Buckner about 250 were taken prisoners.  — I shall retain enough of the enemy to exchange for them as they were immediately shipped off and not left for recapture. — About the close of this action, the ammunition in cartridge boxes gave out, which with the loss of many of the Field officers produced great confusion in the ranks.  Seeing that the enemy did not take advantage of it convinced me that equal confusion, and possibly great demoralization, existed with him.  Taking advantage of this fact I ordered a charge upon the left, — Enemy’s right — with the Division under Gen. C. F. Smith which was most brilliantly executed and gave to our arms full assurance of victory.  The battle lasted until dark, giving us possession of part of the entrenchments. — An attack was ordered from the other flank, after the charge by Gen. Smith was commenced, by the Divisions under Gens. McClernand and Wallace, which, notwithstanding the hours of exposure to a heavy fire in the fore part of the day, was gallantly made and the enemy futher repulsed.

“At the points thus gained, night having come on, all the troops encamped for the night feeling that a complete victory would crown their labors at an early hour in the morning.

“This morning at a very early hour a note was received from Gen. S. B. Buckner, under a flag of truce, proposing an armistice etc.  A copy of the correspondence which ensued is herewith accompanying.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 222-225

O.R., I, vii, 159-60

Buckner: “[I] accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose”

Gen. Buckner responded, “The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an unexpected change of commanders, and the overwhelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms yesterday, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.”

The Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXII, p 208

Conf. Gen. Buckner: “I propose … the appointment of Commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation”

Feb 16 1862, Received a letter from Confederate Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Comdg. Fort Donelson, “In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the Commanding Officer of the Federal forces the appointment of Commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces and fort under my command, and in that view suggest an armistice until 12 o’clock today.”

Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXII, p 207

“There was now no doubt but that the Confederates must surrender or be captured the next day.”

“[Gen. C.F. Smith] was off in an incredibly short time, going in advance himself to keep his men from firing while they were working their way through the abatis intervening between them and the enemy. The outer line of rifle-pits was passed, and the night of the 15th General Smith, with much of his division, bivouacked within the lines of the enemy. There was now no doubt but that the Confederates must surrender or be captured the next day.”

The Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXII, p 206

Map courtesy of Hal Jesperson, cwmaps.com