10 Feb 2018

Fort Donelson, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Leadership, and More

Fort Donelson, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Leadership, and More

On February 16, 1862, Union forces in Tennessee delivered a strategically devastating blow to the Southern rebellion, capturing Fort Donelson with its 13,000 defenders and shattering the Confederate defensive line in the west that stretched from the Mississippi River to the Cumberland Gap. The Southern heartland lay exposed to penetration by the forces of the United States.

The North erupted in celebration. According to one reporter, the news created a “perfect furor of patriotic jubilation.” The Chicago Tribune declared that “Chicago reeled mad with joy.” A West Chester paper reported, “Great demonstrations are making here today in honor of the capture of Fort Donelson. The bells are ringing and cannons firing. All countenances are beaming with joy, except those of a few sympathizers with the Rebels.”

The architect of this stunning victory was a 39-year-old brigadier general by the name of Ulysses S. Grant, a veteran of the Mexican War who had been forced out of the antebellum army due to a drinking problem brought on by depression. While he was largely unknown at the time (indeed, several newspapers mistakenly used woodcut illustrations of an Illinois beef contractor named William Grant in reporting on the victory), Fort Donelson marked a turning point in Grant’s life, setting him on a new path that would take him to Vicksburg, Appomattox, and ultimately, the White House.

Save Fort Donelson

You can help add to the nearly 639 acres we have already saved at Fort Donelson, Brown’s Ferry, and Franklin. Join our effort to save 15 acres at three Tennessee battlefields.

Ulysses S. Grant: In4

Over the course of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant captured rebel armies at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Appomattox. Learn about his life with our In4 video.

Civil War Leadership: In4

Lincoln. Davis. Grant. Lee. Hancock. Jackson. The Civil War era is chock full of fascinating and brilliant leaders. Learn about Civil War leadership with our In4 video.

Easy Estate Planning

Leaving a gift to the Civil War Trust through your estate may be easier than you think. Make us a beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance policy, or a bank account.

Park Day: Save the Date

Save the date for Park Day, our annual hands-on preservation event that will take place April 7. This is a day dedicated to taking on maintenance projects to help beautify Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields across the U.S. It’s an easy and fun way to make a big impact.

Virginia Residents: Speak Out!

Please make a brief phone call to ask your Virginia state senator to transform more than 1,000 acres of historic battlefield land in Culpeper County into Virginia’s next state park.


American Battlefield Trust

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