Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Unconditional Surrender U. S. Grant

How did Grant move so quickly against Fort Donelson?

Those who had known Grant in the Mexican War thought him a fine fellow, a good man, and a decent soldier. None of them had any sense of the speed with which he could move, however. This short, cigar-smoking man had an eagle’s eye where his opponents’ weaknesses were concerned.

Within days of capturing Fort Henry, Grant moved his men fourteen miles overland to besiege Fort Donelson. Located on the western side of the Tennessee River, Donelson was much stronger and more strongly defended than Fort Henry: in fact, there were almost 15,000 Confederates there. When the ironclads approached, the cannon at Fort Donelson drove them off with significant losses. Showing no discouragement, Grant settled down to a siege.


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