Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Unconditional Surrender U. S. Grant

Where did Grant make his first move?

On February 7, 1862, Grant moved down the Cumberland River with several several River Turtles and about 10,000 men. The Confederate commander at Fort Henry tried to fight off the Turtles with cannon shots, but he was quickly defeated. Seeing the impossibility of holding his position, the Confederate sent most of his men away, overland, to Fort Donelson, and with the rest he surrendered on February 10.

This, the first clear-cut Union victory in the West, raised Northern spirits beyond anything yet seen. Grant had seldom been heard of to this point, but he now became a Northern hero. Lincoln, for his part, quickly perceived the importance of the Cumberland and Tennessee River Valleys. Even better news was about to arrive, however.


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