This is an article in this week’s Times-Script. Enjoy!
Battlefields of the Civil War By Matthew Lentz
Fort Donelson; February 13-16, 1862
About a week after Fort Henry fell, Grant decided to attack Fort Donelson, which was situated on the Cumberland River. Grant’s force had increased to twenty-seven thousand men. As they marched East, the weather became unusually warm for February. Grant decided to use the same tactic here that he used at Fort Henry; hold his troops in reserve while the gunboats bombarded the fort. But Fort Donelson was located high on the bluff so that the shells arched harmlessly over it. Before the gunners could adjust their aim, the cannons in the fort opened fire, sending cannonballs crashing into the boats. Two out of the six vessels were sunk, the rest were damages, and the naval commander was seriously wounded.
Grant called off the assault by water and settled in for a siege. Then suddenly the weather turned bitterly cold. Water froze in canteens, gun hammers froze, there were several cases of frostbite. On the morning of the fourteenth, shivering Northern soldiers were huddling around campfires when thousands of rebels came charging out of the trees. It looked like Grant might have to retreat….