Fort Donelson was named in the honor of Major General Daniel S. Donelson, nephew of Andrew and Rachel Jackson.


HEADLINE:    The Battle of Fort Donelson began on 13 February 1862.  The Confederate Generals were John B. Floyd, Gideon Pillow, and Simon Bolivar Buckner.  The Union Generals were Ulysses S. Grant, C.F. Smith, John A. McClernand, Lew Wallace, and Rear Admiral Andrew H. Foote.  The most colorful character involved in the fray at Fort Donelson was Lt. Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest who later earned the nickname “Wizard of the Saddle.”



HEADLINE:    General Grant had marched his troops from Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.  On 13 February Grant had twenty-four infantry regiments, seven batteries of artillery, and seven mounted units.  General Floyd had twenty-seven infantry regiments and additional supporting troops.  On 14 February Rear Admiral Foote brought his gunboats to pound the fort.  Foote’s fleet consisted of four ironclads:  Pittsburg, St. Louis, Carondelet, and Louisville.  He also had two unarmored gunboats:  Tyler and Conestoga.  The St. Louis was his flagship.  Every attempt Foote made failed and a Union victory would rest entirely upon the Union Army.


HEADLINE:     On the night of 15 February the Confederate Generals called a meeting of all general officers and regimental and brigade commanders.  Generals Floyd and Pillow turned over their commands to General Buckner.  General Floyd and his Virginians got on a steamboat and sailed away before dawn on 16 February.  General Pillow and his staff crossed the river on a flatboat and later rejoined General Floyd.  Lt. Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest gathered his troops and escaped across an icy; flood swollen Lick Creek just South of the little village of Dover, Tennessee.  On 16 February General Buckner surrendered “Unconditionally” to General Grant.  General Buckner and the remaining troops were loaded upon boats and sent North to prison camps.



Ode To Fort Donelson


The batteries of artillery are forever silenced,   

The infantry are no longer in marching formation,

The mounted troops no longer ride with fiery passion ,

The gunboats have been forever dismantled.

Everywhere in Fort Donelson peace abounds,

Only the splendid cry’s of a family of Bald Eagles can be heard,

And the spirits the lonely wandering spirits,

They fill the hills and hollows and only in the depths of silent meditation can one feel and experience their ghostly presence.


Copyright 2005

All Rights Reserved

Penned by Donald Laughing Bear Watkins



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