Henry-Donelson Campaign Timeline (February 6th - 16th, 1862)


General Grant secured a much-needed early victory for the North during February of 1862 with the taking of both Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee.

Grant recorded his earliest victories of the war in the taking of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee during February of 1862. Arriving with his forces from Cairo, Illinois upriver, he split his elements into two brigades to operate along both banks of the Tennessee River. Fort Heiman, which sat on the west bank, had been abandoned by the Confederates and was easily taken.

A combined naval and land action then resulted in the fall of Fort Henry. Turning eastward, Grant marched an advanced force towards Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Early, unauthorized attacks by Grant's generals were easily repelled by the dug-in troops. A navy action by Flag Officer Foote was also pushed aside thanks to heavy and accurate gun fire by Confederate artillery at the fort. With the arrival of additional troops, Grant now held the numerical advantage and took the fort in full. The victories in Tennesse by Grant were much-needed and well-celebrated in the North as the general began to make a name for himself in the field.

The fall of both forts hurt the Confederate defense in the West dearly and marked a turning point in the warly phases of the war as morale in the North was elevated even if for just a short period.

There are a total of (15) Henry-Donelson Campaign Timeline (February 6th - 16th, 1862) events in the CivilWarTimeline.net database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events are also included for perspective.


Civil War battle map
Union flag
UNION VICTORY
COMMAND(S):
General Ulysses S. Grant
ARMY FORCE(S):
Army of the Tennessee; Western Flotilla
STRENGTH:
15,000 men
CASUALTIES*:
40 men (0.3%)


* Includes killed, wounded, and missing.
Confederate flag
COMMAND(S):
General Lloyd Tilghman
ARMY FORCE(S):
Army of Central Kentucky
STRENGTH:
3,200 men
CASUALTIES*:
79 men (2.5%)


* Includes killed, wounded, and missing.
FORCE STRENGTH
Blue Union soldier cap
Grey Confederate soldier cap
CASUALTIES COMPARISON
Blue Union soldier cap
Grey Confederate soldier cap


Day-by-Day Timeline of Events


February 4, 1862

Event person portrait
En route to Fort Heiman and Fort Henry down the Tennessee River, Union General Grant arrives at Camp Halleck with his forces. General McClernand's division disembarks along the eastern shore out of range of Fort Henry's guns.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 5, 1862

Event person portrait
General Grant has General Charles F. Smith's division disembark along the western shore of the Tennessee River in preparation for the assaults on Fort Heiman and Fort Henry dowriver.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 6, 1862

Event person portrait
Union General McClernand is ordered by General Grant to begin his march towards Fort Henry at 11:00AM.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 6, 1862

At 11:00AM, General Smith's forces begin their march against Fort Heiman along the Tennessee River.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 6, 1862

Union Flag Officer Foote leads his gunboat flotilla against Fort Henry. The action takes place from 11:00AM until about 1:55PM and is in concert with land movements of General McClernand and General Smith under General Grant.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 6, 1862

At 6:00PM on this date, General Grant's troops finally claim (through occupation) Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

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February 6, 1862

Fort Henry, along the Tennessee River in Tennessee, falls to forces under the combine efforts of land and naval forces under the direction of General Grant. He then turns his attention eastward towards enemy-held Fort Donelson along the Cumberland River.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 8, 1862

Event person portrait
Union Flag Officer Foote dispatches three of his river gunboats up the Tennessee River for raiding actions. He retains some four boats for local work.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 11, 1862

General Grant orders an advanced force to begin their march towards Fort Donelson.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 12, 1862

Despite the combined strength of General McClernand and Smith's divisions, General Grant is forced to stop within twelve miles of Fort Donelson as he remains outnumbered.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 13, 1862

Forces under the command of Union General Ulysses S. Grant begin their attack to take Fort Donelson along the Tennessee River.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 13, 1862

Without order from General Grant, both General McClernand and General Smith launch unsuccessful attacks against Fort Donelson.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


February 14, 1862

Under heavy and accurate fire, Union Flag Officer Foote's gunboat floatilla are repelled by the guns of Fort Donelson.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 14, 1862

Union forces under Lew Wallace arrive at Fort Donelson from Fort Heiman and are further reinforced by fresh troops transport via the river Cumberland. With three divisions now formed under General Grant, he holds numerical superiority against the defenders at Fort Donelson.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 16, 1862

Union General Grant is victorious at Fort Donelson along the Tennessee River in Tennessee. 14,000 prisoners are taken after the General demands an "unconditional and immediate surrender" of the enemy.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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