1862 February 13th

February 13 1862 Thursday

Battle of Fort Donelson, TN

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina
Siege of Fort Donelson
Sibley’s Operations in New Mexico

Go to February 14 1862

Georgia. Two sites for Union batteries had been identified upriver from Fort Pulaski, with the intention to cut the fort off from Savannah. One was at Point Venus on the east end of Jones Island along the north bank of the Savannah River North Channel. Georgia Navy Captain Josiah Tattnall had sunk a stone schooner to obstruct the northward channel connecting the river to the Union-held Port Royal, and he patrolled the river with Confederate gunboats. The Union began to clear the obstructions on their most direct supply line first but it required three weeks of hard work. A camp and supply depot was established on the next island north, Dawfuskie Island.
Tattnall’s gunboats still commanded the lower river around Point Venus and made continuous patrols. Their interference forced the work along the river by Union besiegers to be done at night. The Union artillery had to be pulled by hand through swamp over moveable tram sections, with the men working in brackish alligator-infested marshes, sinking in over their waist most of the day. The artillery then had to be placed on board-and-bag platforms to avoid their loss by sinking into the morass. The soldiers rested during the day.
The last Confederate supply ship to reach Fort Pulaski was the small workhorse steamboat Ida. It was on a routine run to the fort down the North Channel when the new Union battery of heavy guns on the north bank opened fire for the first time. The old side-wheeler ran for Fort Pulaski and the battery got off nine shots before the guns recoiled off their platforms and had to cease firing. Union troops went back to work modifying platform construction and resetting the cannon.

Georgia. USS Pembina discovered a battery of “torpedoes” (mines) in the Savannah River while engaged in sounding above the mouth of Wright’s River. The torpedoes, only visible at low tide, were connected by wires and moored individually to the bottom. Over the following two days, Lieutenant John P Bankhead USN returned to remove one of the ”infernal machines” for examination. He sank the remaining torpedoes by rifle fire.

Missouri. The Union Army of the Southwest under Brigadier-General Samuel Ryan Curtis occupied Springfield after it was evacuated by the Confederates. Missouri State Guard Major-General Sterling Price retreated with about 8,000 men towards Cassville. Price’s two brigades were led by Colonel Lewis Henry Little and Missouri State Guard Brigadier-General William Yarnel Slack. Price intended to join forces with Brigadier-General Benjamin McCulloch in Arkansas and was being pursued towards Cassville by two Union divisions under Brigadier-General Jefferson Columbus Davis and Brigadier-General Eugene Asa Carr. Two other Union divisions (Colonel Peter Joseph Osterhaus and Brigadier-General Alexander Asboth) were detached under the independent command of Brigadier-General Franz Sigel to proceed by way of Little York, Marionville, and Verona. The aim was for the two Union columns to reunite at McDowell’s, just north of Cassville.

New Mexico Territory. During the evening, Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Hopkins Sibley led his Army of New Mexico with 2,500 men across the Rio Grande River and up the east side of the river to the ford at Valverde, north of Fort Craig. Sibley deployed his brigade in a line for the next three days, hoping to lure the Union troops into the open. Union Colonel Edward Richard Sprigg Canby did not have full confidence in his volunteers and he refused the temptation to leave the fort to attack Sibley.

North Carolina. Expedition to Batchelder’s Creek ended.

Tennessee. Skirmish at Fort Heiman involving Confederate Lieutenant-Colonel J H Miller (1st Battalion Mississippi Cavalry).

Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Fort Donelson was named for Brigadier-General Daniel Smith Donelson, who selected its site and began construction in 1861. It was considerably more formidable than Fort Henry, rising about 100 feet on dry ground above the Cumberland River, which allowed for a destructive plunging fire against gunboats. The river batteries included ten 32-pounder smoothbore cannons, a 6.5-inch rifle, and a 10-inch Columbiad. There was also a 128-pound Columbiad. The fort itself was a rustic stockade covering several acres with three miles of trenches extending in a semicircle around the fort and the small town of Dover. These trenches were located on a commanding ridge and were fronted by dense abattis.
The fort was manned by Brigadier-General Simon Bolivar Buckner and his division from Bowling Green on the right (with his flank anchored on Hickman Creek) and Brigadier-General Bushrod Rust Johnson’s and Brigadier-General Gideon Johnson Pillow’s division on the left with their flank near the Cumberland River. Confederate Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd’s Confederate division had arrived at the fort at daybreak and raised its strength to three divisions, with approximately 17,000 men including garrison troops, and attached cavalry and six batteries of field guns in addition to the fort’s artillery. This was deemed an adequate force for the length of the defences. The three divisions were now commanded by Floyd and the command of his own division was delegated to Colonel Gabriel Colvin Wharton. Johnson, Buckner, and Wharton commanded the two other divisions, the garrison troops were commanded by Colonel John W Head, and the cavalry was led by Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest.
On the northern side of the fort, the swollen Hickman Creek secured the Confederate right flank like a bridgeless moat. A low ridge continued the line south-eastwards parallel to the river bend, and this was defended by minor works and rifle pits in a three-mile arc. Weak points at Indian Creek and the Fort Henry road were defended by improvised chevaux-de-frise. The marshy Indian Creek ran through the centre of the Confederate line and this point was defended primarily by artillery overlooking it on each side.
Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant’s army of the District of Cairo now consisted of three divisions. Brigadier-General John Alexander McClernand commanded on the right flank and Brigadier-General Charles Ferguson Smith on the left. The third division was newly arrived by river and was commanded by Brigadier-General Lewis Wallace. Supporting the infantry divisions were two regiments of cavalry and eight batteries of artillery, amounting altogether to almost 15,000 men with a further 12,000 men on their way. McClernand’s right flank, facing Pillow, had insufficient men to reach the overflowing Lick Creek so it was left unanchored.
The weather had turned bitterly cold and a blizzard set in overnight. Several small probing attacks were carried out against the Confederate defences, ignoring orders from Grant that no general engagement be provoked. On the right flank, McClernand ordered an unauthorised attack. Two regiments of Colonel William R Morrison’s brigade, along with the 48th Illinois Infantry from Colonel William Hervey Lamm Wallace’s brigade, were ordered to seize a battery (Redan Number 2) that had been harassing their position. Colonel Isham N Haynie of the 48th Illinois was senior in rank to Morrison but Morrison retained the brigade command. When the attack commenced Morrison was wounded, eliminating any leadership ambiguity, but Haynie never took proper control of the force and the attack was repulsed after three failed efforts to advance. Grant had only one gunboat (USS Carondelet) available for support as the remainder of the flotilla was escorting the transports carrying his reinforcements. The single ship supported McClernand’s attack from the river but was hit twice; one 128-pound shot crashed through the casemate into the engine room, causing many casualties. The ship withdrew to recover and then returned to action without being struck again. Confederate Captain Joseph Dixon of the river batteries was killed during USS Carondelet’s bombardment. Some wounded men caught between the lines were burned to death by grass fires ignited by artillery.
On the Union left, Smith sent two of his four brigades under Colonel Jacob Gartner Lauman and Colonel John Cook to test the defences along their front. The attack suffered a few casualties and made no gains, but Smith engaged in sniping duels throughout the night.
The temperature dropped to 10 degrees below zero and rain turned to sleet and snow driven by a freezing wind. During the night Grant sent for his 2,500 men at Fort Henry to join his army at Fort Donelson and they were attached to Smith’s division.

Virginia. Skirmish at Blooming Gap.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Samuel Francis Du Pont
West Gulf Blockading Squadron: David Glasgow Farragut
East Gulf Blockading Squadron: William McKean
Pacific Squadron: Charles H Bell
Western Gunboat Flotilla: Andrew Hull Foote
Potomac Flotilla: Robert Harris Wyman

General–in-Chief: George Brinton McClellan

Department of Florida: Lewis Golding Arnold

Department of Kansas: David Hunter

Department of Key West: John Milton Brannan awaited

Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of Cairo: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
  • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
  • District of North Missouri: John McAllister Schofield
  • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
    • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis

Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby

  • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts

Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan

Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside

Department of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell

  • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell

Department of the Pacific: George Wright

  • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
  • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
  • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • District of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland: Frederick West Lander
  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans

  • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
  • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
  • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Joseph Brevard Kershaw confirmed Brigadier-General PACS 1 February 1862 to rank from 13 February 1862.

CSA: James Ronald Chalmers confirmed Brigadier-General PACS 10 February 1862 to rank from 13 February 1862.

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis
Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens
Secretary of War: Judah Philip Benjamin
Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Vacant

Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell

Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • Army of Pensacola: Samuel Jones
  • Army of Mobile: John Bordenave Villepigue

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

  • District of Albemarle: Henry Alexander Wise awaited

Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin

  • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
  • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
  • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw

Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
  • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • I Corps Potomac: James Longstreet
    • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
  • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

Department of South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida: Robert Edward Lee

  •  District of Middle and East Florida: William Montgomery Gardner
  • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
    • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
    • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: John Clifford Pemberton
    • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

  • District of Lewisburg: Henry Heth

Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert

  • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
  • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCullough
  • District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
  • District of Houston: John Creed Moore
  • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn

Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston

  • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
  • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
  • District of East Tennessee: George Bibb Crittenden
  • Army of Central Kentucky: William Joseph Hardee
  • Army of Eastern Kentucky: Humphrey Marshall
  • Army of the West: Benjamin McCulloch interim Earl Van Dorn awaited

District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley

  • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley

Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell
Robert Anderson
William Starke Rosecrans
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
John Pope
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Franz Sigel
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Frederick West Lander
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
John Alexander McClernand
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Ambrose Everett Burnside
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Charles Ferguson Smith
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Lewis Wallace
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Samuel Jones
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
John Porter McCown
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
Louis Trezevant Wigfall
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
James McQueen McIntosh
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Joseph Lewis Hogg
Daniel Marsh Frost

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