1862 February 16th

February 16 1862 Sunday

Surrender of Fort Donelson, TN (CWSAC Decisive Battle Union Victory)

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

Go to February 17 1862

Arkansas. Skirmishes at Pott’s Hill and Sugar Creek.

New Mexico Territory. Having left Fort Bliss in January, Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Hopkins Sibley led his force of 2,500 men up the Rio Grande and made contact with the Union garrison of Fort Craig.

Tennessee. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston’s forces were spread along 200 miles of road between Nashville and Columbus with Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant’s army between them and controlling the main rivers and railroads. Union Major-General Don Carlos Buell’s army was threatening Nashville from Kentucky while Brigadier-General John Pope was threatening Columbus from the Mississippi. Johnston was vulnerable until he could reach Nashville and combine with the garrison of Fort Donelson, which he was expecting to break out of the Union siege.

Tennessee. Gunboats of Union Captain Andrew Hull Foote’s force destroyed the Tennessee Iron Works above Dover on the Cumberland River.

Fort Donelson, Tennessee. After the failure of their attempted breakout through Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant’s investment lines, the 12,000 men in the Confederate garrison of Fort Donelson were now outnumbered two-to-one and in a near-hopeless situation. Confederate Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd and Brigadier-General Gideon Johnson Pillow telegraphed General Albert Sidney Johnston at Nashville that they had won a great victory on the previous day. Four hundred Confederate reinforcements arrived undetected by steamboat during the night. Confederate Brigadier-General Simon Bolivar Buckner argued, however, that the fort was actually in a desperate position that was getting worse because more Union reinforcements were also arriving. At their final council of war in the Dover Hotel at 1.30 am he stated that if the fort was attacked again the garrison could only hold out for 30 minutes. He estimated that the cost of defending the fort would be immense. Pillow insisted that his withdrawal of the previous day from the breakthrough sector had been only a temporary one to resupply and reorganise and that the attempt should be repeated. Confederate Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest reported that the cavalry had found a manageable narrow escape route, passing waist-deep across a creek near the banks of the river. Floyd, the senior commander feared for the survival of his men in the cold weather if they took such an arduous route. Buckner’s defeatism and Floyd’s belief that he was now outnumbered carried the meeting. Some Confederate troops might escape over the river by boat but most of the transports were currently transporting wounded men to Nashville and could not return in time for a substantial evacuation.
Floyd feared his execution for treason, having been a former US Secretary of War, and he decided to relinquish command and escape before capture. Pillow was the next senior officer in line but he declined the command, also preferring to seek escape, so Buckner was left in command. He agreed to negotiate a surrender. Pillow escaped across the river in a small boat with his chief of staff but none of his men accompanied him. Floyd boarded the steamboat that arrived overnight with his staff and four Virginia regiments but the surrender was enacted before the rest of his brigade (a Mississippi regiment) could escape. These were the last regiments of Floyd’s Army of the Kanawha to arrive in the sector. Forrest escaped undetected across the icy Lick Creek with 700 of his cavalrymen and some accompanying infantry, including Brigadier-General Bushrod Rust Johnson. Buckner was captured and Pillow was suspended from command after the authorities learned of his abandonment of Fort Donelson.
Buckner requested terms and conceded to Grant’s demand for unconditional surrender. This took place without formality. His brusque and uncompressing terms immediately earned U S Grant the nom de guerre based on his initials of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.
The capture of Forts Henry and Donelson was the first significant Union victory in the war and opened the two major rivers, Tennessee and Cumberland, as avenues of invasion into the heartland of the South. Close to a third of all Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston’s forces were now suddenly prisoners. Grant had already captured more soldiers than all other Union generals in the war so far combined.
Grant became only the second Major-General of US Volunteers, after David Hunter, to be promoted from the grade of Brigadier-General. All those prior to Hunter and Grant (Dix, Butler, Banks, Morgan, and Hitchcock) were directly appointed to that grade, in most cases for political reasons or to serve in a staff role. As such, this can be seen as the first promotion to Major-General of US Volunteers arising from a battlefield victory. Grant was elevated over 23 more senior Generals in the Army List to rank tenth overall, a fact that did not escape the notice of other generals ambitiously seeking advancement.
Union losses were 2,691 (507 killed, 1,976 wounded, 208 captured or missing),. The Confederates lost 13,846 (327 killed, 1,127 wounded, 12,392 captured or missing). Other estimates place Confederate prisoners as between 7,000 and 15,000 men. (CWSAC Decisive Battle Union Victory)

Union Organisation

USA: Ulysses Simpson Grant promoted Major-General USV 16 February 1862.

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 West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant awaited
  • District of Cairo: William Tecumseh Sherman
  • 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: Brigadier-General Simon Bolivar Buckner was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee.

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
Ulysses Simpson Grant

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
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
William Wing Loring

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Benjamin McCulloch
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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