• Fort Donelson 1

  • Fort Donelson 2

  • Fort Donelson 3

  • Fort Donelson 4

  • Fort Donelson 5

Fort Donelson

February 11 - 16, 1862

Stewart County, Tennessee

After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, after the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s investment lines, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. This was a major victory for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a catastrophe for the South. It ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning the nom de guerre “Unconditional Surrender.”
Learn More About This Battle
Civil War Gunboats

Nothing but God Almighty Can Save that Fort

Historian and author James Knight discusses Fort Donelson’s path to unconditional surrender

Battle of Fort Donelson

A War Anything but Civil

Learn more about the Civil War legacies of Forts Henry and Donelson from author Frank Cooling

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63 Acres at Risk

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This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2004 »


Photos, maps, and historic illustrations from the Fort Donelson battlefield

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Recommended Reading

"Forts Henry and Donelson--The Key to the Confederate Heartland"
by Benjamin Franklin Cooling

Author Interview »  |  Buy »

Where the South Lost the Civil War

"Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 "
by Kendall D. Gott

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