Victory in the West 147 years ago

Today is the 147th anniversary of one of the first major Union victories in the Western Theater. It was on February 6, 1862 that the Battle of Fort Henry was fought. This battle has many significant points to it. First, it was the first major victory for Ulysses S. Grant, who was a Brig. Gen. at the time. Second, it allowed the Tennessee River to be used as a highway by the Union. Finally, it paved the way for Grant’s eventual successful campaigns in the West.

The fort was at a significant disadvantage, as not only did Grant land two divisions to prevent escape, but the fort was partially flooded by the Tennessee and was completely inundated a couple of days later. It was undermanned and suffered from worn out artillery. As a battle, it was a major one with light casualties, as only around 120 were killed or wounded.

So, if you are in Tennessee, I would encourage you all to visit the sites for Forts Henry and Donelson, as Fort Henry led to Fort Donelson, which solidified Grant’s reputation as a fighter. In retrospect, it was a good thing that Grant chose to attack Donelson after Henry, even when Maj. Gen. Halleck told him not to do so. The anniversary of Fort Henry is a nice lead up to the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, which will be next Thursday.