The battle of fort donelson which began on february 12 took place shortly after the surrender of fort henry tennessee on february 6 1862fort henry had been a key position in the center of a line defending tennessee and the capture of the fort now opened the tennessee river to union troop and supply movements about 2500 of fort henrys confederate defenders escaped before its surrender . After capturing fort henry on the tennessee river on february 6 1862 brig gen ulysses s grant advanced 12 miles cross country to invest fort donelson on the cumberland river by february 13th grant had surrounded the fort with about 25000 men and had conducted several small attacks to probe the forts defenses. American battlefield trusts map of the battle of fort donelson after capturing fort henry on february 6 1862 brig general 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 grants investment lines the forts 12000 man garrison surrendered unconditionally. The battle of fort donelson was an early battle in the american civil war 1861 1865 grants operations against fort donelson lasted from february 11 16 1862 pushing south into tennessee with assistance from flag officer andrew footes gunboats union troops under brigadier general ulysses s grant captured fort henry on february 6 1862
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