Fort Donelson, February 1862

Coming off a recent victory at nearby Fort Henry, Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounded the Confederate forces hunkered down [staying] at Fort Donelson along the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Although the Confederate forces nearly escaped in a daring breakout, Grant and his troops were able to counterattack [attacking against an attack] to gain the upper hand. By the end of the day, almost 1,000 men had died and 3,000 more were wounded and lay suffering on the freezing ground outside the fort. During the night, a number of Confederate commanders, including the infamous Nathan Bedford Forrest, who would later prove to be a thorn in Grant’s side, escaped. In the morning of February 16, the Confederate general asked for terms of surrender. Grant’s response: unconditional surrender or face an incoming attack.

The 13,000 Confederates surrendered, and Grant became a hero in the north. After this victory, Grant had more success in the west, and later captured the first Confederate capital at Nashville.