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150 Years Ago: Monday, February 10, 1862


The mood at Fort Donelson, Tennessee is a somber one. Days ago they had to abandon Fort Henry, and everyone knows an attack on Donelson is eminent. Those who managed to evacuate Fort Henry before the attack have arrived, and additional reinforcements recommended by General P.G.T. Beauregard are on the way from nearby Clarksville. Holding Donelson is crucial; if the Union takes it, it will give them control of the center of the State and split the Confederate forces in two. Among the 16,000 Confederate infantry are men from Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia.

Joseph Henry, one of the leading scientists in the U.S., has been trying to convince Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles that there is a need for a scientific consulting body. Many citizens are attempting to contribute to the war effort by submitting inventions and related proposals to the government. In order to expedite the evaluation of these approvals, Henry proposed a formation of an advisory agency for the testing of new weapons. Welles has finally agreed and starts to form an organization to review inventions and technical developments.

Though everyone is affected by the war in some way, that doesn’t mean that the fun stops completely. Many people come out for the Skating Carnival in Brooklyn, New York to take advantage of the frozen east river; those that don’t skate, watch…but everyone appears to have a good time. To take advantage of a normal activity that was enjoyed before this long war started is a great privilege.

Ice Skating Carnival in Brooklyn
Source: Harper’s Weekly (2/22/1862 edition)

About thecivilwarproject

Like many others, I have a passion for the Civil War era, and for decades have chosen to spend my much of free time researching this topic - particularly the people, as the human component is what I find most fascinating. The site is not a source of revenue for me, nor is it tied in with a company or individual behind the scenes. It is my own personal venture. It is because of this genuine bond of respect and affection I feel towards this period in our history that I created "The Civil War Project." If this is your first time visiting the site, I welcome you and thank you for your interest. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com.

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