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150 Years Ago: Tuesday, February 11, 1862

Fort Lafayette (New York)
Source: Library of Congress

Former U.S. Brigadier General Charles P. Stone arrives at Fort Lafayette today. His journey from Washington City was a bit comical; when he switched trains in Philadelphia another ticket had to be purchased and there was confusion among those guarding him as to who should pay. To put an end to the disagreement Stone pays for his own ticket. Once he arrives to the prison he is immediately put into solitary confinement. He is allowed to hire a private attorney as he awaits to be given the charges against him; he still has no idea what he is being held for.

Back on February 6, U.S. Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant had anticipated that his men would take Fort Donelson by the 8th. It’s five days later and Grant’s ground troops and the naval squadron have not yet departed for Donelson. Due to weeks of heavy rains, rising flood waters have now completely submerged Fort Henry. This meant that troops had to spend time first carrying supplies away from the rising flood waters before they could prepare for their next move. Now the ground troops face horrible road conditions on the twelve mile march to Donelson and Union Commander Andrew Foote’s naval squadron is not yet back from repairs in Cairo, Illinois that were needed after the Fort Henry attack.

Grant understands that the longer he waits to attack, the more time the Confederates will have to provide reinforcements to Donelson. This morning he holds a council of war; all generals except for Brigadier General John McClernand (who has some reservations) support his plans for his attack on Donelson. From the Headquarters District in Cairo, U.S. Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain John A. Rawlins writes and delivers orders from Grant to the commanders involved that they will start for Donelson tomorrow, along with preliminary instructions as to the routes and order of the Divisions.

From Clarksville, Tennessee, C.S.A. Brigadier General Simon Buckner sends a brief, private dispatch:

“Fort Donelson is safe, and can not be taken.”

Daily Civil War Calendar

February 2012

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