Grant vs. Floyd at Fort Donelson

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67th Tigers

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A few months back there was a very large objection from some about the idea that Fort Donelson contained less than 15,000. I have now located the Monthly Strength Reports for all units involved. It is thus:

1564485157722.png


For Buckner's troops, all of his artillery was present, and so it can be lifted from the monthly report. None of his cavalry was present, and only 7 of his 12 infantry regiments. Fortunately, Buckner gave a breakdown in his AAR, and it is close to 7/12ths of his January report. Thus it can be accepted.

Translated to Donelson, these are these units:

Fort Donelson Garrison, present on 5th February
30th TN
49th TN
50th TN
53rd TN - to Heiman's 1st Bde (new recruits)
1st TN Bn (Colms)
Ross' TN Bty
River Battery
STRENGTH = 1,956

Fort Henry/ Heiman Garrison (regiments made bdes regardless of which post previously at) - arrived 6th February
27th AL - to 1st Bde
10th TN - to 1st Bde
48th TN - to 1st Bde
26th AL - to 3rd Bde (2 Coys only, other 8 were the rearguard that defended Fort Henry)
15th AR - to 3rd Bde
4th MO - to 3rd Bde
Maney's TN Bty
Taylor's TN Bty - half the battery remained with the rearguard at Fort Henry, the other half escaped.
Gantt's Cavalry
STRENGTH = 3,033

Clark's Brigade, Army of Central Kentucky (not incorporated into any division) - arrived 9th February, except 42nd TN
8th KY
1st MS
3rd (23rd) MS
7th TX
Green's TN/KY Bty
Forrest's 3rd TN Cav and 8 additional cavalry coys
42nd TN - arrived 13th February, and sent to 1st Bde
Strength = 2,839

Buckner's 2nd Division (-), Army of Central Kentucky - arrived 11th February

2nd Bde
26th MS - to 7th Bde
26th TN - to 7th Bde
2nd KY - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
14th MS - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
41st TN - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
Jackson's VA Bty

3rd Bde
3rd TN
18th TN
32nd TN
Porter's TN Bty
Graves' KY Bty - attached (was 1st Bde Bty)

STRENGTH = 4,585

Floyd's Brigade (3rd Bde, 3rd Division (Pillow), Army of Central Kentucky) - arrived 13th February
20th MS
36th VA
50th VA
51st VA
56th VA
Guy's VA Bty
French's VA Bty
STRENGTH = 2,375

Other
Parker's Bty - formed as an ad hoc battery by Capt Parker of Pillow's staff using field guns at the fort from personnel above
 
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DanSBHawk

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A few months back there was a very large objection from some about the idea that Fort Donelson contained less than 15,000. I have now located the Monthly Strength Reports for all units involved. It is thus:

View attachment 318516

For Buckner's troops, all of his artillery was present, and so it can be lifted from the monthly report. None of his cavalry was present, and only 7 of his 12 infantry regiments. Fortunately, Buckner gave a breakdown in his AAR, and it is close to 7/12ths of his January report. Thus it can be accepted.

Translated to Donelson, these are these units:

Fort Donelson Garrison, present on 5th February
30th TN
49th TN
50th TN
53rd TN - to Heiman's 1st Bde (new recruits)
1st TN Bn (Colms)
Ross' TN Bty
River Battery
STRENGTH = 1,956

Fort Henry/ Heiman Garrison (regiments made bdes regardless of which post previously at) - arrived 6th February
27th AL - to 1st Bde
10th TN - to 1st Bde
48th TN - to 1st Bde
26th AL - to 3rd Bde (2 Coys only, other 8 were the rearguard that defended Fort Henry)
15th AR - to 3rd Bde
4th MO - to 3rd Bde
Maney's TN Bty
Taylor's TN Bty - half the battery remained with the rearguard at Fort Henry, the other half escaped.
Gantt's Cavalry
STRENGTH = 3,033

Clark's Brigade, Army of Central Kentucky (not incorporated into any division) - arrived 9th February, except 42nd TN
8th KY
1st MS
3rd (23rd) MS
7th TX
Green's TN/KY Bty
Forrest's 3rd TN Cav and 8 additional cavalry coys
42nd TN - arrived 13th February, and sent to 1st Bde
Strength = 2,839

Buckner's 2nd Division (-), Army of Central Kentucky - arrived 11th February

2nd Bde
26th MS - to 7th Bde
26th TN - to 7th Bde
2nd KY - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
14th MS - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
41st TN - to Buckner's 3rd Bde
Jackson's VA Bty

3rd Bde
3rd TN
18th TN
32nd TN
Porter's TN Bty
Graves' KY Bty - attached (was 1st Bde Bty)

STRENGTH = 4,585

Floyd's Brigade (3rd Bde, 3rd Division (Pillow), Army of Central Kentucky) - arrived 13th February
20th MS
36th VA
50th VA
51st VA
56th VA
Guy's VA Bty
French's VA Bty
STRENGTH = 2,375

Other
Parker's Bty - formed as an ad hoc battery by Capt Parker of Pillow's staff using field guns at the fort from personnel above
Yes, and at the time I said that Timothy B Smith had the number of confederates engaged at Donelson at 18,000 and the number of confederates captured at somewhat under 15,000. I regard Smith as the most credible current writer on the western battles.

Also, I've learned not to trust the estimates here coming from partisans.
 

67th Tigers

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Yes, and at the time I said that Timothy B Smith had the number of confederates engaged at Donelson at 18,000 and the number of confederates captured at somewhat under 15,000. I regard Smith as the most credible current writer on the western battles.
Then this might shake your faith in him.

Here is the page where the claim is made:

1564517243102.png


and here is the footnote (no. 2):

1564517272166.png


You'll note under ref 2, there is only two reference regard measured strength of the enemy. That is the "tabular statement", which is here in the original written form:

1564517592533.png

The other is the tables in Gott, which are essentially extracts of the above, with an estimate for 4 coys of TN and KY cav that weren't that side of the river of 340, and an addition error.

Something to notice - there is no mention of "18,000". It sums to 15,246, or 458 more than are listed as "Present for Duty" in the commands in question in the January returns. This is perfectly reasonable, as those sick in hospital etc. would have also been captured, although of course of ACK units did not bring their sick. It would roughly be the sick in Tilghman's 4th Division.

So can we find it elsewhere? The OR references are Grant's initial exaggerated claims in his first communique, and a statement of Federal casualties. The reference to Grant's memoirs is his dismissing all the facts to claim many more than actually present:

"The actual number of Confederates at Fort Donelson can never be given with entire accuracy. The largest number admitted by any writer on the Southern side, is by Colonel Preston Johnston. He gives the number at 17,000. But this must be an underestimate. The commissary general of prisoners reported having issued rations to 14,623 Fort Donelson prisoners at Cairo, as they passed that point. General Pillow reported the killed and wounded at 2,000; but he had less opportunity of knowing the actual numbers than the officers of McClernand's division, for most of the killed and wounded fell outside their works, in front of that division, and were buried or cared for by Buckner after the surrender and when Pillow was a fugitive. It is known that Floyd and Pillow escaped during the night of the 15th, taking with them not less than 3,000 men. Forrest escaped with about 1,000 and others were leaving singly and in squads all night. It is probable that the Confederate force at Donelson, on the 15th of February, 1862, was 21,000 in round numbers. "

Of course, this isn't Grant's opinion. Grant took his number's from Badeau, who was doing a "reverse lost cause" by using dodgy numbers to minimise Federal strength, and exaggerate rebel strength, and was far more egregious about it than Jubal Early et al. ever were. As you probably know, Badeau was paid to provide his work as the primary source for Grant's memoirs, and hence Grant's argument is simply a restatement of Badeau's stripped of the working.

Smith provides no reference to 18,000. What it appears to come from is Grant's opinion that the enemy had a much larger force than the paperwork shows, and he captured many more men than the paperwork (from both sides, the Federal prison camps received less than 11,000 prisoners).

Of course, in making this claim of 18,000, he ignores two excellent sources which he actually referenced. I do wonder why.
 

DanSBHawk

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Then this might shake your faith in him.

Here is the page where the claim is made:

View attachment 318566

and here is the footnote (no. 2):

View attachment 318567

You'll note under ref 2, there is only two reference regard measured strength of the enemy. That is the "tabular statement", which is here in the original written form:

View attachment 318568
The other is the tables in Gott, which are essentially extracts of the above, with an estimate for 4 coys of TN and KY cav that weren't that side of the river of 340, and an addition error.

Something to notice - there is no mention of "18,000". It sums to 15,246, or 458 more than are listed as "Present for Duty" in the commands in question in the January returns. This is perfectly reasonable, as those sick in hospital etc. would have also been captured, although of course of ACK units did not bring their sick. It would roughly be the sick in Tilghman's 4th Division.

So can we find it elsewhere? The OR references are Grant's initial exaggerated claims in his first communique, and a statement of Federal casualties. The reference to Grant's memoirs is his dismissing all the facts to claim many more than actually present:

"The actual number of Confederates at Fort Donelson can never be given with entire accuracy. The largest number admitted by any writer on the Southern side, is by Colonel Preston Johnston. He gives the number at 17,000. But this must be an underestimate. The commissary general of prisoners reported having issued rations to 14,623 Fort Donelson prisoners at Cairo, as they passed that point. General Pillow reported the killed and wounded at 2,000; but he had less opportunity of knowing the actual numbers than the officers of McClernand's division, for most of the killed and wounded fell outside their works, in front of that division, and were buried or cared for by Buckner after the surrender and when Pillow was a fugitive. It is known that Floyd and Pillow escaped during the night of the 15th, taking with them not less than 3,000 men. Forrest escaped with about 1,000 and others were leaving singly and in squads all night. It is probable that the Confederate force at Donelson, on the 15th of February, 1862, was 21,000 in round numbers. "

Of course, this isn't Grant's opinion. Grant took his number's from Badeau, who was doing a "reverse lost cause" by using dodgy numbers to minimise Federal strength, and exaggerate rebel strength, and was far more egregious about it than Jubal Early et al. ever were. As you probably know, Badeau was paid to provide his work as the primary source for Grant's memoirs, and hence Grant's argument is simply a restatement of Badeau's stripped of the working.

Smith provides no reference to 18,000. What it appears to come from is Grant's opinion that the enemy had a much larger force than the paperwork shows, and he captured many more men than the paperwork (from both sides, the Federal prison camps received less than 11,000 prisoners).

Of course, in making this claim of 18,000, he ignores two excellent sources which he actually referenced. I do wonder why.
No, it doesn't shake my faith in Smith. The one consistent point about the confederate numbers that each of the writers make (Badeau, Grant, Smith, whoever) is that there is no absolutely reliable and exact number available. Which is why they looked at rations to POW's etc. If you want to contest Smith's numbers, I suggest you contact him.

I have no faith in your numbers. I've seen how you've consistently skewed the numbers, and the narratives, in favor of McClellan and against Grant. I'll stick with the credible historians.
 
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DanSBHawk

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Interesting "tabular statement," though.

It gives the number of cavalry under Forrest (including Gantt) as only 940, when other confederate sources give it as well over 1300.

And Forrest escaped with less than 500 cavalry? That doesn't sound right either. As I said, there is no definitive exact source of confederate numbers at Donelson. And that includes your numbers.
 

67th Tigers

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It gives the number of cavalry under Forrest (including Gantt) as only 940, when other confederate sources give it as well over 1300.

And Forrest escaped with less than 500 cavalry? That doesn't sound right either.
It might not "sound right", but it is factually correct.

Colonel Forrest commanded the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry, a regiment of 10 coys and ca. 600 men. Two of the coys, D and I, remained in the fort and were captured. Forrest rode out with 8 coys. Forrest did not become a brigadier until the summer.

As I said, there is no definitive exact source of confederate numbers at Donelson. And that includes your numbers.
Yes, there is. We have the official returns. They might not conform with your desires, but that is not the fault of the numbers.
 
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Here is Kendall Gott, US Army (ret) and author of Where the South lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign February 1862:
"The Order of Battle for both sides is not a matter of precise science, but an art form of sorts. Neither commander appears to have kept meticulous records; if there were any, they have been lost to history.
...
Confederate records are sketchier, presumably because records were not kept during the chaotic rush to reinforce Fort Donelson, or perhaps they were destroyed to prevent capture."
 

67th Tigers

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Here is Kendall Gott, US Army (ret) and author of Where the South lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign February 1862:
"The Order of Battle for both sides is not a matter of precise science, but an art form of sorts. Neither commander appears to have kept meticulous records; if there were any, they have been lost to history.
...
Confederate records are sketchier, presumably because records were not kept during the chaotic rush to reinforce Fort Donelson, or perhaps they were destroyed to prevent capture."
Indeed, if you don't keep check then it ceases to be an accurate number.

For example, the first line of his artillery read Culbertson's Battery - 300 men. A 300 man battery what is happening?

In fact, Culbertson took command of the river battery, which was manned by Ross' Battery (manning the 10" Columbiad and the rifled 68 pdr), a company of the 30th Tennessee (Coy A) and a company of the 50th Tennessee (also their coy A), each of which manned 4 32 pdrs. These would number 116 for Ross, and roughly 10% of the strengths of the 30th and 50th TN (75 and 65 respectively), or 256.

Gott's guess at 300 is not bad, but the units were account for elsewhere. However, he makes a double count. By adding a river battery, but not checking Culbertson's AAR for who the troops were.

Similarly, how did Preston Johnston get his numbers so high for Fort Donelson? Simple, he double counted Heiman's brigade and Clark's brigade.

You can indulge in various mistakes to boost the number of defenders of Ft Donelson, but they remain mistakes.
 

DanSBHawk

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Indeed, if you don't keep check then it ceases to be an accurate number.

For example, the first line of his artillery read Culbertson's Battery - 300 men. A 300 man battery what is happening?

In fact, Culbertson took command of the river battery, which was manned by Ross' Battery (manning the 10" Columbiad and the rifled 68 pdr), a company of the 30th Tennessee (Coy A) and a company of the 50th Tennessee (also their coy A), each of which manned 4 32 pdrs. These would number 116 for Ross, and roughly 10% of the strengths of the 30th and 50th TN (75 and 65 respectively), or 256.

Gott's guess at 300 is not bad, but the units were account for elsewhere. However, he makes a double count. By adding a river battery, but not checking Culbertson's AAR for who the troops were.

Similarly, how did Preston Johnston get his numbers so high for Fort Donelson? Simple, he double counted Heiman's brigade and Clark's brigade.

You can indulge in various mistakes to boost the number of defenders of Ft Donelson, but they remain mistakes.
Again, you miss the point. There is no reliable record for the confederate numbers. Your claim that you alone know the exact numbers is nothing but wishful thinking to serve your anti-Grant bias.

Gott estimates the numbers in the 16,000's, Woodworth says the 20-25k figure was not far off, and Smith puts the number at 18,000.

The confederates almost certainly had some number between 16,000 and 20,000. Especially considering that the POW rations were for 14,600 and both sides agree that somewhere around 3,000 escaped.

I've cited 3 credible authors. You've cited yourself and unreliable documents.
 
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67th Tigers

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Again, you miss the point. There is no reliable record for the confederate numbers.
No, you miss the point that we have quite reliable figures already from the official reports which have survived.

That Grant partisans reject these figures and with very little evidence substitute alternate figures is the point.

Gott estimates the numbers in the 16,000's,
Gott used the "tabular statement" and made some imputations based upon his opinion that it was incomplete. These imputations were:

1. Culbertson - Culbertson's command was Ross' Battery, and a company each of the 30th and 50th TN, which were already in the table. Thus this is a double count.

2. 4 Cavalry coys not listed, and a misreading of another. Melton's rangers and spies are listed in the tabular statement as having 15. Gott gives them 58. Major Fielding Gowan's Tennessee cavalry squadron is listed on the tabular statement as having 60, but Gott gives them 170. The Kentucky cavalry is not broken out as a separate command in the tabular statement. The cavalry of Clark's brigade is reported as having 966 PFD two weeks earlier, and Gantt and Forrest have 940 combined in the tabular statement. It is clear that the Kentucky cavalry is included under the Tennessee cavalry. Huey's company is given the incredible strength of 112

3. With no justification, Gott bumped the number of surrendered in the 48th TN to 420 from 270.

4. Gott's addition is incorrect on the artillery table.

Stripping out Gott's imputations leaves 15,246 Present.

Woodworth says the 20-25k figure was not far off,
No. He says Grant received a scouting report of 20-25,000.

and Smith puts the number at 18,000.
By taking Preston Johnston's numbers, which double counted Clark's brigade and rounding up.

Stipping out PJ's double count would leave 15,000, which is self-consistant.

The confederates almost certainly had some number between 16,000 and 20,000.
There is no evidence of this. All figures much above 15,000 have, when interrogated, double counts.

Especially considering that the POW rations were for 14,600 and both sides agree that somewhere around 3,000 escaped.
Badeau says 14,623 rations were issued. As I've said, that is not the same as 14,623 people. A ration was issued every day, and so the assumption being made is the prisoners were only issued a single ration (i.e. one days food) each at Cairo. This is not true.

"3. All prisoners taken at the surrender of Fort Donelson will be collected as rapidly as practicable near the village of Dover, under their respective company and regimental commanders, or in such manner as may be deemed best by Brig. Gen. S. B. Buckner, and will receive two days’ rations, preparatory to embarking for Cairo. Prisoners are to be allowed their clothing, blankets, and such private property as may be carried about their person, and commissioned officers will be allowed their side-arms. "

As we're discussed, the prisoners were counted at Dover, and there were 9,929 of them. The wounded and sick were not included in this figure.

"HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Fort Donelson, February 17, 1862.

Colonel SWEENY, Commanding Fifty-second Illinois Volunteers:

You will take charge of the prisoners to be transported to Cairo from whence the guard will return here, furnishing the necessary number to guard each steamer not now provided for. You will provide two days’ rations for the prisoners and four days’ rations for the guards. The arms of the commissioned officers will be kept separate and returned to them at Cairo unless otherwise ordered, i.e., pistols and swords. All other arms will be turned over to the quartermaster at Cairo.

By order of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding:

JOHN RIGGIN, JR., Aide-de-Camp."

Cullum at Cairo counted them through as a bit under 11,500:

"CAIRO, ILL., February 19, 1862.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK.

MY DEAR GENERAL: It is mighty hard to play everything from corporal to general and to perform the functions of several staff departments almost unaided as I have done the past two weeks. ... We have provided for all the sick and wounded thus far without sending any to Cincinnati, for which we have no steamer to spare. There are 1,400 at Paducah and 1,200 at Mound City and but few here. Volunteer surgeons and nurses have supplied all my wants and many more are constantly offering. Hordes of brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, cousins, &c., have reached here to find the dead and see the wounded, but I have had to refuse passes to all, as they would fill all our steamers, eat our rations, and be of no service to the wounded. By some strange accident several of your telegrams did not come into my hands till after I had telegraphed urgently to you to-day to know the disposition of the prisoners. All but 1,500 had then gone up the Mississippi, being nearly 10,000. Of the remaining, 1,000 went well guarded to-night and 500 will follow in the morning to Camp Douglas.

For want of steamer and guards I was compelled to send officers as well as men, but had them separated and have instructed the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to continue to keep them apart. The officers came down with pistols and side-arms saying it was so agreed by General Grant. I have disarmed them, sending their swords and pistols to the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to be governed by your instructions in the matter. I have telegraphed to Smithland if any more came down the Cumberland to send them up the Ohio to Jeffersonville, Ind., to go thence by railroad to Indianapolis.

...

I am completely fagged out, and being among the little hours of the morning I must say good night.*

Yours, very truly,

G. W. CULLUM."

You will note that at least 1,500 spent more than one day at Cairo. Hence if they were being fed there (as Badeau implies) they'd draw a second ration.

The prisoners were issued two days rations on the 17th, and were moved to Cairo. On the 18th there 11,000 at Cairo with 500 en route. On the 19th Halleck tells Cullum to send 10,000 onwards (7,000 to Chicago and 3,000 to Indianapolis), and keep the rest. They go that day, and hence 10,000 rations at Cairo (19th). The next day there are 2,700 remaining to draw a second ration.

Hence in round figures, 10,000 drew one ration and 2,700 drew two rations (15,400). This is a little higher than 14,623, but Cullum is talking round figures, and so there is no issue.
 

DanSBHawk

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No, you miss the point that we have quite reliable figures already from the official reports which have survived.

That Grant partisans reject these figures and with very little evidence substitute alternate figures is the point.



Gott used the "tabular statement" and made some imputations based upon his opinion that it was incomplete. These imputations were:

1. Culbertson - Culbertson's command was Ross' Battery, and a company each of the 30th and 50th TN, which were already in the table. Thus this is a double count.

2. 4 Cavalry coys not listed, and a misreading of another. Melton's rangers and spies are listed in the tabular statement as having 15. Gott gives them 58. Major Fielding Gowan's Tennessee cavalry squadron is listed on the tabular statement as having 60, but Gott gives them 170. The Kentucky cavalry is not broken out as a separate command in the tabular statement. The cavalry of Clark's brigade is reported as having 966 PFD two weeks earlier, and Gantt and Forrest have 940 combined in the tabular statement. It is clear that the Kentucky cavalry is included under the Tennessee cavalry. Huey's company is given the incredible strength of 112

3. With no justification, Gott bumped the number of surrendered in the 48th TN to 420 from 270.

4. Gott's addition is incorrect on the artillery table.

Stripping out Gott's imputations leaves 15,246 Present.



No. He says Grant received a scouting report of 20-25,000.



By taking Preston Johnston's numbers, which double counted Clark's brigade and rounding up.

Stipping out PJ's double count would leave 15,000, which is self-consistant.



There is no evidence of this. All figures much above 15,000 have, when interrogated, double counts.



Badeau says 14,623 rations were issued. As I've said, that is not the same as 14,623 people. A ration was issued every day, and so the assumption being made is the prisoners were only issued a single ration (i.e. one days food) each at Cairo. This is not true.

"3. All prisoners taken at the surrender of Fort Donelson will be collected as rapidly as practicable near the village of Dover, under their respective company and regimental commanders, or in such manner as may be deemed best by Brig. Gen. S. B. Buckner, and will receive two days’ rations, preparatory to embarking for Cairo. Prisoners are to be allowed their clothing, blankets, and such private property as may be carried about their person, and commissioned officers will be allowed their side-arms. "

As we're discussed, the prisoners were counted at Dover, and there were 9,929 of them. The wounded and sick were not included in this figure.

"HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Fort Donelson, February 17, 1862.

Colonel SWEENY, Commanding Fifty-second Illinois Volunteers:

You will take charge of the prisoners to be transported to Cairo from whence the guard will return here, furnishing the necessary number to guard each steamer not now provided for. You will provide two days’ rations for the prisoners and four days’ rations for the guards. The arms of the commissioned officers will be kept separate and returned to them at Cairo unless otherwise ordered, i.e., pistols and swords. All other arms will be turned over to the quartermaster at Cairo.

By order of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant, commanding:

JOHN RIGGIN, JR., Aide-de-Camp."

Cullum at Cairo counted them through as a bit under 11,500:

"CAIRO, ILL., February 19, 1862.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK.

MY DEAR GENERAL: It is mighty hard to play everything from corporal to general and to perform the functions of several staff departments almost unaided as I have done the past two weeks. ... We have provided for all the sick and wounded thus far without sending any to Cincinnati, for which we have no steamer to spare. There are 1,400 at Paducah and 1,200 at Mound City and but few here. Volunteer surgeons and nurses have supplied all my wants and many more are constantly offering. Hordes of brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, cousins, &c., have reached here to find the dead and see the wounded, but I have had to refuse passes to all, as they would fill all our steamers, eat our rations, and be of no service to the wounded. By some strange accident several of your telegrams did not come into my hands till after I had telegraphed urgently to you to-day to know the disposition of the prisoners. All but 1,500 had then gone up the Mississippi, being nearly 10,000. Of the remaining, 1,000 went well guarded to-night and 500 will follow in the morning to Camp Douglas.

For want of steamer and guards I was compelled to send officers as well as men, but had them separated and have instructed the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to continue to keep them apart. The officers came down with pistols and side-arms saying it was so agreed by General Grant. I have disarmed them, sending their swords and pistols to the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to be governed by your instructions in the matter. I have telegraphed to Smithland if any more came down the Cumberland to send them up the Ohio to Jeffersonville, Ind., to go thence by railroad to Indianapolis.

...

I am completely fagged out, and being among the little hours of the morning I must say good night.*

Yours, very truly,

G. W. CULLUM."

You will note that at least 1,500 spent more than one day at Cairo. Hence if they were being fed there (as Badeau implies) they'd draw a second ration.

The prisoners were issued two days rations on the 17th, and were moved to Cairo. On the 18th there 11,000 at Cairo with 500 en route. On the 19th Halleck tells Cullum to send 10,000 onwards (7,000 to Chicago and 3,000 to Indianapolis), and keep the rest. They go that day, and hence 10,000 rations at Cairo (19th). The next day there are 2,700 remaining to draw a second ration.

Hence in round figures, 10,000 drew one ration and 2,700 drew two rations (15,400). This is a little higher than 14,623, but Cullum is talking round figures, and so there is no issue.
Steven Woodworth, Timothy Smith, and Kendall Gott are historians not Grant partisans. And if being a partisan disqualifies an estimate, then your numbers are disqualified. You've consistently mischaracterized the western battles trying to elevate McClernand and denigrate Grant.

The historians say that no reliable confederate numbers exist. I believe them. The tabulated statement is full of rounded numbers (500, 300, 550, etc.) You have no knowledge of how the original statement was compiled and no knowledge of how these historians arrived at their estimates.

Woodworth not only referenced the 20,000-25,000 report, but said it was "fairly accurate."

It's pretty certain that these three historians have studied more references than have been provided here in reaching their estimates. Their work has credibility. So unless an equally credible historian researches this and comes up with a credible alternative, the best estimate in my opinion is: 18,000 confederates, 3,000 escaped, 15,000 taken prisoner.
 
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67th Tigers

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Steven Woodworth, Timothy Smith, and Kendall Gott are historians not Grant partisans.
Well not all of them.

Woodworth is certainly a pro-Grant partisan. However, he is no military historian in the traditional sense, but a social historian of the type who have displaced military historians in teaching "military history". His work is based around the letters of soldiers, and telling their stories. Hence he has very little grasp on the military aspects. Hence why he can say, with a straight face, that a report of 25,000 is "fairly accurate", when the real number from multiple returns is in the 14-15,000 region. To put it another way, the nearly doubling of the number of defenders of Fort Donelson is proportionally further from reality than Pinkerton's 200,000 at Richmond. If you endorse this as "fairly accurate", than you must also endorse Pinkerton as "fairly accurate".

Gott only wrote one Civil War book, and it fairly balanced, minor errors excepted (see below). The most obvious is that he missed McClellan initiating the whole operation, which I know you continue to deny even when shown the orders.

Smith also has a pro-Grant bias.

The historians say that no reliable confederate numbers exist. I believe them. The tabulated statement is full of rounded numbers (500, 300, 550, etc.) You have no knowledge of how the original statement was compiled and no knowledge of how these historians arrived at their estimates.
Except we have the monthly return of every formation involved for a mere 16 days beforehand. We have rolls compiled at the time. We have physical counts of the prisoners etc.

Gott, who you are quoting, endorses the "tabular statement" as correct. He just thought it was missing some units and tried to impute them. A few hours investigation showed that all the units he tried to impute were already contained in the statement.

Where Gott really struggled was the Federal Army. Grant was notoriously sloppy with his staff work, and hence a lot of information is lacking. Hence we know the strength of every Confederate regiment that fought at Donelson, but we don't know about 16 of the Federal regiments. McClernand fortunately was on top of things, and so we know about 1st Division with only the cavalry and a couple of batteries lacking returns. In the 2nd division we only know the strength of 4 of the 15 infantry regiments, and 7 of 12 in 3rd division.

Hence what Gott struggled on wasn't the rebel strength, but Federal strength. He did not have a reliable return for the Federal forces.

Normal convention is to apply the average. There are 14,280 in the 22 known regiments, and hence they average 649.1 men each. Say 650. Gott gives the unknowns estimates of 400 or 500, with no justification. This reduces Federal manpower by 2,500. Grant in his memoirs says he had 27,000 men, and if you fill in the blanks with the average of the knowns, then this is the number it resolves to ca. 27,000.

It's fairly reliable that Grant had ca. 27,000 PFD and the defenders ca. 15,000 aggregate present. Grant had roughly a 2:1 advantage in manpower.

It's pretty certain that these three historians have studied more references than have been provided here in reaching their estimates. Their work has credibility. So unless an equally credible historian researches this and comes up with a credible alternative, the best estimate in my opinion is: 18,000 confederates, 3,000 escaped, 15,000 taken prisoner.
That is your opinion, sure. However, we have a lot of far more reliable information that contradicts your opinion.
 

DanSBHawk

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Well not all of them.

Woodworth is certainly a pro-Grant partisan. However, he is no military historian in the traditional sense, but a social historian of the type who have displaced military historians in teaching "military history". His work is based around the letters of soldiers, and telling their stories. Hence he has very little grasp on the military aspects. Hence why he can say, with a straight face, that a report of 25,000 is "fairly accurate", when the real number from multiple returns is in the 14-15,000 region. To put it another way, the nearly doubling of the number of defenders of Fort Donelson is proportionally further from reality than Pinkerton's 200,000 at Richmond. If you endorse this as "fairly accurate", than you must also endorse Pinkerton as "fairly accurate".

Gott only wrote one Civil War book, and it fairly balanced, minor errors excepted (see below). The most obvious is that he missed McClellan initiating the whole operation, which I know you continue to deny even when shown the orders.

Smith also has a pro-Grant bias.



Except we have the monthly return of every formation involved for a mere 16 days beforehand. We have rolls compiled at the time. We have physical counts of the prisoners etc.

Gott, who you are quoting, endorses the "tabular statement" as correct. He just thought it was missing some units and tried to impute them. A few hours investigation showed that all the units he tried to impute were already contained in the statement.

Where Gott really struggled was the Federal Army. Grant was notoriously sloppy with his staff work, and hence a lot of information is lacking. Hence we know the strength of every Confederate regiment that fought at Donelson, but we don't know about 16 of the Federal regiments. McClernand fortunately was on top of things, and so we know about 1st Division with only the cavalry and a couple of batteries lacking returns. In the 2nd division we only know the strength of 4 of the 15 infantry regiments, and 7 of 12 in 3rd division.

Hence what Gott struggled on wasn't the rebel strength, but Federal strength. He did not have a reliable return for the Federal forces.

Normal convention is to apply the average. There are 14,280 in the 22 known regiments, and hence they average 649.1 men each. Say 650. Gott gives the unknowns estimates of 400 or 500, with no justification. This reduces Federal manpower by 2,500. Grant in his memoirs says he had 27,000 men, and if you fill in the blanks with the average of the knowns, then this is the number it resolves to ca. 27,000.

It's fairly reliable that Grant had ca. 27,000 PFD and the defenders ca. 15,000 aggregate present. Grant had roughly a 2:1 advantage in manpower.



That is your opinion, sure. However, we have a lot of far more reliable information that contradicts your opinion.
You misrepresent Woodworth by leaving out the 20,000 number, which in fact is fairly close to the 18,000 of Smith. You also misrepresent Gott, as he specifically said the confederate numbers were "sketchier" than the federal.

And McClellan had virtually nothing to do with the Henry/Donelson campaign, as has been explained over and over again.

I will continue to go with credible, reputable historians over amateur McClellan/McClernand fanboys.
 

67th Tigers

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You misrepresent Woodworth by leaving out the 20,000 number, which in fact is fairly close to the 18,000 of Smith. You also misrepresent Gott, as he specifically said the confederate numbers were "sketchier" than the federal.
Yet they are not. We know the strength of every rebel regiment. We only know the strength of 22 of the 38 Federal regiments.

Clearly the Federals are sketchier.

And McClellan had virtually nothing to do with the Henry/Donelson campaign, as has been explained over and over again.
Wrongly explained.


Introduction

The operations against Forts Henry and Donelson etc. were undertake whilst McClellan was General-in-Chief. Indeed, they were ordered by McClellan as part of his grand strategy. I've learnt from discussing the matter that there is a myth that it was Grant alone who did everything, and McClellan, Halleck, Buell, CF Smith, Nelson etc. are whitewashed from the story. Myths of course are not true, but sometimes contain elements of truth, and this one is no exception.

McClellan Orders Halleck on a Cumberland Expedition

Halleck had taken over the Missouri Department at the end of November. He found it poorly organised, and wrote to McClellan that he could not go on the offensive:


Our army is utterly disorganized, clamorous for pay, but refusing to be regularly mustered in, in many places mutinous and disbanding. I will restore order if you give me time. We are not prepared for any important expedition out of the state, it would imperil the safety of Missouri. Wait until we are ready.

This, General, is no army, but rather a military rabble. I am almost destitute of regular officer. Your telegram indicates your intention to withdraw a portion of our troops from Missouri. This cannot be done safely at this time. We are destitute of arms, organization, and discipline.​
This was informed by the reports of his subordinates. Such as the dire analysis of Grant, who wrote of his command to Halleck on 21st November:

There are now at Columbus forty-seven regiments of infantry and two companies of light artillery, and over one hundred pieces of heavy ordinance. In addition, there are at Camp Beauregard, on the road about half way between Mayfield and Union City, some 8,000 more, of all arms. A gunboat reached Columbus and another is expected in a few day. There is great deficiency in transportation. I have no ambulances. The clothing received is of inferior quality and lacking in quantity. The arms in the hands of the men are mostly the old flint lock. The Quartermaster's Department has been carried on with so little funds that Government credit have become exhausted.​
There are several messages in the record showing that Grant was every bit as reluctant as Halleck to go on the offensive. We should note that Grant's estimate of enemy strength was wildly high. A month earlier Polk's entire command (including the brigade sent to Camp Beauregard) consisted of 21 infantry regiments, 8 batteries, 4 cavalry battalions and his end of January '62 state shows only 25 infantry regiments, plus odds and sods (ORA 7, 853-5). Grant has more than doubled the enemy force.

McClellan's reply to Halleck was sent on 10th December:


I am sorry to learn the very disorganized condition of the troops. I appreciate the difficulty of the task before you, and you may rest assured that I will support you to the full extent of my ability. Do not hesitate to use force with the refractory. Can you yet form any idea of the time necessary to prepare an expedition against Columbus or one up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, in connection with Buell’s movements? I shall send troops to Hunter, to enable him to move into the Indian Territory west of Arkansas and upon Northern Texas. That movement should relieve you very materially. It will require some little time to prepare Hunter, but when he moves you might act in concert with him.​

Halleck and Grant were not alone in pleading weakness; Buell and Hunter were doing likewise. There was essentially no movement in the west. A month later, on 3rd January a frustrated McClellan finally ordered Halleck to advance up the Cumberland with two divisions:


It is very important that the rebel troops in west Kentucky be prevented from moving to the support of the force in front of Buell. To accomplish this an expedition should be sent up the Cumberland River to act in concert with Buell's command, of sufficient strength to defeat any force that might be brought against it. The gunboats should be supported by at least one and perhaps two divisions of your best infantry, taken from Paducah and other points from which they can be spared. At the same time such a demonstration should be made on Columbus as will prevent the removal of any troops from that place; and, if a sufficient number has already been moved, the place should be taken. It may be well to make a feint on the Tennessee River, with a command sufficient to prevent disaster under any circumstances​
Thus was now have an order from McClellan to Halleck to take Grant's command and send it against Fort Donelson, the major fortification on the Cumberland. Everything that occurred flowed from this order, and as we shall see, McClellan did heavily reinforce Grant's column with forces from Buell.

Halleck's and Grant's Response to the Order

Halleck and Grant were not happy with the order, but began to execute it. On 6th January Halleck gave Grant an order to demonstrate against Columbus, but did not give the order to Grant to move on Fort Donelson, which McClellan stated should be simultaneous.


Make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray. Forces from Cairo and Paducah should meet at Mayfield and threaten Murray. Do not advance far enough to expose your flank and rear to an attack from Columbus and by all means avoid a serious engagement. The object is to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Bowling Green. Be very careful to avoid a battle, we are not ready for that.​
Grant extracted the orders to CF Smith on 8th January. McClernand started shuffling his forces to the Kentucky bank (Fort Jefferson) on the 10th. Both forces reported ready on the 14th, and both marched out on the 15th. On the 16th they came to within a march of each other near the site of Camp Beauregard, but it was abandoned. Both turned away. Obeying direct orders from Halleck, CF Smith moved east to the Tennessee river, to examine the roads. Whilst resupplying his force from boats on the 22nd, Smith went down on the Lexington to recce Forts Heiman and Henry. He reported:

I think two iron-clad gunboats would make short work of Fort Henry. There is no masked battery at the foot of the island, as was supposed, or, if so, it is now under water. Two stern-wheel steamers were at the fort, but moved away rapidly at our first gun.​


Map: Approximate Routes of the Expeditions


Jan%2B62.png



Halleck had written on 20th January to McClellan suggesting that McClellan allow him to attack Fort Donelson (Dover):

The idea of moving down the Mississippi by steam is, in my opinion, impracticable, or at least premature. It is not a proper line of operations, at least now. A much more feasible plan is to move up the Cumberland and Tennessee, making Nashville the first objective point. This would turn Columbus and force the abandonment of Bowling Green, Columbus cannot be taken without an immense siege train and a terrible loss of life. I have thoroughly studied its defenses; they are very strong. But it can be turned, paralyzed, and forced to surrender. This line of the Cumberland or Tennessee is the great central line of the Western theater of war, with the Ohio below the mouth of Green River as the base and two good navigable rivers extending far into the interior of the theater of operations. But the plan should not be attempted without a large force, not less than 60,000 effective men. ...

I have not designated any particular line or lines of movement. That must be a matter of farther study if the general idea should be approved. Perhaps the main column should move from Smithland, between the rivers, by Dover, &c. Perhaps the line east of the Cumberland or that west of the Tennessee would be preferable. These questions, however, are matters easily determinable.​
McClellan replied on the 29th January (ORA 7, 930-1):

I like your views as to the future. They fully agree with my own ideas from the beginning, which has ever been against a movement in force down the Mississippi itself.​
Halleck received McClellan's approval, and issued orders to Grant for the Fort Henry operation on the 30th. He informed Buell:

I have ordered an advance of our troops on Fort Henry and Dover. It will be made immediately.​
It should be noted that Grant hasn't kicked CF Smith's information upstairs yet, as he sent it on the 31st. However, Halleck's correspondence shows he had seen it already.

Halleck wrote McClellan on the 30th:


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, January 30, 1862.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, General-in-Chief of the Army, Washington:

GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of instructions sent this day to General Grant in relation to the expedition up the Tennessee River against Fort Henry. As Fort Henry, Dover [Fort Donelson], &c., are in Tennessee, I respectfully suggest that that State be added to this department.

General Grant has already been re-enforced with eight regiments of infantry, and several others, with three batteries of artillery, are under orders to join him. I will send down every man I can spare. Information is received to-day that Brigadier-General Price, son of the major-general, is again organizing insurgents in Howard and Chariton Counties, and that the rebels are becoming more bold since our troops have been sent south. I therefore think it unsafe to withdraw many more until the State militia can take their place. The militia dare not or will not organize in counties not occupied by our troops. To facilitate this organization it becomes necessary to scatter the volunteers over a very large tract of country. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable.

Fort Henry has a garrison of about 6,000, and is pretty strongly fortified. Possibly re-enforcements may be sent from Columbus as soon as we move. If we can reach the railroad this may be prevented, as the country roads are almost impassable.

The troops from Rolla are advancing in the direction of Springfield, but necessarily move very slowly. Greenville, south of Ironton, is occupied by our cavalry, and an infantry regiment is ordered to re-enforce them. This movement is necessary to break up the rebel organizations in the counties of Wayne and Butler.

The roads south of the Tennessee River are almost impassable. General Smith reported on his recent reconnaissance up that river that the road was horrible, and new tracks had to be cut through the woods. It took an entire day for-one brigade to move 3 miles.”

Permanent crews for the gunboats are being rapidly organized. The mortar boats cannot be used in the Tennessee or Cumberland, and I doubt if they will ever be of much use in the Mississippi. Neither navy nor army officers have much faith in them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.​

With McClellan's endorsement, Halleck thus began operations against Fort Henry.
 
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DanSBHawk

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Yet they are not. We know the strength of every rebel regiment. We only know the strength of 22 of the 38 Federal regiments.

Clearly the Federals are sketchier.



Wrongly explained.


Introduction

The operations against Forts Henry and Donelson etc. were undertake whilst McClellan was General-in-Chief. Indeed, they were ordered by McClellan as part of his grand strategy. I've learnt from discussing the matter that there is a myth that it was Grant alone who did everything, and McClellan, Halleck, Buell, CF Smith, Nelson etc. are whitewashed from the story. Myths of course are not true, but sometimes contain elements of truth, and this one is no exception.

McClellan Orders Halleck on a Cumberland Expedition

Halleck had taken over the Missouri Department at the end of November. He found it poorly organised, and wrote to McClellan that he could not go on the offensive:

Our army is utterly disorganized, clamorous for pay, but refusing to be regularly mustered in, in many places mutinous and disbanding. I will restore order if you give me time. We are not prepared for any important expedition out of the state, it would imperil the safety of Missouri. Wait until we are ready.​
This, General, is no army, but rather a military rabble. I am almost destitute of regular officer. Your telegram indicates your intention to withdraw a portion of our troops from Missouri. This cannot be done safely at this time. We are destitute of arms, organization, and discipline.​
This was informed by the reports of his subordinates. Such as the dire analysis of Grant, who wrote of his command to Halleck on 21st November:

There are now at Columbus forty-seven regiments of infantry and two companies of light artillery, and over one hundred pieces of heavy ordinance. In addition, there are at Camp Beauregard, on the road about half way between Mayfield and Union City, some 8,000 more, of all arms. A gunboat reached Columbus and another is expected in a few day. There is great deficiency in transportation. I have no ambulances. The clothing received is of inferior quality and lacking in quantity. The arms in the hands of the men are mostly the old flint lock. The Quartermaster's Department has been carried on with so little funds that Government credit have become exhausted.​
There are several messages in the record showing that Grant was every bit as reluctant as Halleck to go on the offensive. We should note that Grant's estimate of enemy strength was wildly high. A month earlier Polk's entire command (including the brigade sent to Camp Beauregard) consisted of 21 infantry regiments, 8 batteries, 4 cavalry battalions and his end of January '62 state shows only 25 infantry regiments, plus odds and sods (ORA 7, 853-5). Grant has more than doubled the enemy force.

McClellan's reply to Halleck was sent on 10th December:


I am sorry to learn the very disorganized condition of the troops. I appreciate the difficulty of the task before you, and you may rest assured that I will support you to the full extent of my ability. Do not hesitate to use force with the refractory. Can you yet form any idea of the time necessary to prepare an expedition against Columbus or one up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, in connection with Buell’s movements? I shall send troops to Hunter, to enable him to move into the Indian Territory west of Arkansas and upon Northern Texas. That movement should relieve you very materially. It will require some little time to prepare Hunter, but when he moves you might act in concert with him.​

Halleck and Grant were not alone in pleading weakness; Buell and Hunter were doing likewise. There was essentially no movement in the west. A month later, on 3rd January a frustrated McClellan finally ordered Halleck to advance up the Cumberland with two divisions:


It is very important that the rebel troops in west Kentucky be prevented from moving to the support of the force in front of Buell. To accomplish this an expedition should be sent up the Cumberland River to act in concert with Buell's command, of sufficient strength to defeat any force that might be brought against it. The gunboats should be supported by at least one and perhaps two divisions of your best infantry, taken from Paducah and other points from which they can be spared. At the same time such a demonstration should be made on Columbus as will prevent the removal of any troops from that place; and, if a sufficient number has already been moved, the place should be taken. It may be well to make a feint on the Tennessee River, with a command sufficient to prevent disaster under any circumstances​
Thus was now have an order from McClellan to Halleck to take Grant's command and send it against Fort Donelson, the major fortification on the Cumberland. Everything that occurred flowed from this order, and as we shall see, McClellan did heavily reinforce Grant's column with forces from Buell.

Halleck's and Grant's Response to the Order

Halleck and Grant were not happy with the order, but began to execute it. On 6th January Halleck gave Grant an order to demonstrate against Columbus, but did not give the order to Grant to move on Fort Donelson, which McClellan stated should be simultaneous.


Make a demonstration in force on Mayfield and in the direction of Murray. Forces from Cairo and Paducah should meet at Mayfield and threaten Murray. Do not advance far enough to expose your flank and rear to an attack from Columbus and by all means avoid a serious engagement. The object is to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Bowling Green. Be very careful to avoid a battle, we are not ready for that.​
Grant extracted the orders to CF Smith on 8th January. McClernand started shuffling his forces to the Kentucky bank (Fort Jefferson) on the 10th. Both forces reported ready on the 14th, and both marched out on the 15th. On the 16th they came to within a march of each other near the site of Camp Beauregard, but it was abandoned. Both turned away. Obeying direct orders from Halleck, CF Smith moved east to the Tennessee river, to examine the roads. Whilst resupplying his force from boats on the 22nd, Smith went down on the Lexington to recce Forts Heiman and Henry. He reported:

I think two iron-clad gunboats would make short work of Fort Henry. There is no masked battery at the foot of the island, as was supposed, or, if so, it is now under water. Two stern-wheel steamers were at the fort, but moved away rapidly at our first gun.​


Map: Approximate Routes of the Expeditions


View attachment 318802


Halleck had written on 20th January to McClellan suggesting that McClellan allow him to attack Fort Donelson (Dover):

The idea of moving down the Mississippi by steam is, in my opinion, impracticable, or at least premature. It is not a proper line of operations, at least now. A much more feasible plan is to move up the Cumberland and Tennessee, making Nashville the first objective point. This would turn Columbus and force the abandonment of Bowling Green, Columbus cannot be taken without an immense siege train and a terrible loss of life. I have thoroughly studied its defenses; they are very strong. But it can be turned, paralyzed, and forced to surrender. This line of the Cumberland or Tennessee is the great central line of the Western theater of war, with the Ohio below the mouth of Green River as the base and two good navigable rivers extending far into the interior of the theater of operations. But the plan should not be attempted without a large force, not less than 60,000 effective men. ...​
I have not designated any particular line or lines of movement. That must be a matter of farther study if the general idea should be approved. Perhaps the main column should move from Smithland, between the rivers, by Dover, &c. Perhaps the line east of the Cumberland or that west of the Tennessee would be preferable. These questions, however, are matters easily determinable.​
McClellan replied on the 29th January (ORA 7, 930-1):

I like your views as to the future. They fully agree with my own ideas from the beginning, which has ever been against a movement in force down the Mississippi itself.​
Halleck received McClellan's approval, and issued orders to Grant for the Fort Henry operation on the 30th. He informed Buell:

I have ordered an advance of our troops on Fort Henry and Dover. It will be made immediately.​
It should be noted that Grant hasn't kicked CF Smith's information upstairs yet, as he sent it on the 31st. However, Halleck's correspondence shows he had seen it already.

Halleck wrote McClellan on the 30th:


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, January 30, 1862.​
Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, General-in-Chief of the Army, Washington:​
GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of instructions sent this day to General Grant in relation to the expedition up the Tennessee River against Fort Henry. As Fort Henry, Dover [Fort Donelson], &c., are in Tennessee, I respectfully suggest that that State be added to this department.​
General Grant has already been re-enforced with eight regiments of infantry, and several others, with three batteries of artillery, are under orders to join him. I will send down every man I can spare. Information is received to-day that Brigadier-General Price, son of the major-general, is again organizing insurgents in Howard and Chariton Counties, and that the rebels are becoming more bold since our troops have been sent south. I therefore think it unsafe to withdraw many more until the State militia can take their place. The militia dare not or will not organize in counties not occupied by our troops. To facilitate this organization it becomes necessary to scatter the volunteers over a very large tract of country. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable.​
Fort Henry has a garrison of about 6,000, and is pretty strongly fortified. Possibly re-enforcements may be sent from Columbus as soon as we move. If we can reach the railroad this may be prevented, as the country roads are almost impassable.​
The troops from Rolla are advancing in the direction of Springfield, but necessarily move very slowly. Greenville, south of Ironton, is occupied by our cavalry, and an infantry regiment is ordered to re-enforce them. This movement is necessary to break up the rebel organizations in the counties of Wayne and Butler.​
The roads south of the Tennessee River are almost impassable. General Smith reported on his recent reconnaissance up that river that the road was horrible, and new tracks had to be cut through the woods. It took an entire day for-one brigade to move 3 miles.”​
Permanent crews for the gunboats are being rapidly organized. The mortar boats cannot be used in the Tennessee or Cumberland, and I doubt if they will ever be of much use in the Mississippi. Neither navy nor army officers have much faith in them.​
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,​
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.​

With McClellan's endorsement, Halleck thus began operations against Fort Henry.
So you're citing yourself again? No published historians can be found that agree with your McClellan revisionism?

The early January '62 demonstration was ordered at Buells request to McClellan to keep the confederates from reinforcing against Buell at Bowling Green. McClellan did not order the Henry/Donelson operation.

It was Grant and Foote who proposed and pushed for the campaign against Henry/Donelson. Lincoln gave the order for offensives, and Halleck heard a rumor that Beauregard was coming to Tennessee with reinforcements, so he gave Grant and Foote permission take Fort Henry.

Once Henry was taken and without specific orders, Grant informed Halleck he was moving on Donelson. Halleck, Buell, and McClellan exchanged worried messages and wondered if an officer who was a more known quantity should take over the operation from Grant.

The rest is history. McClernand failed to hold his position against the confederate breakout attack, Grant arrived on scene and ordered an attack on the left against the fort, and an attack on the right to re-take the escape route.

And afterwards, Halleck and McClernand tried to drape themselves in the victory of Grant and Foote. McClellan was nowhere around.
 
Last edited:

67th Tigers

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Messages
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This is pro-Grant revisionism, except of course a lot of people buy into it these days. Of course, if I mention an academic history which refutes your ideas, such as Reed, you'll simply reject it. Or maybe Feis.

1. McClellan

McClellan had been pushing for the operation against the river forts for months. He didn't particularly mind if they attacked Columbus, or Clarksville (the objective in the "Donelson" operation which was occupied by Nelson's division). He had a preference for moving on Henry and Donelson, but Grant and Halleck both wanted to attack Columbus.

McClellan's 3rd January orders were definite - feint at Columbus and then attack Henry and Donelson. Grant was against this, as his absence from the Fort Henry recce shows (see Feis). As Feis and others have pointed out, Grant's claim that he pressed for a movement on Henry on 20th January are dubious, because Smith had not even carried the recce yet, and it was Smith's recce that was instrumental in fixing Ft Henry as an objective.

Halleck had written to McClellan on the 20th January expressing his agreement with McClellan for a Cumberland expedition, nd on the 23rd Halleck asked Smith to a recce of the roads between Henry and Donelson. Smith's recce report confirmed things. Now, according to Grant, he was the one arguing for a Henry movement, but the documentary evidence shows Halleck and McClellan had already committed to this. This means either:

a. Grant is misremembering, and he went along with Halleck, or
b. Grant is misremembering, and he argued against a Henry movement..

The likely answer if (b), because Grant was not enthusiastic about the Cumberland movement.

Gott didn't miss this, nor has anyone who has studied the campaign in detail.

2. Grant "pushing on"

Those who claim that Grant pushed on without orders exclusive use an extract from his 6th February, and ignore the fact that Grant didn't follow through.

In fact, it was Halleck who initiated the Donelson movement. He had assumed direct control of Foote's gunboats, provided them with troops and sent them to Fort Donelson.

On 6th February Grant considered the gunboats could move around and bombard the fort, and he could give them a small force to occupy the fort after it surrendered. Foote's gunboats had been battered and he refused to make the attack without the army moving. Hence nothing happened. On the 10th Grant says that he is "patiently waiting" for the navy to make the attack.

Halleck is pushing for the attack, and on the 11th he gets Foote to move, taking the waterborne troops with him. Grant holds a council of war about whether to follow Halleck's orders for a movement against Donelson. McClernand, Smith and Walllace strongly argue for it. Why Grant called this meeting is an interesting question, and one I know you are not open to investigating. However, since Halleck had ordered Grant, the only reason Grant can of had for calling the council of war is to have them endorse not going.

Certainly, arriving at Fort Donelson, Grant is thinking entirely defensively. He is waiting for large reinforcements (to ca. 50,000) before even completing the investment of Donelson.

3. At Fort Donelson

McClernand held for the mostpart, and then defied Grant's orders for a retreat.

As you assiduously deny, Grant wanted to retreat, and his own subordinates essentially staged a rebellion and ignored him. However, they did.
 
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