Nashville, February 22, 1862, James Fleming Wall, Correspondent
In the deparate hours of this past weekend, General Grant has opened the front door to Nashville with a swift kick, as Fort Donalson was surrendered by General Simon B. Buckner on Sunday morning Februray 16th. This gives him control of the Cumberland River.
Earlier on February 4th, Northern General Grant advanced up the Tennessee River from Paducah, Kentucky in an effort to land troops in two different areas. One was on the east bank to prevent the garrison at Fort Henry from escaping to reinforce Fort Donalson and the other was to occupy the high ground on the west side of the Tennessee. The partially completed Fort Heiman, located opposite Fort Henry on the west side, was evacuated by the fort’s namesake Colonel Adophus Heiman after he saw that he was greatly outnumbered. His four regiments left at about 5 am on February 5th in a hope that muddy roads would prevent Grant’s artillery from occupying the fort.
On February 6th Union Flag Officer Andrew Foote moved his seven ships on Fort Henry. Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman surrendered the fort after two hours of fire from the gunboats and was captured along with the remaining troops. The garrison is believed to consist of 1,500 men, guns, ammunition and stores. Due to heavy rains, the river had flooded the swamp around the earth works thus preventing the use of infantry.
Full reports of the fall of Fort Donaldson are incomplete at this time and we should have more information soon.