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[56] Gap had knocked the east end of Secession's frontier southward, and consequently threatened its middle at Bowling Green, Halleck, relinquishing his notion that sixty thousand men were necessary, let Grant go with seventeen thousand, and seven gunboats under Commodore Foote. This was February 2. In four days, Grant had Fort Henry. In ten more, Fort Donelson and the gates to the rivers were open. Secession's frontier was crashed through from Columbus to Cumberland Gap, and shrank many miles southward. It was quick and final; and Grant had thought of it, and done it. He was indebted to nobody. His own letter about it, written to Washburne a month later, is like him: “I see the credit of attacking the enemy by the way of the Tennessee and Cumberland is variously attributed. It is little to talk about it being the great wisdom of any general. . . . General Halleck no doubt thought of this route long ago, and I am sure I did.”

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