Gap had knocked the east end of Secession's frontier southward, and consequently threatened its middle at Bowling Green
, 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
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.”