previous next

Henry, Fort

An important Confederate fortification at a bend of the Tennessee River, where it approaches the Cumberland River within about 12 miles, on the right bank, and on a high hill opposite Fort Hickman. At the beginning of February, 1862, a land force under General Grant, and a flotilla of gunboats under Commodore Foote, were sent to capture these two forts. They appeared about 2 miles below Fort Henry on Feb. 3. That fort was armed with seventeen great guns, twelve of which swept the river, and the garrison and troops encamped outside of the fort numbered less than 3,000. These were commanded by General Tilghman, of Maryland, a graduate of West Point Academy. Foote placed four of his iron-clad gunboats in position to bombard the fort, while two of his unarmored vessels fished up torpedoes with which the Confederates had strewn the river bottom. Some of the troops went up the left side of the river to silence the guns of Fort Hieman, when the garrison fled. Meanwhile Foote opened (Feb. 6) a heavy fire on Fort Henry. It was so severe that in an hour the garrison were panic-stricken. The troops outside of the fort had fled to Fort Donelson (q. v.), 12 miles distant, on the Cumberland River; and only the commander and less than 100 men remained in the fort to surrender to Foote. Grant and the land troops did not arrive until after the surrender, when the fort was turned over to him. The Nationals lost two killed and thirty-eight wounded. Of the latter, twenty-nine were wounded and scalded on the gunboat Essex by steam let out of the boilers by the piercing of a 32-pound shell. As it passed it took off a portion of the head of Lieut. S. B. Britton, the aide of Captain Porter, of the Essex. This victory was a very important one. The Nationals were now fairly planted in the rear of the Confederates at Columbus, Ky.; and if they should capture Fort Donelson, [381] on the Cumberland, the Confederates believed their cause would be ruined in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. The first great step towards the capture of Fort Donelson had been taken. Halleck telegraphed to McClellan, β€œFort Henry is

Map of Fort Henry.

ours! The flag of the Union is re-established on the soil of Tennessee. It will never be removed.” The Secretary of the Navy wrote to Foote: β€œThe country appreciates your gallant deeds, and this department desires to convey to you and your brave associates its profound thanks for the service you have rendered.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February, 1862 AD (1)
February 6th (1)
February 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: