Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Seizing the Initiative

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: on Eddyville Spur Road, at stop six, Jackson's Battery, on the driving tour of Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Dover, TN
County: Stewart
Coordinates: N 36° 29.297    W 087° 51.927
  36.48828333    -87.86545
Waymark: None


"Come on, you volunteers, .... You volunteered to be killed for love of country and now you can be ...."
Brigadier General Charles F. Smith

When the Confederates attacked the Union right flank with such force on February 15 in an attempt to open an escape route, Grant concluded that they must have weakened their line somewhere else. Seizing the initiative, he ordered Gen. Charles F. Smith to attack the far right flank of the Southern lines with his whole division and "take Fort Donelson." With Col. Jacob G. Lauman's brigade spearheading the attack, Smith led the assault and captured this ridge. Retreating through the ravine behind you, Confederate forces joined Buckner's forces returning from the breakout area and managed to hold the next ridge. By nightfall Smith's division had captured and held the earthworks controlling this position. Before the attack could be renewed the next morning, Grant and Buckner were already discussing terms for surrender.

"During a contest of more than two hours the enemy made repeated attempts to storm my line but artillery and musketry fire repelled the attempts, and finally drove him to seek shelter behind the works he had taken and the irregularities of the ground."
Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner

(Caption for illustration on lower left):
The Second Iowa Regiment of Lauman's Brigade leads the attack against Buckner's troops on the afternoon of February 15.

Erected by Fort Donelson National Battlefield - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.


More information:
Wikipedia: Battle of Fort Donelson
NPS: Fort Donelson
NPS: Fort Donelson - Battle Summary