James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
was the man for the place. The appointment was acceptable to Seward and Chase, to Congress and to the country, for Stanton had gained the confidence of all by his sturdy patriotism when a member of Buchanans cabinet; it proved as admirable a choice as Camerons was unfortunate. Stanton made a great war minister, bringing to his task an indomitable spirit, overpowering energy and hatred of all sorts of corruption.1
Commanding two important gateways to the southwestern part of the Confederacy were Fort Henry on the Tennessee river and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, the two rivers here being but eleven miles apart. Flag-officer Foote and General Ulysses S. Grant thought the capture of Henry feasible, and asked Halleck, the commander of the Department with headquarters in St. Louis, for permission to make the attempt. This was given by telegraph on January 30, and, two days later, detailed instructions were sent by post to Grant. Next day he and Foote started from Cairo with four iron-clad and three wooden gunboats and a number of transports carrying the advance troops of the expedition. Four days later Foote poured into Fort Henry a destructive fire which, though responded to with unabated activity, resulted in the Confederate flag being hauled down after an hour and a quarters very severe and closely contested action. The coöperation of the Army in the attack was prevented by the excessively muddy roads and high stage of water.2
Note 1. III; V, 179; N. & H.; Warden; Forbes, I; M. B. Field; Gorham I; Horace White, 172; Welless Diary, I, 127. [back]