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Civil War Lecture: Fall of Forts Henry and Donelson

February 5 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST


Presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center 

FREE. Advance registration is required.

Join us for a virtual lecture with author and historian John V. Quarstein when he presents on the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson and how that made Ulysses S. Grant a Civil War hero. Viewers are welcome to send Quarstein any comments or questions during the presentation, and he will answer following his talk.

About this presentation:
At the Civil War’s beginning, Union and Confederate leaders alike recognized that control of the rivers leading southward from the north were critical to the control of states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Major General Henry Halleck ordered Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to capture Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. With the support of Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote’s fleet of ironclads and tinclads, Fort Henry quickly fell on February 6, 1862. The next target was Fort Donelson. Foote’s ironclads proved not to be  shot-proof and the badly damaged Union squadron retreated. Grant surrounded the fort; however, the Confederates attempted to break out. After making a partial breakthrough, they retreated and their commanders, Major General John Floyd and Major General Gideon Pillow, escaped. This left Grant’s old friend, Major General Simon Buckner, in command of the fort. Buckner asked for surrender terms to which Grant merely said there were no terms, but unconditional surrender. That day, February 16, 1862, the Federals opened a pathway into Middle Tennessee and Grant became a legend.

Fall of Forts Henry and Donelson
February 5 • 12 p.m. (EST)

Image credit: Bombardment and Capture of Fort Henry, Tenn. Lithograph. Currier & Ives, ca. 1862. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
John Quarstein

John V. Quarstein
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Pre-registration is required.

For additional assistance, questions or support, please contact us at: [email protected].

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No problem! Many of our programs are uploaded to our YouTube Channel shortly afterwards.




February 5
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST


The Mariners’ Museum
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606 United States
(757) 596-2222