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Battle of Fort Donelson

The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the US Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue of invasion of the South and elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general, earning him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant in the process.

What do you know about the Battle of Fort Donelson?
Try this U.S. Civil War History Made Easy Quiz.
"Check Your Answers" at the end of the page.

Take 2 points for each right answer.  Maximum this page: 20 points!

Trivia powered by Prof. ABE1) The battle followed the capture of Fort Henry on February 6. Grant moved his army overland to Fort Donelson on February 12 through February 13 and conducted several small probing attacks.  
How many miles did Grant travel from Fort Henry?

  1. Five miles

  2. 12 miles

  3. 22 miles

2) On February 14, U.S. Navy gunboats attempted to reduce the fort with naval gunfire, but were forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy damage from Donelson's water batteries.  
Who commanded the gunboats?

  1. Andrew H. Foote

  2. John Sherman

  3. Averill Harriman

3) Ulysses S. Grant commanded the Union forces with three divisions.  His commanders were Brig. Gens. John A. McClernand, C.F. Smith, and Lew Wallace.  
What was the command's name?

  1. District of Cairo

  2. District of Columbia

  3. District of Chicago

4) Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd commanded the Confederate forces.  
Who commanded the cavalry?

  1. Nathan Bedford Forrest

  2. John S. Mosby

  3. Earl Young

5) It was considerably more formidable than the hapless Fort Henry. It rose about 100 feet on dry ground above the river, which allowed for plunging fire against attacking gunboats, an advantage Fort Henry did not enjoy.  
What was the river?

  1. Dixie River

  2. James River

  3. Cumberland River

6) Grant arrived on February 12 and established his headquarters near the left side of the front of the line, at the Widow Crisp's house.

  • True or False?

7) At 1:00 a.m. on February 14, Floyd held a council of war in his headquarters, the Dover Hotel, and there was general agreement that Fort Donelson was probably untenable.  
Who was designated to lead a breakout attempt?

  1. Gideon J. Pillow

  2. Simon B. Buckner

  3. Bushrod Johnson

8) Union troops charged and succeeded in retaking all the ground lost that morning.
Who was on horseback immediately behind his lead regiment and a bullet shot off the cigar close to his mouth, but he coolly replaced it with a fresh one?

  1. Morgan L. Smith

  2. Morgan Morgan

  3. Ezra Brooks

9) Nearly 1,000 soldiers on both sides had been killed, with about 3,000 wounded still on the field; some froze to death in the snowstorm, many Union soldiers having thrown away their blankets and coats.

  • True or False?

10) Confederate commanders John B. Floyd and Gideon J. Pillow escaped.  
Who did they leave in charge to surrender to Grant?

  1. Bradford Bedford

  2. Simon B. Buckner

  3. George J. Carlson

More Gettysburg Civil War Trivia

Battle of Fort Donelson

1) B. 2) A. 3) A. 4) A. 5) C. 6) True. 7) A.  8) B.  9) True  10) B.

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