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Ozzy

Grant Under Fire by Joseph Rose: a review

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Finally having acquired my copy of “Grant Under Fire” by Joseph Rose, it may be of value to provide a brief examination of how the Battle of Fort Donelson is presented:

It was heartening to find mention of mortars and Flag-Officer Foote's desire to have those weapons available (yet Foote went ahead and attempted his assault against Fort Donelson without them.) Rose addresses the curious fact of General Grant NOT leaving an officer in temporary command when he departed the vicinity of Fort Donelson to visit a wounded Flag-Officer Foote. And McArthur's brigade, borrowed from General Smith and positioned on the Union right, is mentioned for its role in fighting a losing battle to hold back the Confederate break-out of February 15th.

Otherwise, the Fort Donelson operation is faithfully and predictably described, beginning with Colonel Forrest's unsuccessful effort to slow the Federal advance; the disposition of Grant's forces in a semi-circle just west of the Confederate stronghold; the addition of Lew Wallace's brigade (increased on site to Division strength) and Wallace's dilemma in responding to McClernand's request for assistance (with General Grant absent, and no one acting as his agent.) The attempted Rebel break-out, rolled back in the afternoon due to incompetence, and Federal reinforcements. And C.F. Smith, Jacob Lauman and James Tuttle share credit for advancing against the Confederate right, breaching the outer works, rendering Rebel possession of the fort untenable (with subsequent surrender next morning.)

Grant Under Fire. If acquired solely for its accurate depiction of the Fort Donelson operation, it is worth the purchase.

Ozzy

 

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