Baker & Taylor
Recounts the Civil War battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, focusing on the opposing generals: Grant, in command of the Union forces and yet to win a battle, and his opponent, the equally untried but less fortunate Forrest.Perseus Publishing
Deep in the winter of 1862, on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, two extraordinary military leaders faced each other in an epic clash that would transform them both and change the course of American history forever. Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant had no significant military successes to his credit. He was barely clinging to his position within the Union Army-he had been officially charged with chronic drunkenness only days earlier, and his own troops despised him. His opponent was as untested as he was: an obscure lieutenant colonel named Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a slaveholder, Grant a closet abolitionist-but the two men held one thing in common: an unrelenting desire for victory at any cost. After ten days of horrific battle, Grant emerged victorious. He had earned himself the nickname ?Unconditional Surrender” for his fierce prosecution of the campaign, and immediately became a hero of the Union Army. Forrest retreated, but he soon re-emerged as a fearsome war machine and guerrilla fighter. His reputation as a brilliant and innovative general survives to this day. But Grant had already changed the course of the Civil War. By opening the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the Union Army, he had split Dixie in two. The confederacy would never recover. A riveting account of the making of two great military leaders, and two battles that transformed America forever, Men of Fire is destined to become a classic work of military history.
The epic history of a bloody campaign that determined the course of the Civil War-and forged two of America’s greatest military leadersBlackwell North Amer
Prior to the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Union Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant had yet to win a battle and barely clung to command of his army. His commander was already seeking to replace him when, just days before this campaign, Grant was officially charged with chronic drunkenness. Grant's Confederate opponent, an obscure lieutenant colonel named Nathan Bedford Forrest, was similarly untested in battle. Politically, the two men could not have been more different. Forrest had made himself rich before the war trading slaves, while Grant had freed the only slave he ever owned. But the two had something in common: a desperate, unrelenting desire for victory at any cost.
Ill-clad Union and Confederate soldiers endured horrific combat in rain, snow, and sleet. Blood ran thick on both sides; wounded soldiers froze to death on the battlefields. After ten days, Grant won the victory he needed to keep his army and, ultimately, to save the Union itself. It was a turning point for Forrest as well. He had fought bravely but was undone by his superiors: a quarter of history's most flawed generals led the Confederate command. Nonetheless, Forrest emerged from these battles with fifteen bullet marks on his coat and an aura of iron. Forrest was beginning to win the renown that would later account him the continent's greatest horse soldier and one of its most wily, ruthless raiders.
The Fort Henry and Fort Donelson battles forever changed the course of the Civil War - and American history. Grant's dogged aggressiveness opened Tennessee to the Union armies and gashed a wound in Dixie from which the Confederacy would never recover. And, most importantly, Grant saved and launched the career of the individual on whom Federal triumph in the Civil War most depended: himself.