Western Swing 2021: Day 01

Site of Fort Henry (underwater)

The American Battlefield Trust invited me to tag along on a multi-day swing through a whole bunch of battlefields in west Tennessee and northern Mississippi last week. Today, our adventures started rolling out on the Trust’s Facebook page.

Join me, Kris White, and Garry Adelman as we kick things off on the banks of the Tennessee River at a site that was brand-new to me.

From ABT’s Facebook page:

We are launching our 2021 Western Theater of the Civil War video swing where Ulysses S. Grant’s career was launched-Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

Join Garry Adelman, Greg Biggs, and Chris Mackowski as they take you to the banks of the Tennessee River, near Dover, Tennessee, where Fort Henry once protected the ingress to the heart of the Confederacy.


It’s one of the most picturesque settings on any Civil War battlefield, Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. In February of 1862, the Federal Army and Navy combined their efforts to open the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. In the actions that followed, Middle Tennessee was opened to Federal incursions and the career of Ulysses S. Grant was placed on the fast track.

Join Garry Adelman and Greg Biggs for all of the action that followed in the struggle to bring the bastion of Fort Donelson to its knees.


With their backs against the wall, and a growing Union force looming, Confederate Generals Gideon Pillow, John Floyd, and Simon B. Buckner attempt to breakout from Fort Donelson in February of 1862.

Join Garry Adelman, Greg Biggs, Chris Mackowski, and Kris White as they visit Dudley Hill, land preserved by the members of the American Battlefield Trust and key to the story of the battle of Fort Donelson.


As the Confederate forces attempted to breakout from Fort Donelson at Dudley Hill, Ulysses S. Grant seizes the opportunity by launching an assault on the Confederate right. Headed by Gen. Charles F. Smith, the Confederate line is breached in heavy fighting, while the two principal Confederate commanders, Gens. John Floyd and Gideon Pillow prepared to flee to safety.

Garry Adelman, Greg Biggs, and Chris Mackowski visit the outer fortifications at Fort Doneslon.


With a growing Federal Army engulfing the Fort Donelson garrison on the Cumberland River, Confederate Generals Gideon Pillow and John Floyd flee to safety, while the majority of their men surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant meets with his old friend Simon Bolivar Buckner, now in charge of the Confederate garrison, at the Dover Hotel. Grant gives him his terms…unconditional surrender. It was the first of three Confederate armies that Grant bagged during the Civil War.

Head to the Dover Hotel with Garry Adelman, Greg Biggs, Chris Mackowski, and Kris White as they tell one of the great tales of the American Civil War.

3 Responses to Western Swing 2021: Day 01

  1. Awesome. I visited Fort Donelson in the summer decades ago. The place was quiet; few visitors. But the Dover Hotel stands out in my memory. The story telling ability of Greg Biggs is impressive. I look forward to consulting the ABT maps of the Western Theatre to tie the events together. I had forgotten the number of days involved in the action.

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