Thursday, July 10, 2014

Biography: Gideon J. Pillow: Fall of Fort Donelson

Gideon J. Pillow from “The Good, the Bad and the Mad” by E. Floyd Randall.
This is one of your worse generals in the Civil War.  He was a Confederate General and assigned to the defense of Fort Donelson.  In this he failed miserable.  Not only did he fail, he allowed his men to be captured. 
They successfully defended against the invasion via the Cumberland River.  Several Union gunboats were left adrift.  However, it was Ulysses Grant who hemmed them in from the land side. 
Gideon has been blamed for the loss, and thus setting the tide for the defeat of the Confederacy in the West.  General John B. Floyd advised that the fort could not be defended, and got himself out.  Simon Bolivar Buckner also thought the fort was a trap.  Finally Pillow accepted their advise, and their troops smashed their way out of the fort.  The road was clear for their escape.  Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Calvary was instrumental in slicing their way through the Federals and their superior forces.  Then Floyd had second thoughts, and order his men back to the fort.  He then made his own escape, leaving Buckner in command.  Nathan Forrest said he had not come to surrender, and lead his Calvary out of the fort, and they were able to escape easily. 
The next day Grant’s forces closed in fast, and to avoid a blood bath Buckner asked for terms.  From this event Grant would get a nick name; “Unconditional and immediate surrender.”
Pillow was eventually relieved of command and tried for treason.  He was found not guilty of treason, but was found to have been grossly incompetent.  He then served over conscription and later over prisons.

No comments:

Post a Comment