After a winter of logistics and politicking, Grant stood ready to lead the first foray into Confederate territory in the western theater. On February 3, 1862, General Henry W. Halleck, Grant's superior, authorized him to move against two forts in northern Tennessee. These two outposts, Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, were the two Confederate positions guarding the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. With 17,000 men–Grant boasted to his sister that he now commanded more men than Winfield Scott had in Mexico–and a flotilla of gunboats, Grant moved on Fort Henry on February 6, 1862. After two hours of shelling, the Confederate commander sent his 2,500 troops away to Fort Donelson and surrendered the fort's staff of seventy men. The first battle had been primarily won by the Navy's ironclads, but the second would be Grant's alone. Two days later, after horrible bone-chilling weather, he set out for Donelson. On February 14, 1862, Grant attacked. Confederate guns rendered the Union ironclads
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