“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Dover in Stewart County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Morrison's Attack

A Senseless Loss


— Battle of Fort Donelson —

Morrison's Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
1. Morrison's Attack Marker
Inscription.  (overview)
In February 1862, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant attacked Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to take control of western Tennessee and Kentucky as well as the rivers. Grant captured Fort Henry on February 6, then approached Fort Donelson with his army on February 12. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote's gunboats shelled it on the 14th. Confederate artillery repulsed the ironclads. Confederate Gen. John B. Floyd ordered a breakout from the fort for the next morning. At first successful, the Confederates retreated, and the Federals counterattacked. On February 16, part of Floyd's command escaped in boats. The remainder yielded to Grant's demand for “unconditional surrender”.

(main text)
On February 13, 1862, Union Col. William R. Morrison led his brigade from this point in an unsuccessful, costly assault on Confederate Capt. Frank Maney’s battery at Fort Donelson. The attack demonstrated the impatience of the Morrison's commander, Gen. John A. McClernand, and the rawness of Morrison’s green Illinois regiments. The attack, however, may have convinced the fort’s Confederates
Morrison's Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
2. Morrison's Attack Marker
Click or scan to see
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defenders that the Federals were numerically stronger that they actually were.

A Mexican War veteran, lawyer and politician, Morrison organized the 49th Illinois Infantry Regiment and mustered it into service on December 31, 1861. It arrived at Fort Henry on February 8, 1862, where it was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. Morrison was given command of the brigade.

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered McClernand’s division to besiege the southern half of the Confederates’ defensive line outside Fort Donelson on February 12. The next morning, without authority, McClernand ordered Morrison’s brigade (reinforced with the 48th Illinois Infantry from the 2nd Brigade), to capture Maney’s battery. Col. Isham G. Haynie, commander of the 48th Illinois, joined Morrison in leading the charge. Despite a ferocious crossfire, the inexperienced troops tried three times to move forward, but Morrison was wounded and the Federals withdrew.

As the Union wounded lay in front of the battery, dry leaves caught fire. Rather than allow them to burn to death, the Confederates dragged some of the men from the flames, an act of humanity amid the horrors of war.

“The works were, as I thought, almost ours, ... when I was struck in the right hip with a musket ball, knocked out of the saddle, and compelled in consequence to relinquish my command.”
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— Col. William R. Morrison

Gen. John A. McClernand Courtesy Library of Congress
Col. Isham G. Hayne Courtesy Library of Congress
Ft. Donelson and vicinity Courtesy Library of Congress
Battle of Fort Donelson — Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1862.
Location. Marker has been reported permanently removed. It was located near 36° 28.741′ N, 87° 52.018′ W. Marker was in Dover, Tennessee, in Stewart County. Marker could be reached from the intersection of Donelson Parkway (U.S. 79) and Moores Drive, on the left when traveling west. The marker is located on the grounds of the Stewart County Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 117 Visitor Center Lane, Dover TN 37058, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. 6-pounder Gun (approx. 0.3 miles away); Porter's Battery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Donelson Confederate Monument (approx. half a mile away); Confederate Monument (approx. half a mile away); Union Camp
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(approx. half a mile away); Lauman's Brigade (approx. half a mile away); Graves' Battery (approx. half a mile away); Holding the Outer Lines (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dover.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 30, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 531 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 30, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 19, 2021