Surprised and almost overwhelmed, he stubbornly refused to admit defeat. His cool conduct saved his army and his job
For a time early in the spring of 1862, it seemed that Union armies were about to destroy the Confederacy in the west. A hitherto inconspicuous officer named U. S. Grant had, in close succession, captured the two major Rebel strongholds in Tennessee, Forts Henry and Donelson; an aggressive follow-up might well have overwhelmed the badly disorganized Confederates. But the Union high command hesitated, and a fine opportunity was wasted.