What happened: On February 14, ironclads and timberclads were bombarding each other. Union Officer Foote was wounded, and the Union ships were badly damaged, so the Union army had to retreat. That wasn’t for long though, because the next day, reinforcements were coming to help General Grant’s Union army. The Confederate army was being encircled and trapped by the Union army, and the two sides fought. At the end of the day, the Union army had to retreat. The Confederate army was ordered to go back to their trenches; however, the Union army had not completely retreated. The armies fought once again when Grant organized an attack on the Confederate army. On February 16, Confederate General Buckner realized that the Confederate army was trapped again, and he asked Grant for his surrender terms, which were only that it be done completely and immediately.
Why it’s important: This was the first time the Union had won a major victory against the Confederacy, which had to give up Kentucky and the Western half of Tennessee. The Union now had control of Nashville, which became an important port for supplies. It also had control of two rivers: the Tennessee and Cumberland, along with various railroads, all of which helped bring supplies to the Union armies in the West.
Fact: General Buckner really had no choice but to agree to the surrender; there were no terms, and he couldn’t fight on