Grant’s trials and tribulations as a general after his victory at Fort Donelson is the scope of this 88-day period.
The end of the Confederate power in western Kentucky and Tennessee began with the Union’s capture of Fort Henry on February 6. After the victory at Fort Donelson on February 16, Union occupation of the region was only a matter of time. Tried and tested in the victory at Fort Henry, Grant seemed to be on his own as a general. Yet, his direct links with Halleck broken, and with unsatisfactory communications with General George W. Cullum, Halleck’s Chief of Staff at Cairo, and in spite of his great victory at Donelson, Grant was removed from command by Halleck, and was forced to remain behind at Fort Henry while his troops moved up the Tennessee River under General Charles F. Smith.
The failure of communications, when Grant could not report, both bothered and embarrassed Halleck. Unsure of his future in the army and of his relations to his superior, Grant’s thoughts turned inward, toward leaving the army, and he repeatedly asked to be relieved, until on March 14 he was asked to resume command.