Though Grant commanded an army of 15,000 troops, he ably managed to besiege Fort Donelson, commanded by three generals: John B. Floyd, Gideon Pillow, and Simon Bolivar Buckner. Brigadier General Lew Wallace, who commanded a division in Grant's army, would be forever remembered not for his military prowess, but for his celebrated work, Ben Hur. Evidence of his romantic penmanship can be found in this article taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War that describes the Federal operations at Fort Donelson.
The village of Dover was—and for that matter yet is—what our English cousins would call the "shire-town" of the county of Stewart, Tennessee. In 1860 it was a village unknown to fame, meager in population, architecturally poor. There was a court house in the place, and a tavern, remembered now as double-storied, unpainted, and with windows of eight-by-ten glass, which, if the panes may be likened to eyes, were both squint and cataractous. Looking through them gave the street outside the appearance of a sedgy slough of yellow backwater. The entertainment furnished man and beast was good of the kind; though at the time mentioned a sleepy traveler, especially if he were of the North, might have been somewhat vexed by the explosions which spiced the good things of a debating society that nightly took possession of the barroom, to discuss the relative fighting qualities of the opposing sections.
If there was a little of the romantic in Dover itself, there was still less of poetic quality in the country round about it. The only beautiful feature was the Cumberland River, which, in placid current from the south, poured its waters, ordinarily white and pure as those of the springs that fed it, past the village on the east. Northward there was a hill, then a small stream, then a bolder hill round the foot of which the river swept to the west, as if courteously bent on helping Hickman's Creek out of its