February 6: The Battle of Fort Henry, Washington Naval Treaty Is Signed, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on February 6 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them
1862 – American Civil War: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers: the Battle of Fort Henry
February 6 marks a very important date in the history of Civil War naval battles, with the Battle of Fort Henry being fought on this date in 1862, in western Middle Tennessee. Interestingly,it was the first important victory for the Union and Brigade General Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater.
The background of the battle was the following: On February 4 and 5, Grant landed two divisions just north of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (The troops serving under Grant were the nucleus of the Union's successful Army of the Tennessee, although that name was not yet in use). Grant's plan was to advance upon the fort on February 6 while it was being simultaneously attacked by Union gunboats commanded by Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote.
A combination of accurate and effective naval gunfire, heavy rain, and the poor siting of the fort, nearly inundated by rising river waters, caused its commander, Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, to surrender to Foote before the Union Army arrived.
The surrender of Fort Henry opened the Tennessee River to Union traffic south of the Alabama border. In the days following the fort's surrender, from February 6 through February 12, Union raids used ironclad boats to destroy Confederate shipping and railroad bridges along the river. On February 12, Grant's army proceeded overland 12 miles to engage with Confederate troops in the Battle of Fort Donelson.
1922 - Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, the Four-Power Treaty, and the Nine-Power Treaty, was signed on this date in 1922 by the major nations that had won World War I, agreeing to prevent an arms race by limiting naval construction--a wise goal. Unfortunately, as we learn from future events – it was been reached, as already by the mid-1930s, Japan and Italy renounced the treaties, while Germany renounced the Treaty of Versailles which had limited its navy.
It was negotiated at the Washington Naval Conference, held in Washington, D.C., from November 1921 to February 1922, and it was signed by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, and Japan.
It limited the construction of battleships, battlecruisers and aircraft carriers by the signatories. The numbers of other categories of warships, including cruisers, destroyers and submarines, were not limited by the treaty, but those ships were limited to 10,000 tons displacement each.
The treaty was concluded on February 6, 1922. Ratifications of that treaty were exchanged in Washington on August 17, 1923, and it was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on April 16, 1924.
1978 - Northeastern United States blizzard
Dear readers, continue to stay warm and remember another disaster that struck the U.S. 41 years ago. The Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 was a catastrophic, historic nor'easter that struck New England, New Jersey, and the New York metropolitan area. The Blizzard of '78 formed on Sunday, February 5, 1978, and broke up on February 7.
The storm was primarily known as Storm Larry in Connecticut, following the local convention promoted by the Travelers Weather Service on television and radio stations there. Snow fell mostly from Monday morning, February 6, to the evening of Tuesday, February 7. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts were hit especially hard by this storm.
Boston received a record-breaking 27.1 inches of snow; Providence also broke a record, with 27.6 inches of snow; Atlantic City broke an all-time storm accumulation, with 20.1 inches. Nearly all economic activity was disrupted in the worst-hit areas.
The storm killed about 100 people in the Northeast and injured about 4,500. It caused more than $520 million ($2 billion in 2018 terms) in damage.
These are the most notable events in the U.S. history that occurred on February 6, at least in our view.