The success of Flag officer Foote's armored gunboats spread panic and exaggerated their capabilities in Confederate as well as Union minds. General Johnston wrote in a letter to the War Department: "The slight resistance at Fort Henry indicates that the best open earthworks are not reliable to meet successfully a vigorous attack of ironclad gunboats."
He concluded that Fort Donelson would also fall and this would open the way to Nashville.
"The occurence of the misfortune of losing the fort will cut off the communication of the force here under General Hardee from the south bank of the Cumberland. To avoid the disastrous consequences of such an event, I ordered General Hardee yesterday to make, as promptly as it could be done, preparations to fall back to Nashville and cross the river.
"The movements of the enemy on my right flank would have made a retrograde in that direction to confront the enemy indispensable in a short time. But the probability of having a ferriage of this army corps across the Cumberland intercepted by the gunboats of the enemy admits of no delay in making the movement.
"Generals Beauregard and Hardee are, equally with myself, impressed with the necessity of withdrawing our force from this line at once."
All Is Lost. All Is Lost. --Old B-R'er