The surrender of Ft. Donelson in February 1862 propelled U.S. Grant from obscurity to a commander of note in the Union army, a career that would ultimately put him in the White House. When Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Confederate commander of the fort, sent a note to Grant requesting the terms of surrender, Grant -- famously, as it would turn out -- replied:
Sir: Yours of this date proposing Armistice, and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.
I am Sir: very respectfully
Your obedient servant