"Fort Donelson will hereafter be marked in Capitals on the maps of our United Country..."Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant was becoming quite famous as he wrote these words following the surrender of Confederate Fort Donelson on Sunday, February 16, 1862. The Union victory at Fort Donelson elated the North, and stunned the South. Within days of the surrender, Clarksville and Nashville would fall into Union hands. Grant and his troops had created a pathway to victory for the Union.
Since I am a little bit of a history buff, we took a trip to Fort Donelson. Boy, I never realized that this was such an important battle. It was far from the biggest battle, but it was one of the most important. After this battle the Confederacy had little chance of winning the war.
The park features an eleven stop driving tour, where the visitor can imagine this game-changing battle that was fought on land and water.
Our first stop was the visitor center. They have a small museum with many displays from the time of the battle. The first cannon is a representation of a cannon from one of the river boats attacking the fort.
Once outside we started the tour. Right outside the door were a Cannon and Caisson. This one was made in 1861 by C.A.& Co in Boston.
Here is the causality count both for the Confederates and the Northern Aggressors.
Here is a map of the battleground.
Fort Donelson is unlike what you might envision a fort to be. The fort consisted of a field where men were garrisoned in buildings like the following.
The perimeter was guarded by miles of man-made embankments with cannons in place behind them.
Overlooking the river were more cannon and mortar emplacements.
Here is a monument dedicated to the Confederate solders who fought and died here. Because they had fought against the United States, Confederate dead were not reburied in the National Cemetery. This monument, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy is a memorial for those men. It was dedicated in 1933.
Judy caught a little bit of the wildlife before we exited the battlefield.
For more information about this historic battle....
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
The Battle of Fort Donelson Summary & Facts