Friday, June 18, 2021

Fort Donelson, Tennessee

If you're visiting Tennessee, try to make a stop at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, which is located just northwest of Nashville.  Ft. Donelson was the location of the North's first key victory of the Civil War and the place where Ulysses S. Grant earned his famous nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

The battle took place on February 14-16, 1862.  Prior to that, over 400 small huts were constructed for the soldiers and slaves to live in.  Those not lucky enough to be granted a hut had to endure the elements in the cold February environment.

The Cumberland river played a major role in the battle by supplying a way for the Federal troops to descend on the Confederate controlled Ft. Donelson. Gradually encircling the Fort, Grant finally closed all escape routes, forcing General Buckner to ask Grant for his terms of surrender.

Located nearby is the Fort Donelson National Cemetery.  It contains the remains of 670 Civil War burials as well as veterans from all other American Wars.

Several blocks away is the Dover Hotel.  During the battle the South used it as their headquarters, but once General Buckner accepted General Grants surrender terms, the two met there to work out all the details....

A record setting 13,000 Confederate prisoners were amassed here and eventually shipped northward to prison camps located in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Massachusetts.

Today the Dover Hotel sits on the banks of the Cumberland River, a tranquil reminder of the horrors of war that took place over 150 years ago...

For those of you interested in geocaching, there is an Adventure Lab called "Fort Donelson" located here.   It will take you to key locations inside the battlefield, as well as The National Cemetery and then on to the Dover House. 

For more information concerning the battles of Fort Donelson and nearby Fort Henry, pick up a copy of:  

Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson

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