Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fort Campbell & Fort Donelson

July 19th was a busy day taking in museums and historical sites. First Stop was Fort Campbell which is a very active military base in Clarksville, TN. On the base is a museum focused mostly on the Vietnam era. Keith made it especially real and interesting as he is a Vet having served two tours with the Sea Bees. His time in Vietnam was not pleasant.

Keith drove us to Dover, TN which is west of Clarksville about 35 miles, also located on the Cumberland River. Dover is where major fighting took place during the Civil War. Fort Donelson was made up of earthen mounds to hide behind and protect canons. Confederate soldiers and slaves built the 15 acre fort over a period of seven months. Confederate Troops were attacked from the river as well as on land. Union had converted boats, used in transporting of farmers products, into steel coated vessels with guns and canons. Confederates inflicted a lot of damage to the gunboats from their well located canons over looking the river. But not enough to stop the land attacks by the Union troops. After two days of battles in the severe cold in February, the Confederate troops were overpowered. On February 16, 1862 General Buckner surrendered to General Grant. Dover Hotel overlooking the river was the site of unconditional surrender. Hotel was then recognized as the Surrender House. Some 13,000 Confederate troops were loaded on transports and sent to northern prisoner-of-war camps. Mostly located in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and as far away as Boston, Mass. This was a major turning point in the Civil War.

 Monument representing the site of mass grave of Confederate soldiers. 
 Example of earthen fort.
 Confederate canons overlooking Cumberland River.
 More canons facing the river located behind hand dug earthen mounds for protection.
Dover Hotel became known as the Surrender House. Cumberland River can be seen beyond the building.


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