Frequently Asked Questions
Andy Thomas/ NPS
Q. Where were the Confederate soldiers buried?
Q. Why is the burial site for the Confederate dead not marked on the park brochure?
Q. Why were the Confederate soldiers not buried in the National Cemetery?
Q. What can I do while at Fort Donelson?
A. We recommend that you start at the visitor center. Here, those learning about the story for the first time can view a brief and powerful film about the Fort Henry/ Fort Donelson campaign and some of the personalities involved. A museum contains a timeline of the campaign and some powerful words and artifacts. You can then embark on an auto tour of the park...there are eleven stops.
Q. Do Rangers offer guided tours of the park?
A. For much of the year, limited staffing unfortunately prohibits us from offering such a service. During the summer months we occassionally staff some of the tour stops and, when possible, offer "caravan tours" of the park.
Q: I may have a relative who fought at Fort Donelson. How can I learn more about him?
A:A good place to start would be the National Park Service's "Soldiers and Sailors" website, which lists all known participants, often accompanied by unit. It can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm
Beyond that, it is possible to research individual units. A "formal" list of those Confederates surrendered or killed in action is not known to survive. A project is underway to build a master troop list to assist such requests and preserve the memories and stories of the participants from the Fort Henry/ Fort Donelson campaign.
Q. Are there any trails to explore at Fort Donelson?
A. Yes! There are trails that connect the visitor center area to the river batteries, and trails that connect the Fort to the National Cemetery and the visitor center. Dogs are welcome on paved roads and trails and must be leashed.
Q. Are the cannons real?
Q. Were they here during the battle?
Q. Where is Fort Henry?
Q. Does Fort Henry have a Visitor Center?
Q. Did Black Troops fight at Fort Donelson?
Q. Why is the fort named Fort Donelson?
Q. Do you offer reenactments of the Battle of Fort Donelson?
A. The park often hosts encampments highlighting the stories of some of the military units that served here. Encampments can help us understand what life was like for a soldier in this theatre of the war. We treat the remains of Fort Donelson and the battlefield as a very special place. National Park Service policy prohibits reenactments or any type of simulated warfare per se in order to preserve the special lands. You can learn more here. http://www.nps.gov/nero/reenactor/reenactor.pdf
Here is a thorough chronology of the American Civil War, day by day, from 1861 through 1865. We hope you find it useful.
Did You Know?
At the time of the 1862 battle, a six-gun Tennessee battery was located where the visitor center is located today. Porter's Battery saw extensive action during the battle, and had many killed, wounded, and taken prisoner. Captain Thomas Porter was seriously wounded during the battle.