Fort Donelson National Battlefield Offers Events to Commemorate the 152nd Anniversary of the Battle

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The Naval Battle at Fort Donelson, February 14, 1862

NPS/ Andy Thomas, Artist

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News Release Date: January 24, 2014
Contact: Douglas Richardson, (931)232-5706, ext. 108

Dover, TN – Fort Donelson National Battlefield is pleased to announce a variety of programs and learning opportunities to help visitors of all ages commemorate one of the most significant campaigns of the American Civil War. The legendary Campaign for Forts Heiman, Henry and Donelson, fought on both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers as well as on land in and around the community of Dover, in Stewart County, Tennessee, was the first major victory in the Civil War for the Union. These Union victories were quickly followed by the fall of Clarksville and Nashville, changing the course and dynamics of the Civil War.

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, Fort Donelson, in partnership with the Calloway County Public Library, will offer a special Kentucky Humanities Council program on the life of Andrew Jackson Smith at the Library at 6:00 PM. Smith, a native of Kentucky, escaped from his situation as an enslaved man and, once gaining protection from the Union Army, witnessed much of the Battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and was later wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862. The captivating and inspirational life of Andrew Jackson Smith, a posthumous Medal of Honor winner, will be explored by Berry Franklin Craig III, and is made possible in part by the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This program is free and open to the public. The Calloway County Library is located at 710 Main Street in Murray, Kentucky.

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, at 11:00 AM, the Fort Donelson Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will offer a memorial service for all Confederate soldiers who served, fought, and died during the Fort Donelson campaign. This will be held at the Confederate Monument, which is stop #1 on the driving tour.

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, members from the local living history group "Porter's Battery" will be at the "real" Porter's Battery location at Fort Donelson from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, adjacent to the park's visitor center. The members of "Porter's Battery" will share stories of the origins of the Confederate artillery unit, its role in the Battle of Fort Donelson, and its legacy. Cannon drills will be offered throughout the afternoon.

On Thursday, February 13, 2014, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, the park will be paying tribute to the Confederate soldiers who manned the river batteries at Fort Donelson, as well as the men who served on the United States Navy gunboats that were part of the naval battles at Fort Donelson. Luminary candles will be set up at and near the Confederate River Batteries, today's Stop #4 on the driving tour. The tour road will be left open for this special program, and closed upon its conclusion.

On Friday, February 14, 2014, at 3:00 PM, the park will commemorate the 152nd anniversary of the naval battle at Fort Donelson with a special program at the River Batteries, stop #4 on today's driving tour. Joining park staff will be historian and author Kendall Gott, author of Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry/ Fort Donelson Campaign.

On Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 9:00 AM, the park will commemorate the 152nd anniversary of the "Confederate Breakout" at Fort Donelson with a special caravan tour. This program will begin at the park's visitor center, and will be led by park staff, historian and author Kendall Gott, and Dr. E.C. Fields, noted portrayer of Ulysses Grant. Visitors will follow in their own vehicles. Reservations for this program are required, and may be made by calling (931)232-5706, ext. 108.

On Saturday, February 15, 1862, at 2:00 PM, Fort Donelson welcomes author Sam Davis Elliott, author of Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator for a discussion of this most important man, and his role in the Civil War. Particular focus will be upon the Fort Henry/ Fort Donelson campaign, and why Isham Harris is a man that should be remembered. Copies of his book will be available in the park's Eastern National bookstore.

Throughout the day on Saturday, February 15 and 16, 2014, members of the 9th Kentucky (USA) living history group will be at Fort Donelson National Cemetery, as we discuss Union occupation of Stewart County following the campaign and subsequent engagements in the area. A schedule of programs will be announced at the visitor center.

On Sunday, February 16, 2014, at 1:00 PM, the 152nd anniversary of the surrender of Fort Donelson will be commemorated at the Dover Hotel, stop #10 on today's driving tour. Generals Grant and Buckner will be present as we commemorate this most momentous event. Park staff will be available to assist with parking.

On Sunday, February 16, 2014, the Fort Donelson Book Club (Murray, KY group) will meet at 3:00 PM to discuss Emmy Werner's Reluctant Witnesses: Children's Voices from the Civil War. We will meet at the Calloway County Public Library, where a limited number of copies are available for participants.

On Thursday, February 27, the Fort Donelson Book Club (Dover, TN group) will meet at 6:00 PM to discuss Charles B. Flood's 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History. A limited number of copies are available for participants at the park visitor center, where the discussion will be held.

All programs are free and open to the public. Schedule is subject to change in case of inclement weather or unsafe conditions. Updates will be made to the park's website at


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