Weather Alert: Park Visitor Center and Tour Road Gates Closed December 6
The Fort Donelson visitor center, the main tour road gate, and the gate at Graves' Battery (stop #7) will be closed beginning Friday, December 6, 2013, in anticipation of a major weather event that will likely result in significant ice accumulation. More »
Descriptions of early vegetation are generally restricted to a few travel accounts or collecting forays made by botanical enthusiasts. The French botanist, Andre Michaux, descended the Mississippi River in 1794 to the mouth of the Ohio and followed the Cumberland River before returning east. His travel accounts include vegetation descriptions of species identified and collected darning his journey (Brendel, 1978; Williams, 1928). Likewise, Augustin Gattinger based his TENNESSEE FLORA (1887)and FLORA OF TENNESSEE (1901) on collections made darning his 38 years of residency in Tennessee. The latest park study, VASCULAR FLORA OF FORT DONELSON MILITARY PARK, STEWART COUNTY, TENNESSEE, was conducted by Dr. Edward W. Chester, Department of Biology, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN. This study of land within Fort Donelson shows that the known vascular flora consist of 645 species representing 356 genera and 104 families. About 23 percent of the flora is not indigenous and several of these introduced species are threats to the native vegetation.
Please remember many of the plants we see today are descendants of those that were here before and during settlement, and these gene pools will persist if we don't destroy them with our thoughtlessness.
For more on the unique vegetation to be found at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, please visit http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/fodo/index.html
Did You Know?
The embrasures at Fort Donelson were constructed of sand bags lined with rawhide. The rawhide was wet down to prevent the bags from catching fire during an engagement.