• The legendary battle between Confederate guns and US ironclads at Fort Donelson, February 14, 1862.

    Fort Donelson

    National Battlefield Tennessee

National Cemetery

FODO National Cemetery

NPS

Welcome to Fort Donelson National Cemetery.

 
National Cemetery

National Cemetery

Park Staff

In 1863, the Union Army abandoned the Confederate works and constructed a new fortification on this site. A freedmen's community developed around the new Union fort. Four years later, this same site was selected for the establishment of the Fort Donelson National Cemetery and 670 Union soldiers were reinterred here. These soldiers (which included 512 unknowns) had been buried on the battlefield, in local cemeteries, in hospital cemeteries, and in nearby towns.
 
Poem

Poem

Park Staff

These totals include five known and nine unknown soldiers from the United States Colored Troops. The high percentage of unknown soldiers can be attributed to the haste in cleaning up the battlefield and the fact that Civil War soldiers did not carry government-issued identification.

Today the national cemetery contains both Civil War veterans and veterans who have served the United States since that time. Many spouses and dependent children are also buried here.
 
The National Cemetery, January 27, 2011

Connie Wilson, NPS Volunteer

The National Cemetery is a special place to pause and reflect upon the American Civil War, subsequent wars, those who fought in them and their families.

 
Map of Dover, TN, noting where "Freestate" was.

Dover, Tennessee, post-1862 battle

NPS

After the fall of Forts Heiman and Henry on February 6, 1862, and Fort Donelson, on February 16, 1862, these forts fell into Union hands and occupation.

During this period of Union occupation, these forts became a place of refuge for many freedom seeking slaves, seeking protection from the Union troops.

The Union army eventually abandoned the Confederate fort, and built a new fort in an area that includes where today's Fort Donelson National Battlefield sits. Relatively little visual documentation of this "Federal" Fort Donelson exists. As you visit today's Fort Donelson National Cemetery, you can imagine this unique community.

Near this "Federal" Fort Donelson was one of these African American communities, often referred to as "Free State." Very little visual documentation, unfortunately, exists of this community. The park is always seeking information about this community, and stories of persons who lived in it or by it. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the park.

Did You Know?

freedmensbureau2

There was a significant enslaved population in Stewart County, TN, before and during the 1862 battle. After the Union victories at Forts Heiman, Henry and Donelson, many freedom seeking slaves sought refuge at these forts, even establishing a community near today's Fort Donelson National Cemetery.