Welcome to Fort Donelson National Cemetery.
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.
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.
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?
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.