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

    Fort Donelson

    National Battlefield Tennessee

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  • The Eagle has Flown!

    The juvenile eagle at Fort Donelson has fledged. The eagles now reside at the Confederate River Batteries, stop #4 on the driving tour. Visitors are encouraged to view and admire, but asked to keep a respectful distance, as this is their home.

Fort Donelson

Fort Donelson Entrance
Fort Donelson Entrance
Park Staff

Confederate soldiers and slaves built this 15-acre earthen fort over a period of seven months, using axes and shovels to make a wall of logs and earth ten feet high. Although a fort constructed of brick or stone may have provided more permanence, earthen walls could be built more quickly. Properly constructed earthworks provide better protection than brick or stone. The Confederates built the fort to protect the Cumberland River batteries from land attack. At the time of the battle, all the trees around the fort for over two hundred yards were felled, to provide clear fields of fire and observation. Sharpened tree branches were pointed toward the enemy, forming an obstacle called an abatis.

Artist conception of Fort Donelson
Artist conception of Fort Donelson

United States War Department tablet at the entrance to the Fort.



Did You Know?


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.