Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Tour Stop 2 (Fort Donelson)

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 10 feet high. While a more permanent fort of brick or stone would have been more desirable, earthen walls were much quicker to build. Properly constructed earthworks can provide better protection than brick and stone. The fort's purpose was to protect the Cumberland River batteries from land attack. At the time of the battle, all trees within 200 yards of the fort were felled, clearing fields of fire and observation. The branches of these trees were sharpened and laid around the outside of the fort to form an obstacle called an abatis.
Fort Donelson was named for Tennessee brigadier Daniel S. Donelson, a West Pointer and one-time state attorney general, who participated in the fort's survey.


(3-95 VHS) South entrance to Fort Donelson

  (3-95) West wall of fort near south entrance
(5-05) South wall of fort near south entrance
Courtesy of Brian Risher, MS

(5-05) South wall of fort near south entrance
Courtesy of Brian Risher, MS

(5-05) Stankiewicz's Battery
Interpretive Marker: Stankiewicz's Battery

Courtesy of Brian Risher, MS
  (5-05) Fort Donelson
Courtesy of Nick Luck, MI

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