Decatur, Alabama Page2
Photos/Text courtesy of Steven Hippensteel, AL
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(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Stop 02: "A Hard Nut to Crack" Federal Defenses At Decatur
Decatur played a key role in the Federal defenses of the vital rail lines in North Alabama. These defenses were configured in a three-tiered system. First, a number of lightly armored gunboats, constructed on the Tennessee River and nicknamed “tinclads,” patrolled the river to intercept Confederate raiders attempting to cross. These gunboats regularly visited Decatur to obtain fuel, supplies and ammunition. The second component of the defensive line was garrisons stationed at strategic points on the Tennessee River. Finally, Federal units guarded the railroad in small stockades or blockhouses at important locations such as bridges. The most prominent Federal garrisons in North Alabama were located at Stevenson, Bridgeport, Huntsville, and Decatur. The Federal garrison at Decatur consisted of 1,800 infantry and cavalry and 17 pieces of artillery, and was the only post south of the Tennessee River. At Decatur, substantial earthworks and two artillery forts extended in a 1,600 yard arc from river bank to river bank. Fort Number One was located on the southwestern corner of the works, and Fort Number Two was located on the southeastern corner. The area surrounding the breastworks had been cleared for 800-1,000 yards. At some points in front of the breastworks an abates had been established, as described by Orderly Sergeant Daniel L. Thomas of the 68th Indiana Infantry, "...a line of small trees, placed with the tops pointing outward, and the limbs trimmed with the sharp points toward the enemy, to check them when they were assaulting the works, so that…under a galling fire, they would become confused and retreat.” The garrison was commanded by Colonel Charles C. Doolittle, and Decatur was under the overall command of Brigadier General Robert S. Granger, responsible for all of North Alabama. You are at the center of where Fort Number Two stood 1864-1865
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(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Federal defenses interpretive marker: This is the location of the center of Fort Number Two



(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Stop 03: Lafayette Street Cemetery (1818)
Although part of the Decatur Civil War Walking Tour, this stop does not have an interpretive marker other than the marker on the main gate. This little plot of land is wedged in between two business district buildings on a side road off of Bank Street. This is the oldest known city cemetery, established in 1819 and an original site that survived the Civil War and the destruction of Decatur

(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Lafayette Street cemetery graves


(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Stop 04: "An Affair Most Important to Us" The Federal Right, October 27-28, 1864


(Sept. 2010) Enlarge Federal Right interpretive marker. Note the Decatur Depot in the background which was built in 1895

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