Civil War History at Land Between The Lakes
While 2011 marked the sesquicentennial of the start of the American Civil War, 2012 is the 150th anniversary of LBL's very own Battle of Fort Henry. Visit LBL to hike the Fort Henry Trails System, and learn more about the war during special programs at The Homeplace.
Construction of the Confederate fort began in the summer of 1861. The five-sided, earthen structure was built on the eastern side of the Tennessee River in what is now the southern portion of LBL. The fort was designed to stop Union traffic on the river; the Confederates even deployed a unique defensive measure, anchoring mines in the main channel. Although they were rigged to explode when touched by a passing ship, they turned out to be ineffective, due to high water levels and the leaking metal containers of the torpedoes.
February 4-5, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant landed two divisions of his Union army just north of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. He planned to advance upon the fort on February 6, while it was simultaneously attacked by United States Navy gunboats commanded by Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote. This was the first engagement for the Western Flotilla using newly designed and hastily constructed ironclad gunboats. A combination of effective naval gunfire and the poor location of Fort Henry, almost completely flooded by rising river waters, caused its commander, Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman to surrender to Foote before the army arrived. Many of Tilghman's men escaped overland to Fort Donelson, 12 miles away in Dover, Tennessee.
Although the majority of Fort Henry is now under the waters of Kentucky Lake, you can enjoy the extensive Fort Henry Trails System.
Come visit LBL to learn more about the Civil War. The Homeplace, a farm typical of where Civil War soldiers in Tennessee grew up, offers civil war themed programs.
Learn more about our National Park Service neighbor, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, or call 931- 232-5706.