Stop 2: Fort Donelson

Welcome to 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 or stone. The fort's purpose was to protect the Cumberland River batteries form land attack. At the time of the battle, all trees within 200 yards of the fort were felled, clearing fields of fire and observation. Tree branches were sharpened and laid around the outside of the fort to form obstacles called abatis.