“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Dover in Stewart County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Forrest's Escape

The Road to Nashville


—Battle of Fort Donelson —

Forrest's Escape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
1. Forrest's Escape Marker
Inscription. (overview)
In February 1862, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant attacked Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to take control of western Tennessee and Kentucky as well as the rivers. Grant captured Fort Henry on February 6, then approached Fort Donelson with his army on February 12. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote's gunboats shelled in on the 14th. Confederate artillery repulsed the ironclads. Confederate Gen. John B. Floyd ordered a breakout from the fort for the next morning. At first successful, the Confederates retreated, and the Federals counterattacked. On February 16, part of Floyd's command escaped in boats. The remainder yielded to Grant's demand for “unconditional surrender”.

(main text)
After the Confederate breakout on February 15, 1862, the roads were open for escape from Fort Donelson, but the men returned to the trenches when Confederate Gen. John B. Floyd lost his nerve and ordered them back. The Confederate commanders met at the Dover Hotel late that night and began to discuss the surrender of the fort. Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest was appalled by the idea and argued forcefully against it, but to no avail. His counsel disregarded, Forest told the group that he had not come to surrender his command, announced his intention to cut his way out of the trap, and
Forrest's Escape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
2. Forrest's Escape Marker
left the meeting.

After informing his officers of his plans, Forrest roused the cavalrymen and left the fort about 4 A. M. Almost immediately, scouts reported Union troops blocking their path. Forrest and his brother, Lt Jeffrey E. Forrest, rode ahead to see for themselves and discovered that, in the morning mist, the wooden posts of a rail fence appeared to be infantrymen drawn up in a line of battle.

After resuming the march, the column encountered a deep slough filled with the backwater of the Cumberland River. When a volunteer to test the icy crossings was slow in coming, Forrest plunged his mount into the water and determined that it was only saddle-skirt deepand could be forded safely. Forrest posted a rear guard and marched the rest of the men along the Cumberland Iron Works road toward Nashville.

“I am clearly of the opinion that two-thirds of our army could have marched out without loss, and that, had we continued the fight the next day; we should have gained a glorious victory.” — Col. Nathan B. Forrest

Ft. Donelson and vicinity — Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. John B. Floyd Library of Congress
Gen. Nathan B. Forrest Library of Congress
Cavalry crossing a river — Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 28.747′ N, 87° 51.995′ W. Marker is in Dover, Tennessee, in Stewart County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Donelson Parkway (U.S. 79) and Moores Drive, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. The marker is located on the grounds of the Stewart County Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 117 Visitor Center Lane, Dover TN 37058, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battle of Dover (within shouting distance of this marker); Morrison's Attack (within shouting distance of this marker); Holding The Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Forrest's Attack (within shouting distance of this marker); 6-pounder Gun (approx. ¼ mile away); Porter's Battery (approx. ¼ mile away); Federal Troops and Casualties at Fort Donelson (approx. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Troops and Casualties at Fort Donelson (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Dover.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 415 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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