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

Fort Defiance

Defending the River

 
 
Fort Defiance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
1. Fort Defiance Marker
Inscription. These are the remnants of Union Fort Bruce. In September 1861, the Confederate defense line in the western theatre extended from Columbus Kentucky, to Cumberland Gap in East Tennessee. It included most of the Cumberland River and protected the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad, as well as the major supply base at Nashville. The three small forts constructed at Clarksville were integral parts of this perimeter. Confederate Gen. Albert S. Johnston ordered West Point-trained engineer Maj. Jeremy F. Gilmer to "arrange the works for the defense... at Dover, Clarksville, hired an experienced civilian, Edward Sayers, to execute the construction. Sayers constructed Fort Sevier on a hill overlooking the Cumberland and Red rivers, Fort Clark south of here where the two rivers merged, and Fort Terry northeast of here on the Red River. In January 1862, Sayers reported, "work progressing very well now; 200 slaves and 50 soldiers at work; 24-pounders mounted; one 12-pounder also mounted." After the fall of Fort Donelson on February 16, 1862, the Union navy headed upstream for Clarksville. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote found the fort deserted and flying a white flag. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered the other earthworks destroyed but spared Fort Sevier. In December 1862, Col. Sanders D. Bruce's brigade command. expanded
Fort Defiance Marker & Interpretive Center in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
2. Fort Defiance Marker & Interpretive Center in background.
the fort and occupied it for the rest of the war. Renamed Fort Bruce, it provided a safe haven for local freedmen, many of whom joined the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT). Later called Fort Defiance, the origin of the name is unclear.
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 36° 32.509′ N, 87° 22.378′ W. Marker is in Clarksville, Tennessee, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from A Street 0.1 miles south of Walker Street. Click for map. Located at the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 120 Duncan Street, Clarksville TN 37042, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Defiance Interpretive Center (a few steps from this marker); Bringing the War to Clarksville (within shouting distance of this marker); Freedmen's Camp and the USCT (within shouting distance of this marker); Life as a Garrisoned Union Soldier (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Building Fort Sevier (Defiance) (about 300 feet away); Forts Versus Ironclads (about 400 feet away); Sevier Station (about 700 feet away); Valentine Sevier, Memorial (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Clarksville.
 
Also see . . .
Fort Bruce (Photo taken of marker) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
3. Fort Bruce (Photo taken of marker)
 Fort Defiance website. (Submitted on January 3, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
Colonel Bruce and Major Gilmer image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
4. Colonel Bruce and Major Gilmer
Photos taken from marker
Fort Defiance entrance sign. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
5. Fort Defiance entrance sign.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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