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Dover in Stewart County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Battle of Fort Henry

 
 
Battle of Fort Henry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
1. Battle of Fort Henry Marker
Inscription.  You are standing inside the easternmost rifle pits of Fort Henry. These earthworks are all that remain of the hastily constructed earthen fort that now lies beneath the waters of Kentucky Lake. At noon on February 6, 1862, Union Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote's flotilla of four ironclad and three timberclad gunboats steamed upriver (from your right) and began firing into Fort Henry. This, the initial battle in Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's campaign to open the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to Union forces, was the first time American ironclad vessels were used in combat.

With the fort partially inundated by Tennessee river floodwaters, its commander, Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, knew Fort Henry could not be held. Keeping 100 artillerymen, he sent the rest of his forces (about 2,500 men) to Fort Donelson, 12 miles away on the Cumberland River. Tilghman and his gunners gamely returned the gunboats' fire, but were severely outgunned. At 1:45 p.m., with only four cannon still operating, Tilghman surrendered to Foote. The Confederates had suffered 5 killed and 11 wounded; the Union sailors lost 11 killed and 31 wounded. Grant and Brig.

Battle of Fort Henry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
2. Battle of Fort Henry Marker
The buoy marking the site of Fort Henry can be seen slightly above the boat on the Tennessee River.
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Gen. John A McClernand's troops, much to the navy's delight, arrived on the scene only after the fort had been surrendered.

Height Disadvantage
With the fort at or below water level, Fort Henry's cannons could not be positioned like those at Fort Donelson to shoot down onto the ironclads' vulnerable decks.

Two Enemies
Beside Foote's gunboat flotilla, heavy rains prior to the battle caused the Tennessee river to rise, flooding parts of the interior of Fort Henry.

Where is Fort Henry?
The original site of Fort Henry is completely submerged beneath Kentucky Lake. The buoy in the middle of the channel (upriver and slightly to the left) marks its approximate location.
 
Erected by Fort Donelson National Battlefield - National Park Service - US Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is February 6, 1862.
 
Location. 36° 30.63′ N, 88° 1.745′ W. Marker is in Dover, Tennessee, in Stewart County. Marker can be reached from Boswell Landing Road (Forest Road 233) north of Forest Road 232, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located along a trail around Fort Henry's outer works,
Section of the Outer Works of Fort Henry image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
3. Section of the Outer Works of Fort Henry
Earthworks can be seen along the trail to the marker.
beginning at the Fort Henry Trailhead - Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dover TN 37058, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Henry (approx. 0.3 miles away); Site of Fort Henry (approx. 0.8 miles away); Slave Labor (approx. 1.6 miles away in Kentucky); Pook Turtles (approx. 1.6 miles away in Kentucky); Fort Heiman (approx. 1.6 miles away in Kentucky); Forrest Stages A Raid (approx. 1.7 miles away in Kentucky); An Unfinished Fort (approx. 1.7 miles away in Kentucky); Under Union Occupation (approx. 1.9 miles away in Kentucky).
 
More about this marker. To reach the marker, begin at the Fort Henry Trailhead, next to the "Fort Henry" orientation marker. Walk directly north of the marker, along an old road trace and towards Boswell Landing Road, until you come across the Fort Henry outer works about 1/2 a mile up. Follow the outer works along a trail to the left, until it ends at the Tennessee River and in front of the "Battle of Fort Henry" marker. This trail is a part of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a Unit of the USDA Forest Service, and is not staffed by NPS employees.
 
Also see . . .  Fort Donelson National Battlefield. National Park Service (Submitted on May 11, 2021.) 
 
Section of the Outer Works of Fort Henry image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 6, 2021
4. Section of the Outer Works of Fort Henry
Earthworks can be seen along the trail to the marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 26 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 12, 2021