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

Building the Upper Redoubt

Building the Upper Redoubt Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, July 10, 2021
1. Building the Upper Redoubt Marker
Inscription.  The construction of Johnsonville's Upper Redoubt - called Fort Johnson during the Civil War - is shrouded in mystery. A redoubt is an earthwork enclosed on all sides. The overall configuration may be square, polygonal, or circular. There is little documentation that describes exactly when this massive earthen defensive fortification was completed.

To protect the supply depot from potential land attacks by the Confederates after the November 4, 1864, battle, a much larger fort was needed. Labor detachments were organized to construct the fortification on this hill above the existing Lower Redoubt. Using shovels and pick-axes, United States Colored Troops (USCT), working alongside various white troops, labored intensely building the Upper Redoubt in the weeks that followed.

We had nothing worthy the name fortifications, only one small block house and a little earthwork thrown up on the two hills overlooking the town and river, where were mounted the six 10-pounder Parrotts of the First Kansas Battery, the only guns there. Union Soldier

Constructing the Upper Redoubt
Military engineers first surveyed

Building the Upper Redoubt Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, July 10, 2021
2. Building the Upper Redoubt Marker
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boundaries for the Upper Redoubt inside a 3-acre area. Next, soldiers dug long, deep ditches parallel to the fort's exterior boundaries. A wooden outline, or profile, was constructed on the ground and raised to a vertical position to simulate the dimensions of the earthwork. Dirt was excavated and thrown back into the framework and compacted until it filled the profile's dimensions.

Schofield Takes Command
Maj. Gen. John M. Scofield,commander of the Union 23rd Corps, was ordered by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas, in Nashville, to dispatch two battalions and proceed immediately to Johnsonville days after the battle. Schofield's assignment was to provide relief for the garrison troops, repair the fire ravaged supply depot, and prepare for a potential land assault by the Confederates.

In only three weeks, much of the Upper Redoubt was completed. The massive earthen walls and surrounding hillside were cleared of trees all the way to the Tennessee River. This gave the fort's gunners an open field of fire in all directions if attacked.

Unlike its Civil War appearance of bare dirt walls, today the Upper Redoubt, with four large artillery positions, is well-preserved under a thick forest canopy.

Wooden profiles used for construction
Maj. Gen. John M. Scofield Library of Congress
A view of Ft. Sanders

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in Knoxville, Tennessee. The trench in front of the outer works is representative of Johnsonville.
Erected by Tennessee State Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansForts and CastlesWar, US Civil.
Location. 36° 3.455′ N, 87° 57.832′ W. Marker is in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, in Humphreys County. Marker can be reached from Old Johnsonville Road near Museum Road, on the left when traveling west. Located in Johnsonville State Historic Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Johnsonville TN 37134, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Crockett Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Johnsonville Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); The Town of Johnsonville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nashville and Northwestern Railroad (approx. Ό mile away); Johnsonville (approx. 0.3 miles away); Garrison Troops (approx. 0.3 miles away); United States Colored Troops at Johnsonville (approx. 0.3 miles away); Old Johnsonville (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Johnsonville.
Also see . . .  Johnsonville State Historic Park. (Submitted on July 16, 2021.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 15, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia.   2. submitted on July 16, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 23, 2023