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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 Defiance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 10, 2021
2. Fort Defiance Marker
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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 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.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1862.
 
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. Located at the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 120 Duncan Street, Clarksville TN 37042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Fort Defiance (a few steps from 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);
Fort Defiance Marker & Interpretive Center in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
3. Fort Defiance Marker & Interpretive Center in background.
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); Tobacco Trade and the Rivers (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksville.
 
Also see . . .  Fort Defiance website. (Submitted on January 3, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Fort Bruce (Photo taken of marker) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
4. Fort Bruce (Photo taken of marker)
Colonel Bruce and Major Gilmer image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
5. Colonel Bruce and Major Gilmer
Photos taken from marker
Fort Defiance entrance sign. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 31, 2015
6. Fort Defiance entrance sign.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 2, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 316 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on January 2, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia.   3. submitted on January 2, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   4, 5, 6. submitted on January 3, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Sep. 20, 2021