Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Freedmen's Camp

 
 
Freedmen's Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
1. Freedmen's Camp Marker
Inscription. After the Union victory at Fort Donelson, slaves escaping from nearby farms and iron foundries flocked to the area seeking freedom and protection. By March 1863 some 300 refugees lived here at the freedmen's camp that came to be known as "Free State." The camp contained houses, a school, and a church. It was scattered in and around the town of Dover and throughout the entire Union encampment. It was the largest of the freedmen's camps established around Forts Henry, Heiman, and Donelson, and it lasted into the 1880s. The northern army used many of the residents of Free State as laborers to help build the Union Fort Donelson on part of the ground now occupied by the national cemetery. Benevolent societies, like the Western Freedmen's Aid Society, assisted the Union Army by providing clothing and teachers to the freedmen, and administering religious and medical services. Many enlisted in the Union army as United States Colored Troops after Fort Donelson became an army recruiting station for African Americans in November 1863. These and others gave Union forces a decided edge in fighting the war in both the eastern and western theaters.

Such slaves as were within the lines at the time of the capture of Fort Donelson... will be employed in the quartermaster's department, for the benefit of Government.
Brig. Gen. Ulysses S.
Map of the Second Fort Donelson image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
2. Map of the Second Fort Donelson
Grant, General Order No. 14, February 26, 1862

Education was a major priority among former slaves. By 1864 over 100 students attended the freedmen's school at Fort Donelson, which received praise from teachers and military officials alike.

Freedmen's Camps in Tennessee
In 1860 about 25 percent of Tennessee's people were slaves. With the fall of Fort Donelson and the advance of Union armies into the state, many ran away from their owners in search of freedom. This resulted in a network of contraband camps being set up across middle and west Tennessee.
 
Erected by Fort Donelson National Battlefield - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 36° 29.164′ N, 87° 50.823′ W. Marker is in Dover, Tennessee, in Stewart County. Marker is at the intersection of Cemetery Road and Church Street, on the right when traveling south on Cemetery Road. Touch for map. Located at stop 11, the National Cemetery, on the driving tour of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Dover TN 37058, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hallowed Ground (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cemetery Lodge (about 700 feet away); The Battle of Dover/Confederate Mass Grave
Freedmen's Camps in Tennessee image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
3. Freedmen's Camps in Tennessee
(approx. 0.2 miles away); The Stewart County Iron Industry (approx. 0.4 miles away); French's Battery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Breakout (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Confederate Breakout (approx. 0.4 miles away); History of the Stewart County Courthouse (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dover.
 
Also see . . .  Fort Donelson. National Park Service site. (Submitted on December 7, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansWar, US Civil
 
Freedmen's Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 4, 2010
4. Freedmen's Camp Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 7, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 685 times since then and 57 times this year. Last updated on May 5, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 7, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement