Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Fort Donelson

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: Fort Donelson Park Road 0.1 miles north of Donelson Parkway (U.S. 79), in Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Dover, TN
County: Stewart
Coordinates: N 36° 28.958    W 087° 51.761
  36.48263333    -87.86268333
Waymark: None


Here the Union won its first major victory of the Civil War. The surrender of Fort Donelson, along with the capture of Forts Henry and Heiman, forced the Confederacy to abandon Nashville and give up southern Kentucky and much of middle and west Tennessee. It also opened the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as avenues for Union penetration into the Confederate heartland.

It was here that Ulysses S. Grant gained national prominence and earned the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant. The national park includes the remains of Fort Donelson, the upper and lower river batteries, outer rifle pits, the Dover Hotel where the surrender was arranged, and Fort Heiman in Kentucky.

Regulations - Take only pictures. Leave no trace.

  • Relic-hunting and metal detecting are strictly forbidden. Violators will be prosecuted.

  • Do not walk or climb on earthworks, cannons, monuments, and rock walls. Stay on trails.

  • Do not disturb or remove any vegetation or historic objects.

  • Hunting and/or possession of firearms or other hunting weaponry is strictly prohibited.

  • Pets must be leashed at all times.

  • Picnic in designated areas only. Fires are permitted only in grills.

Safety - Your safety is your responsibility.

  • Be careful when walking on trails. The terrain may be uneven. Watch for steep hillsideand unmarked drop-offs.

  • Watch for snakes, ticks, stinging insects, spiders, and poison ivy.

  • The park visitor center, auditorium, museum, and restrooms are wheelchair-accessible.

  • Picnic area restrooms are wheelchair-accessible.

  • Trails are not wheelchair-accessible.

Fort Heiman
Intended to help defend the vulnerable Fort Henry, this unfinished work was abandoned at the start of General Grant's February 1862 offensive. Remnants of the fort can still be seen.

Fort Henry
Built to guard against Union ship traffic on the Tennessee River, it was susceptible to infantry attacks and spring flooding. The remains of the fort are now under Kentucky Lake. Only the fort's eastern rifle pits remain above water. They are part of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Erected by Fort Donelson National Battlefield - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.


More information:
Wikipedia: Battle of Fort Donelson
NPS: Fort Donelson
NPS: Fort Donelson - Battle Summary