Clarksville in the Civil War

Clarksville in the Civil War (HM1ASU)

Location: Clarksville, TN 37040 Montgomery County
Country: United States of America

N 36° 31.683', W 87° 21.694'

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Inscription

Changing Hands

Clarksville, a communication and transportation center was strategically significant because of the Cumberland River and the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad. The area's rich agricultural produce—grain, livestock, tobacco, and corn—and the products of its iron industry reached the nation and world via these transportation assets.

Three forts on the Cumberland River, Forts Donelson, Defiance, and Clark protected this pro-Confederate town and many of Clarksville's residents rushed to join Southern military units. After the surrender of Fort Donelson in February 1862, however, Union gunboats and troops from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's army occupied Clarksville.

Federal control proved tenuous. The Confederates briefly reclaimed the town in August 1862; it returned temporarily to Union control in September 1862. The Federals occupied Clarksville permanently in December 1862 when Col. Sanders Bruce's brigade took charge of the town and Fort Defiance, which was renamed Fort Bruce.

Clarksville became a gathering place for white Unionists and escaped slaves who were housed in tobacco warehouses along the river and near Fort Bruce. Eventually more than 3,000 refugees converged on the town, outnumbering local residents.

In 1863, after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the Federals began to recruit free blacks and former slaves for military service. Some 1,800 joined the Federal army and were inducted into the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 101st U.S. Colored Troops in ceremonies on Clarksville's public square.

(captions)
Col. Sanders Bruce Courtesy Howard Winn
New York Herald, February 24, 1862 — Courtesy Howard Winn
Clarksville, 1876 bird's-eye view — Courtesy Montgomery County Archives
Details
HM NumberHM1ASU
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 467631 N 4042580
Decimal Degrees36.52805000, -87.36156667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 31.683', W 87° 21.694'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 31' 40.98" N, 87° 21' 41.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615, 931
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 122 Public Square, Clarksville TN 37040, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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