The Front Moves South
Capt. Thomas Brooks' plan for the defense of the Kentucky River was never completely realized. The reason lies in the shifting fortunes of war. In 1863, General Ambrose Burnside was sent to Kentucky to lead an invasion of Tennessee. With his 9th Corps in Mississippi with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Burnside was forced to take the 23rd Corps, the troops responsible for defending Kentucky.
Burnside stripped the garrisons of men and supplies and marched to Tennessee. The concern of the Union command now became getting supplies from the depot at Camp Nelson to Gen. Burnside's troops in the field. The effort to build defenses for Kentucky's fords, ferries, and bridges was slowed as engineers and quartermasters turned their energies to the Knoxville Campaign.
Burnside took Knoxville in September 1863. Over the next year, the focus of the war moved further south. Kentucky ceased to be a major focus of the war effort for either side.
The records indicate that the earthworks constructed at Boonesboro, Clay's Ferry, and Tate's Creek never mounted permanent artillery. They were probably manned and armed as necessary, for instance, during Morgan's raid in the summer of 1864 and when Gen. John Bell Hood threatened an invasion of Kentucky late that same year, a campaign that ended with his defeat at Nashville.
The Earthwork Today
Over the years the earthwork was all but forgotten. Cattle grazed in the redoubt and erosion took its toll on the walls. Man had a hand, too. Construction of a power line in the 1950s destroyed a portion of the earthwork.
Efforts to protect the earthwork began in 1998 when they came to the attention of Mr. Jerry Raisor, Curator at Fort Boonesborough State Park. The Clark County Fiscal Court purchased the site in 2001. In 2003 the Civil War Fort at Boonesboro was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Today, efforts to preserve and interpret the site continue.