Construction of this strong defensive work began in 1862 during the Confederate occupation of Bowling Green. After the Confederates abandoned the city the Union Army completed the fortification, named Fort C. F. Smith in honor of General Charles Ferguson Smith.
Of the extensive fortifications that once occupied this hilltop, only these outer earthworks remain. The long, linear wall is the breastwork, which protected infantrymen from enemy fire. The semi-circular lunette sheltered artillery pieces. Union Colonel Benjamin Harrison supervised construction of these earthworks.
Fort C. F. Smith was described as a bastion fort; forts designed to withstand attack from any direction. Owing to the time and labor required in their construction, bastion forts were usually built only at sites of great importance; sites which demanded the presence of troops. Fort C. F. Smith was heavily armed. The fort mounted four 20-pounder Parrotts; two 3.8 inch James rifles; four 4-inch rifled guns; thirteen 12-pounder light and two 6-pounder smooth bores.
(Captions from upper left to lower right):
Lt. N.S. Andrews of the 6th Michigan Battery drew this plan in November 1863. It depicts the fort, then under construction, as it would look when completed. The original drawing is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Gen. Benjamin Harrison
Harrison was one of five Union Civil War generals later elected President of the United States
The 20-pounder Parrotts were the heaviest artillery at Fort C.F. Smith. This rifled cannon could shoot a 20 pound projectile 2,100 yards, slightly less than 1 ? miles.
Gen. Charles Furguson Smith
Smith died April 25, 1862 from injuries received at the Battle of Shiloh 2 1/2 weeks earlier.
This 6-pounder bronze cannon was the smallest of the fort's artillery. Even though it could shoot a six-pound projectile 1,523 yards it was virtually obsolete by 1861.