Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Round Forest

The Round Forest was the hinge of the Union position. Some writers have described the Union line as a jack knife and that the Confederate attacks closed the knife with the Round Forest as the hinge. A bit of an odd way to describe it but it also is an accurate way. The Round Forest is the only position the Union was not driven from on that first day.

This location is outside of the park but the Tennessee State Historical Society has placed two nice markers explaining how Donelson's and Chalmer's Brigades attacked the Round Forest from this area. Basically it was a lot of wasted effort. The Confederates never combined their attacks in this area so each brigade attacked alone and was driven back. The nearby river somewhat constrained the area but better coordination could have been achieved.

And this is the view from the Union positions in the Round Forest.
Hazen's Brigade was the primary force holding the Round Forest, also called Hell's Half Acre. One big part of his defense was artillery, and the next several pictures show some of his artillery positions.
The gun on the left of this picture is the gun from the above picture. On the right of the picture you can barely see the outline of another cannon which faces at a 90 degree angle from the other gun. This cannon would have fired on Confederates as they pushed Sheridan's men out of the cedar glades.
And a better view of what that cannon would have been firing at. The Cowan House ruins mentioned in the state historical markers would have been in this field, I think it would have actually been out of the frame on the left but it is this area. This position would have worked well with Parson's Battery mentioned in an earlier post. The two would have been able to fire on two sides of an attacking force, so if this one had been attacked directly Parson would have provided flanking fire, and vice versa.

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