Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fort Henry

Right around this time 147 years ago Grant was launching his campaign up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers with Andrew Foote's seven gunboat naval squadron supporting him greatly. On February 6th Fort Henry was captured by the navy with an assist from mother nature. The spring rains had been pretty heavy and Fort Henry had been built on low ground. It was partially flooded, in fact when the navy accepted the surrender they sent a small rowboat into the fort. Once the attack began there was little doubt the fort would surrender

I have no pictures of Fort Henry. When the TVA did its work here the dam they created covered Fort Henry with a lot of water. I lack scuba gear and I have a feeling there is little to see down there anyway. But there are signs directing you to the area and you can walk down to the river/lake's edge and wonder exactly where it is.

On the way to the river I noticed there was a fork in the road, I had taken the right which took me to the above vantage point. So after seeing that I went back and took the other fork, which petered out into a swampy forest area. But first it took me past some things that look suspiciously like earthworks. Are these the outer works of Fort Henry? I had hear that you could still find some of the outer works and these do look right. I'd like to believe that they are but I have no firm evidence that they really are.

The two state historical signs. The older one is from the period when these signs gave really vague info, like "4 miles north." If you went 4 miles north you would not find much of anything but most people don't treat these signs as directional gospel.

When I visited there Fort Heiman had just been bought by the park but the ranger at Fort Donelson did not know enough of how to get in there to give me directions. She said it was okay if I went there but didn't want me to get lost getting there. So I scrapped that idea. Hopefully now the park has signs that direct you to Fort Heiman as well. Fort Heiman was across the river from Fort Henry and was pretty new by the time Grant launched his campaign on the river with the navy. It played a very minor role in the battle for Fort Henry. Considering that the battle for Fort Henry was relatively minor too that's saying something.

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