For Immediate Release: 02/11/12
Fort Donelson National Battlefield Grows by 15 Acres on Battle's 150th Anniversary
Properties were initially purchased by the Civil War Trust with the intent of incorporating them into the Park
(Fort Donelson, Tenn.) – At a ceremony this morning marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Donelson, the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, joined the National Park Service to announce a the transfer of 15 acres of hallowed ground to Fort Donelson National Battlefield. The Battle of Fort Donelson was a major Union victory that cemented the reputation of rising star Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who employed a cutting edge military technique in creating a joint operation between the United States Navy and United States Army.
“I can think of no better way to commemorate such an important anniversary than with the growth of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield, which preserves and interprets this history,” said Michael Grainger, the organization’s vice chairman and a member of the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission who attended the ceremony on the Trust’s behalf. “Ensuring that this land will be permanently protected through the outstanding stewardship of the National Park Service, forever accessible to all Americans, perfectly encapsulates the mission of the Civil War Trust.”
Park Superintendent Steven McCoy agreed, adding, “In the coming days, we will host a wide variety of special events and programs to mark our 150th anniversary, but no legacy of the sesquicentennial will be more lasting and permanent than the inclusion of this land in the Park. We remain grateful for the continued partnership of the Civil War Trust as we seek to set aside additional pieces of the battlefield for future generations to explore during the bicentennial of the Civil War and beyond.”
Since 2002, the Trust has preserved 309 acres at Fort Donelson, including the 15 acres that are now officially part of the park. The Trust plans to continue the process of fully integrating these lands into Fort Donelson National Battlefield in the future.
Following the surrender of Forts Heiman and Henry on the Tennessee River on February 6, 1862, Grant and his naval counterpart Flag Officer Andrew Foote turned their eyes toward Fort Donelson, occupying a formidable position on the Cumberland River. The Confederate defenders were initially able to repel Union gunboats, but after several days of attack from both land and river, Grant demanded and received “unconditional surrender” from the garrison on February 16. The twin victories opened the rivers of the Confederate heartland to the Union navy and catapulted Grant into the national spotlight.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 2,500 acres in Tennessee. Please visit the Trust’s website at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.