Friday, March 30, 2018

Fort Donelson Trip - Initial Plans

So, here is what I am thinking for my May pilgrimage to Fort Donelson.  Folks are welcome to come along for the full plan, and/or do pieces and parts as they see fit.  With some places I want to visit on the way to Fort Donelson, I am leaning away from a backpacking trip from a timing perspective.

Wednesday - Leaving the Cincy airport at 9:30, after dropping off my wife for her own trip, I will be stopping at the Jefferson Davis site between Hopkinsville and Russellville, Kentucky, then hitting the Fort Defiance park and interpretive center in Clarksville, Tennessee.  This makes my arrival time in Dover probably around 4:00 p.m. local time.  Perhaps visit a few of the tablet sites that I have missed in the past during the late afternoon.

Thursday - Walking the trails and tour route at Fort Donelson and in Dover.  This will be a tad under nine miles, will have some good hills to climb, and will be a mix of trail and road walking.  This will help locate and mark the tour route tablet sites.  Lunch in Dover during the hike, which overall, with stops for pictures and marking locations, will take several hours.  Late afternoon will be for checking out the tablet sites outside the park (mostly the Wynn Ferry and Forge Road ones).

Friday - Research at the park office, seeing what the plans are for getting the missing tablets back in place, clarifying any confusion about locations, obtaining any copies of documents that help with the history of the park and interpretation.  In the afternoon perhaps head to Fort Heiman and walk that area, early supper and good beers in Murray.

Saturday - Hike at Fort Henry.  Starting at the backpacking trailhead, hike north to the current Fort Henry interpretive trail, then back, adding a couple of different trails on the return.  Use the afternoon for any other loose ends ends that need to followed up on.  

Sunday - Late start heading home (my wife's flight doesn't come in until 7:30 EST), touring the Battle of Sacramento on the way.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fort Donelson - The War Tablet Project

Update: A booklet on the FIFTY tablets perhaps?
I won't go into deep details, just that ever since last year when I visited the area in more depth than my first meeting, my curiosity was piqued in regards to the War Department tablets that are spread within the park and around other locations.  At one time I had thought I had secured an old book that would cover the history of the park, which hopefully would have included a bit about the tablets, but the seller didn't truly have the book in stock, and I have not been able to find a copy since.  I did find a pdf of another history of the park (from the 1950s), but it really doesn't cover what I am looking for in terms of the history of interpretation (and in turn, a history of the War Department tablets), but it will still be useful for the overall story.

Updated tablet locations - still need full verification
I was also able to obtain a pdf file with all the tablet text, with some handwritten notes about locations, from the Park Service.  Based on this, I have determined that there should be, sans the trench markers, about fifty tablets.  There are, as indicated by the notes. several missing.  There may be a few as well still in storage that have not been replaced.

The trip I am planning for May will either help clarify, or perhaps confuse and confound, the tablet locations.  

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fort Donelson - Perhaps Yet Another Visit?

So my wife takes an annual trip to Pensacola with her family each year, and while I would like to go for maybe a day or two (Fort Pickens, anyone?), the idea of four or more days fishing and beach-combing just doesn't do it for me. So, while she is heading to Florida, I am planning a trip for myself.  It will work nicely...I will be able to drop her off at the airport on Wednesday morning and then head from there to wherever I decide.  She doesn't return until Sunday evening, which gives me a few days to do my own thing while still picking her up from the airport.  Where to go, what to do?

A booklet on the over thirty War Department tablets perhaps?
I was thinking about a backpacking trip initially, maybe to Cumberland Gap.  But I am out of shape for tackling the climb to the top of the mountain, and I am not sure if I can arrange a shuttle to take me to the starting point (with its immediate near two thousand foot climb).  And there is that out of shape thing.  Love me some Cumberland Gap, but if I go backpacking, it needs to have some less strenuous climbing.  Ohio has a few decent backpacking loops, but then again, it is Ohio, with a ton of invasive species ruining the under-story, and overcrowded backpacking trails.  But the Gap and Ohio is a much shorter drive than some other places.  Then I thought of Land Between the Lakes.  I took on some of the trails in the Fort Henry system a couple of years ago, and the climbs are mostly steady, not crazy, and not a lot of elevation changes.  Open under-story (from what I remember) and a couple of decent campsites along the way.  No need for a shuttle as I can do a loop there.  Then my mind drifted even more to just doing a trip to Fort Donelson.  I can walk all the trails and the driving tour route, which would give me a nice nine mile day hike.  A couple of huffer puffer hills, but nothing that crazy.  Plus it would also take me closer to documenting all the War Department tablets there, a project I want to complete and heck, maybe even put into a booklet.

Locations of most of the Fort Donelson War Department tablets
So with this last idea in mind I reached out to my Missouri Civil War buddy Andy.  We met a few years back during the Chickamauga annual event and since then have toured a few places together; he even brought his round table out to tour Perryville with me as guide a couple of years ago.  Sure, we toured Fort Donelson just last year, and covered a lot of the ground on foot, but as Fort Donelson is my second closest National Park battlefield (Stones River being the first, but Stones Rivers is meh), and I have this project idea in my head, and I have the time, I sent him an invite.  So, pending his availability, I may backpack Fort Henry two nights, and then stay two nights in Dover to explore Fort Donelson.

I'll make mention of the finalization of these plans so that folks who may be interested in either the backpacking trip (8-10 miles per day) or Fort Donelson exploration can join if they would like.  The trip would happen the first weekend of May.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The 33rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

It has been some time since we last visited the Ohio regiments at Perryville posts...time to get that going again....

33rd Regiment Infantry. Organized at Portsmouth, Ohio, August 5 to September 13, 1861. Left State for Kentucky September 13 and Joined Gen. Nelson at Maysville, Ky. Attached to 9th Brigade, Army of the Ohio, October to December, 1861. 9th Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Ohio, to September, 1862. 9th Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Center 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, to July, 1865.

Counties/Cities Recruited From: Scioto, Adams, Pike, Ross, Meigs

Some men of the 33rd took part in the Great Locomotive Chase of April, 1862.

Strength - 388 men. 26 killed, 78 wounded, 5 missing. 

Commander - Oscar F. Moore (Colonel).  Moore took a wound in the left leg at Perryville and was captured.  Paroled on the same day, he resigned his commission in 1864 due to his "shattered constitution" and to give attention to personal legal matters.  He was born in Jefferson County, Ohio in 1817, and died in Waverly, Ohio in 1885.  Moore was educated at Washington (PA) College, and attended Cincinnati Law School.  He was employed as a lawyer, and also served in the Ohio House, the Ohio Senate, an the U.S. House, all prior to the war.  He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Weapons - .69 caliber smoothbore muskets and .577 Enfield rifled muskets (two flank companies carried the latter).

Monday, March 19, 2018

Tebb's Bend Battlefield - Model to Use for Cynthiana?

This past weekend I was invited to talk to the Southern Kentucky Pastfinders, a group of folks based in Russellville, Kentucky.  My talk was on The Last Raid and the Second Battle of Cynthiana.  It was a great weekend, the weather was mostly grand, and my wife and I enjoyed the hospitality of these fine folks.  We bunked at the Sisters on Sycamore Bed and Breakfast, which in itself was a quiet and comfortable way to spend the night.  

On the way to Russellville we stopped at Tebbs Bend Battlefield.  Having never there before, I was eager to add it to my list of visited battlefield sites, as well as learn a bit more about Morgan and his raids.  The site is quite worthy of a visit.  There is a nature preserve area with about a half dozen miles of intertwined trails, which has both historical and natural interpretation.  The old 1907 bridge that crossed the nearby Green River has been moved and used as the main gateway to the trails system.  There is a covered picnic shelter with restrooms, and there is a small house that serves as an visitor center on the weekends.  Along with the hiking trails, there is a twelve stop three mile driving tour.  The amount of interpretation is amazing.  Several types of signs are used, from simple site signs, to full interpretive panels.  

When I think of Tebbs Bend, I envision a similar use at the Kellers Bridge area.  A driving tour along A. Keller Road, and then interpreted walking trails east of the railroad, would be a good use of the area, if we can secure permission from the local land owner to allow a walking trail to be established along with the installation of interpretive panels.  Along with pushing for an 1862 walking tour in the heart of Cynthiana, the Kellers Bridge area should be another high priority project for the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation.

Possible Tour Locations at Kellers Bridge

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Two Day Perryville Tour

After being asked by several battlefield trampers last weekend at the annual Chickamauga pilgrimage about the next Perryville hiking tour, I have started working on some plans for a two day event for later this fall (a weekend in late September or late October).

Basic Itinerary
Saturday Morning - 8:30-11:30
Wheeler's Action on October 7th
The Fighting on Peter's Hill

Saturday Afternoon - 1:00-4:30
Cheatham Against Jackson

Sunday Morning - 8:30-11:30
Buckner and Anderson Against Rousseau

Sunday Afternoon - 12:30-4:30
Confederate Artillery Positions
Fighting in Town

Lodging would be in Danville, as would most restaurant choices.  

More details to follow.


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