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“Pretty good visit.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Dover, TN
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Ranked #1 of 5 attractions in Dover
Type: Battlefields, National Parks
Activities: Leisure education
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Attraction Details
Owner description: This marks the site where Confederate general Simon B. Buckner surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, Union general.
Anchorage, Alaska
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
49 attraction reviews
Reviews in 68 cities Reviews in 68 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
“Pretty good visit.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

This is my second visit to Fort Donelson. My first was way back in 1998. Yeah...they had cars back then! To be honest, not much have changed since 1998. There are more cannons facing the Cumberland now. There were only ONE back in 1998. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same. I did some little hiking but the entire area was sock in with heavy fogs. I guess the local folks uses the park for jogging or walking. The Visitor Center was small but nice. The movie was well done and the small museum proves to be interesting. The park rangers proves to be friendly and informative. I was there early and it was foggy in September. No bugs!

Visited September 2013
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42 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Spring Valley, MN
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
28 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Learned a lot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

We drove into Ft Donelson and had our lunch at the picnic tables. Our first thought was that is was very pretty and scenic. Afterward we went inside the visitor center and watched a short movie which explained so much about the battle there. Neither my husband or I realized the strategic importance of Donelson before we visited here. Losing Donelson meant the South lost control of Nashville, which was a huge blow.

We drove around the battlefield and it's very scenic and pretty. You can also get out and walk the area.

Fort Donelson is free to visitors.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Great Place to Run, Walk & Hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

If you visit this park, please get out of the car and walk by the Cumberland river. You'll love it. The entire paved road is about three miles. Select a distance that's suitable for you and walk and enjoy the sounds of the birds, the beautiful trees and many animals. If you come in the early morning or late evening you may see numerous deer. If you are lucky you may also see the eagles and an albino possum and skunk. The eagles have a nest by the river. The park also has several miles of trails which in some places are steep. But if you can, please hike them especially if the weather is cool. You can get a map from the visitor's center. During the warm months, if you venture much off the pavement and mowed areas, please protect yourself by tucking your pants legs into your socks and spraying your pants, socks and shoes with Deet. If you do not, there's a high probability that ticks and or chiggers will get you! Historically, the park is significant as the battle fought here was the beginning of the end for the South. So, enjoy our American history. A self-guided tour is available. I have been running, walking and hiking in this park for over 30 years and I love it.

Visited July 2013
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Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Good battlefield, wear DEET if getting off the pavement”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

The view of the cannons overlooking the Cumberland is awesome. I could almost see the ironclads coming down the river. It is important to see the film before looking at the park. Then follow the NPS written guide to the stops. It's too bad there is no docent at the surrender house, but at least part of it is open and the river views are great. Like many other battlefields, this one has been split up by development so a car is necessary to see all of the stops. Would like to have seen more from the Union attack position but I think it is mostly on private property. Did see a couple of old signs on private property. When I asked about hiking the park trails, I was given the advice to wear DEET because of ticks but that the trail was mown. But the trail was not mown in several spots, especially the Confederate battery positions outside the main park area. I should have worn DEET or had long pants on, because even with ankle covering hiking boots, this is probably where I got chiggers. On the positive side, the outdoor bathrooms had tiled floors and nice hardware- much nicer than anything on the highway to get here. Good park for Civil War Western Theatre.

Visited July 2013
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Fayetteville, North Carolina
Top Contributor
517 reviews 517 reviews
241 attraction reviews
Reviews in 184 cities Reviews in 184 cities
373 helpful votes 373 helpful votes
“A must see for those interested in US history”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

The Fort Donelson National Battlefield provides a glimpse of American history. The park itself today is smaller than what the battle took place on, however you still get to see the most important parts. I would recommend visiting the visitor's center first to pick up a map and see the small exhibit and short film. The film itself was somewhat simplistic but still provides valuable insight for those not knowledgeable about the battle. The park ranger also was very helpful and always ready to answer any questions.

You tour the battlefield by car. It is possible to walk if you have the time as well, but you will see all of the same sights. The brochure from the visitor's center provides details at each stop, as well as information boards along the route. I would recommend getting out of your car (unfortunately extremely uncommon when I was there) and read the signs and walk the battlefield and gun emplacements. You might get lucky and see a bald eagle as well!

Most of the sights are linked closely together, however there are a few that are outside of the main park. Across the street from the park is the location of one of the batteries and road that the Confederates used in their unsuccessful breakout attempt from the fort. The National Cemetery is also the last stop on the tour, however you can see the cemetery at any time. The Dover Hotel is also open. The hotel was where General Buckner surrendered to his friend General Grant. The exhibits provide a glimpse into the leaders on each side as well from the soldiers and civilians viewpoints.

The battles of Ft. Henry and Donelson marked the first major victories for the Union and brought General Grant into the national picture and his nickname "unconditional surrender Grant". While the battlefields in the Eastern theater get most of the attention, Ft. Donelson should be on everyone's bucket list for those interested in the Civil War. While you will learn a lot from the information provided, nothing beats standing behind the cannons and seeing the earthworks and putting yourself in the battle. It is hard to imagine standing along the shore with the ironclads pounding the fort and the Confederates firing back and immobilizing the ships.

Visited February 2013
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