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“A must see for those interested in US history”

Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Dover
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
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.

4  Thank wbullseye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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115 - 119 of 144 reviews

Reviewed November 21, 2012

i love this place so much it tells you so much about the history of the town and where we all come from and how many fought for what they believed in

Thank tina p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2012

Takes you right back to the Civil War, you can see the Yankees trying to sneak up the Cumberland but the Rebels were waiting! A very beautiful place nonetheless and the area has a tour so you can visit other battle sites by car.

Thank Eskayti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I am not a Civil War buff but visiting this site makes me want to be one. You really get the feel for the 'closeness' of the battle by standing at the cannon placements. If you get lucky, a barge might come down the Cumberland River like it did for us. Great family adventure!

Thank Tadouglas1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

Even if you aren't a civil war buff, I think you will enjoy a visit to Fort Donelson. You can still see the trenches that were dug by the confederate soldiers. There are several monuments and a national cemetery for veterans of the civil war and later wars. It was facinating to me that the confederates that were killed there were buried where they fell. Because they were considered traitors they were never moved to the cemetery. There are a nesting pair of eagles there and we were fortunate enough to see one of them flying practically over our heads. There was a very nice picnic area with nice bathrooms, so bring a lunch. The driving tour was well marked. Be sure to pick up a map at the visitor center and read the information for each stop on the tour. There were four adults in our group and we all enjoyed this stop on our vacation.

1  Thank DD42301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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