While Kentucky may have declared its neutrality in the American Civil War, the southern portion of Land Between The Lakes actually played host to a very significant event involving Confederate and Union forces along the Tennessee River.
LBL marked the 150th anniversary of its Battle of Fort Henry in 2012. Confederate forces began construction of this five-sided, earthen structure fort in 1861 on the eastern side of the Tennessee River, in what is now the southern portion of LBL.
The idea was to construct a fort capable of cutting off Union traffic on the river. The Confederates even went as far as anchoring mines in the main channel, although this measure proved be largely ineffective because of high water levels and leaky torpedoes.
The Battle of Fort Henry took place February 4-5 in 1862 after the Columbus, Ky. battle. Union General Ulysses S. Grant landed two divisions of troops just north of the fort, planning to advance upon it February 6. Grant's attack would be conducted simultaneously with an attack by United States Navy gunboats under the command of Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote.
Using the Western Flotilla's new ironclad gunboats, however, Foote managed to persuade Fort Henry commander Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman to surrender before Grant and the Army ever arrived. Many of Tilghman's men would escape to Fort Donelson in Dover, Tennessee.
Although the majority of the fort itself is now under the waters of Kentucky Lake, LBL still is home to the Fort Henry Trails System, and educational programs concerning the Civil War are still offered at The Homeplace 1850. For more information on the neighboring Fort Donelson National Battlefield, call (931) 232-5706.
- Explorations: Fort Donelson National Battlefield
- Explorations: Fort Heiman
- The Battle of Columbus-Belmont
Book Land Between The Lakes Area Accommodations
You can spend several days in Land Between The Lakes with all the activities and attractions that need experiencing. Use these links below to help you find that perfect place to stay as you plan your vacation to LBL.
All Area Accommodations
Kentucky Lake Waterfront
Lake Barkley Waterfront
Note: ExploreKentuckyLake.com is not the official site of the Land Between The Lakes. You can access their official site here.