Fort Sevier, Bruce and Defiance Memorial Trail

Fort Sevier, Bruce and Defiance Memorial Trail

A Fort Donelson Memorial Trail*, Reconnoitering Trail

*A Boy Scouts of America Approved Historical Trail

Download a printable version of the: Fort Sevier, Bruce, Defiance Memorial Trail Instructions.


Hiking Safety Procedures:

All Hikers must hike on the LEFT side of the pathway trail.  Review Chapter 8, “Hiking” in the Boy Scout Handbook. Each group should have a minimum of two adults hiking with the group. Each participant will need a print out of the Trail Instructions, a map and a credential sheet form along with a writing instrument.

Please BE RESPECTFUL, Fort Defiance is a Historical Landmark, your behavior and demeanor should be maintained with a high sense of respect.

DO NOT attempt to go over or around any of the barricades that surround certain sections of the Fort.

DO NOT climb on any of the earthwork structures.

DO NOT sit, climb on or use as a table any of the historical plaques.

Please DO NOT litter.

Information on Historical Plaques

The Historical Plaques will have photographs, historical information, maps and artist renditions on them.

Fort Defiance is open year round. There are restroom facilities, picnic tables and a water source available at the Interpretive Center. The Interpretive Center is open MAR to NOV, 10AM to 5PM MON – SAT, 1PM to 5PM on SUN.  NOV to MAR, 10AM to 4PM, MON – SAT, 1PM to 4PM on SUN.

Travel to and enter Fort Defiance, located on 120 Duncan Street, Clarksville, TN 37040. Park your vehicle in the spaces provided. Each participant that correctly answers the questions will be eligible for a Fort Defiance Reconnoitering Pin for the Fort Donelson Trail medal ribbon.

Outside Visitor Center locate the Historical Plaque: “Fort Defiance”.

  1. What was the Confederate name of the original fort in 1861?
  2. When did the Confederates abandon the fort?
  3. What was the name given to the fort in December of 1862 during the Federal occupation?

Locate the cannon in front of the Interpretive Center. This is a replica of a 24 pounder.

  1. What is the foundry year? Locate the information on the trunnion (side)

Locate the Historical Plaque: ‘Bringing the War to Clarksville”

  1. What were the names of the Confederate Engineers that were assigned to design and oversee the construction of the forts for Clarksville Tenn.?
  2. How old was Flag Officer Andrew Foote when he was appointed an Acting Midshipman in the U.S. Navy?

Enter the Interpretive Center and locate on the right wall the plaque “Reclaiming History”

  1. Who were the property owners of the fort site who eventually deeded the land to the City of Clarksville in 1982?
  2. Who helped clear the site from 1983 through 1984?

Enter the Theater and view the file about the Civil War in Clarksville, Tenn.

Enter the museum and locate on the right wall “Early Settlements”. In the 1790s, Sevier Station was located at a juncture of two rivers.

  1. What are the names of the two rivers?

Enter the right side of the museum and as you turn left, locate the section “National Debate Secession”. In the quote from the New York Tribune of December 17, 1860.

  1. What document do they indicate justifies the Southerners seceding from the Federal Union?
  2. By April of 1861, what were the total number of states that had left the Union (33 total states of the United States)?
  3. What were the three issues that were the catalysts that prompted secession of those states?

Locate the section “Clarksville’s River Connection”.

  1. List the two river connections that made Clarksville’s location ideal for river trade.

Locate the section “Location of Clarksville’s Forts”. Due to Clarksville’s strategic importance, the Confederate War Department laid out a series of forts to defend the area.

  1. How many forts did they plan to construct?
  2. What was the name of the fort across the Red River from Fort Sevier?

Locate the section “Local Debate Secession”.

  1. In February 1861 what percentage of Tennesseans voted in favor of Secession?
  2. In June 1861 what percentage of Tennesseans voted in favor of Secession?

On the left locate the Artillery Ammunition display.

  1. How many iron balls were packed in a 12 and 6 pounder canister artillery round?
  2. What was the range of a 6 pounder solid shot cannon ball?

Behind you on the right wall, locate the section “Raising Local Troops” Regarding the quote from Tennessee Governor Isham Harris.

  1. How many men did he say he would furnish necessary for the defense of (Tennessee) rights and those of the Southern brothers (states)?
  2. List three Tennessee Infantry Regiments that were formed in Clarksville and Montgomery County.
  3. Name the two Clarksville men who became Confederate Generals.

Locate the photograph and information on Private John J. Denny.

  1. List the five major battles that he fought in.

Locate near the right center of the room the plaque “Site Selection & Fort Construction”

  1. How many guns were mounted at Forts Clark, Sevier and Fort Terry?

Engineer Edward Sayers appealed though the newspapers requiring additional slaves and construction equipment.

  1. How many men did he require and for how many days?

Locate on the top of the display, the plaque “Original Layout of Fort Sevier”.

  1. How many cannon were intended to be in place at the fort?
  2. How many were 42, 24 and 6 pounder guns?

Locate the plaque “Fall of Clarksville’s Forts”.

  1. Which two Confederate Forts nearby to Clarksville fell to Union forces in February of 1862?
  2. Name the two Federal Gunboats that entered on the Cumberland River in Clarksville on February 19, 1862.

Locate in the center of the room, the historical plaque, “Gunboats & Union Strategy”.

  1. How many Timberclad and Ironclad Gunboats did the federals build in 1861?
  2. What was a third type of gunboat that the Federals built to patrol the rivers and escort supply ships?

Locate the model and plaque regarding the USS Cairo.

  1. What was the width and length of the gunboat?
  2. How many guns did she carry?

Locate on the other side, the plaque “Occupied Clarksville & the Confederate Recapture”.

  1. Which Union Garrison held Clarksville in April 1862?
  2. What two Confederate Cavalry forces took Clarksville back without firing a shot?
  3. What month and year did Federal Colonel William Lowe march on Clarksville and force the town to surrender?

Locate the plaque “Confederate Guerrillas & Calvary Raiders”.

  1. Who was the Stewart County civilian Confederate guerrilla that was a sharpshooter and notorious for killing dozens of Union Officers?
  2. Name the two Confederate Calvary Officers that utilized the town and area of Palmyra to ambush Union ships?

Locate on the top of the display, the sword and firearms display.

  1. What was another name for the 1840 Cavalry Saber?
  2. What was the most imported weapon of the Civil War?
  3. What was the caliber of the Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver?

Locate the Plaque “The Union Strikes Back”.

  1. What was the name of the Union Army Brigade Colonel that reoccupied Clarksville in December of 1862?
  2. What name did they rename Fort Sevier?

Walk to the next room on the left wall locate the plaque “Nannie Haskins”

  1. What did some women do when the Federals administered “the oath” in order that it “would not count”?

Locate the quote from Robert McConnell of the 71st Ohio.

  1. Why were many civilians coming in to take “the oath”?

Locate the plaque “The Loyalty Oath”.

  1. Who was the Union Military Governor of Tennessee that implemented the Loyalty Oath to the United States?
  2. List two of the five items that you would be allowed to conduct as long as you had signed the loyalty oath.

Locate the plaque “Daily Life”. During the Federal occupation shortages and high prices for goods created many hardships on the civilians.

  1. What city would the civilians travel to in order buy goods at a lower price?

Locate the plaque “General Orders No. 4”.

  1. What items were civilians forbidden to sell to the Union soldiers?
  2. What was another name given to General Orders No. 4?

Locate the plaque in the glass display, “The (Emancipation) Proclamation…, the proclamation applied only to states still in the rebellion.

  1. List the seven states/areas that were still allowed to have slavery or were exempt from the proclamation?
  2. Which General Order established the United States Colored Troops?




Locate the plaque, “From Contraband to Sable Arm”.

  1. What was the Federal term used for “runaway slaves” that were staying at Federal forts or camps?
  2. How many men (approximately) joined the 16th USCT in Clarksville TN?

Locate the plaque, “What Really Ended Slavery” The 13 Amendment required ratification by the states.

  1. Out of the 36 existing states/territories in the United States in 1865, how many states were needed in order to pass the 13th Amendment?

Locate the plaque “Bringing Order Out of Chaos”

  1. How many years was the “Reconstruction” era for previous Confederate states?


  1. What did Tennessee Governor William G. Brownlow deny to former Confederates starting in 1865 after the war?


  1. What organization formed statewide in response to Governor Brownlow’s radical Reconstruction policies?


Locate the section: ”Rebuilding the Local Economy”, “Financial Changes” Regarding the Tennessee Legislative Act of 1865 which forbade all banks from acting as a fiscal agent of the state unless the president, cashier and directors met a certain requirement.

  1. What was that requirement?

Walk outside to the main sidewalk and turn left. Locate the Historical Plaque “Freedman’s Camp and the USCT”.

  1. List the two units of U.S. Colored Troops that were raised and formed in Clarksville TN.

Walk towards the entrance to the main fort, locate the Historical plaque, “Life as a Garrisoned Union Soldier”. Disease was biggest killer of the war.

  1. Out of five Union deaths, how many were attributed to disease? Out of three Confederate deaths-how many were attributed to disease?

Locate the plaque “Building Fort Sevier (Defiance)”

  1. What was another name for an earthen wall of a fort?
  2. Which Confederate Unit was garrisoned at Fort Sevier?

Locate the Historical Plaque, “Forts Versus Ironclads”.

  1. On an Ironclad Gunboat how thick was the wood on the framed sloop? How thick was the iron plate coving the wood?

Walk out of the fort entrance and turn right on the main sidewalk. Located the smaller cannon.

  1. What is engraved on the cannon’s right trunnion?

This cannon was made by the existing present day Clarksville Foundry Inc. that also made cannons in 1861 and 1862. The name of the foundry at that time was Whitfield, Bradley and Co. This foundry was one of 10 foundries in Tennessee that produced cannon for the Confederacy. They produced four iron 6 pounder and two bronze 9 pounder cannon. These weapons served with General Lloyd Tilghman at Hopkinsville KY and later at Fort Donelson in Dover Tenn. They also produced cannon balls, canister and grapeshot.


Congratulations you have completed the Fort Sevier, Bruce and Defiance Memorial Trail!

Each participant is eligible to receive a Fort Sevier Reconnoitering Award Pin for your Fort Donelson Trail Medal Ribbon.

Please go to the ordering form for more details.