A Fort Donelson Memorial Trail*, Reconnoitering Trail
*A Boy Scouts of America Approved Historical Trail
Download a printable version of the: Mt Olivet Confederate Circle Trail Instructions.
Hiking Safety Procedures:
It is a MANDATORY Requirement that each group must have TWO High Visibility Vests (with reflective strips-preferred) Day-Glow Green or Orange in color while hiking on the trail. Your front and rear hiker MUST wear the vest while hiking on the trail. All hikers must be in single file line order while hiking on the road. All Hikers must hike on the LEFT side on the road facing traffic. If there is very little or no room on the shoulder on the road, hike in the grass next to the shoulder and or a ditch. 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. Each group will need a compass (a least one compass per four people).
Please BE RESPECTFUL, Mount Olivet is a cemetery, your behavior and demeanor should be maintained with a high sense of reverence.
DO NOT step on any grave markers that are lying flat on or low to the ground.
DO NOT sit or climb on any grave markers, headstones and/or monuments.
DO NOT use and grave markers, headstones, statues and or monuments as a table for your equipment, food and/or beverages.
DO NOT attempt to adjust, “fix”, or correctly arrange any grave markers, headstones, statues or monuments.
Information on Historical Marker, Historical Plaques, Tour Stop Signs and Section Signs
There is only one Tennessee Historical Marker located at the entrance to Mount Olivet
The Historical Plaques will have photographs and historical information on them regarding a particular person.
The Tour Stop Signs are numbered and look similar to street sign.
The Section Signs are numbered and they indicates what section of the cemetery you are located in.
Mount Olivet is open year round. There are restrooms facilities and a water source available in the Mount Olivet Funeral Home Office.
Travel to and enter the Mount Olivet Cemetery, located on 1101 Lebanon Road, Nashville, TN 37210, drive to the back parking lot behind the Funeral Home Office. Park your vehicle in the spaces provided. The gates at the entrance and exit of the cemetery do not close.
Hike west along the paved drive toward the Mount Olivet entrance. Locate the Tennessee Historical marker number 3A 144, titled “Confederate Circle at Mount Olivet.
- Who bought land at Mount Olivet in order to create “Confederate Circle” for the purpose of burying the remains of Confederate Soldiers from the area battlefields?
- How many Confederate soldiers were moved here from the area battlefields?
- How many Confederate Generals were buried in or around Confederate Circle?
Continue hiking west along the drive and up the hill. Locate General George Maney’s Historical Plaque on the right side of the road.
- Colonel George Maney was promoted to brigadier general after his regiments actions at the Battle of Shiloh. What was the name given to the area of the battlefield that Maney and his three regiments fought in?
- How many cannons did Maney’s Regiments capture at the Battle of Perryville KY?
Step back four feet from the Maney Historical Plaque and take a bearing of 240 degrees and follow the bearing 75 feet up the hill and locate his grave marker. There are two markers, one is his family marker with General Maney information and a separate marker next to it.
- What is unusual regarding General George Maney’s information on both markers?
Step back three feet from the face of Maney’s marker and take a compass bearing of 180 degrees (due south) and hike 50 feet. Locate the grave marker of General William Giles Harding, owner of Belle Meade Plantation. General Harding was a Confederate General for the Tennessee State Militia. In 1861 he donated over $500,000 dollars to support the Confederacy.
- What was his age in 1861?
Hike back to the road and turn right traveling east. Locate the General William Beall Historical Plaque on the right side of the road.
- On April 11, 1862, Captain Beall was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of strategic city on the Mississippi River. What was the name of that city?
- On May 27, 1863 the Federal Army laid siege to that city, how many days did General Beall and his army endure during the siege?
Step back four feet from Beall’s Historical Plaque and take a compass bearing of 250 degrees, follow the bearing for 70 feet and locate General Beall’s grave marker.
- What are the four initials on his foot stone marker?
Hike back to the road and turn right traveling south west, locate the General Cheatham Historical Plaque on the right side of the road.
- From which battle did General Cheatham earn his promotion to a major general after his role in the victory of that battle in 1861?
- How many horses where shot out from under him during the Battle of Shiloh?
- What was the approximate number of people that attended his funeral?
Step back four feet from General Cheatham’s Historical Plaque and take a compass bearing of 330 degrees, follow the bearing for about 100 feet and locate the General’s and his wife’s grave marker.
- What was his age in 1861?
Travel back to the road and turn right, follow the road until you locate the Tour Stop #2 sign. Locate the Thurston monument. Walk to the Northeast side of the monument. General Gates P. Thurston was a Federal Captain of the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the war and later he was brevetted a Brigadier General for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battles of Stone’s River and Chickamauga. He settled in Nashville after the war and later wrote the definitive book on Tennessee archaeology.
- What city was he born in and on what date?
Next look across the road in Section 5 for the Tour Stop #1 sign. Locate the Van Leer shaft monument. Walk to the Southwest side of the monument. Locate Van Leer Kirkman. Mr. Kirkman joined the Confederate Army around 1863 and served in General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s famous Calvary Escort.
- How old was Mr. Kirkman when he joined the Confederate Army?
To the left of the Van Leer Shaft, locate the Drouillard monument and the grave marker of Capt. James P. Drouillard. Captain Drouillard was a graduate of West Point Class of 1861 and was assigned to the Federal Sixth U.S. Infantry “Regulars”. He was on the staff of General McDowell. In July 1861 he was in the Battle of Bull Run (also called the Battle of Manassas) his horse was killed and he was badly wounded by a Confederate artillery shell. In 1862 he was on the personal staff of General Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland. Later he was involved in the battle of Chickamauga. During his occupation duties in Nashville in 1864, he fell in love with Florence Kirkman (Van Leer’s older sister). They were married in September 1864. Nashvillians were incensed. They felt like one of the most beautiful heiresses should marry a Confederate officer instead of a Federal Yankee. Most of her friends and relatives refused to attend the wedding.
- How old was Drouillard in 1861?
Continue following the road in between Section 1 and Section 5 and locate the Tour Stop #6 sign on the right side of the road in Section 1. Locate the Jacob McGavock Dickinson grave marker. Mr. Dickinson joined the Confederate Army in 1864 and served under General Ruggles. After the war he moved to Nashville and later in life he at one time owned the Ensworth Estate, the Polk Place and Belle Meade Mansion.
- How old was Jacob Dickinson when he joined the Confederate Army?
Locate Colonel Randal W. McGavock’s grave marker on the right. Colonel McGavock’s was the former mayor of Nashville. His regiment was made up mainly of Irish Amercans from Nashville, Clarksville, McEwen and Giles County.
- What regiment did he command??
Next locate the McGavock Family Vault to your right. Locate the information regarding Colonel McGavock on the front of the mausoleum.
- What battle was the Colonel killed in and what was the date?
Colonel McGavock was originally buried on the battlefield but his remains were reburied here after the war.
Walk to the Tour Stop #6 sign facing it. Stand to the left of it centering yourself in the middle of the grass service road. Take a compass bearing of 80 degrees and following the bearing for approximately 150 feet. Locate the John Overton Monument. Mr. Overton built his home Traveller’s Rest starting in 1789. The home later became Confederate General Hood’s Headquarters during the Battle of Nashville in 1864. Read the information on the back of the monument.
- How many Overton family members and relatives were re-interred here at Mount Olivet from the Traveller’s Rest cemetery?
Facing the back of the Overton monument, turn to your left and locate the grave marker of Confederate Captain Joseph Dickson Wade underneath the Cedar tree.
- What was his position and which unit did he serve with?
Hike back to the road turning right. Locate the Tour Stop #9 sign on your left in Section 2. Locate the Aaron V. Brown monument. Mr. Brown was elected as the Governor of Tennessee in 1845. His second wife Cynthia Pillow Brown was the daughter of Confederate General Gideon Pillow who was one of the Generals in command at Fort Donelson in Dover TN -February 1862.
- What was her age in 1862?
Hike back to the road turning left; locate the Tour Stop #10 sign on your left. To the left of the Tour Stop sign you will see a Magnolia tree. To the left of the tree locate the grave marker of General George Pearson Buell. During the war he served as a Federal Colonel and commander of the 58th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was the first cousin of Federal Major General Don Carlos Buell. Behind General Buell’s grave marker, locate the grave marker of his son and daughter-in-law.
- What was the name of his son?
Hike back to the road turning left; continue following the road staying to the left fork in between Sections 2 and 4. Continue hiking past Section 3 which is on your right. Continue hiking through the cross road going toward Section 5 (on your left) and Section 9 (on your right). You will see a road on your right half way down Section 5. Turn right on that road and locate the Tour Stop #15 on your left. Locate the Ryman monument. Thomas G. Ryman was Nashville’s most famous steamboat captains. In 1885 Ryman became a converted Christian by Rev. Sam Jones at a tent revival in Nashville. Ryman decided to build an interdenominational tabernacle big enough to hold a large crowd; it was called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Following his death in 1904 it was renamed the Ryman Auditorium. It served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974.
- What is the carving on the right side of his monument?
Hike back to the road, turn left and locate the Warner monument statue on your left and the Tour Stop # 16 sign. Turn left by the Statue following the road to the white marble Carter mausoleum. Locate the Tour Stop #19, Daniel Carter had the mausoleum built to house the remains of his son John Carter. Locate the Historical Plaque on the east side, titled Rachel Carter Craighead. On October 8, 1862, Rachel’s brother John Carter was wounded in battle in Kentucky.
- What was the name of the battle and what date did he succumb to his wounds?
Across the road from the Carter mausoleum, locate the Tour Stop # 26 sign and the General William Brimage Bate historical plaque. At the Battle of Shiloh, Bate was a Colonel of a Tennessee Infantry Brigade. His heroism at the Battle of Shiloh led to a promotion of a Brigadier General.
- What was the name of Bate’s Tennessee Infantry Brigade?
- How many Federal cannons did it take to halt Bate’s Brigade during the Battle of Chickamauga?
- How many horses were shot out from under him during the Battle of Chickamauga?
Hike back to the road turning left; locate the Tour Stop #20 sign. Take a compass bearing of 110 degrees and follow that bearing for 80 feet. Locate the Gillem Monument. General Alvan C. Gillem was born in Gainesboro Tenn. He was one of only six Tennesseans who served as a Federal U.S. Army general during the war. He served as the Artillery Quartermaster in the Army of the Ohio during the Tennessee Campaign under General Thomas and General Buell early in the war. He later was the commander of the 8th, 9th, 10th and 13th Federal Tennessee Cavalry Regiments which he led in an expedition that resulted in the death of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan in Greenville Tenn.
- How old was he in 1862?
Hike back to the road turning left; standing on the road in the middle of Tour Stop #20 and Tour Stop #21, facing east toward Section #6, hike 30 feet from the road (going behind the Erwin monument). Locate the grave marker of Confederate Captain John W. Morton. Morton was originally with the Rock City Guards which was Nashville’s prewar militia.
- What unit did he command during the war?
Locate the Tour Stop #21 sign. Locate the John Bell Historical Plaque.
- Which states did John Bell carry in the 1860 Presidential Election?
- How many states did not have Abraham Lincoln on their ballot for the election?
- What percentage of total votes did Abraham Lincoln receive to win the election?
Continue hiking to your right, turn right between Section 13 and Section 8, you will reach another fork in the road in which you will need to turn left between Section 13 and Section 12. Continue hiking south east and locate the William Hicks Jackson Historical Plaque on your left in Section 13.
- What was the name of the raid in 1862 that led to Colonel Jackson being promoted to a brigadier general?
- After the war what was the name of the plantation in which Jackson and his father in law turned into a famous horse thoroughbred farm?
- What was the name of the Reverend who had been a Confederate Cavalry Lieutenant Colonel during the war that conducted General Jackson’s funeral in 1901?
Stand four feet from the Jackson’s Historical Plaque and take a compass bearing of 310 degrees. Follow that compass bearing for approximately 185 yards and locate Federal Soldier Oliver P. Rood’s white marble head stone located in Section SG 4 (Be careful when walking through Section 12). Oliver Rood was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in the capture of the flag of the Confederate 21st North Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg PA on the third day of the battle July 3, 1863.
- What was his rank and which unit did he serve in?
Standing in front of Rood’s headstone take a compass bearing of 220 degrees, Follow that bearing for approximately 150 yards. Locate Confederate 1st Lieutenant James W. Rawley’s head stone in Section SG 5.
- Other than the inscriptions and the type of stone what is different between a Federal and Confederate head stone?
- Which unit did he serve in?
From Rawley’s headstone take a compass bearing of 150 degrees and follow that bearing for 115 yards. Locate Federal soldier Nathan W. Wilcox’s grave marker.
- What unit did he serve in?
Facing four feet from Wilcox’s grave marker take a compass bearing of 160 degrees and follow that bearing for 70 feet. Locate William Buckingham’s grave markers in Section SG4. Speculation exists regarding the two same grave markers. The two theories are: 1. The original marker became covered over the years in the ground and was thought to be missing. 2. The marker was taken and later recovered and returned, however a replacement marker had already been made.
- What unit did he serve in?
Walk out to the road between Section 12 and Section SG 4, turn right and follow the road to the left. You will come to a three way fork in the road, bear to your right. As you are walking behind Section 15 locate the Crandall grave marker on your left. Behind the Crandall marker locate Fanny Battle’s grave marker.
Mary Francis Battle and her sister-in-law were Confederate spies during the war in the Federal Army occupied Nashville. They were discovered smuggling documents and were imprisoned at the Tennessee State Penitentiary. The Federal authorities wanted them moved away from their occupation territory lines so they moved her and her sister-in-law to the Old Capital Prison in Washington DC. They were released after the war. Fannie returned to Nashville and helped form a relief society for Nashville to help the victims of floods as well as the homeless and poor people. She established the first daycare in the nation in Nashville, which is still running today called “The Fannie Battle Day Home for Children”. Since 1916 it has been a tradition for the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee to collect monetary donations for the “Battle Day Home” by going door to door singing Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve. Starting in 1970 until 1980 a prominent Nashvillian named Martha Ingram had a different ”Fannie Battle Day Home Christmas Caroling” patch made each year for Scout Troops participating in the fund raiser.
- How old was Ms. Battle during the 1862 occupation of Nashville?
Hike back to the road and turn left, turn left on the first road you come to and locate the Confederate Lt. Henry Doak Historical Plaque on your left.
- When Henry Doak served in the 19th Tenn. Infantry what were the names of the two battles that he fought in 1862?
- When Lt. Doak and his Marine detachment served on the CSS Tallahassee, in just three weeks how many ships had they either capture then burned or held for ransom?
Right next to Lt. Doak’s grave marker locate the grave marker of David Campbell Kelly. Reverend Kelly was a full time Methodist minister who served in Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 3rd Tenn. Cavalry. He was also referred to as the “Fighting Parson”. He began the war second in command in Forrest’s regiment. As Forrest rose to higher rank, Kelly was put in charge of “Forrest’s old regiment” until the end of the war and was considered one of Forrest’s most trusted leaders. Today there is a Green Way Metro Nashville Park in West Nashville called Kelly’s Point Battlefield. It is named after Rev. D. C. Kelly for his actions during the Battle of Nashville and his successful artillery engagements fought off the Federal gunboats on the Cumberland River across from Bell’s Bend from December 2nd through the 15th, 1864.
- How old was Reverend Kelly when Tennessee seceded from the United States in 1861?
Hike back to the road and turn left, Section 14 will be on your right, at the next crossroad turn right and hike approximately 50 feet, just past the last Billings grave marker turn right and travel approximately 50 feet. Locate the Boxwell Stacey monument in Section 14. Locate the grave marker of L. G. Boxwell. The Boxwell Scout Reservation was named after Leslie G. Boxwell for his generous donations and contributions to the Boy Scouting program in Middle Tennessee in the 1920s through the 1950s. There have been four Boxwell Scout Reservations in various locations throughout Middle Tennessee since the 1920s.
- What was Mr. Boxwell’s wife’s name?
Hike back to the road and turn left, turn right at the crossroad. Section 13 will be on your left and Section 11 will be on your right. Hike down the road and locate the General Rains Historical Plaque on your left in Section 13. His grave marker is 30 feet back and his remains were moved here in 1888.
- In 1861, what Tennessee Infantry Regiment was he elected colonel?
- On December 31, 1862, during the Battle of Murfreesborough, (also referred to as The Battle of Stones River) how many Federal prisoners and their Cannon were taken in the battle by the Confederate division which included Rains’ Brigade?
- What were General Rains last words spoken as he led his brigade forward on that day?
Turn right and continue hiking on the road until you locate the Mary Elizabeth Bradford Johns Historical Plaque on your left in Section 13.
- Which Tennessee Infantry did she help sew a battle flag for as well as presenting it to their colonel?
- In General Hood’s autobiography, on December 15, 1864 during the Battle of Nashville when the Confederates on the left line began to retreat south on Hillsborough Pike what did Hood write regarding what Mary Bradford implored the retreating Confederates to do?
Turn right and continue hiking on the road until you locate the General Thomas Benton Smith Historical Plaque on the right at Confederate Circle.
- What unit did Smith enlist in?
- On December 16, 1864 at the battle of Nashville at Shy’s Hill after General Smith had surrendered and was captured, a Federal Colonel attacked Smith and permanently injured him. What part of his body was severely injured?
Continue hiking to your left and locate the Hylan Lettus Rosser Historical Plaque.
- How old was Rosser when he enlisted in Lumsden’s Battery?
- What school had Captain Lumsden been an Instructor at?
- During the Battle of Nashville, which Redoubt had they been assigned to hold and how many cannon did they have to face the 26 Federal rifled cannon?
Continue hiking to your left and locate the Adolphus Heiman Historical Plaque.
- What was the nickname of his mostly Irish American 10th Tenn. Infantry Regiment?
- In February 1862 what battle was he engaged in and later was part of the surrender?
Continue hiking to your left and locate the Mary Kate Patterson Historical Plaque.
- What was the name of the Confederate soldier in Coleman’s Scouts that refused to reveal his sources (Mary Kate Patterson) to the Federal captors regarding his hidden information documents?
Hike to the center of the Confederate Circle. Locate the following Confederate grave markers toward the center near the monument. For each soldier list their Confederate state, rank and unit they served in.
- Northwest section: James Albert Moore, Hyman Leitus Rosser
Southwest section: Mordicia B. Slater
Southeast section: B.M. Dowling, Brackin A. Tinsley, Rufus L. Summerford,
Elisha Bedsaine, J.P.B. Craig, James M. Keiger, J. F. Flarnery
Northeast section: James A. Bush, Mathias Same, Sidney A. Schultz
Read the inscription on the Northeast side of the Confederate monument.
- What is the post duty or title of responsibility of the soldier statue on the top of the monument column and which direction is he facing?
Hike north on the sidewalk toward the Tour Stop #22 sign, turn right and then turn left toward Section 6, locate the Caroline Meriwether Goodlett Historical Plaque.
- What organization did she create and start in 1894?
- What is the name of the college in which the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) raised funds and built a dormitory for girls in which the dorm was named Confederate Hall? What year was it dedicated?
Hike across the road and travel slightly down the hill. Locate the Confederate Memorial Hall below the Maintenance Building. Please view the interior wall displays.
- Who designed this structure? What year was it built?
Congratulations you have completed the Mount Olivet Confederate Circle Memorial Trail!
Each participant is eligible to receive a Mount Olivet Reconnoitering Award Pin for your Fort Donelson Trail Medal Ribbon.
Please go to the ordering form for more details.