If you’re looking for history, Fort Negley is the place to go. Located on top of St. Cloud Hill just a stone’s throw from downtown Nashville, Fort Negley (which was named after General James S. Negley) served an important role for the Union Army during the Civil War.
On February 25, 1862, the Confederates surrendered Nashville to the Union Army. The Union immediately began fortifying the city. Fort Negley was built during August through December of 1862. The fort was built of stone, logs, earth, and railway iron, and it was constructed mainly by African Americans (both slave and free). Negley ended up being the largest inland stone fortification built during the Civil War. The fort’s location, size, and guns discouraged Confederate attacks throughout the war.
By 1864, Nashville had become the most heavily fortified city outside of Washington, D.C. However, on December 15 and 16, 1864, the Confederates decided to attack in what was the last major western battle of the Civil War. This two-day fight is known as the Battle of Nashville. Although Fort Negley was never directly attacked during this battle, the fort’s artillery may have helped in driving off Confederate forces.
Today Fort Negley is open to the pubic to explore and appreciate. The 4-acre property contains almost a mile of pathways and countless interpretative panels. A visitor center is also located onsite with information and restrooms. Take your time and enjoy soaking up the history of this Nashville gem.