Fort Casino (1863-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1863 in present day Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. The fort was abandoned by Union troops in 1865 after the end of the war. Also known as Battery for Casino Hill.
History of Fort Casino
The beginning of the U.S. Civil War found Nashville under Confederate control with Fort Henry and Fort Donelson providing external protection. With the loss of Fort Henry (6 Feb 1862) and Fort Donelson (16 Feb 1862) the Confederate position in Nashville became untenable and they surrendered the city on 25 Feb 1862.
Union forces occupied the city and turned Nashville into a Union logistics hub for the region. Work on the fortifications for the city began in August 1862 using large numbers of conscripted contrabands (runaway slaves) and free Blacks.
Fort Casino was built as a timber reinforced blockhouse on Casino Hill. This was a small fort with earthen parapets, a crushed stone glacis and armed with light artillery pieces. This location was on a commanding hilltop along the Franklin Turnpike that lead into town. A more elaborate battery was envisioned by General Tower to surround the blockhouse but was never built. An inspection report dated 25 May 1865 by Brigadier General Zealous B. Tower, (Cullum 1059), Inspector General of Fortifications, Military Division of the Mississippi, included the following: "Casino Hill is half a mile distant from Fort Negley and one-third mile from Morton and is ten feet higher than this last fort. Gen. Morton placed on this hill a single-cased block-house in the form of a cross, relying upon the combined fire of Morton and Negley to drive an enemy from the position should he attempt to build batteries there. Had Fort Morton been finished of the magnitude originally intended, its powerful armament might have accomplished that object by deluging the hill by its fire. I designed for this position a simple battery, with a deep ditch and eight-foot rock scarps. The two faces were directed upon Morton and Negley, so as to expose the hill to the fire of these forts. The forge line, simply a stockade closing on the block-house, leaves the interior open to fire from the works in the rear, so that no enemy could hold the battery, should he succeed in carrying it. Lack of men and the urgent necessity for forwarding more exposed points on the defensive line prevented the commencement of this battery. The hill is limestone rock with scarcely any soil, and steep on the line of approach."
Fort Casino was abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.
No remains, all signs of the fort were removed by the construction of the 8th Avenue Reservoir atop the hill. No public access to the Reservoir or to the plaques at the entrance. The marker shown here is situated at the base of the hill in Reservoir Park.
Visited: 14 May 2016