Fort Morton (3)

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Fort Morton (3) (1862-1867) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1862 in present day Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. Named Fort Morton after Brigadier General USV, James St. Clair Morton, (Cullum 1495), who was killed before Petersburg 17 Jun 1864. The fort was abandoned by Union troops in 1867 after the end of the war and after Tennessee had returned to the Union.

Fort Morton Plan

History of Fort Morton

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 Morton was initially constructed under the supervision of Brigadier General USV, James St. Clair Morton, (Cullum 1495), in 1862 and located west of the Franklin Pike and south of South Street. 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: "Fort Morton. - This work had made some progress, according to the original plans, when Col. Merrill (captain, Engineer Corps), foreseeing that it would never be finished, directed its abandonment and the substitution therefor of a polygonal redoubt, with guns en barbette and an interior block-house. When I assumed general direction of the Defenses of Nashville this fort was not half finished. I modified it slightly by increasing the number of guns and placing them in embrasure, diminishing the parapets unnecessarily thick, introducing two service magazines, which would serve also as traverses, and reducing the block-house from 120 to 80 feet length. It was my intention also the build a glacis around the work, revest the scarps with dry stone, and put flanks in the redan, so as to sweep the ditches of the fronts of attack; this has in part been done. The accompanying sketch shows these arrangements. The rocky character of the site of Fort Morton, its position on a high hill, the necessity for blasting the terreplein and for the magazines, and for hauling earth from a much lower level, and the large keep have made this work expensive and retarded its progress. Fort Morton is nearly finished."

The fort was abandoned by Union troops in 1867 after the end of the war and after Tennessee had returned to the Union.

Current Status

No remains and no markers.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1680879

Location: Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. Map point is the GNIS coordinates and may not be accurate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 36.14333 Long: -86.78333

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 620'

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