Rediscovering Fort Sanders
The American Civil War and Its Impact on Knoxville's Cultural Landscape
In the fall of 1863, Knoxville came under Union occupation, and troops went immediately to work to strengthen existing defenses and construct new ones. The most important of these was the earthwork atop a hill west of the city that came to be known as Fort Sanders. The fort would be the site of a critical battle on November 29, in which General James Longstreet’s Southern forces mounted a bold but ill-conceived assault that lasted only twenty minutes yet resulted in over eight hundred Rebel casualties. The completion of the fort under General Davis Tilson would safeguard Knoxville from further attack for the rest of the war.
Rediscovering Fort Sanders is a unique book that combines a narrative history of pre-Civil War Knoxville, the war years and continuing construction of Fort Sanders, the failed attempts to preserve the postwar fort, and the events which led to its almost total destruction. Research by Terry and Charles Faulkner resulted in two major discoveries: the fort was actually located a block farther to the west then previously recognized, and there are still identifiable remnants of the fortification where none were believed to exist.
More than just a chronicle of a significant chapter in Civil War and postwar history, this book will inspire others to continue the effort to ensure that the site and remains of Fort Sanders are preserved and properly commemorated for future generations.
TERRY FAULKNER, a history and art major, graduated from the University of Tennessee and was for many years a graphic artist in the Department of Transportation. She has published numerous articles on local history.
CHARLES H. FAULKNER is professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Massacre at Cavett’s Station: Frontier Tennessee during the Cherokee Wars.