Twin Defenses

Twin Defenses (HM1F4L)

Location: Drummonds, TN 38023 Tipton County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 31.063', W 89° 53.407'

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Forts Randolph and Wright

The village of Randolph played a significant early role in the Confederate defense of the Mississippi River. Here in April 1861, the state built training camps for the Provisional Army of Tennessee that Gov. Isham G. Harris had established. As part of Tennessee's new military alliance with the Confederate States of America, officials also authorized the construction of two forts (Randolph and Wright) on either side of the Hatchie River.

For several months, enlistees from across the state came to the forts to learn to become soldiers. Aided by slaves from the region, they built extensive earthworks and other structures; one brick powder magazine still exists at Fort Wright. Young men who had joined the infantry, cavalry, or artillery companies in their native counties, assembled in these camps and were organized into regiments. One such private was Nathan Bedford Forrest, who began his military career here.

Col. John P. McCown and Maj. Alexander P. Stewart molded and drilled the enlistees at both forts into effective soldiers. The training produced enough skilled gunners to man not only the batteries at these forts, but also the Confederate river defenses near New Madrid, Missouri, later in 1861.

By 1862, most of the men and guns had been reassigned to other defensive positions. The Confederates abandoned the posts entirely that summer. On September 25, 1862, a small band of Confederate guerrillas fired into the unarmed river packet Eugene, which was docked at Randolph landing. No serious damage occurred, but in retaliation, Union Gen. William T. Sherman ordered the entire town of Randolph burned except for an old church and one dwelling.

(lower left) "Panorama of the Mississippi Valley," with Memphis and fortifications - Courtesy Library of Congress
(upper center) Gen. Alexander P. Stewart and Gen. William T. Sherman Courtesy Library of Congress
(lower right) This idealized view of a "Confederate camp" was published in London in 1874 Courtesy Library of Congress
HM NumberHM1F4L
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 6:43pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 237907 N 3934300
Decimal Degrees35.51771667, -89.89011667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 31.063', W 89° 53.407'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 31' 3.78" N, 89° 53' 24.42" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)901
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 109 Ballard Slough Rd, Drummonds TN 38023, US
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