Located on a bluff 200 feet above the confluence of the Red and Cumberland Rivers in Clarksville, Tennessee, this site overlooking downtown Clarksville in the community of New Providence has been a hub of activity for more than two centuries. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied Clarksville in 1862 at this very fort. Today, visitors can see one of the nation’s last remaining earthen forts built by 200 enslaved men while exploring this most immersive destination––Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center.

 “We explore the human interest side of the Civil War––the civilian plight. Our 17-minute film gives you a different slant that you don’t see on the battlefields. Our earthworks is one of the most perfectly preserved civil war sites in the U.S. and have remained untouched for 157 years,” says Historical Interpreter, William Parker.

Managed by Clarksville Parks and Recreation, Fort Defiance opened its doors in 2011. Admission is free and open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays.

“If you want the most accurate perspective, you have to get multiple viewpoints,” says Assistant Historical Interpreter, Tracy Jepson.             

  • Learn about the site and its importance to Clarksville in the 1,500 square foot interpretive center where the lives of freed and enslaved people of Clarksville and surrounding areas are told from varying perspectives in permanent and rotating exhibits.
  • Walk the winding one-mile trail and stop along the way to read stories of the war and its people––all of its people.
  • Explore one of America’s last remaining earthen forts overlooking the Cumberland and Red Rivers.
  • From commemorating the actual Union surrender in February to a special Civil War kid’s day camp come summer, there are plenty of events and activities to enjoy for folks of all ages throughout the year. Check out their event calendar for details.

Traveling to Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center is just under a 60-minute drive from Nashville. Visit their website at ftdefianceclarksville.com.

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