Kelley’s Point Battlefield
Kelley’s Battery site at Bell’s Bend is located in west Nashville off Charlotte Pike between the Lowe’s superstore complex and the river. It has been developed as Brookmeade Park at Kelley’s Point Battlefield, a Metro Parks greenway completed in 2003. The Park contains interpretive signage funded through an auction conducted by the American Civil War Roundtable-United Kingdom and a generous donation by BONPS member Phil Van Steenwyk.
Above: The observation deck and interpretive signage at Kelley’s Point, overlooking the Cumberland River downstream from the City of Nashville.
Above: Signage at the trailhead of the Brookmeade Park greenway, beginning a one-third mile walk to the river and site of Col. David Campbell Kelley’s two-week clash with the U.S. Navy just prior to the Battle of Nashville in December, 1864.
Above: The view of the Cumberland River from one of Col. Kelley’s artillery positions, looking downstream and commanding the western approach to the city.
Above: The view Eastward from Kelley’s Point, commanding the upstream leg of the river towards Nashville.
From the Civil War Preservation Trust:
Site of Clash Between Confederate Cavalry and Union Ironclad Rescued by Battle of Nashville Preservation Society
(Nashville, Tenn. 7/20/2001) – A long-forgotten portion of the Nashville Battlefield has been rescued from development, thanks to the efforts of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society (BONPS).
The site, known as Kelley’s Point Battlefield, has long been written off as “too late to save.” However, after three years of negotiations with the property developer and the Nashville metro city parks administration, BONPS has gotten six acres of the site incorporated into the expanding Nashville “greenway” park system.
The new park will be named Brookmeade Park at Kelley’s Point Battlefield. It is located nine miles west of Nashville near Bell’s Bend on the Cumberland River. The American Civil War Roundtable-United Kingdom has donated $2,000 for interpretation at the park.
Kelley’s Point Battlefield is a significant site rarely mentioned in historical accounts of the battle of Nashville.
According to BONPS President Bob Henderson, “Kelley’s Point illustrates that Nashville had the most extensive line of battle during the Civil War. From Kelley’s Point the Confederate line arched over 14 miles across the county from west to east Nashville. The actions at Kelley’s Point were also the largest sustained battle between the Confederate cavalry and the Union navy.”
For two weeks prior to the battle, four artillery pieces under the command of Confederate cavalry under Lt. Col. D.C. Kelley effectively blockaded the Cumberland River against seven heavily armed Union gunboats. Confederate cavalry and Federal gunboats clashed in six separate engagements.
During the fourth engagement, on December 6, 1864, the U.S.S. Neosho was hit more than 100 times by cannon fire without sinking. The ironclad narrowly avoided disaster when an unexploded Confederate shell breached the ship’s iron plating and lodged in its powder magazine.
John Dizenback, the ship’s quartermaster, was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the Union colors aboard the Neosho when the flag was shot away by Confederate gunfire.
Note–BONPS thanks member Phil Van Steenwyk of Hawaii, and the Civil War Roundtable United Kingdom for the $2000 raised to fund the interpretive sign for the park.
Thanks to Councilman Bob Bogen for his help on see this through, as well as the Metro Parks Department of Nashville.
Close Up Map (Look for state historical marker.)