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Download BONPS Newsletter for March-April 2002 (PDF)

For all the latest news in detail. Download, print out, and read at your leisure.
Includes news about the Annual BONPS Dinner, the dedication of the BONPS Battle of Nashville Driving Tour, Clean-Up Day slated for Belle Meade Plantation, and much more.

BONPS in the News
Driving tour of battle sites dedicated

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society (BONPS) formally dedicated its new Civil War driving tour Thursday afternoon, Feb. 21 at the Battle of Nashville Confederate Redoubt #1 on Benham Place off Woodmont Blvd.

Driving Tour Sign

View or Download BONPS Driving Tour Brochure
In PDF format. Lengthy downloads likely. Adobe Acrobat required.
1864 Map and Description of Battle (1.5MB)
Driving Tour Sites and Photos (736K)

The society purchased the site a few years ago and has completed its restoration. The redoubt (an earthen fort for artillery emplacements) is one of the few remaining sites in Davidson County relating to the Battle of Nashville. It was one of five such fortifications built by the Army of Tennessee prior to the climatic Battle of Nashville in December 1864, and was the northernmost of the five such forts.

Former National Park Service Chief Historian Ed Bearss formally dedicated the new tour. Mr. Bearss also gave a lecture on the Battle of Nashville to more than 100 members and guests of the society at Hillwood Country Club that evening (see item below).

Tennessee House Republican Leader Senator Steve McDaniel was one of the many distinguished members in attendance.

The driving tour includes more than 20 sites that were significant in the climatic Battle of Nashville - the last major engagement of the Civil War- and the Union army occupation of Nashville (1862-65).

Recent research conducted by BONPS President Bob Henderson and confirmed by Mr. Bearss indicate that Nashville had the most extensive one-day battlefield of the entire Civil War - a battle front more than 14 miles wide.

The U.S. Army battle plan was also noted to be very similar to the strategic plan of the 1991 Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm.

The society plans on marking the tour sites in the next 30 days, and will have brochures available at some of the sites, including the Belle Meade Mansion, Travellers Rest and the Belmont Mansion.

Speaker Ed Bearss

The 2002 Annual BONPS Dinner on Thurs., Feb. 21 at Hillwood Country Club was an fantastic success with more than one hundred members and guests in attendance. Ed Bearss, the world's preeminent Civil War historian, kept the audience in awe with an informative talk on the various aspects of the Battle of Nashville and the colorful personalities who participated in the "decisive battle of the Civil War." Here, Mr. Bearss poses with special guests, history students at Nashville's Father Ryan High School. BONPS President Bob Henderson expounded on the progress made during the past year, including the formal dedication earlier that day of a BONPS preservation project, the site of Confederate Redoubt No. 1, one of twenty stops on the new Battle of Nashville driving tour.

BONPS in the News
Cancer Park, BONPS form partnership
By Craig Boerner
The City Paper, Dec. 26, 2001

A proposed Nashville Cancer Survivors’ Plaza on an acre-and-a-half of green
space in front of St. Bernard’s Academy on 21st Avenue South now has the
support of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society [BONPS].

The property includes trench lines used by Union army soldiers as a defensive
position Dec. 15, 1864, in the Battle of Nashville, according to BONPS President
Bob Henderson.

His organization is working with the R.A. Bloch foundation to add a Battle of
Nashville interpretative sign in the plaza and possibly dig for Civil War artifacts as
part of the proposed development.

“We want to work with the community and it’s important for all of these groups to
get on the same page because we can pool our resources between us and get a
lot more done,” Henderson said.

Metro’s Board of Parks and Recreation deferred a vote on approving the cancer
survivor plaza, to cost $1 million, at its last meeting to evaluate the proposed
public/private partnership.

Concerns about the park are that a foundation outside the state is making the
proposal for a public/private partnership, according to board members. Also, many
remember a similar proposal for Elmington Park that was denied more than five
years ago.

“We decided that it would make a lot of sense for us to work together on this,”
Henderson said, after talking with Janice Zimmerman, chair of the committee to
bring the park to town. “She is going to let me be part of the design committee so
whatever they decide to do, we can work around the earthworks so we won’t
disturb those.

“That particular location is significant because it’s the closest point to the
Confederate position, which we own on the other side of I-440. The outer line went
all the way around Nashville on the south side of the Cumberland River, that
[property] was the point of the spear as far as the Union position went.”

Zimmerman, a cancer survivor, said the public/private partnership has not been an
issue with the foundation’s other 15 park locations across the country.

“For two years we have worked on this and I have met with neighbors and met with
neighborhood associations,” Zimmerman said. “For two years, it has been
approved. I think it’s time that we quit looking for opposition, we’ve found our
support and we need to go with it.”

Metro has no plans in the near future to develop the park on its own although
Parks Director Jim Fyke said Metro Parks’ Master Plan would consider the park as
an “undeveloped or non-developed park” and a recommendation would probably
be made to the city to “someway enhance that park activity.”

“I am just hopeful that the board will see the benefits of this park for the city of
Nashville,” Zimmerman said. “It’s now not being used and, with the addition of the
park, it could be used and enjoyed by so many people.”

There are three consistent elements in all Cancer Survivor Parks across the
country, according to Zimmerman - a positive mental attitude walk with 14 bronze
plaques, a sculpture of eight life-size bronze figures passing through a maze
representing cancer treatment, and a “Road to Recovery” component which
includes plaques displaying practical suggestions for a healthy lifestyle.

Part of the foundation’s proposal is for $100,000 of initial funding to be placed in a
park endowment fund for maintenance.

United States Colored Troops

Re-enactors of the 13th United States Colored Troops (USCT) Infantry Regiment camped near the site of Union Fort Negley in observance of the Battle of Nashville's anniversary. USCT played a major role in the battle and fought bravely. Fort Negley and other Nashville fortifications were constructed mainly by black laborers. Pictured is re-enactor Bill Radcliffe with the United States battle flag.

137th Anniversary of the Battle of Nashville

The 137th anniversary of the Battle of Nashville (Dec. 15-16, 1864) was marked with several activities, including the opening of a battle site to the public.

On Sat., Dec. 15, Granbury's Lunette, a small earthen fortification that rested on the Confederate right flank and saw action the first day of the battle, was dedicated in ceremonies sponsored by the General Joseph E. Johnston Camp of Sons of Confederate Veterans and the General Felix Zollicoffer Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Thomas Cartwright, director of the Carter House in FrankIin, was the featured speaker. The site is located next to McCord Crane Service at 190 Polk Avenue.

"It's kind of remarkable when you find one of these sites," event organizer and BONPS historian Ross Massey said. "There has never been an effort by the city to save any of them."

The land that includes the fortification was owned by the business next door. The owner of McCord Crane eventually agreed to give it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Massey said. "It's not a whole lot to look at, but people will come from all over the country just to look at (fortifications)," Massey said.

Also notable was a lecture on the Union occupation of Nashville during the war by historian Walter Durham, who authored two books on the subject. The presentation was held at historic Belle Meade Plantation. A motor coach tour of Battle of Nashville sites was held in conjunction with these events.

BONPS President Bob Henderson led a tour of Kelley's Point Battlefield in west Nashville. At this site on the Cumberland River, Confederate cavalry armed with field artillery fought in six engagements with Union gunboats from Dec. 2-15, 1864. Col. D.C. Kelley's men were able to block steamer transports from reaching Nashville during that time period. Henderson has conducted much research into the subject, stating that the cavalry-navy battle was very unique but little publicized.

Re-enactors of the 13th United States Colored Troops (USCT) Infantry Regiment camped near the site of Union Fort Negley in observance of the Battle of Nashville's anniversary. USCT played a major role in the battle and fought bravely. Fort Negley and other Nashville fortifications were constructed mainly by black laborers.

Download BONPS Newsletter for Nov.-Dec. 2001 (PDF)

For all the latest news in detail. Download, print out, and read at your leisure.
Includes news about upcoming events in Nashville and Franklin, the Fort Donelson Underground Railroad Program, and an interesting article from the Confederate Veteran (1909) about the "Nashville National Battlefield Association."


Fort Negley reminds us of hard-won truths
(Opinion) City Paper Editorial--Tues., Nov. 13, 2001

A little-known fact is that after Union soldiers captured Nashville in 1862, midway through the Civil War, it became one of the two most fortified cities in the country. The other: Washington, D.C.

That’s history worth preserving, not just by making it known, but by saving Fort Negley, the largest of the forts that surrounded the city for the remainder of the war.

The fort, which sits between Greer Stadium and the Cumberland Science Museum and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, has been closed to the public for 30 years. Little has been done in those decades to preserve it, and nothing has been done successfully to restore it.

But now there’s a move afoot to save Fort Negley, and it’s been too long coming.

To those who squirm a little when conversation turns to the Civil War, be aware this is not a monument to celebrate the Old South, or the plantation owners, or a way of life given up reluctantly.

Far from it.

Fort Negley is in part a monument to a bloody and divisive war that ultimately, but with great loss, changed our economy and our people for the better.

Fort Negley is also in part a monument to the work of some 2,000 free blacks called upon to build the fort for the Union forces to help them resist the Confederate Army’s efforts to take Nashville back.

But the Union, fighting to force Southerners to free their slaves, acquired its workers in a manner that was not without controversy.

“The Union cavalry surrounded Nashville's three black (quasi-independent) churches, arrested strong black men and women, and marched them to the St. Cloud hill construction site with axes, picks and spades in return for certificates of labor to be paid later,” according to local professor and historian Dr. Bobby Lovett. “Before the project ended, the army would owe the blacks and some ‘loyal slave owners’ over $85,958 in wages.”

For each point of the history of Fort Negley, there are still, nearly 150 years later, pros and cons regarding the causes and methods of both the Union and Confederate forces.

However, a leading advocate for restoration of Fort Negley as a historical resource was the late Joe Kelso, active in many projects in Nashville’s African-American community throughout his life.

No doubt Kelso knew then, just as Bob Henderson of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and Jim Fyke of the Metro Parks Department know now, that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.

If money can be found to preserve not only the natural space as part of the greenways project, but also the historic elements that have deteriorated badly, Fort Negley can help us all to remember our history and its hard-won truths.

Download BONPS Newsletter for October 2001 (PDF)

For all the latest news in detail. Download, print out, and read at your leisure.
Includes news about the new Tennessee Historical Commission marker at Redoubt No. 4; the presentation by Ken Flies of the role of Minnesota's U.S. troops at the Battle of Nashville; the fight to preserve battlefield property at Franklin, TN; and Civil War Preservation Trust news.

Download BONPS Newsletter for Aug.-Sept. 2001 (PDF)

For all the latest news in detail. Download, print out, and read at your leisure.

Progress Report: Battle of Nashville Monument Park

By BONPS Member Jim Summerville

Toward the end of July, contractors finished all of the amenities in the current phase of the Battle of Nashville Monument Park.

The most important was the interpretive plaza, which fans out from the apron around the statue (built in the summer of 2000) to the Wall of Peace. The plaza has four benches, where visitors can pause to study, enjoy, and learn from Giuseppe Moretti's great memorial to the clash of 1864.

The plaza also has plots for flowers and trees. Over time garden clubs have expressed interest in donating money and materials for landscaping.

Also put in place recently is a sidewalk that runs parallel to Clifton Lane, turns north, and slopes down the hill along Granny White to the plaza. Finally, there is now off-street parking with spaces for some 10 cars.

The park is still a "work in progress," according to Gary Hawkins, principal in Hawkins Partners, the lead contractor for the project, who has offered to donate planting design.

Besides landscaping, Mr. Hawkins hopes for donations or grant money that will pay for other amenities, including an entryway to the park from Granny White Pike and interpretive signage.

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society continues to be involved with the project. It has applied for funds from the National Endowment for the Arts to hire a conservator to clean and treat the bronzes in the monument. Notice will be given to successful applicants in March 2002.

From the President

Things are really moving forward with the organization. Membership is up, renewals are up (thanks), we have three battlefield saves under our belt, and the word is finally getting out about the wonderful rich history that we are privileged to be protectors of.

The only downside is that we are understaffed. Currently, I am handling the newsletter and treasurer duties. Any help in terms of contributing articles, or news for the newsletter, would be greatly appreciated. I also need someone to check the message line and the P.O. Box at Acklen Station on a regular basis. Please don't volunteer unless you are fully committed to carrying out any of these duties.

Thanks to Ross Massey for his tour of Mt. Olivet Cemetery last month. It was very informative. He will also be organizing the 9th annual Confederate Cemetery Illumination again this October 13th.

Some folks are concerned that they are missing out on the information I am sending out to BONPS members via my email updates. I understand those concerns, and will do everything possible to keep you updated with our bimonthly newsletter, but when I get word of a breaking news story, I don't have the time or resources to contact everyone individually. The speedy and inexpensive flow of information is essential to our success as an organization. For those who cannot justify the expense of a new computer (which is less than $1000 now), you can always use most any public library for internet access. You can also set up a free email account with If you have an email address and are not receiving correspondence from me, please let me know.

Additionally, with the savings in postage of newsletter emails, I propose to pass along to those members willing to accept the newsletter electronically a $5 discount off membership dues.

All the best,
Bob Henderson, BONPS President

Breaking News 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.

Kelley's Point is the third property saved by BONPS in the last few years. They also own several acres on Shy's Hill and at Confederate Redoubt #1.

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.

See more of this site on the BONPS Virtual Tour.

Downtown Presbyterian Church

In May, BONPS members and guests were treated to a tour of the
Downtown Presbyterian Church, newly renovated and the finest example of
Egyptian Revival architecture in the world. During the war, the church
served as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The tour was conducted
by James Hoobler, Tennessee State Museum curator and author
of "Nashville and Chattanooga: Cities Under The Gun."
Also see stop on Virtual Tour.

Download BONPS June 2001 Newsletter (PDF)

For all the latest news in detail. Download, print out, and read at your leisure.

Message from President Bob Henderson (June 2001 Newsletter):

I am pleased to announce the board of director volunteers from our May meeting. They include Wes Shofner, George Gause, Boyer Barner, Sherry Male, Mark Zimmerman, Blake Henderson, and myself. Please let me know if anyone else wishes to serve; we have two positions left to fill. We ask that you are able to attend at least one meeting per quarter and have Internet access.

I thought our tour of the Downtown Presbyterian Church by Jim Hoobler last month was very interesting. If you have never seen it, I am sure you have never seen anything like it before. It is one of only two Egyptian Revival churches in the world. We learned that it housed about 1,600 soldiers as a hospital during the war, and it was not used as a stable for the horses during the occupation.

I am pleased to report that the Kelley's Battery site has passed the third reading of the Metro Council. It will become Nashville's next city park/greenway. Our thanks to Councilman Bob Bogen for his support. We hope that Metro Parks will name it Kelley's Battery or Kelley's Point. It may be named Brookmeade Park.

Save The Franklin Battlefield is really doing a bang-up job. In addition to getting Franklin upgraded to #4 on the CWPT endangered list, they have recently saved 3.3 acres of core battlefield at Hyssop Hill. Kudos to STFB!

Most of you know that Wanda White has been a priceless commodity to our organization. She has been very busy taking care of her husband Eddie, who has been ill for some time. We wish a speedy recovery to Eddie, and hope to see both of them soon again.

All the Best,

Civil War Driving Tour Grant Application (June 2001)

By George Gause of the Metro-Nashville Historical Commission

Metro Historical Commission staff completed an application to the American Battlefield Protection Program early this year to update the 1983 Civil War Driving Tour of Davidson County. We proposed to organize the remaining identified sites associated with the Battle of Nashville into a cohesive, thematic driving tour. The grant would have also funded printing of the brochure. May 23 we received a letter informing us that our project was not selected. This year's total available funding was less than in previous years to reserve money for the Congressionally mandated Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study.

Doug Jones, chairman of Tricor Corporation, has generously agreed to donate printing and right-of-way signage to mark the driving tour. This has kept the project alive and it is in development. I will update the society on future progress.

BONPS Receives $2,000 Donation For Kelley's Battery Signage (April 2001)

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society has been awarded $2,000 in battlefield preservation funds from the American Civil War Round Table-United Kingdom. The announcement was made at their annual luncheon and auction held in London on April 7. The funds will be used for an interpretation sign at Kelley's Battery located at Bell's Bend, 9 miles west of Nashville, the site of six actions between Union ships and four Confederate artillery pieces in early December 1864. Many thanks to BONPS member Phil Van Steenwyk of Hawaii for donating the bulk of the items which were auctioned.

Historian Ed Bearss Speaks To BONPS

Noted Historian Speaks At BONPS Annual Banquet

ED BEARSS, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, spoke at the BONPS Annual Dinner on the topic of "Breaking of the River Barriers: Grant and Forrest in the Ft. Donelson Campaign." He is flanked by Wes Shofner, left, founding BONPS President, and Bob Henderson, the new BONPS President. Mr. Bearss, the author of the definitive work on the Vicksburg Campaign, is widely recognized as the greatest living Civil War historian.

BONPS Commended
The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society received a 1999 Certificate of Commendation from the Tennessee Historical Commission for its work to acquire, preserve, and interpret Nashville's Civil War heritage, specifically its purchase and clearing of the Redoubt No. 1 site, its lecture series, its role in creating a plan for Fort Negley, and other achievements.

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