City of Clarksville, TN gets new Siege Carriage
By the start of the Civil War, the combined population of the city and the county was 20,000. The area was openly for slavery, as blacks worked in the tobacco fields. In 1861, both Clarksville and Montgomery County voted unanimously to join the Confederate States of America. The proximity of the birthplace of Confederate President Jefferson Davis; about 20 miles across the border in Fairview, Christian County, Kentucky, gave the city a strong tie to the CSA, and both sides saw the city as strategic and important. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston set up a defense line around Clarksville expecting a land attack; however, the Union sent troops and gunboats down the Cumberland, and in 1862, captured Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, and Clarksville. Between 1862 and 1865, the city would shift hands, but the Union would retain control of Clarksville to include control of the city’s newspaper – The Leaf Chronicle for three years. Many slaves that had been freed gathered in Clarksville and joined the Union Army, which created all-black regiments. The remaining lived along the side of the river in shanties.
Clarksville is home to three Confederate States of America Army camps:
Camp Boone located on U.S. Highway 79 Guthrie Road/(Wilma Rudolph Boulevard),
Fort Defiance, Tennessee, a Civil War outpost that overlooks the Cumberland river and Red river and was occupied by both Confederate and Union soldiers. Work is ongoing at the site to build an interpretive/ museum center to chronicle the local chapter in the Civil War.
On February 17, 1862, the USS Cairo along with another Union Ironclad came to Clarksville, TN and captured the city. There were no Confederate soldiers to contend with because they had left prior to the arrival of the ships. There were white flags flying over Ft. Defiance and over Ft. Clark. The citizens of the town that could get away, left as well. Before they left, Confederate soldiers tried to burn the railroad bridge that crossed the Cumberland River. The fire didn’t take hold and was put out before it could destroy the bridge. This railroad bridge made Clarksville very important to the Union. The USS Cairo tied up in Clarksville a couple of days before moving on to participate in the capture of Nashville.
Steen Cannon And Ordnance Works is providing an all aluminum Siege Carriage for a 24-pounder siege gun.