Early in the war, troops under Confederate General Leonidas Polk fortified a strategic line on the bluff’s of the Mississippi River here. In September of 1861, it marked the South’s first move into Kentucky. To prevent passage of Union gunboats downstream, a huge chain was stretched across the river. Soon after it was deployed, it broke due to the shear force of the river. A section of the chain and massive anchor is on display in the park.
After the Federal successes in Tennessee at Forts Donelson and Henry, Confederates evacuated Columbus on March 2, 1862. U.S. Army troops moved in the next day, holding the fortress for the remainder of the war.
This was the northern most fortification held by the Confederates on the Mississippi River. It was literally the high-water mark on the Mississippi for the South. It was also one of General U.S. Grant’s first major operations.
Columbus-Belmont State Park: 350 Park Road, Columbus, KY 42032
Take a 360º augmented virtual tour of the site below. Click on the full screen icon at the bottom of the panorama for a full size few.
Google has mapped the trails here:
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