Fort Negley Analysis

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Fort Negley was built on top of St. Cloud Hill in Nashville in 1862 as part of a defensive fortifications system designed to protect the Union troops from the Confederate attacks during the Civil War. The Union Army recruited and conscripted (forced) more than 2,700 African Americans (slaves and free Blacks) into Fort Negley labor battalions. Working under slave-like conditions and the control and supervision of Union Army engineers, these African Americans, built the largest inland stone fortification in North America. In this paper, I will briefly analyze the history of the fort with a special focus on those who built it. I gathered the majority of information used for this paper from the Fort Negley Museum, the plaques at the fort, and Krista…show more content…
According to Krista Castillo, Museum Coordinator at Fort Negley, the fort is a symbol of Federal might in a former Confederate capitol. She explained “the fort was built just as much to deter attacks by looking intimidating, as it was to defend against attacks, and for many middle Tennesseans, Fort Negley was this massive structure looming over Nashville’s civilians. The fort also represents a changing of military tactics, as we moved away from siege fortification into trench warfare. Fort Negley represents one of the last siege fortifications.” In addition, Fort Negley has come to symbolize racial divisions in Nashville as African Americans were forcibly used to build the fort under slave-like conditions. Before the project ended, the Union Army owed African Americans almost $86,000 in wages, but only paid them less than $14,000. Only 310 of the 2,768 African Americans ever received any pay. During construction of Fort Negley and other forts in Nashville, between 600 and 800 African American men died from exposure and accidents. Many of these African American men were forced by the Union Army into virtual slavery resulting in their deaths. This at least partially explains why the fort has never become a tourist attraction in the African American

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