During the months of May and June 2002, the National Park Service conducted an analysis of Fort Heiman to determine if there was justification to make it a part of the National Park System. They concluded that there was viable justification to add Fort Heiman by extending the boundaries of Fort Donelson. They also recommended that a partnership be created between Forest Service (which currently maintains Fort Henry) and National Park Service for greater interpretation of the three forts.
Below is the preliminary findings of the National Park Service Study:
SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES/OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENJOYMENT
Fort Heiman is directly connected historically to Fort Henry and Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Forts Heiman and Henry, located on the west and east banks of the Tennessee River, respectively, were part of the same series of battles and military engagements that, along with the Battle of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, constituted the first major victory of the Union forces in the Civil War and the outcome that earned Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant his promotion to Major General and the nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant." As a result of the capture and occupation of these three forts by the Federals in February 1862 the two major transportation routes in the Confederate west the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers -- became Union highways for the transport and movement of troops and material to the Deep South.
Fort Heiman is also associated historically with the Battle of Johnsonville, Tennessee, on November 4-5, 1864. On October 28, using the fort as their base, Confederate cavalrymen under Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest fired upon and captured the Union steamboat Mazeppa. Two days later, they continued their assault on Union vessels passing along the Tennessee River from Fort Heiman. Thereafter, Forrests cavalry used the fort as a base from which to launch one of the most successful raids of the Civil War on the Federal supply depot at Johnsonville, some 30 miles to the south on the east bank of the Tennessee River.
Fort Heiman was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1976, under Criterion A because of its association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of United States history.
In 1993, the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission listed the Battle of Fort Henry and the Battle of Fort Donelson as two of the 384 principal battles of the Civil War. The commission designated the Battle of Fort Henry as having Class B military importance, because it had a direct and decisive influence on the "Federal Penetration Up The Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)" Campaign of the Main Western Theater Minus the Gulf Approach. The Battle of Fort Donelson was designated as having Class A military importance, because it had a decisive influence on the campaign and a direct impact on the course of the Civil War.
The Civil War Sites Advisory Commission also listed the Battle of Johnsonville as one of the 384 principal battles of the Civil War. The commission designated the battle as having Class B military importance, because it had a direct and decisive influence on "Forrests Raid into West Tennessee (1864)," an important campaign associated with the Main Western Theater Minus the Gulf Approach.
During 1994-95, the Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, conducted the Jackson Purchase Civil War Sites Survey Project, with funding provided by a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Council. The study documented the general dimensions and extant historic features -- earthwork fortifications, including outer trench lines, an upper battery or fortified redoubt, and a possible powder magazine, as well as historic road traces and former grave sites -- at the Fort Heiman site, a parcel consisting of some 350 acres.
Thus, the site affords the opportunity to relate significant aspects of the Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson, as well as Johnsonville, and interpret important elements of Union and Confederate efforts to control the two major water transportation routes the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers -- in the Confederate west. The site also affords the opportunity to relate significant aspects of African American involvement in the Union war effort.
Much of the core Fort Heiman site remains in woodlands; thus, the area retains a relatively high degree of its historic character, although it has been impacted by erosion, several roads and houses, and other vestiges of real estate subdivision development particularly near the river. The boundary of the Fort Heiman parcel will be adjusted to avoid land use conflicts. The outer earthworks and an upper battery or fortified redoubt are relatively intact because they are protected by woodlands on high bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River. Thus, the largely pristine site has relatively high potential for archeological survey and research, and it provides excellent opportunities for interpretive/recreational trail possibilities, waysides, related exhibits, and the construction of a small-scale off road parking area.
Fort Heiman also provides scenic panoramic vistas of Fort Henry and Tennessee River Valley, as well as the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, thus presenting opportunities for the interpretation of the struggle to control the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers throughout the Civil War. Because the site overlooks Fort Henry, which is largely underwater, it also presents the opportunity to interpret the significance of the Battle of Fort Henry.
OPERATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES
County roads, land ownership patterns, and topographical features define the boundary of Fort Heiman. The site includes some 350 acres on which the aforementioned extant historic features associated with the fort are located. Access to the site is by Calloway County roads. Although portions of the site have been cleared and subdivided into lots for residential purposes, only one modern residence and one partially-completed house, along with associated roads, are currently located on Fort Heiman.
With the exception of these two structures and associated roads, the site, as well as adjacent land use, is primarily pastoral and woodlands with much of the adjoining land being administered by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The site provides opportunities for interpretive/recreational trails, interpretive media, small scale parking, and non-personal services. Although a visitor contact facility would be needed at the site, no housing or other administrative facilities would be needed.
PROTECTION OF PARK RESOURCES
Fort Heiman is critical to Fort Donelson National Battlefield, because it, along with Forts Henry and Donelson, would protect resources that are: (1) associated with significant military operations in the "Federal Penetration Up The Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)" in the western theater of operations and that are two of the 384 principal battlefields of the Civil War as identified by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission; and (2) associated with significant military activities and the Battle of Johnsonville in "Forrests Raid into West Tennessee (1864)" in the western theater of operations and that is also one of the 384 principal battlefields of the Civil War. Thus, the Fort Heiman Site affords the opportunity to: (1) relate the story of Fort Heiman to both the Battles of Fort Henry and Donelson as well as the subsequent Battle of Johnsonville; (2) interpret the struggle for the control of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers during the Civil War; and (3) tell the story of African American involvement in the Union war effort. Thus, protection of the site provides the opportunity for interpreting the continuum of Civil War history in the area as well as completing the interpretive story of the three forts.
Critical resources include the aforementioned extant historic features at the Fort Heiman site that retain a high degree of historic integrity as well as the panoramic vistas of the Kentucky Lake-Tennessee River Valley and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area from the site that provide the historic setting for interpreting the Battle of Fort Henry and the struggle to control the river as a major transportation artery in the Confederate west. The pastoral/woodland setting on the land side of the site are also significant, because they retain a high degree of integrity and thus provide the historic setting for interpreting the significance and key elements of the fort throughout the Civil War.
Although only two modern structures and associated roads have been constructed on the Fort Heiman site, some 20 acres of the historic property have been cleared and subdivided for residential lots. Construction of more homes and other structures in the area or further subdivision and development of the Fort Heiman property could substantially change the historic setting that is essential for interpreting the forts significance.
FEASIBILITY OF ADMINISTRATION
The land on which Fort Heiman is located could be easily managed. The immediate surroundings of the site retain much of their historic pastoral/woodland character. The site is entirely in private ownership, and the ownership pattern is known. Some funds are already available from the State of Tennessee, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the principal landowner at the site for the acquisition of land. Thus, it is understood that acquisition costs would be modest and that there would be few, if any, obstacles in acquiring the property on a willing seller basis. Land ownership issues will drive the final configuration of the historic site to avoid conflicts. Private residential properties will not be acquired unless specific critical resource protection or visitor use needs are identified.
Management costs for the Fort Heiman site would be modest, including primarily periodic mowing, routine law enforcement patrols, trash collection, and perhaps partnerships with local governments and/or private organizations to obtain services for development of a seasonal educational/interpretive program and personal visitor services. Aside from acquisition costs, there are no perceived short-term development costs. Long-term development costs would result from interpretive/recreational trail development and construction of a visitor contact facility, waysides and other interpretive media, and a small scale parking area. Modest expenditures would also be needed to rehabilitate and afford preservation treatment to some of the historic resources.
ALTERNATIVES TO NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Although various state and local entities are actively interested in protecting and interpreting the Fort Heiman site, all have limited resources and none envision long term management of the property. It is the stated intention of such entities to have the site included in the National Park System as part of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. No other management entity capable of providing for the necessary levels of resource protection and visitor use at Fort Heiman has emerged. Other regulatory mechanisms for the protection of the site, such as county zoning, are significantly limited.