Fort Pickering -- Memphis TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 07.473 W 090° 04.389
15S E 766714 N 3890776
Quick Description: A Civil War trail sign explaining the history of Fort Pickering stands in a small pocket Park near the on ramp to the Memphis- Arkansas bridge of the I- 55.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 3/26/2015 12:13:29 PM
Waymark Code: WMNK44
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Sneakin Deacon
Views: 0

Long Description:
At its height during the Federal occupation of Memphis during the Civil War, Fort Pickering stretched over a mile up and down the Mississippi River bank and a third of a mile deep inland. the site of the actual Fort itself with a small doorway still visible into the earthworks lies about a half-mile west of this sign.

The waymark coordinates are for this sign next to the I-55 at Crump Park.

Built on the site of a 1799 fortified trading post, Fort Pickering became the most powerful fort on the Mississippi River.

A sign at the parking area for this small park reads as follows:

Protecting Memphis

In June 1861, Confederate supporters in Memphis erected earthworks to protect the city here at Fort Pickering, the site of a frontier era fortified trading post. Capt. William Pickett and his company of sappers and miners supervised the slave and free black laborers who built the stronghold. Local volunteers mounted artillery and built ammunition magazines on the two Indian mounds within the Fort.

After the fall of Memphis in June 1862, Union forces used Fort Pickering as a major supply depot and staging area. Gen. William T Sherman increased its size of that extended more than a mile along the river and a third of a mile inland. By 1864, with 102 cannons in place, and more than 10,000 soldiers, Fort Pickering was the strongest military installation on the Mississippi River.
When Federal troops occupied Memphis, hundreds of slaves fled their plantations in Arkansas and Mississippi to work for the Army at Fort Pickering. The government established Camp Shiloh in 1862 and Camp Fiske in 1863 south of the Fort to provide housing, churches, and schools for the families of these men.

Many of the former field hands and laborers, known as contrabands, clamored to join the Union army. By December 1863, nearly 1200 African-Americans had enlisted in the 3rd United States Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment. They manned the huge guns that protected the river approaches to Memphis, and perform guard detail and other military duties. Col. Ignatz G. Kappner commanded the predominantly black garrison at Fort Pickering until the end of the war.

“The majority of freedmen manifest a partiality for military service, and are undoubtedly happy and contented in their positions in the Army.” --Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas"

From the TN Civil War Trails brochure: (visit link)

"Fort Pickering
Trails sign at 340 W Illinois Ave, Memphis TN 38106

Confederate authorities established this fort in June 1861, building earthworks at the site of a frontier-era fort. Union Gen. William T. Sherman ordered the fort expanded after the Union takeover in 1862. The site became one of the great supply and staging areas in the West. Hundreds of slaves, escaping from surrounding states, found work here. Camps provided housing, churches and schools for the men. Later, some of the ex-slaves manned the fort’s guns as U.S. soldiers."
Type of site: Other Military Site

Fort Pickering site
340 W Illinois Ave
Memphis, TN

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Driving Directions:
From I-55, take exit 1 and loop around the Fort Pickering.

Phone Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Post at least one photo of a Civil War related item or scene and post one Civil War Discovery you learned while visiting the waymark. The photo should have the coordinates of where it was taken if significantly different from the waymark's coordinates.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Benchmark Blasterz visited Fort Pickering -- Memphis TN 3/8/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it