FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - On Oct. 1, 2013, senior leadership from 3rd Platoon, Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment took part in a guided tour of Clarksville’s feature Civil War Site, Fort Defiance.
The Fort was built by the Confederates in 1861 and served as the last strategic defensive position. The site was chosen because it sits 200ft above the adjoining two rivers below, the Red River and Cumberland River. The tour guide, local historian William Parker, led the tour as he shared his extensive knowledge of local Clarksville history, presented from a southern perspective. Sgt. 1st Class James Gill commented about the overall experience saying “Our guide was extremely knowledgeable. He used more of a story point of view, the impact that it left on Clarksville and catered more to the military science aspect of the Civil War. The interpretive center was very informative as well, overall a great experience.”
The tour consisted of a walkthrough of the original earth works from the Fort in 1861, a 16 minute film and a self-guided tour through the Interpretive Center. The Interpretive Center hosts artifacts, replicas and visual aids that are focused on the history of Clarksville, during and around the Civil War from 1861-1865. Today no structural remains can be found at Fort Defiance. Historian William Parker commented during the tour that “No one planned on the Civil War lasting as long as it did, so the structures they built were only temporary.” After the tour was over several NCOs were gathered behind the Interpretive Center discussing military science of the Civil War. Staff Sgt. Terry Davey reflected, “I was very impressed with the Park. I think getting the guys together like this for professional development was really good. History repeats itself and if we can just take a moment to think for a second, maybe we can learn from it instead.”
Talks continued among the NCOs as they discussed what they learned growing up as Staff Sgt. Daniel Roletto reflected back on his own education and upbringing; “The guided tour of Fort Defiance was an eye-opening experience for me. I was raised and educated in Colorado where the text books and the history curriculum in general favor a northern perspective on the war and the military science side of the battles. The tour and the tour guide, William Parker, gave me a whole different insight into the war and especially its effects on the Clarksville area by presenting the facts from a local civilian perspective and a southern mentality.” The tour ended with a final farewell and promises from everyone that they would bring their families back to share and enjoy the same sites and knowledge passed along to them on this day. (1st Lt. Mitchel Reed, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment)