Fort Granger

Off Liberty Pike, Franklin, Tennessee

Civil War fort built by the Union Army


Entrance to the Park

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in February 2020




In the nearly 50 years since the application was made for Fort Granger to be added to the NRHP (quoted below) the property has been cleaned up and a boardwalk has been constructed. The elevated boardwalk provides all weather access to the fort and clearly shows the trenches and construction techniques used to build the fort. Interpretive signs describe what you are looking at.

The following paragraphs are quoted from the 1972 nomination papers:

"Fort Granger, an earthen structure 900 feet long with perimeter walls averaging 6 to 8 feet in height, was constructed in 1863 on Figuers' Bluff[sic] at the southeast border of Franklin. The inside face of the walls were shored with wood and were splayed in places at the tops to allow cannon to project through from elevated earthen platforms inside. There were two main blastwalls within the fort along the west walls. The fort was armed with two highpowered rifled seige guns, one being a thirty-pounder Parrot and the other a twenty-four pounder rifled gun, both mounted on revolving platforms. There were also several three-inch rifled guns. The trunks of two trees, used as outposts, were left standing within the fort. The main structure within the fort was a powdar magazine approximately 65 feet square and believed to be partially sunken.

"At present the site is covered with light undergrowth and saplings, which are being cleared. The trenches, gun emplacements, blast walls, and perimeter walls are clearly discernible. The wood has either rotted or been removed. The powder magazine is no longer standing, but the site is still definable.

"After the Battle of Murfreesboro or Stone's River, fought during the latter part of December, 1862, and the first days of January, 1863, Franklin was for a time Confederate territory, but on February 18, 1863, it became a Federal post commanded by Colonel C. C. Gilbert. Soon after the battle of Thompson's Station on March 5, 1863, Major-General Gordon Granger was in command of a large force of Federal troops camped at Franklin and here constructed a large fort to be named in his honor. Fort Granger was used for 2˝ years to bombard the town of Franklin and control troop movements north to Nashville. Two Confederate spies who came to the fort seeking information on troop strength were apprehended and hanged on a cherry tree on the slope of the hill on which the fort was constructed. During the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, it was commanded by General Schofield and played an important role in that battle.

"Since the end of the Civil War, the fort has remained abandoned, a favorite place for campers and hoboes. Although it has been covered by undergrowth and trees, its physical outlines have remained. Many movements have taken place by various groups in Franklin over the years to clear and restore the site and make some public use of the property, but all have failed. In private hands before, the property has recently been purchased by the City of Franklin to prevent its development as an industrial park. A local civic organization is working closely with the city to prepare a study for the restoration of the fort.

"Fort Granger's importance during the Civil War, as well as being one of the few remaining forts displaying the military engineering of the wartime pretation[sic]."

Quotation from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form prepared by Jack Morgan and Earle DuRard, Jr. of the Williamson County Jaycees, September 1, 1972. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 8, 1973
Reference number
Areas of significance
Military; Engineering
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; D - Information Potential
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing structures: 1
Contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • March 27, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • March 27, 2020: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos