Fort Dickerson

By late in 1863, the Union army had turned Knoxville into one of the most fortified cities in the country. Chief Engineer Capt. (later Gen.) Orlando M. Poe used civilians and slaves to assist his 300-man engineering battalion, while Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside marched south to block Confederate Gen. James Longstreet’s approach. On returning, Burnside’s men joined in the digging and surrounded the city with 16 forts and batteries, miles of earthworks, and two dams to flood the area just north of Knoxville.