NEWS & EVENTS
Author Mark Zimmerman is available for presentations on his books and topics therein. Use the Contact page to inquire. Certain travel restrictions may apply.
Sat., Nov. 5, 2022
On Sat., Nov. 5th, 2022, at 11:30 am, the author will present a one-hour slideshow highlighting his latest book “Fortress Nashville,” at the Johnsonville Historic State Park visitor's center near the Tennessee River. The presentation is the story of how the heavily fortified logistics and transportation hub became the key to victory in the Western Theater. Mark will explore the Federal infrastructure built in Nashville and Middle Tennessee so that armies under Grant, Thomas, and Sherman could capture Chattanooga and Atlanta and march to the sea. He will touch upon the Pioneer Brigade, the First Michigan Engineers, U.S. Military Railroads, fortification technology and design, military hospitals, army depots and garrison towns, the Confederate river forts and fortifications associated with the epic Battle of Nashville. Mark will be available to sign books. The presentation is part of the park's battle anniversary celebration and living history demonstration. It is free and open to the public.
Tues., Sept. 27, 2022
On Tues., Sept. 27, at 7:00 p.m., the Fort Donelson Camp #62, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), of Middle Tennessee, at the Fort Negley Visitors’ Center in Nashville at 110 Fort Negley Boulevard will present historian and author Mark Zimmerman and his program on “Fortress Nashville,” the story of how the heavily fortified logistics and transportation hub became the key to victory in the Western Theater. Mark will explore the Federal infrastructure built in Nashville and Middle Tennessee so that armies under Grant, Thomas, and Sherman could capture Chattanooga and Atlanta and march to the sea. He will touch upon the Pioneer Brigade, the First Michigan Engineers, U.S. Military Railroads, fortification technology and design, military hospitals, army depots and garrison towns, the Confederate river forts and fortifications associated with the epic Battle of Nashville. Mark will be available to sign books for purchase. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Sat., Aug. 20, 2022
Gunboats on the Cumberland
On Sat., Aug. 20, 2022, author and historian Mark Zimmerman presented “Gunboats on the Cumberland” to an enthusiatic crowd at Fort Defiance Interpretive Center in Clarksville, Tenn. Based on his “Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters” book on inland river combat, topics discussed included the formation of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, the battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, the capture of Clarksville and Nashville, the gunboats escorting cargo convoys against Confederate cavalry raids, and the working of the gunboats themselves and their crews.
Sat., July 2, 2022
The Gunboats of Pittsburg Landing
Author Mark Zimmerman presented “The Gunboats of Pittsburg Landing,” based on his book "Iron Maidens and the Devil's Daughters," at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee on Sat., July 2nd, 2022. The slideshow pointed out the effects of the two timberclad gunboats on the course of the battle. A book signing was held afterward at the battleground's bookstore (Photo).
Tues., June 21, 2022
The Gunboats on the Cumberland
On Tues., June 21, 2022, author and historian Mark Zimmerman presented “Gunboats on the Cumberland” to an enthusiatic group of seniors at the Sunshine Club, First Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. Based on his “Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters” book on inland river combat, topics included the formation of the Western Gunboat Flotilla and battles on the Cumberland River between Federal gunboats and Confederate gunners and cavalry. Zimmerman pointed out that Fort Donelson is named for Gen. Daniel Donelson, who is buried in their church graveyard.
Mon., June 6, 2022
Battle of Nashville Tour
Author/historian Mark Zimmerman led a tour of Battle of Nashville sites for the students of Marquette University High School from Milwaukee, Wisc. Photo. The summer-study students were touring Civil War-era sites throughout the Southland under the tutelage of teacher Chris Lese and colleagues.
Tues., Nov. 16, 2021
The Brutal Retreat From Nashville
Author Mark Zimmerman presented “The Brutal Retreat From Nashville,” based on his book "Mud, Blood & Cold Steel," at the regular meeting of the Nashville Civil War Roundtable at the Fort Negley Visitors Center, 1100 Fort Negley Blvd., in Nashville. The Confederate retreat following the Battle of Nashville, a ten-day, 100-mile continuous battle in the middle of winter, along with the Federal pursuit, was one of the most brutal episodes of the Civil War.
Sat., Nov. 6, 2021
Johnsonville: The Gunboats
Author Mark Zimmerman presented “Johnsonville: Iron Maidens and the Devil's Daughters,” an appreciation of the role of gunboats during the Johnsonville campaign of November 1864. The presentation was conducted at the Johnsonville Park Visitor Center, 90 Nell Beard Road, New Johnsonville, as part of many interesting events during Anniversary Day. The author will also be available 10:00 am to 3:00 pm to sign books (Photo).
Wed., Sept. 15, 2021
The Battle of Bell's Bend
Author Mark Zimmerman will present “The Battle of Bell’s Bend,” an engagement between Federal river gunboats and Confederate cavalry on the Cumberland River, at the regular meeting of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable at The Bone & Joint Group, 980 Professional Park Drive, Clarksville, just off I-24 Exit 4 (Wilma Rudolph Blvd.) The meeting at 7:00 pm is open to the public; there is no admission fee. The author will be available to sign books.
Wed., Aug. 4, 2021
Steamboating on the Cumberland
In the early morning hours on the riverbank, author/historian Mark Zimmerman talked about “Steamboating on the Cumberland” with Rob MacDonald for his video documentary on Nashville’s Historic Second Avenue. The video is available on YouTube.
Thurs., March 18, 2021
Walking Tour of Fort Negley
Author/historian Mark Zimmerman led members of the Tennessee Trails Association under the leadership of Al Ballenger on a walking tour of historic Union Fort Negley in Nashville (photo). Walking tours have also been conducted at City Cemetery, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Brookmeade Greenway, and historic downtown Nashville.
Thurs., Dec. 17, 2020
Wed., May 21, 2020
The Battle of Bell's Bend
Author Mark Zimmerman gave a hour-long online presentation via ZOOM to 20 attentive members of SCV Camp 768 in Athens, Alabama on May 21st. The slideshow featured maps, paintings, historical photos, and information on the clashes between Federal river gunboats and Confederate cavalry. Thanks for the invitation, Lee! Virtual online presentations may be the wave of the future whenever presenting in person is not possible.
Sat., Dec. 14, 2019
The Battle of Bell's Bend
Author Mark Zimmerman presented “The Battle of Bell’s Bend,” an engagement between Federal river gunboats and Confederate cavalry on the Cumberland River, at the 155th Anniversary Battle of Nashville Symposium on Sat., Dec.14, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Fort Negley Visitor’s Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The topic followed an interesting presentation by Dr. Jerry Wooten on his book on the Battle of Johnsonville.
Tues., Dec. 17, 2019
Iron Maidens and the Devil's Daughters
Author Mark Zimmerman presented his new book, “Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters,” the story of Federal river gunboats battling Confederate cavalry, at the Dec. 17, 2019 meeting of the Nashville Civil War Round Table at the Fort Negley Visitor’s Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Greg Biggs, NCWRT Program Chair, reported:
Local historian and author Mark Zimmerman (and Nashville CWRT member), regaled us with tales from his current book, Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters, which delves into the various times during the Civil War where Confederate cavalry and artillery clashed with U.S. Navy gunboats on the rivers of Kentucky and Tennessee starting in 1861 and running through the December 1864 Battle of Nashville where Confederate cavalry and artillery at Bell’s Bend in the Cumberland River west of the city blockaded Union gunboats.
On first look, one might think that field artillery going up against much larger gunboat cannons carried by vessels often clad in iron would be sheer madness, but Confederate commanders usually chose their ground well--high enough where the naval guns could not be elevated to reach but giving their guns plunging fire.
By the time of Nashville in December 1864, the Confederates had a lot of experience going up against gunboats particularly portions of commands under Nathan Bedford Forrest. His destruction of the large Union supply depot at Johnsonville in early November 1864 was the culmination of facing Union gunboats and shore defenses while destroying the base and causing several millions of dollars in damage. The book and program went deep into this history, offering up, for many, little-known aspects of the war especially those events like Canton, KY in November 1861.
Some of these were tied into campaigns while others, like Forrest in Kentucky on the Cumberland River in 1861, were isolated events. Guerrillas sometimes took to shooting at gunboats and transports as well as famous sharpshooter Jack Hinson. Col. Thomas Woodward attacked gunboats and transports at Palmyra, helping to cause major supply headaches for the Union Army in Middle Tennessee. Zimmerman tied these incidents together well, expanding our knowledge of them and proving that these events, while sometimes small, bore larger consequences for both sides. Thanks, Mark, for the fine program and expanding our knowledge of these engagements.