Civil War in Tennessee: Taking the Great Valley
The Great Valley of Tennessee, the Southern Appalachian breadbasket, stretches from Bristol to Chattanooga and with its major turnpikes and railroads was strategically vital to both North and South during the war. The “better half of the little town” of Blountville (Exit 69) was destroyed in a bloody battle on September 22, 1863. Confederate Gen. Alfred E. Jackson, a native of Jonesborough (Exit 50), controlled the town until late in September 1864. Limestone, where in September 1863 Jackson defeated the 100th Ohio Infantry for control of the railroad, is to the south. Greeneville (Exit 36) was the center of Tennessee Unionism and home to President Andrew Johnson; the Andrew Johnson National Monument is located there. The Battle of Blue Springs happened nearby in 1863. A year later, a downtown firefight killed Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan.