Tennessee Civil War Attractions
Use the tabs above to learn more about trails, markers and other interpretive sites; battlefields, and the many Civil War-related museums and other attractions designed to help travelers understand the legacy of the war in Tennessee.
Tennessee's Civil War history is a study in contrasts: a secessionist state with staunch Union loyalties, divided cities held by both Union and Confederate troops, constant danger and hardship, and nagging uncertainty about friends, neighbors and families, about who was friend or foe.
Tennessee's Civil War tale is one of divided loyalties, crucial battles, and the wide-reaching devastation of "total war." People throughout the state were completely immersed in the economic, social, and physical effects of the conflict, subject to violence and terror, disease and malnutrition, heartbreak and loss, and military rule by both sides. The stories of the Underground Railroad and Emancipation bring out the other side of war in the African American struggle for freedom and citizenship. Many grim reminders of the war—as well as hopeful symbols of heroism and kindness—stand today as testament to how the war transformed Tennessee.
Hickman County Courthouse: A Brick Fortress
In 1864, the Hickman County Courthouse and Centerville\'s business district around the public square became a burned-out war zone. Confederate Col. Jacob B. \"Jake\" Biffle pursued Col. John Murphy\'s 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry for two days from Buffalo, about forty miles west of here. The Federals reached Centerville and occupied the courthouse. Protected by the thick brick walls, they temporarily held off Biffle\'s men, who had no artillery. When the opportunity arose, the Federals retreated to the safety of fortified Nashville. Confederate Capt. Albert H. Cross ordered the courthouse burned to prevent its reuse as a fort. In retaliation, Capt.
Charleston on the Hiwassee
The East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad bridge here - connecting Knoxville and Chattanooga -- was an important supply line and tempting target during the war. Union loyalists burned it in Nov. 1861 and both sites damaged it during the war. Confederates raided a Union wagon train here Dec. 28,
At various times, this home was headquarters for Union Gens. William T. Sherman and Oliver O. Howard and Confederate Gens. Marcus Wright and Simon Bolivar Buckner. On Nov. 30, 1863, Sherman received orders here to take command of the column moving to relieve Knoxville. The household was divided in loyalties: Owner Henry, was a Union sympathizer; his wife, Margaret Lea, held secessionist
Sugar Creek Engagement
Following the battle of Nashville and the resulting retreat of the Army of Tennessee, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's troops, who were screening the march south, were camped near here. On Dec. 26, Union cavalry attacked, hoping to catch the Confederates before they crossed the Tennessee River. Forrest's men successfully repelled the attack and the Army of Tennessee crossed the river
City: Five Points
On November 29, 1864, just one day before the Battle of Franklin, an action occurred here at Thompson\'s Station that alarmed Union Gen. John M. Schofield\'s army as it marched north toward Nashville from Spring Hill. For a time, Lt. Col. Daniel W. McCoy and the 175th Ohio Infantry had occupied ground near the railroad depot. Soon, however, Confederate Gen. Lawrence S. Ross\'s cavalry brigade from Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest\'s command drove off the Ohio regiment, burned the bridge and depot, and attacked a train arriving from the
City: Thopmson's Station
Battle of Moscow
By late in 1863, the Union army occupying West Tennessee strongly defended the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which ran eastward from Memphis through Moscow. Federal infantry,including the U.S. Colored Troops of the 2nd West Tennessee Infantry, manned a nearby fort. It guarded a large wooden railroad bridge and a plank wagon bridge that both spanned the Wolf River one-half mile to your left. Union guards in rifle pits there protected State Line Road (today\'s Highway 57). At midday on December 4, Union Col. Edward Hatch\'s cavalry brigadepassed by here heading west from a week-long
By December 29, 1862, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest\'s West Tennessee railroad raid was ending after his cavalry disrupted Federal supply and communication lines there. The weary cavalrymen were riding toward the Tennessee River and safety behind Confederate lines in Middle Tennessee. By late that afternoon, Forrest\'s brigade was bivouacked near Flake’s Store four miles southwest of here.
On April 8, 1862, Union Gen. William T. Sherman led a reconnaissance force from the Shiloh battlefield to see if the Confederate army had actually withdrawn. Here, six miles southwest of Pittsburg Landing, he described the ground before you, from right to left, as \"a clear field, through which the road passed,\" then immediately beyond \"some 200 yards of fallen timber,\" followed by by \"an extensive camp\" occupied by Confederate Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest\'s cavalry. Sherman ordered two companies of skirmishers forward.
Randolph & Fort Wright
The village of Randolph played a significant early role in the Confederate defense of the Mississippi River. Here in April 1861, the state built training camps for the Provisional Army of Tennessee that Gov. Isham G. Harris had established. As part of Tennessee’s new military alliance with the Confederate States of America, officials also authorized the construction of two forts (Randolph and Wright) on either side of the Hatchie
Morgan in Alexandria
From late in 1862 to mid-1863, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg fortified his defenses in Middle Tennessee while Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans reinforced his army. To disrupt the extended Federal communication and supply lines, late in 1862 Bragg ordered Gen. John Hunt Morgan to attack the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. On this occasion, and again in 1863, Morgan initiated a cavalry raid into Kentucky from here in Alexandria. Alexandria offered well-watered areas near the fairgrounds sufficient to assemble thousands of mounted men, a road leading north to multiple Cumberland River crossings, and a supportive
In 1864, just to your left, the Federal army established Camp Gillem to protect the locomotive yard here at Gillem Station. Both were named for Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, commander of the troops guarding and constructing the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad. Gillem (1830-1875) was born in Gainesboro in Jackson County and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1851. He fought against the Seminole Indians and did garrison duty on the Texas frontier. After serving with distinction early in the war, he became colonel of the 10th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry (US) in May 1862. Promoted to brigadier general in
City: Tennessee City
On July 2, 1863, as Federal forces conducted a campaign to rid the Yellow Creek valley of Confederate guerrillas, a forward detachment of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry (US) rode up to a grocery store and tavern located about two miles to the west. The site, known as Irish Shanty, was rumored to be popular with guerrillas. Several cavalrymen later claimed that about twenty men in front of Irish Shanty fired on the troopers as they approached. The cavalry charged and captured suspected guerrillas Dr. Aaron James, Euphrates Shelton, James Shelton, William Few, Jonas Spicer, and Dr. Payton
City: Tennessee City
Doe Creek School
A classic example of the brother-against-brother feuds resulting from the Civil War began virtually in the shadows of the historic log Doe Creek Church and School. Hugh and Robert Kennedy established farms here early in the 1820s. When the war began, Hugh Kennedy’s son, John G. Kennedy, enlisted in the Confederate army, while his twin sons, David and Isaac Kennedy, joined the Union army. Five of Robert Kennedy’s sons—Robert, Samuel G., Shadrach Hugh, William G., and James D. Kennedy—as well as his sons-in-law, James M. Smith, Bill Nails, and Isham Gurley, served in the Confederate
Adamsville in the Civil War
By early in March 1862, after Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant moved his army to southern Tennessee, three units of Federal troops under Gen. Lewis \"Lew\" Wallace were stationed at Adamsville, Stoney Lonesome, and Crump\'s Landing. Wallace gained a reputation for fairness even among local Confederate supporters as he purchased fodder and supplies for his forces. On April 1, Lt. Charles H. Murray, 5th Ohio Cavalry, reported to Wallace that a skirmish near Adamsville went badly for the Federals when his small detachment suffered \"a rapid and severe fire from [Confederate] double-barreled
Region: West Tennessee
Fielding Hurst & Purdy
Fifty yards north is the home (ca. 1856) of Union Col. Fielding Hurst, a slave owner but devout Unionist who raised the 6th Tennessee Cavalry during the Civil War. Hurst\'s family controlled an area known during the war and long afterward as the Hurst Nation, a Unionist stronghold in Confederate West Tennessee. He was imprisoned in Nashville for his outspoken support of the Union after Tennessee seceded. Released, he returned to Union-controlled McNairy County, and Military Governor Andrew Johnson commissioned him as the colonel of his
Region: West Tennessee