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Civil War

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. Many grim reminders of the war—as well as hopeful symbols of heroism and kindness—stand today as testament to the war's far-reaching toll.

Use these links 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.

Green Travel Vendor

Spring Hill Battlefield
"Interpretative walking trail at site of one of the most controversial events of the Civil ...more

City:  Spring Hill, TN
Phone:  888-852-1860

Green Travel Vendor

St. Michael’s Catholic Church
"St. Michael’s began as a mission church in 1842.  Father Abram Ryan, now known as the poet-priest of the Confederacy, served here in 1864-1865.  In his poem, “The Conquered Banner” (1865), Ryan wrote of the Confederate surrender:  “Furl that Banner, softly, softly!/Treat it gently – it is holy-/For it droops above the dead/Touch it non-unfold it never/Let it droop there, ...more

Phone:  615-384-3800

Green Travel Vendor

State Capitol
"Finished in 1859, the historic Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest working capitols in the country. The distinctive tower is designed after the monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece. The architect, William Strickland, died in 1854 and is entombed above the cornerstone. The exterior and interior walls are massive blocks of limestone. During the Union occupation of Nashville (1862-65), ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  (800) 407-4324

Green Travel Vendor

Stones River National Battlefield
"The Battle of Stones River was one of the bloodiest and most significant battles of the Civil ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-893-9501

Green Travel Vendor

Strawberry Plains
"The site of a 1,600 foot long railroad bridge that crossed the Holston River on eleven stone piers, and an additional 500 feet of trestlework.  This bridge was first burned by Colonel William P. Sanders of the 5th Kentucky Cavalry on June 20, 1863, and would be destroyed no less than four times during the ...more

City:  Strawberry Plains, TN
Phone:  615-532-1550

Green Travel Vendor

Sumner County Courthouse Square
"This National Register-listed square provided the location for a powerful event.  In July 1863, 200 local African American volunteers gathered on the square and formed the 13th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops, which fought with distinction for the remainder of the war.  Also, occupying federal troops built Fort Thomas on a hill south of the railroad depot to protect ...more

Phone:  888-301-7866

Green Travel Vendor

Surrender House/Dover Hotel
"Site of the surrender of Fort Donelson. Original structure built in 1851 was formerly the Dover ...more

City:  Dover, TN
Phone:  931-232-5706

Green Travel Vendor

Swaim's Jail
"The small two-story building stood across the street from this site and was home to the (James) Andrew’s Raiders following their capture following “The Great Railroad Chase” in April 1862, when they made off with the locomotive “The General.” Confederate authorities held the raiders in the basement here. Andrews later was hanged in Atlanta followed by seven other ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee Civil War Railroad Driving Tour
"A brochure is available that features the history of three counties along the 78 miles of Civil War rail line.  Former slaves were impressed by Federals to complete construction of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad from the capital city to Johnsonville on the Tennessee River.  This railway provided a valuable supply line for Union armies in the western theater of ...more

City:  Waverly, TN
Phone:  931-296-4865

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee River Gorge
"The only large river canyon bordering a mid-sized city, the Tennessee River Gorge is a unique carving of the river through the Cumberland Plateau, encompassing 27,000 acres. Habitats for more than a thousand varieties of plants, trees, grasses and flowers as well as a diversified wildlife population exist in this scenic terrain. The Gorge is referred to as "Tennessee's Grand Canyon," ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN
Phone:  423-266-0314

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee State Capitol
"Finished in 1859, the historic Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest working capitols in the country and designated as a civil engineering landmark for its innovative construction. The distinctive tower is designed after the monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece. The architect, William Strickland, died in 1854 and is entombed above the cornerstone. The exterior and interior walls ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  800-407-4324

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee State Library & Archives
"A multi-purpose institution that offers historical information on Tennessee, special services to local libraries, archives, and the blind and physically ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  615-741-2764

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee Technological University
"TTU offers academic excellence at an exceptional value. Tour our picturesque, historic campus or shop for unique items in our craft ...more

City:  Cookeville, TN
Phone:  800-255-8881

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee Valley Railroad
"The largest historic railroad in the South offers daily one-hour rides on restored vintage trains pulling over antebellum rail lines. Travel through the Missionary Ridge Tunnel and over multiple bridges. Special events and all-day excursions offered throughout the year. See web site for more ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN
Phone:  800-397-5544

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee's Backroads Heritage, Inc.
"Regional information including the Tullahoma Campaign, Civil War Trail, Tennessee Walking Horse Trail and agri-tourism ...more

City:  Tullahoma, TN
Phone:  800-799-6131

Green Travel Vendor

Gravel Hill Community
"Gravel Hill is one of the Cumberland Valley’s oldest rural African American communities, established around the Gravel hill Baptist Church on the border between Wilson and Trousdale counties in 1869.  The church cemetery contains the burials of several federal military veterans, from the Civil War to World War ...more

Green Travel Vendor

Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
"Visit Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and celebrate the cultural heritage of East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains region. Two galleries, movie, 12 historic outbuildings, concerts and other special events throughout the year. Check Events calendar for details. And don't forget Cades Cove Heritage Tours -- leave the driving to us and enjoy all the sights and sounds of ...more

City:  Townsend, TN
Phone:  865-448-0044

Green Travel Vendor

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
"Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and auto touring are popular activities. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, ...more

City:  Gatlinburg, TN
Phone:  865-436-1200

Green Travel Vendor

Greenwood Cemetery
"Greenwood’s location on a bluff above the Duck River made it a prime spot for sharpshooters from both sides. Headstones show damage from skirmishing that took place during General Hood’s advance on Nashville in November 1864. After the war, African Americans established one of their first reconstruction churches at the northwest ...more

City:  Columbia, TN
Phone:  931-375-1501

Green Travel Vendor

Hale House/Patterson Hotel
"Built in 1898 as a private residence and has served as a railroad hotel and later as a boarding house. Today it is a bed and breakfast. Tours by ...more

City:  Watertown, TN
Phone:  615-237-9999

Green Travel Vendor

Hannum-Wirt-Rhea House
"Circa 1830 house of the Hannum-Wirt and Rhea families, being restored as the Fayette County Museum & Cultural Center. Open by ...more

City:  Somerville, TN
Phone:  901-465-4476

Green Travel Vendor

Harmon Family Cemetery
"Step back in time. Southern hospitality abounds at this historic home of a Civil War ...more

Phone:  615-532-1550

Green Travel Vendor

Harmony House
"Built in 1851 by Dr. and Mrs. William Andrew Harmon, this house was used as a place of refuge during the Civil War. Soldiers from both Confederate and Union armies camped in the back yard. Of Federal architecture, the interior contains prime examples of Tennessee craftsmanship. Restoration was completed in 1980. Marker is on North Main Street (U.S. 11/321), on the ...more

City:  Greeneville, TN

Green Travel Vendor

Harriman Heritage Museum
"They have many artifacts and pictures of the founding and history of Harriman. They also have a book for sale covering Harriman from 1890 - ...more

City:  Harriman, TN
Phone:  865-882-9230

Green Travel Vendor

Harrison Barracks
"This National Register-listed antebellum carriage factory, now being used for apartments, served as barracks for occupying Federal forces during the Reconstruction era.  The army leased the building in 1867 and turned it into apartments, a commissary, a store house, and an ordinance department.  Parts of the 5th U.S. Cavalry and the 45th U.S. Infantry were stationed at the barracks.  Not ...more

City:  Gallatin, TN
Phone:  888-425-5286

Green Travel Vendor

Hartsville Battlefield Park
"This locally established park preserves a battlefield where confederate cavalry leader col. John Hunt Morgan had one of his greatest successes.  On December 7, 1862, with a force of about 1,300 men.  Morgan surprised a federal garrison commanded by Col. Absalom B. Moore.  Morgan’s casualties – 139 killed, wounded, and missing – were light compared to the damage he caused: ...more

City:  Hartsville, TN
Phone:  615-374-9243

Green Travel Vendor

Hawkins County Courthouse
"Oldest original courthouse in TN, built in 1836, and the second oldest in continued use. One of the most photographed buildings in the South, it was occupied by both Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War. ...more

City:  Rogersville, TN
Phone:  423-272-2186

Green Travel Vendor

Haywood County Museum
"The history of Haywood County from Native Americans to the present is displayed using photographs, memorabilia and documents, including special sports room. Among the community treasures is a rare collection on Abraham Lincoln's life, including many documents, books, artifacts, and pictures. Located in the city's historic ...more

City:  Brownsville, TN
Phone:  731-772-4883

Green Travel Vendor

Hazen's Raid at Browns Ferry
"By October 1863 the Union army suffered greatly from food shortages, and the supply route was tenuous at best. This raid, begun by Gen. William Hazen near here, floated down the river and established a beachhead on the south bank at Brown’s Ferry. The raid began an offensive that eventually established a more secure Union supply ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN
Phone:  423-643-6081

Green Travel Vendor

Headquarters Row
"Commanders from both sides used the Richardson House, located nearby at 320 Walnut St, as headquarters. When U.S. Grant arrived he first used the house but moved to the Lattner house at the corner of First and Walnut streets. Grant prepared his campaign to relieve the city from there. William T. Sherman used the house after Grant ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN

Tennessee Heritage Civil War Trails

Upcoming events

Date: Jul 12, 2014
5th Annual Tojo Creek Gourd Gala
Location: Lebanon, TN

Date: Jul 11, 2014 - Jul 13, 2014
Thomas House Overnight Ghost Hunt
Location: Red Boiling Springs, TN

Date: Jul 11, 2014 - Jul 13, 2014
Uncle Dave Macon Days
Location: Murfreesboro, TN

See more July events »

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