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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

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 Museum of Early Farm Life
"The museum is housed in two salvaged barns, one made of American chestnut. Many antiques on display including carriages, tractors and ...more

City:  Spring Hill, TN
Phone:  931-215-2359

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 River Museum
"Tribute to the Tennessee River and its influence on the land, people and the heritage of the Tennessee Valley. Five exhibits. From Muscle Shoals to Paducah, from dinosaurs to the T.V.A., history in the lower Tennessee River Valley is unique and fascinating. Exhibits chronicle prehistoric times, life of the Mississippian mound builders, the tragic story of the Trail of Tears, the ...more

City:  Savannah, TN
Phone:  800-552-3866

Green Travel Vendor

Tennessee River Trails
"The Tennessee River Trail is waiting for you: a winding trail through Tennessee’s diverse river country featuring some of Tennessee’s most unique activities. Stop in Waverly, a historic railroad town featuring a museum and Civil War Fort. For something truly unique, take a guided tour of a working pearl farm at the Tennessee Freshwater Pearl Farm in Camden. For even ...more

City:  Jackson, TN
Phone:  731-668-6424

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 State Museum
"One of the largest museums in the nation with more than 60,000 square feet of permanent exhibits and a 10,000 square-foot changing exhibition hall. Exhibits begin with prehistoric people and continue through the early 1900s. The Tennessee State Museum has one of the best Civil War Collections in the ...more

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

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

The Athenaeum Rectory
"Columbia's Athenaeum flourished from 1852 to 1904 as a school, educating girls in subjects like physics and calculus. The Moorish Gothic architecture sets it apart from all other buildings in the area. The interior of the home has been newly renovated with changing exhibits featured in the home throughout the ...more

City:  Columbia, TN
Phone:  931-381-4822

Green Travel Vendor

The Battle of Thompson's Station
"As you continue to drive into Thompson’'s Station, the Battle of Thompson’'s Station unfolds. During a quiet period following the Battle of Stones River, Union soldiers ventured to the area north of Spring Hill to collect food and hay. On March 5, 1863, General Nathan Bedford Forrest'’s cavalry awaited them, and launched the second largest Civil War battle in Williamson ...more

City:  Thompson's Station, TN

Tennessee Heritage Civil War Trails

Upcoming events

Date: Aug 27, 2014 - Sep 6, 2014
76th Annual TN Walking Horse Nat'l Celebration
Location: Shelbyville, TN

Date: Sep 6, 2014 - Sep 7, 2014
23rd Annual
Location: Vonore, TN

See more September events »

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