Travellers Rest


The plantation home of John Overton, Travelers Rest preserves 200 years of Nashville's historic past, from frontier to Civil War to today.

On December 2, 1864, two days after the bloody Battle of Franklin, Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood established his headquarters at Travellers Rest, the home of John and Harriet Overton, a prominent planter and businessman and his wife. Hood and his staff established themselves in the house and in tents on the grounds. During the two weeks before the Battle of Nashville, Hood’s subordinates met with him here, where the Overton family entertained Gens. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Stephen D. Lee, Benjamin F. Cheatham, Alexander P. Stewart and others.

Harriet Overton later recalled an occasion when seven Confederate generals were seated at her dining room table as “the proudest moment of my life.” Hood remained at the house until December 15, the first day of the Battle of Nashville. On December 16, heavy fighting raged at Peach Orchard Hill, then located on the farm about 600 yards to the northwest. A failed Union assault against heavy Confederate defenses resulted in about 1,000 U.S. casualties, a third of the Union losses in the entire battle. Some of the heaviest casualties occurred among regiments of U.S. Colored Troops, most of them former slaves, who performed with extreme bravery under fire. The 13th USCT lost 221 men out of 470.

Despite the Federal casualties, Hood was defeated later that day, ending the Battle of Nashville. In September 1864, after Union Gen. William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood at Atlanta, Hood led the Army of Tennessee northwest against Sherman’s supply lines. Rather than contest Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” Hood moved north into Tennessee. Gen. John M. Schofield, detached from Sherman’s army, delayed Hood at Columbia and Spring Hill before falling back to Franklin.

The bloodbath here on November 30 crippled the Confederates, but they followed Schofield to the outskirts of Nashville and Union Gen. George H. Thomas’s strong defenses. Hood’s campaign ended when Thomas crushed his army on December 15-16.

  • Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood used the home as headquarters before the Battle of Nashville.
  • The Overtons had entertained many famous figures from the war here.