Civil War in Tennessee: Partisan Warfare
The rugged landscape of the Upper Cumberland experienced some of the most vicious guerrilla fighting of the war, as residents were about evenly divided between the Union and the Confederacy. North of Exit 258 is Carthage, where part of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's army passed during its 1862 Kentucky invasion. A large Union garrison there occupied the Battery Hill fort overlooking the town, the Cumberland River, and the roads. Federal troops burned the county courthouse in Cookeville (Exit 287), a major crossroads for both armies, in 1865 just before the war ended. South of Exit 288 is Sparta, where in 1864 a Federal commander, frustrated by guerrilla Champ Ferguson and other partisans, ordered his troops to plunder local homes. Sparta native Confederate Gen. George Dibrell served with Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry.