Learn more about Johnsonville State Historic Park.
This 1500-acre park on the eastern side of Kentucky Lake overlooks the site of the Civil War Battle of Johnsonville. The park is named for Military Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. The Battle of Johnsonville occurred on November 4, 1864, the culmination of Confederate Cavalry Commander Nathan Bedford Forrest’s wide-ranging 23-day raid to destroy the Union supply lines running to Nashville. In the attack on Johnsonville’s Union supply base, Forrest inflicted enormous damage with very little loss. He destroyed four gunboats, 14 transports, 20 barges, 26 artillery pieces and a total of $6.7 million in property. He also disturbed the operations of Union Major General George H. Thomas. Forrest repaired two captured boats to use in the raid on Johnsonville. Four of the original breastworks (rifle pits) are beautifully preserved.
Two large forts in the park are open to visitors. After the Civil War, the railroad bridge across the Tennessee River allowed people to travel by train from Nashville to Memphis for the first time, and Johnsonville flourished until 1944. That year, TVA flooded the area to form Kentucky Lake and electrify the region. Today, the park attracts not only history buffs, but also hikers and wildlife observers interested in the many rare plant species in the cool ravines of the park.
Recently, the park opened a new welcome center, museum and gift shop that offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the Civil War and the 1864 Battle of Johnsonville. There is also information about the 80-year history of Old Johnsonville, the town that grew up around the Union supply depot in 1864 and was flooded by Kentucky Lake in the spring of 1944.
90 Nell Beard Rd.
New Johnsonville, TN 37034