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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

Occupied Chattanooga
"The Tennessee Riverfront here underwent significant change during the war. Confederates built forts near the river beginning in 1862. Union occupiers, arriving in September 1863 constructed saw mills and ship repair facilities on the river. Escaped slaves lived near the river in Camp Contraband and provided labor on Union construction projects. Many in the camp enlisted in the United States ...more

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

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Old Gray Cemetery

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  865-522-1424

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Old Wauhatchie Pike
"A Civil War era road around Lookout Mountain, used for military purposes by both sides, that has been converted into a hiking ...more

City:  Lookout Mountain, TN

Green Travel Vendor

Paris Historic Downtown
"Unique shops and cafes surround one of the oldest courthouses in Tennessee with antique stores and walking tours of the historic downtown ...more

City:  Paris, TN
Phone:  731-642-1030

Green Travel Vendor

Parker’s Chapel Community
"A highway historical marker directs visitors to the historic rural African American community known as Parker’s Crossroads, established by free blacks and recently emancipated slaves shortly after the war.  The first church, built about 1870, also served as the first community school.  The community name comes from Rev. James Parker, the first pastor.  The historic property contains the Parkers Chapel ...more

City:  Near Portland, TN
Phone:  615-325-9032

Green Travel Vendor

Parkers Crossroads Battlefield
"The battle was fought on Dec. 31, 1862. Union forces sought to capture Confederate troops on their return from their first West Tennessee raid. When Confederate General Forrest found himself caught between two Union forces, he ordered his troops to “charge both ways” and made a successful escape. Seven marked sites can be visited on a self-guided ...more

City:  Parkers Crossroads, TN
Phone:  (731) 968-1191

Green Travel Vendor

Peter Vertrees Marker
"This state highway marker notes the contributions that Rev. Peter Vertrees made to the post-emancipation history of Gallatin.  Vertrees played a crucial role in establishing African American churches and schools in Middle Tennessee from emancipation until death in 1926.  ...more

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

Green Travel Vendor

Pickett’s Chapel Methodist Chuch
"After the war, recently emancipated African Americans bought this former Methodist building where some had worshipped as slaves, and established their own church in 1866.  Rev. Calvin Pickett served as the first minister.  The National Register listed building is now undergoing restoration to become a black history museum for Wilson ...more

City:  Lebanon, TN
Phone:  800-789-1327

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Pilot Knob/Nathan Bedford Forest State Park
"Tennessee River Folklife Museum sits atop the highest point in West Tennessee. Displays, exhibits and programs offered. Wildlife ...more

City:  Eva, TN
Phone:  800-714-7305

Green Travel Vendor

Point Park
"Point Park commemorates the 1863 battles for Chattanooga. Point Park Visitor Center houses the James Walker Painting, "Battle of Lookout ...more

City:  Lookout Mountain, TN
Phone:  423-821-7786

Green Travel Vendor

Portland Historic Business District
"A small city park across from the Chamber of Commerce office contains two historical markers about early confederate invasions of Kentucky, which passed through Richland Station, now known as Portland. ...more

City:  Portland, TN
Phone:  615-325-9032

Green Travel Vendor

President Andrew Johnson Museum & Library
"First (1841) college building. Includes President's personal books and Tusculum College archives on display. Oldest college in Tennessee. 23rd oldest in ...more

City:  Greeneville, TN
Phone:  800-729-0256

Green Travel Vendor

Puryears Ferry
"Colonel John Hunt Morgan assembled troops here on the night of December 6, 1862.  the difficult task of moving soldiers and equipment across the swollen Cumberland River took seven hours. ...more

City:  Trousdale County, TN
Phone:  615-374-9243

Green Travel Vendor

Rest Hill Cemetery
"Cemeteries, churches and schools were among the first institutions created by freedmen upon emancipation; the cemetery was an important symbol of independence for the African American community as well as a source of ethnic pride and identity.  This National Register listed cemetery, established in 1868, is another key Reconstruction-era site. Military veterans from the Civil War to 20th century conflicts ...more

City:  Lebanon, TN
Phone:  800-789-1327

Green Travel Vendor

Rice 18th Century Gristmill
"The Rice Family operated the mill in Union County from 1798 - 1935 when TVA moved it to Norris Dam. During the summer the mill grinds ...more

City:  Lake City, TN
Phone:  865-494-0720

Green Travel Vendor

Farragut Folklife Museum
"The Farragut Folklife Museum--and the town of Farragut itself--is named in honor of David Farragut, the first admiral of the U.S. Navy, who was born in and grew up in the area. He was commissioned as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy when he was only nine years old. He served in the War of 1812 and had become a prize ...more

City:  Farragut, TN
Phone:  865-966-7057

Green Travel Vendor

Fayetteville Historic Downtown
"Visit Fayetteville's historic downtown for shopping, dining, art and beautiful architecture from the late 1800s to early 1900s. During the 2nd week of November the town comes alive with the spirit of a Dickens Christmas during Host of Christmas ...more

City:  Fayetteville, TN
Phone:  888-433-1238

Green Travel Vendor

Ferguson Hall
"Once a children's home, historic Ferguson Hall, with its beautiful grounds, is the site of a long history of drama and intrigue, including the murder of Civil War Gen. Earl Van Dorn, commander of Bragg's cavalry. Ferguson Hall is available for weddings, family reunions and special events. Tours are also available by ...more

City:  Spring Hill, TN
Phone:  931-486-2274

Green Travel Vendor

First Baptist Church
"While the town was founded in 1779, it would take 62 years before a Baptist movement would appear. After a 12-day revival in 1841, this church was formed and its building constructed in 1852. It also served as a school. The Civil War caused division among the congregation and the African-American members left First Baptist and formed their own church. ...more

City:  Jonesborough, TN

Green Travel Vendor

First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro
"This congregation dates back to 1843. Its first house of worship became a Union Army hospital following the Battle of Stones River, and was later donated to an African-American congregation. After the Civil War, the church erected its second building, on the site now occupied by St. Paul's Episcopal Church; the Tennessee Baptist Convention was organized there in 1874. The ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  (615) 893-2514

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First Presbyterian Church
"The church was used as a Union army hospital. ...more

City:  Nashville, TN

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First Presbyterian Church
"This National Register-listed Greek Revival-styled church building, constructed in 1837, was used as a federal hospital during the Civil War. ...more

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

Green Travel Vendor

First Presbyterian Church of Murfreesboro
"This church traces its roots back to 1812, established near Murfree Spring in what is now the Old City Cemetery on Vine Street. It was used during the Civil War as a hospital, first by Confederates and then by Union forces. The current structure was built in 1867, with major changes over the last 150 years as the church continued ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-893-3882

Green Travel Vendor

First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna
"This is the church that literally named the town. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s turned the small community into a town, and the new stationmaster took the town’s name from the church, which is named for a Bible passage in the Book of Revelation. The church has endured much, including Civil War Union troops dismantling the building ...more

City:  Smyrna, TN
Phone:  (615) 459-2744

Green Travel Vendor

First United Methodist Church of Manchester
"Methodist community in Manchester dates back to 1812, when traveling preacher Isaac Conger was appointed to the Elk River circuit. The original parts of this historic church are ca. 1883, when the Methodists began construction to replace the original frame building that was damaged during the Civil ...more

City:  Manchester, TN
Phone:  931-728-4624

Green Travel Vendor

Fisk University & Fisk Jubilee Singers (TM)
"Formed in 1871, the Fisk University(R) Jubilee Singers perform throughout the year in the USA and internationally. Call for performance dates. Begun in the months after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University played a leadership role in the intellectual, artistic and civic education of African Americans and became known for its world-famous Jubilee Singers. In addition to its historic ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  (615) 329-8744

Green Travel Vendor

Fite-Ligon House
"This National Register-listed Victorian dwelling was home to Col. John A. Fite, who raised a company for the Confederate army and served in various Virginia battles.  In 1863, he was wounded and captured at Gettysburg.  His Civil War memoir detailing his early life, war service, and prison experience is well known.  After the war, he returned to his law practice ...more

City:  Carthage, TN
Phone:  615-735-2093

Green Travel Vendor

Fivepoints
"Historic Civil War Battlefield. Located on private property. One of the last Civil War Battlefields in Tennessee.-SEE The Big Red Store Museum ...more

City:  Five Points, TN
Phone:  931-762-6282

Green Travel Vendor

Forrest Park
"This park in downtown Memphis is the site where General Nathan Bedford Forrest is buried.  The park features a large, bronze equestrian statue of the general that was erected in 1905, as well as the granite monument that serves as the grave marker for the general and his wife, Mary Montgomery Forrest.  The monument is located 2 blocks from the ...more

City:  Memphis, TN

Green Travel Vendor

Fort Defiance Interpretive Center
"Civil War fort. During the capture of Clarksville, the fort was burned and abandoned by Confederate forces. Earthenworks are all that ...more

City:  Clarksville, TN
Phone:  931-472-3351

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

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

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 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 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 Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map
"Spectacular, three-dimensional electronic battle map presentation of Chattanooga's Civil War history, featuring 5,000 miniature soldiers, 650 lights, sound effects and exceptional detail of the major battle of November 1863. Gift shop. Group rates ...more

City:  Lookout Mountain, TN
Phone:  423-821-2812

Green Travel Vendor

The Borderlands Exhibit & Driving Tour
"This exhibit strives to compile and preserve the area's Civil War Era heritage and artifacts. Contact by phone or e-mail for more ...more

City:  Byrdstown, TN
Phone:  888-406-4704

Green Travel Vendor

The Carter House
"This Registered Historic Landmark is now open to the public and serves as a memorial to the Carter family as well as the countless heroes in the Battle of Franklin. The modest brick home was the Federal Command Post while the family took refuge in the ...more

City:  Franklin, TN
Phone:  615-791-1861

Green Travel Vendor

The Center for Historic Preservation
"The Center for Historic Preservation houses a significant collection of preservation publications, maps, research and reference ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-898-2947

Green Travel Vendor

The Dixon Gallery & Gardens
"Founded in 1976 by Hugo and Margaret Dixon, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a fine art museum and public garden distinguished by its diverse and innovative programs in the arts and horticulture. The Dixon features a permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, including French and American Impressionist paintings and significant holdings of German and English porcelain. The museum organizes ...more

City:  Memphis, TN
Phone:  901-761-5250

Green Travel Vendor

The Felsenthal Lincoln Collection
"Collection left by the late Morton Felsenthal. Displayed are pictures, documents and rare artifacts of Abe Lincoln's life and the Civil ...more

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

Tennessee Heritage Civil War Trails

Upcoming events

Date: Jul 21, 2014 - Jul 26, 2014
DeKalb County Fair
Location: Alexandria, TN

Date: Jul 26, 2014 - Jul 27, 2014
55th Annual Mountain Market for Arts & Crafts
Location: Monteagle, TN

Date: Aug 2, 2014
Classics in the Park
Location: Mount Pleasant, TN

See more July events »

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