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Civil War Trails

Tennessee’s Civil War Trails

© Becky Linhardt 2011

The Civil War Sesquicentennial will be in the news for the next few years and offers an opportunity for those interested in the history of the Civil War or their own families ties to that time to travel to special events or just travel the Civil War Trails developed by many states.  Special Civil War Trail markers and maps have been developed by the state of Tennessee to help you plan your travels through its big cities and small towns during these Civil War Sesquicentennial years. The sites listed here for East Tennessee  are only a few of more than 1,000 sites throughout the state.

Tennessee Civil War Trails information and maps: 800-462-8366  or www.tnvacation.com


 The Civil War rooms within The East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville form a major portion of the exhibitions on view for visitors.  But behind the scenes is where some of the most exciting moments occur. “I had always hoped to add something significant to the extensive genealogical research already completed by my cousin, Linda O’Quinn. During a recent visit to the East Tennessee History Center, I discovered a letter penned by our great-grandmother to a friend,” said Rebecca McCormick of Hot Springs, Arkansas, “actually holding her original handwritten letter increased my awareness that genealogy is more than faceless names and dates; it’s a treasure hunt into the history of real people whose lives helped to shape who we are.”  The library and archives may be able to add to your family history. You can also pick up brochures for various sites in the city including Civil War Knoxville: A Driving Tour that has a simple map to favorite sites such as Bleak House/Confederate Memorial Hall on Kingston Pike.

East Tennessee Historical Society, 600 Market Street, Knoxville, TN 37901

Information: 865-215-8826 or www.east-tennessee-history.org

Bleak House/Confederate Memorial Hall

Information: 865-522-2371 or www.knoxvillecmh.org


 Known for their fierce fighting skills, Cincinnati’s volunteer soldiers of the 9th were called the “Dutch Devils” by their Confederate foes – “Dutch” being a corrupted form of Deutsch, meaning German. (Do you want to refer to Steve Kemme’s article from 10/18/2010?) “The cap stone of the 17-foot tall monument to the Ohio 9th is topped by an acorn because the 9th Regiment was part of the 14th Army Corps and described by General Oliver Otis Howard as having stood strong like an oak at the Battle of Chickamauga,” said Ranger Anton Heinlein.  Few battlefields offer such an unchanged vista with the steep mountains and open fields viewable from strategic observations towers. Multiple monuments honor regiments from many areas. Families visiting multiple Civil War sites may want to challenge their children to earn a Junior Civil War Historian patch – Chickamauga is one of sites participating in the program.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Information: 706-866-9241 or www.nps.gov/chch

Chattanooga area information: 800-322-3344 or www.chattanoogafun.com


 “Greeneville changed hands probably 40 times during the Civil War, “said Jann Mirkov, Executive Director of Main Street Greeneville.  “Each time, the hilltop Dickson-Williams home was claimed as their headquarters, that’s probably why the house survived.  The family though was torn apart.  Mrs. Williams had sons serving on each side.”  The house also holds a mystery: which of the family members betrayed Confederate General John Hunt Morgan.  The General had arrived under cover of darkness and slept in an upstairs bedroom only to awake as Union soldiers arrived.  He tried to escape but was shot near what is now the site of the restored General Morgan Inn.  At the Inn you can join morning tours of the downtown area’s historic area to learn about the 3 parcels that are part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, hear courthouse stories, and enjoy the small town charms of this “Jewel of the Smokies.”  Guided tours of the Dickson-Williams Mansion are scheduled in the afternoon.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, 121 Monument Avenue, Greeneville, TN

Information: 423-638-3551 cq or www.nps.gov/anjo

The Dickson-Williams Mansion, 108 North Irish Street, Greeneville, TN

For tours contact Main Street Greeneville: 423-787-0500


 ”The things that really touch my heart are the cane that Lincoln carried to the theatre the night of his assassination and the tea set that the Lincoln family used in Springfield,” said Carol Campbell, Director of Programs at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.  With over 30,000 Lincoln related items and all know photographic images of Abraham Lincoln in their archives, the museum is a hidden gem long known to Civil War historians. Located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University near the Cumberland Gap it is filled with Lincoln memorabilia, dioramas, oil paintings, photographs and personal items. Now on the Civil War trails maps and with numerous Sesquicentennial events scheduled the museum will welcome more visitors over the next few years.

The Civil War Trails mapping project encouraged many towns to save and restore.  In nearby Morristown, the Headquarters of Union General Longstreet’s campaign in eastern Tennessee was saved from the wrecking ball, restored to its Civil War simplicity, and opened this July.  It is a simple house but it packs a lot of history and will be the focus for events during the years to come.

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Lincoln Memorial University, Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate, TN

Information: 423-869-6235 cq or www.lmunet.edu/musum

Morristown area information: 423-586-6382 or http://morristownchanber.com

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.


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