Tennessee the heart and soul of the Civil War era

Southeast Tennessee’s Civil War stories are closely tied to the places where heroism, violence, sacrifice, and commitment from both soldiers and civilians have forever left their mark. 

Follow this trail to some of the most compelling places in Tennessee’s history, including the South’s first major battlefield park at Chickamauga-Chattanooga; monuments to both the North and South; historic homes; and modern museums. 

Discover a one-room school in Pikeville where newly emancipated African Americans began to create their own community after the war.  Embrace lost landscapes that tell stories of a time when ferry boats crossed the Tennessee River and railroads were the mainstay of transportation.


Railroad Ties

During the Civil War, control of the railroads was a central strategic objective for both North and South, and their armies fought for control of the regionís railways in order to move troops and provisions. Chattanoogaís railroad junction made the city a major Federal occupation post and key strategic site.  Without the influence of the rails, far fewer residents would have felt the harsh hand of war and occupation. 

Before the coming of the railroad, Chattanooga, which lies on a bend of the Tennessee River near a natural opening in the southern Appalachians, thrived as a river transport center. The coming of the railroad enhanced the cityís mercantile importance.  Whether by water or rail, much of the regionís trade goods passed through the cityís warehouses. During the war, the city became a major southern supply depot and target for Federal conquest and occupation.

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Map your route
Experience Southeast Tennessee's outstanding Civil War resources by following local streets, state roads, and federal highways that still parallel the old railroad tracks. Other routes take you along the regionís river system; the same rivers that soldiers used to invade this countryside and change its history forever. Whether you travel through the Great Valley of Southeast Tennessee, across the Cumberland Plateau, into the Overhill Country, or around Chattanooga, use this trail to discover the rich history that binds these areas of Southeast Tennessee into the distinctive and magnificent area found today. 

As you tour the region, you will find many buildings, parks, and sites open to the public.
Please note that private homes and buildings are not open to the public and should be viewed from the sidewalks or roadside.


Civil War 150th Anniversary Events

For more information about events commemorating the Civil War Sesquicentennial, please click on the Tri-State Civil War Association logo below.

Tri-State Civil War Association Logo


Follow this trail to some of the most compelling places in Tennessee's history.
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