Nashville Civil War Tour

Tennessee was divided during the Civil War: 167,000 men served in Confederate Gray while 31,000 in Union Blue. Nashville felt the effects of the war but fortunately was spared the devastation other southern cities faced. Trees were gone, and the land scarred by Union occupation. As with the case of church or privately held burial grounds, Spring Hill Cemetery had fallen into decay. 

Recovery from the war took many years. New people arrived, transportation and trade revived, especially with the westward expansion of the railroads. The population increased three times from the pre-war era. Life was full of optimism and Nashville became the 4th largest city in the South. 

Nashville Civil War Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River are around the Nashville area.

  1. Stones River National Battlefield: The Battle of Stones River in Mufreesboro, TN began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here.
  2. Lotz House Civil War Museum: The house, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976 is located in the heart of downtown historic Franklin, Tennessee at “ground zero” of the Battle of Franklin which was a pivotal battle in the American Civil War.
  3. The Carter House & Carnton Plantation: Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War.The resulting battle, believed to be the bloodiest hours of the Civil War, involved a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and at close quarters. The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. McGavock Confederate Cemetery, not far from the house, contains the bodies of 1,481 Confederate soldiers and is the largest private Confederate Cemetery.
  4. Fort Negley was a fortification built for the American Civil War, located approximately 2 miles south of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It was the largest inland fort built in the United States during the war.
  5. Mount Olivet Cemetery (1101 Lebanon Pike, Nashville, TN 37210) serves as the final resting place for many of Middle Tennessee’s political and business leaders, as well as a Confederate Circle that has about 1,500 soldiers buried there.
  6. Belmont Mansion at nearly 20,000 square feet, Belmont Mansion today it is the largest house museum in the state. Sixteen of the rooms are restored and on display during the tour. Mansion tours, conducted during opening hours seven days a week, take visitors on a guided tour of the home and gardens, where the largest U.S. collection of cast iron period statuary and gazebos are on display.  Adelicia, a widow during the Civil War, met with military commanders from both sides to save the house and cotton crops from destruction, although the home and grounds were occupied by Union General Thomas J. Wood before the Battle of Nashville.
  7. Sam Davis Home and Plantation (1399 Sam Davis Road Smyrna, TN 37167) now a house museum, was built around 1810 but was restored completely in 1850. Sam Davis himself lived here until 1860 and in 1863 he was hanged by the Union Army as a spy. The court charged Sam with being a courier of mails and of being a spy. Sam admitted to being a courier, but pled not guilty to the charge of spying. The military court convicted Samuel Davis on both charges, and sentenced him to hang. On the gallows, General Dodge offered Sam one last chance to save his life by revealing the source of the papers he carried. Sam stated with his last words that “I would die a thousand deaths before I would betray a friend or my country” and was hanged on November 27, 1863.
  8. Battle of Nashville Monument Park ( approx 3381 Granny White Pike Nashville, TN between Battlefield Dr and Clifton Lane on Granny White) The Battle of Nashville pitted troops under Union Army Major General George H. Thomas and the soldiers supporting the Confederate side directed by General John Bell Hood. The fighting took place in 1864 on Dec. 15 and 16 on Montgomery and Overton’s Hills, but the battle was won by the Union troops on Shy’s Hill when Confederate troops fled the battlefield.
  9. Battle of Hartsville (240 Broadway Hartsville, TN 37074)  This was considered one of the most successful cavalry raids of the entire war. A driving tour is available.