1864 would prove to be the decisive year of the Civil War. Despite Union victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga the previous year, northern citizens were growing war-weary. The mounting lists of dead and wounded made many wonder if the South should finally be allowed its independence.
Geographically situated between the midwestern states and the deep South, Tennessee was to be the major battleground in the western theater. The Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers, combined with numerous rail lines which crossed the state, made Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville of strategic importance to both Union and Confederate forces.
A new exhibit, with 16 panels full of images and information on this fascinating period in our history, recently opened at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. It explores the role Tennessee played as a transportation and supply hub, the experiences and contributions of African-Americans, and key battles at Johnsonville, Memphis, Fort Pillow, Spring Hill, Columbia, Franklin and Nashville.
The exhibit also highlights historical records that are valuable genealogy resources such as army muster rolls, Civil War service records, the Southern Claims Commission records, colored pension applications, the Union provost marshal records, cemetery records and TSLA’s manuscript collections.
Visitors to the Tennessee State Library and Archives are invited to come explore the role Tennessee played in the Civil War in 1864. The exhibit will remain open until mid-December.
The State Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, just west of the State Capitol building in downtown Nashville. The exhibit, free and open to all visitors, is located in the building’s lobby directly behind the main entrance.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with the exception of state holidays. Parking is available in front, behind and beside the building.