After suffering over 7,000 casualties at the Battle of Frankln, on November 30th, Hood's exhausted and dispirited troops pursued General Schofield's retreating army towards Nashville on December 1, 1864. The Army of Tennessee arrived at the outskirts of Nashville on the 2nd, but Schofield's army was now safely entrenched within the fortified city. Schofield's arrival, in addition to the 13,000 Union soldiers General A. J. Smith arrived with on November 30th, brought the Federal troops under Maj. General George H. Thomas, in Nashville to 50,000, while Hood could barely muster 24,000.
General Hood placed his men on the heights along the southern edge of Nashville, his battle line following the current day "Battery Lane," and stretching four miles. His left flank, anchored by A.P. Stewart's Corps, extended toward the Cumberland River below Nashville, his right flank, anchored by Cheatham's Corps, extended to the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. S.D. Lee's Corps held the center of the line. Hood then detached Maj. General William Bate's Division to Murfreesboro to destroy railroad tracks. On December 4th, General Forrest and two cavalry divisions (Jackson's and Buford's) were detached to augment Bate's Division in Murfreesboro in an attempt to coop up the 8,000 Federals in Fortress Rosecrans and draw Thomas out of Nashville.
Despite a direct order issued by General Grant to Thomas on the 7th to "attack the enemy at once," Thomas delayed to reorganize his cavalry force. On December 9th, a fierce winter storm blew in, covering the ground with a solid sheet of ice and snow. The Confederate Army, many without blankets and adequate shoes or clothing, suffered terribly on the heights overlooking Nashville. The intense cold continued on through the 12th, making it impossible for Thomas's cavalry force, commanded by Maj. General James H. Wilson, to cross the icy bridges over the Cumberland. On this same day, Bate's Division returned from the debacle at Murfreesboro to shore up Hood's right flank.
On the morning of the 15th, Thomas planned to attack both of Hood's flanks simultaneously. Union troops, led by Maj. Gen. James Steedman, hit the Confederate right flank keeping Cheatham's Corps held down all day. The attack on the left flank was late getting started but the successive attacks went on until nightfall.
On the 16th, the confident Hood shortened his battle line, locating it two miles south of its former position. The Union attack began against Hood's strong right flank on Overton's Hill (also known as Peach Orchard Hill). When Shy's Hill, anchoring Hood's left, was successfully assaulted, the Confederate Army fled in disorder. Thomas had left one escape route open, the Franklin Pike, which the routed Confederates streamed through. For ten days, Forrest covered the retreat of the beaten Army of Tennessee until it successfully recrossed the Tennessee River on Christmas Day, 1864. Hood retreated to Tupelo where he resigned.
The Union lost 387 killed, 2562 wounded, and 112 missing. The CSA lost 1500 killed or wounded, and 4462 captured, including Gens. Edward Johnson, H.R. Jackson, and Thomas Benton Smith.
The Decisive Battle of Nashville:
Unfortunately, there is no National Battlefield or "battlefield park" for the 1864 Battle of Nashville. What was once the battlefield is now residential and commercial development south and west of the downtown area. There are, however, several historic sites relating directly or indirectly to the battle and the period of Union occupation of the city during the war. We encourage you to visit these sites, most of which are free or open to the public for a nominal fee.
Antebellum Mansions Used As Headquarters:
A 1799 Historic House Museum:
Built in 1799, Travellers Rest was the home of John Overton, a member of the state Supreme Court and close personal friend of President Andrew Jackson.
The house began as a two-story, four-room Federal-style clapboard structure with additions built in 1812, 1828, and 1887. The site was first called Golgotha, "Place of the Skulls," due to Indian graves there. Today, the home is furnished in the period of the lifetime of Judge John Overton, who died in 1833.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the home was occupied by Overton's widow (she died in 1862), her son John and his wife Harriet and their children. The farm, worked by 80 slaves, covered 1,050 acres and was valued at \\$68 million.
When the Union occupied Nashville in February 1862, John Overton fled his home to avoid arrest and imprisonment. Col. Overton went south and financed a Confederate regiment and became a militia officer.
During the war, Judge Overton's former law office served as a schoolhouse for local children, with Mrs. A.M. Claiborne, Mrs. Overton's sister, as the teacher. The law office was reconstructed in 1960.
Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood arrived from Franklin on Dec. 2, 1864 and made Travellers Rest his headquarters. From here, he directed the building of a five-mile defensive line south of the Union-occupied city. Also here, he met on Dec. 8 with Gen. Benjamin Franklin Cheatham, who offered his apologies for miscommunications which allowed the Federal army to escape at Spring Hill on Nov. 29.
On Dec. 11, Hood met with Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and ordered him and his troops to remain in the Murfreesboro area, thus denying him a role in the upcoming Battle of Nashville.
On Dec. 12, 1864, following the marriage of a staff officer at a nearby meeting house, Travellers Rest was the site of a grand dinner. Mrs. Harriet Overton stated, "The proudest day in my life was when seven Confederate generals sat at my dining table."
During the Battle of Nashville, the women and children huddled nervously in the cellar awaiting the outcome, Gen. Hood having relocated his headquarters to the west. The Confederate lines collapsed and the retreating army moved past the house, followed by Union soldiers. On the night of Dec. 16, Union Gen. W.L. Elliott slept in the same bedroom occupied earlier by Hood.
After the war, Col. Overton took the Oath of Allegiance and committed himself to the service of disabled Confederate veterans.
Travellers Rest is owned by the Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
636 Farrell Parkway, Nashville, TN 37220
Call (615) 832-8197
Admission is charged. Group rates available.
Open Tues.-Sat., 10-5; Sun., 1-5. Last tour at 4 p.m.
Closed Mondays and most major holidays.
A brochure, "Civil War Walking Tour on the Grounds of Travellers Rest," is available at the gift shop.
From I-65 south, exit at Harding Place (Exit 78) and travel west to Franklin Road and turn left. Proceed 1 mile south and turn left onto Farrell Rd. and turn right onto Farrell Parkway. Follow signs to entrance on the left.
Palatial home of Adelicia Acklen:
Belmont Mansion, an ornate Italianate villa built in 1850 outside the city limits of Nashville, was the home of Joseph and Adelicia Acklen.
The mansion today is furnished in Victorian opulence with original and period pieces, gilded mirrors, marble statues from Europe, and oil paintings. During your guided tour you will learn about Belmont's mistress, Adelicia Acklen, who prevailed throughout the Civil War, three marriages, ten children, and the management of one of the largest fortunes in America.
History of Belmont:
An extraordinary character, Adelicia Acklen was one of the wealthiest women in the United States, with land holdings in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas.
At the time of the Civil War, the 180-acre estate included formal gardens with statuary and gazebos, a bear house, zoo, deer park, bowling alley, and art gallery. Many lavish formal balls were held in the mansion, usually on moonlit nights.
Joseph Acklen was forced to flee to Louisiana when Union troops occupied Nashville in February 1862 and never returned to Belmont.
Although the mansion was located at the Union fortification line, it was not damaged during the Battle of Nashville in 1864. Union scouts used the 105-foot-tall brick water tower, which still exists, as a lookout point and to relay signals. The mansion served as the headquarters for Union Gen. T.J. Wood during the battle.
During the war, Adelicia's husband died at their Louisiana plantation, and she was forced to travel there to preserve her property holdings. By plying the Union and Confederate authorities against each other, she was able to sell 2,000 bales of cotton to buyers in London. She traveled abroad after the war to collect her money and spent it on a shopping spree across Europe.
Belmont was built on one of the highest hills in Nashville. Originally, the estate was known as Bellemonte, Italian for "beautiful mountain."
The exterior and interior walls are solid brick, from foundation to rafters. In 1859, Belmont was remodeled and enlarged to include 36 rooms.
The mansion, the second largest antebellum house still standing, features the Grand Salon, the most elaborate domestic room in antebellum Tennessee. It features Corinthian columns, chandeliers, and fine paintings and statuary. A lavish reception for 2,000 guests was conducted there following her marriage to her third husband in 1867.
Also in the mansion is the grand staircase, the lavishly furnished tete-a-tete room, upstairs bedrooms, parlors, pantries with original china, the library, and the front hall with the marble statues of "Ruth Gleaning" and "Sleeping Children."
In her later years, Adelicia planned to move to Washington, D.C. and began to sell her holdings. In 1887, at 70, she fell ill during a visit to New York City and died at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.
She is interred at the Acklen Family Masoleum, a Gothic structure also containing the remains of her first two husbands, five of her six children, and one grandchild. The masoleum is located at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville and contains a marble statue from the Grand Salon.
Sold in 1887, Belmont became the main building for the Belmont Junior College for Girls, which eventually evolved into Belmont University, a coed institution. Special college and community events are held there, as well as private weddings and special occasions.
Belmont Mansion was named a National Historic Place in 1971 and opened to the public in 1976.
Source: "Belmont Mansion," Belmont Mansion Association
Belmont Mansion Association
1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212
Call (615) 460-5459
Admission is charged. Group rates available.
Open June thru Aug.: Mon.-Sat., 10-4; Sun., 1-4.
Sept. thru May: Tues.-Sat., 10-4
Closed major holidays.
Allow one hour for your guided tour. Last tour begins 45 minutes before closing.
From I-65 South, exit onto Wedgewood Ave. (Exit 81) and travel west. Turn left on Magnolia, turn left onto 18th Ave., and turn left onto Acklen. Mansion is located on campus of Belmont University.
Belle Meade Mansion:
The Queen of Tennessee Plantations:
Belle Meade in southwest Davidson County is known as the "Queen of Tennessee Plantations." In the 1800s the 5,400-acre estate was a world-renown thoroughbred horse nursery and stud farm. It was the home to Iroquois, the first American-bred horse to win the English Derby.
Today, the National Historic Place covers 30 acres and includes the Greek Revival mansion, the huge carriage house and stables, the smokehouse, garden house, creamery, and the original 1790 log cabin.
Tours are conducted by docents in period costume following an informative video. The Wills Reception Center also features a large gift shop.
In 1807, Virginian John Harding bought 250 acres and a log cabin known as Dunham Station, a trading post on the Natchez Trace. Several years later the farm gained reputation as a stud farm when the famed horse Imp. Boaster stood as stud there. The original house was probably begun in the 1820s. In 1853 John Harding's son, William Giles Harding, completed the Greek Revival mansion, doubling its size and adding the front porch and columns, which are solid limestone.
Harding was very wealthy and very pro-secession and donated \\$500,000 to the Southern cause. When the Federals occupied Nashville in February 1862, Harding was arrested and sent north to Fort Mackinac in Michigan to be imprisoned. His wife, Elizabeth I. McGavock, was left to tend their farm in his absence. In September, Harding was released on parole and returned to Belle Meade.
Belle Meade was headquarters to Confederate Gen. James R. Chalmers of Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry command prior to the Battle of Nashville in December 1864.
On the first day of the battle, Union soldiers burned the Rebel wagons parked at the racetrack while Chalmers was elsewhere. Returning to Belle Meade, Chalmers' men charged the Yankees and drove them back before running into an enemy infantry camp. The Yankees fired as the cavalry galloped back past the mansion, where Selene Harding, 19, waved a handerchief despite the bullets flying around her. Bullet holes can still be seen in the porch columns.
After the war, William Harding turned over control of the farm to his son-in-law, William Jackson, a West Point graduate who had commanded a cavalry division under Gen. S.D. Lee in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Under Jackson's tutelage, Belle Meade (French for "beautiful meadow") became an internationally renown thoroughbred farm and showplace. The farm sold breeding stock of ponies, Alderney cattle, Cotswold sheep, and Cashmere goats. The vast estate also featured a 600-acre deer park.
At its sale in 1904, Belle Meade was the oldest and largest thoroughbred farm in the nation.
Belle Meade Plantation remained a private residence until 1953, when it was sold to the state. The historical site is now maintained by the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities
Belle Meade Plantation
5025 Harding Rd., Nashville, TN 37205
Call (615) 356-0501 or (800) 270-3991
Property of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities
Admission fee charged.
Open Mon.-Sat., 9-5;
Sun., 1-5. Last tour at 4 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days.
Belle Meade Plantation hosts a Fall Fest in September and a
Victorian Christmas celebration in December.
From I-440, take 70S exit and drive 4 miles to entrance sign on the left.
Union Fortifications, Positions:
Large Civil War-era Union stone fort:
After its capture in 1862, Nashville was developed by Union forces into the most fortified city in North America, second only to Washington, D.C. A series of forts ringed the city, the largest and southernmost being Fort Negley, named for U.S. Gen. James Scott Negley, provost marshal and commander of Federal forces in Nashville.
The others were Fort Casino, Fort Morton, and Fort Gillem.
The remains of Fort Negley are located on a high hill south of downtown Nashville at the confluence of Interstates 65 and 40 and adjacent to the Cumberland Science Museum and Greer Stadium. (The site of Fort Negley currently is not open to the public.)
During the 1930s, WPA work crews restored the old fort to its original appearance, but the location was allowed to deteriorate and become overgrown with vegetation.
The opening guns of the Battle of Nashville, Dec. 15-16, 1864, were probably fired from Fort Negley, although the fort itself was never directly attacked at any time during the war.
Fort Negley was a complex fort, many of its features based on European forts. The fort was built in 1862, taking three months to construct. Many blacks were used in the construction, including 13,000 Union soldiers. The fort is 600 feet long, 300 feet wide, and covers four acres. It used 62,500 cubic feet of stone and 18,000 cubic feet of earth. It cost \\$130,000 to construct.
Over the years, Fort Negley deteriorated and become overgrown and forgotten. Now, however, efforts are being made to restore the old fort to its original appearance.
The Nashville Metro Council has appropriated \\$400,000 to begin the stabilization of Fort Negley and a master plan is being devised to begin the process of opening the site to the public (currently Negley Park is closed).
One day, it is envisioned, Fort Negley will be restored and serve as an interpretive center for the Battle of Nashville and the study of Nashville under Union occupation during the war.
Bald Hill / Love Circle Overlook
This is one of the better vantage points in Nashville. The hill is located off and south of West End Avenue, just east of the I-440 interchange. There is a tall radio tower on the hill. Streets leading to the overlook include 32nd Ave. South, Orleans Drive, and Acklen.
Bald Hill was part of the Federal defensive line around Nashville during the Civil War. It was an important position in the guarding of Harding Pike. From this position, the attack on the Confederate left began on Dec. 15, 1864 during the Battle of Nashville. The hill also was used by Union Gen. Thomas and Gen. Wood to observe the progress of the battle.
State Capitol / Union Fort Johnson
Tennessee State Capitol
Charlotte Ave., between 6th and 7th Ave, in downtown Nashville.
Brochure for self-guided tour available.
Call (615) 741-2692 or 741-1621.
Admission is free. Open to public, Mon.-Fri., 9-4
From I-40 take Charlotte Ave. exit, turn right and travel toward downtown. Capitol is four blocks on the left. Public parking lots (fee) are nearby.
The majestic Tennessee State Capitol, completed in 1859, is located on a high hill in downtown Nashville. It was one of the most magnificent public buildings of its time, anywhere in the U.S.
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 are massive blocks of limestone.
During the Union occupation of Nashville (1862-65), the Capitol was tranformed into Fortress Andrew Johnson. The artillery located there never had to be fired in battle, but were used for drills and celebrations.
View from State Capitol during the War.
The Capitol, still in use by state government, features numerous works of art, historical murals and frescos, portraits, massive chandeliers, the House and Senate chambers and library, and the Governor's Office.
The grounds include the tomb of President and Mrs. James K. Polk, the famous equestrian statue of President Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and statues of President Andrew Johnson (also governor and military governor) and Sam Davis, "Boy Hero of the Confederacy," World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York, and Senator Edward W. Carmack.
About the architecture:
Designed by William Strickland, who moved here from Philadelphia to supervise construction, the capitol is one of the most highly regarded Greek Revival style buildings in the nation.
It is considered by many the masterpiece of Strickland's distinguished career, which began with an apprenticeship to Benjamin Latrobe, first architect of the U.S. Capitol.
The interior is a match for the exterior in elegance and refinement. Worth mentioning is Strickland's extensive use of cast iron, an avant garde building material in the 1840s.
Strickland died before construction was completed; according to his wishes, he was buried in the walls of the capitol. His tomb is visible at the northeast corner of the building near the north entrance.
"Women of the Confederacy," a bronze statue can be seen at the War Memorial Building's south plaza. The War Memorial Building is located south of the State Capitol.
North of the State Capitol, across James Robertson Parkway, is the Bicentennial Mall State Park, which features several attractions related to the history of Tennessee.
City Reservoir / Union Blockhouse Casino
The reservoir is located at 1401 8th Ave. South, just north of the Wedgewood Ave. intersection. The grounds are public property, featuring an overlook to the south, but the site is not maintained as a tourist attraction.
Part of extensive Federal fortifications:
The city water reservoir (1887-89) sits atop Kirkpatrick Hill, the site of Federal Blockhouse Casino during the Civil War, built by the Federal occupation forces as part of the fortifications surrounding the city to the south and the west.
Photographs from the war show the blockhouse situated on the south rim of Kirkpatrick hill which would be outside the current reservoir. Many believe that the mounding at the south rim, which is still clearly visible, is the remnants of Blockhouse Casino. However, this is only a theory and has not been verified. It is said that the reservoir was built with stone from Fort Negley.
The site of Blockhouse Casino lies across Franklin Pike from the remains of Fort Negley, the major fortification built at the time.
Confederate Fortifications, Positions:
Shy's Hill is located off Benton Smith Road.
Free. Open dawn to dusk. Parking space is minimal; large vehicles may not be feasible.
Directions: From I-440, exit Hillsboro Road and travel south to Harding Place and turn left. Turn right at Shy's Hill Rd. and turn left onto Benton Smith Rd. to historical marker. Park safely at side of road. Steps up the hill to the left.
Critical action of the Battle of Nashville:
It was at Shy's Hill on Dec. 16, 1864 during the Battle of Nashville that Federal troops finally broke the Confederate line on the left flank, resulting in a massive Rebel retreat and a decisive Union victory.
Today the hill sits in residential suburban Nashville, marked with a state historical marker. Steps lead up the steep incline to the crest of the heavily wooded hill. The Confederate defensive fortifications, still visible, were placed too far up the hill, allowing the Federals to climb the hill out of harm's way. The hill, known as Compton Hill at the time of the battle, is named after Col. William Shy (CSA), who was killed there.
Stewart's Stone Wall.
The stone wall can be seen in southern Nashville on Leland Lane just south of the Battery Lane (Harding Road) intersection. There is no traffic pullover so be careful.
Confederate troops took stand at old stone wall:
The stone wall still stands in suburban Nashville where Major Gen. William Loring's troops of Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart's corps desperately tried to stem the Union onslaught in the Confederate center the second day of battle, Dec. 16, 1864.
The stone wall was built in 1845 to divide the estates of John Overton and John Lea.
Confederate Redoubt No. 1
rom the rear of the lot. The remains of the redoubt are to the left.
Redoubt No. 1 is a lot located in a residential section on Benham Road, off Belmont Blvd., a short distance east of the Hillsboro Road intersection. Hillsboro Road is readily accessible from I-440.
Redoubt No. 1 is open to the public dawn to dusk free of charge. Parking space is minimal however.
Site of small Confederate fort on high ground:
Redoubt No. 1 was one of five redoubts (small forts) built by Gen. John Bell Hood's Confederate Army as it occupied the countryside south of Nashville in December 1864.
The redoubt was located at the far left (west) end of the main Confederate line. The fort itself does not remain.
These small earthen forts were commonly built early in the War to give the "citizen soldiers" a sense of security. The forts became a common feature of trench works later during the War.
On the first day of the Battle of Nashville, December 15, the U.S. Army attacked all five forts. Redoubt No. 1 was the last to fall.
This redoubt is one of the last remaining sites of the Battle of Nashville. The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society owns the property and has been instrumental in saving this historic site.
Kelley's Battery at Bell's Bend
Kelley's Battery site at Bell's Bend is located in west Nashville off Charlotte Pike between the Lowe's superstore complex and the river. Plans call for the property to be maintained as a greenway park. Also planned is interpretive signage, recently funded through an auction conducted by the American Civil War Roundtable-United Kingdom.
Confederate cavalry harassed Union gunboats:
For two weeks prior to the battle, Confederate cavalry under Lt. Col. D.C. Kelley, manning four artillery pieces, effectively blockaded the Cumberland River against seven heavily armed Union gunboats. The Confederate cavalry and Union Navy battled in six separate engagements.
During the fourth engagement, on Dec. 6, 1864, the USS Neosho was hit more than 100 times by cannon fire without sinking. One Confederate shell, unexploded, breached the ship's iron plating and lodged in the ship's powder magazine.
John Dizenback, the ship's quartermaster, was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the Union colors aboard the Neosho when the flag was shot away by Confederate gunfire.
Museums, Monuments, and Signage:
Battle of Nashville Monument
The monument and small park is located at Granny White Pike at Battlefield Drive. The site is open dawn to dusk and free to the public.
Directions: From I-440, exit Hillsboro Road and travel south to Woodmont Blvd. and turn left. Proceed 1 mile to Granny White Pike and turn left. Park is two blocks on the left.
New life for a cherished monument:
Several hundred spectators witnessed the rededication of the refurbished Battle of Nashville Peace Monument at its new location on Sat., June 26, 1999. It is considered to be one of the only Civil War monuments honoring the men of both sides of the conflict.
The new gleaming white granite monument, which honors the sacrifices of both Confederate and Union soldiers at the Dec. 15-16, 1864 Battle of Nashville and the American soldiers who fought in the Great War (World War I), now resembles the magnificent sculpture originally dedicated on Armistice Day, 1927.
The monument was commissioned by the Ladies' Battlefield Association and sculpted by Guiseppi Moretti of Italy. His design represents both the North and the South who are yoked together by a young man symbolizing all Americans who fought in the Civil War and World War I. The word UNITY is inscribed on the banner with which he entwines the horses.
The original monument was located a few miles east on Franklin Pike on property donated by the Vaulx family heirs for a Battle of Nashville park. Mrs. James E. Caldwell, president of the Ladies Battlefield Association, subsequently raised funds and commissioned a monument for the site.
In 1974 a tornado destroyed the 30-foot obelisk and the angel at its top. In the 1970s, the building of a massive interstate highway interchange left the remains of the monument isolated on a small plot of land.
Today, the base of the original monument still stands off Franklin Pike and marks the site of one of Stephen D. Lee's batteries during the first day of the battle.
The rededication marked the successful completion of relocating the Nashville landmark to the new park at Granny White Pike and Battlefield Drive. The Tennessee Historical Commission, which owns the statue, chose the new home for it in 1992. State and federal money, as well as generous private contributions, made possible the restoration.
Source: Tennessee Historical Commission.
Tennessee State Museum
Tennessee State Museum is located downtown at 505 Deaderick St., Nashville, TN 37243-1120
Call (615) 741-2692 for more information.
Free admission. Open Tues.-Sat., 10-5; Sun., 1-5. Closed major holidays.
Directions: From I-40 take Charlotte Ave. exit, turn right and travel toward downtown. Turn right at 6th Ave. Museum is 1 block at 6th Ave. and Deaderick in the bottom level of the Polk Office Bldg. and Tenn. Performing Arts Center. Public parking lots (fee) are nearby.
Civil War exhibits and information:
The State Museum houses temporary and permanent exhibits on Tennessee history, including all Civil War actions in the state.
The museum's holdings of Civil War uniforms, battle flags and weapons are among the largest in the nation.
Among the artifacts are Gen. Patrick Cleburne's kepi, the uniform worn by Gen. John Adams, a Civil War cannon made at Nashville's Brennan ironworks, a life-size diorama of a camp scene (including A.P. Hill's field trunk from the Eastern Theater), and portraits of George H. Thomas, Bushrod Johnson, Cleburne, Andrew Johnson, and other Civil War figures.
Source: Metropolitan Historical Commission
Website: Tennessee State Museum http://www.tnmuseum.org/
Nashville National Cemetery
Nashville National Cemetery is located at 1420 Gallatin Rd. South, Madison, TN 37115-4619
Call (615) 736-2839.
Gates open for visitation during daylight hours.
Office open Mon.-Fri., 8-4:30
Directions: From I-65 North, exit at Briley Parkway and travel east 2 miles to Gallatin Rd. and take 2nd exit (Gallatin Rd. N.). The cemetery is 0.25 mile on the left.
Hallowed ground for American soldiers:
This hallowed ground was established as a U.S. Military Cemetery on Jan. 28, 1867. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad runs through the cemetery, dividing it into two nearly equal halfs. The stone wall around the cemetery and the limestone archway at the front entrance were constructed in 1870. Among other outbuildings and structures, a speaker's rostrum was completed in 1940.
Roll of Honor, No. XXII, dated July 31, 1869, submitted to Quartermaster General's Office, U.S.A., Washington, D.C., recorded the graves of 16,485 Union soldiers interred in the national cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee and remains as a part of the cemetery's historical records.
Originally there were 16,489 interments (burials) of known soldiers and employees: 38 were officers, 10,300 were white soldiers, 1,447 were colored soldiers, and 703 were employees.
Among the unknown, there were 3,098 white soldiers, 463 colored soldiers and 29 employees. The deceased had been gathered from an extensive region of Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky. The number of distinct burial places from which these bodies were taken is 251.
A very large proportion of the dead in the cemetery, however, were transferred from the hospital burial grounds in and around the city of Nashville and from temporary burial grounds around general hospitals in Nashville and nearby battlefields of Franklin and Gallatin, Tenn. Reinterments were also made from Bowling Green and Cave City, Ky.
During the Civil War, if marked at all, wooden headboards with the names and identifying data painted thereon marked graves of those who died in general hospitals, on the battlefields, or as prisoners of war. Many of these headboards deteriorated through exposure to the elements. The result was that when the remains were later removed for burial to a national cemetery, identifications could not be established, and the gravesites were marked as unknown.
Notable Monuments, Markers:
One of the oldest private markers in the cemetery is a spire located in Section M, Grave 16234, which was dedicated to the memory of James A. Leonard of the 1st Kansas Battery. He was killed by guerillas on Jan. 23, 1864 and interred on Jan. 27, 1864.
In 1920, the State of Minnesota erected a monument in Section MM inscribed, "In memory of her soliders here buried who lost their lives in the service of the United States in war for Preservation of the Union--AD 1861-1865."
Chaplain Erastus M. Cravath, 101st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was interred in Section MM, Grave 16694, in 1900. Chaplain Cravath was one of the founders of Fisk University in Nashville, and served for 25 years as its president.
Colonel James W. Lawless, 5th Kentucky Cavalry, was buried in Section MM, Grave 10662, on June 25, 1899. Col. Lawless was born in Ireland and came to the United States at the age of 16.
Colonel Edward S. Jones, Commander of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, was also the founder of the Department of Tennessee and Georgia Grand Army of the Republic and served as Commander for many years. He was interred in Section MM, Grave 16520, in Nov. 1866.
Nashville City Cemetery
First established in 1822, the Old City Cemetery is one of the oldest public cemeteries in the region and holds the remains of many early settlers who were brought here for permanent burial. Among the more than 20,000 persons buried here are Gen. James Robertson, Gov. William Carroll, Sec. of Treasury George W. Campbell, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, Gen. Bushrod Johson, and Capt. William Driver.
William Carroll 1788-1844
A native of Pennsylvania, William Carroll moved to Nashville in 1810. He became a successful merchant and hero of the War of 1812. William Carroll served longer as Governor, 12 years, than anyone else in the history of the state. Under his leadership the Legislature passed laws in areas of criminal justice, fiscal policy, and education. Tennessee's "Business Governor" died in Nashville.
Born, 1803, in Salem, Mass., and a sea-captain at 21, he retired in 1837. Coming here for his wife's health, he brought with him the flag given him in 183 1, which he had nicknamed "Old Glory," the first known use of the term. This flag was flown from the Capitol when Federal troops took Nashville in 1862. Capt. Driver died in 1883.
Old City Cemetery
1001 Fourth Ave. South at Oak St., Nashville, TN
Free. Open dawn to dusk.
Directions: From I-65 South, exit at Wedgewood (Exit 81) and drive west one block to 8th Ave. South and turn right. Turn right at Chesnut Ave., cross over interstate, and turn left onto Ft. Negley Blvd. Proceed to Bass St., then Oak St. Entrance is at Oak St. at 4th Ave. South.
Source: Metropolitan Historical Commission
Mt. Olivet Cemetery: Confederate Circle
Mt. Olivet Cemetery is located at 1101 Lebanon Road, east of downtown Nashville. Open to public during daylight hours. Call 255-4193.
Walking tour marked by signage. Tour booklet available at cemetery offices for nominal fee. In the fall, the Confederate Cemetery Illuminated Walking Tour is conducted by re-enactors in period dress.
Confederate Circle honors memory of soldiers:
The 250-acre cemetery, which opened in 1855, is situated on a hilltop, graced with large, old trees and evergreens, and impressive statuary, crypts, and tombs.
After the War Between the States, the women of Nashville bought land at Mount Olivet, and formed Confederate Circle. The remains of about 1,500 Confederate soldiers were moved here from area battlefields.
Seven Confederate generals are buried in or around the circle. They are William B. Bate, William N.R, Bealle, Benjamin Franklin Cheatham, William H. Jackson, George E. Maney, James E. Rains, and Thomas Benton Smith. Other prominent Nashville Confederates, Colonels Adolphus Heiman and Randall McGavock, lie nearby.
A 45-foot granite monument marks the center of the circle.
"Heroine of the South":
Mary Kate Patterson Davis Hill Kyle (1844-1931) worked with Coleman's scouts and Sam Davis during the Civil War to spy in the Lavergne-Nolensville-Nashville area. When a teenager, she smuggled vital information and supplies through Union lines. Mrs. Kyle was buried in the Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the first woman so honored.
Buildings Used As Hospitals & Military Facilities:
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Originally the First Presbyterian Church, this building (1851) is one of the few examples of Egyptian Revival architecture in the entire country. Notice the Egyptian columns and winged sun disk at the entrance.
The building was designed by William Strickland, a nationally prominent architect, who had come to Nashville to build the state capitol. A visit to the sanctuary, where the Egyptian decorative theme is continued in wall paintings, woodwork, and the stained glass windows, is highly recommended.
The church was one of many buildings used as a hospital during the Union occupation of the city during the Civil War. It was designated Hospital No. 8 and had 206 beds.
The church is located at 427 Church St. in downtown Nashville.
Tours of the church are scheduled during the summer From September to May visitors should call (615) 254-7584 or go to the church office to arrange a tour.
St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary's Cathedral is located at Charlotte Ave. and 330 Fifth Ave., North, near the State Capitol.
Call (615) 256-1704 for more information.
Greek Revival design topped with gold:
The oldest surviving church in Nashville, St. Mary's was used as a military hospital during the War Between the States.
St. Mary's Church has traditionally been attributed to William Strickland, architect of the capitol and Downtown Presbyterian Church. Recent evidence from church records indicates that Nashvillian Adolphus Heiman was the architect.
This restrained gem of Greek Revival design (1845-47) is the first permanent Roman Catholic church built in Tennessee, replacing a temporary structure nearby at the base of Capitol Hill, St. Mary's was the cathedral of Nashville from its construction until 1914 when the Cathedral of the incarnation was built.
Source: Metropolitan Historical Commission
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 615 Sixth Avenue South at Lafayette Street in a commercial district on a heavily traveled street. Tours are by appointment only. Call 256-6359.
Gothic Revival church used by Union forces:
During the Union occupation of Nashville during the Civil War, Federal troops used the church to store powder and stable horses and damaged much of the interior furnishings. The church was restored by the turn of the century.
This fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, resembling that of an English parish church, is attributed to the firm of Wills and Dudley of New York. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The church is built of limestone with a gabled roof, a large square tower, and a taller turret. The cornerstone was laid in 1852, the chancel was completed in 1853 and the tower was completed in 1887. The original roof was seamed tin.
Source: Metropolitan Historical Commission
Western Military Institute Site (Hospital No. 2 Site) Metro Planning Dept. Building
This building, erected in 1853 and designed by famed architect Adolphus Heiman, is the only remaining structure of the original University of Nashville. It was the Literary Department building and is often confused with Lindsley Hall.
The two-story limestone structure is Gothic Revival in style. The walls are articulated by offset buttresses and the low roof is masked by a crenulated parapet.
From 1855 to the Civil War, the building served as Western Military Institute, run by Col. Bushrod Johnson, who became a Confederate general. All of the cadets who attended the school joined the Confederacy. One of them was Sam Davis, who was later hanged by the Union as a spy. The school continued for five more years after the war, run by Johnson and Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith.
During the Civil War the building was used by the occupying Federal forces as Hospital No. 2, housing 300 beds.
From 1944 to 1973 the building served as the Children's Museum.
This building, now used by the Metro Nashville Planning Commission, is located at 724 Second Avenue South.
The home of Mrs. Jesse Benton, widow of Jesse Benton who left Nashville after a feud with Andrew Jackson. Built in the 1840s, restored in the 1920s by Col. Granville Sevier. Two log cabins east of the house, reputed to have been built by the French for trade with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians, may be the oldest structures in Metropolitan Nashville.
Note: Deedbook research indicates that the house was built in the 1850s. Documentary and archaeological evidence supports a 19th century date for the construction of the log cabins.
Sunnyside was located directly between the Union and Confederate lines prior to the Battle of Nashville on Dec. 15, 1864. Afterwards it served as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Sunnyside is owned by Metro-Nashville Government and is located in Sevier Park on 12th Avenue South (Granny White Pike) just north of I-440 (no exit off I-440). The grounds are open to the public but the house itself is not.
Source: Metropolitan Historical Commission