The Civil War in Tennessee was epic. Aside from the state of Virginia, TN saw more battles than any other state.
During the Civil War, Tennessee sent 120,000 men to fight for the Confederacy, and 31,000 to fight for the Union.
There are so many Civil War sites in Tennessee, it would take a monumental trip to explore them all.
But it only takes visiting a few of the best historic sites in Tennessee to get a good grasp of what life was like for the locals back then.
Some of the most popular TN Civil War sites put you right on the ground where soldiers died in bloody battles, while others depict the lives of the ordinary people who were struggling to survive in these war zones.
Significant Civil War battlefields in Tennessee include Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in Lookout Mountain, and Eastern Flank Battlefield Park in Franklin.
Other Civil War sites in TN are actually historic homes of families who were living at the center of these bloody battles. Many of these houses have been preserved as time capsules of this historic period in US history.
Read on for our guide to the 10 best Civil War sites in Tennessee to visit, including historical background on each site and an overview of what you can expect to see there.
Best Civil War Sites in Tennessee Guide
(Arranged geographically and alphabetically)
- Battle of Nashville Monument
- Travellers Rest Historic House and Museum
- Stones River National Battlefield
- Carter House
- Lotz House Civil War Museum
- Eastern Flank Battlefield Park
- Lookout Mountain and Point Park
- The Battles for Chattanooga Museum
- Battle of Burg Hill and Alum Cave
READ MORE: 8 Civil War Battlefields in Georgia to Visit
Civil War Sites in Nashville TN
1. Battle of Nashville Monument
222 2nd Ave N #340M, Nashville TN • (615) 405-9000
There are a number of Tennessee Civil War sites in Nashville worth visiting, but the Battle of Nashville monument is one of the more unique options.
Also known as the “Peace Monument,” it honors the lives of both Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in this Civil War battle in Tennessee on December 15-16, 1864.
United States soldiers who fought in World War I are also honored here.
Another stunning sight to behold is the large basket oak tree, which still stands as it did during the famous battle. This magnificent tree has been named a “Historic Tree” by the Tennessee Landmark & Historic Tree Registry.
The historic tree stands as one of the last living “witnesses” to this incredible historical event.
2. Travellers Rest Historic House and Museum
1636 Farrell Parkway, Nashville TN • (615) 832-8197
The area now known as Travellers Rest was originally occupied by by prehistoric Native Americans of the Mississippian culture. Historians believe it included an earthen mound and a palisade (or earthwork wall) for protection.
This property was deeded to early settler John Overton via a land grant in 1799. Overton got an appointment from George Washington to become Supervisor of the Revenue for the District of Tennessee, and became a traveling circuit court judge.
At different times during the Civil War, the Overton family’s home at Travellers Rest was occupied by both Unionists and Confederate soldiers.
Prior to the Battle of Nashville, this home was the headquarters of Confederate Lt. General John Bell Hood. It was from this house that he tried to recover Nashville from Union control.
The historic home now serves as a Nashville Civil War museum, documenting the Overton family’s experience. There’s also an engaging exhibition about the lives of the 50+ enslaved Africans who lived there under Judge Overton.
3. Stones River National Battlefield
Though it’s not in Nashville proper, Murfreesboro TN is just a 40-minute drive away. So this Civil War battlefield makes for an easy day trip from Music City. .
The Battle of Stone River on December 3o, 1862, is said to be one of the bloodiest Civil War battles of Tennessee, resulting in great gains for the Union Army.
Stones River National Battlefield visitors are invited to join guided tours that explore its Civil War history and its natural surroundings.
Guests can also visit the Stones River National Cemetery, where 6100 Union soldiers were buried, and wander around the remaining foundations of Fortress Rosecrans.
Check the park’s website for information on special events throughout the year, which include ranger walks and tall as well as living history programs.
Civil War Sites In Franklin TN
4. Carter House
1140 Columbia Avenue, Franklin TN • (615) 791-1861
Franklin TN is home of the Battle of Franklin, which took place on November 30, 1864.
Though there is not one central Battle of Franklin Civil War museum, there are several places to visit in Franklin TN that are dedicated to the remembrance of this turbulent time in US history.
We recommend a stop by the Carter House to take a close look at its exterior walls. There you’ll see numerous bullet holes that serve as a chilling reminder of the horrors that occurred there.
Visitors can also take a guided tour of the house to learn about the experiences of the family who lived there during the war, and the lasting effect the battle had on them and the town of Franklin TN as a whole.
1345 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin TN • (615) 794-0903
Another one of the most important Civil War sites in Franklin TN is Carnton.
This beautiful house ultimately became a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers.
Guests can tour the home and the grounds, and visit the largest private Confederate cemetery in the country.
While you’re there, be sure to take time to learn more about the lives of the enslaved Africans who lived on the grounds during the Civil War era.
6. Lotz House Civil War Museum
1111 Columbia Avenue, Franklin TN • (615)-790-7190
The Lotz House was another important site during the Battle of Franklin.
On November 29, 1864 (one day before the battle), approximately 25,000 Union soldiers moved into Franklin TN and dug trenches just south of the Lotz house.
When the family awoke on November 30, the Union Army had turned their front yard into the Federal Line. In fear of the battle to come, the family moved to the Carter House for protection.
This battle took 10,000 lives, with many others wounded or missing, and the Lotz House ultimately became a hospital for Union and Confederate soldiers.
Visitors today can tour the house and see real remnants of that bloody battle, including dents from cannonballs in the wooden floor and repair jobs in the roof where made impact.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Lakes in Tennessee to Visit
7. Eastern Flank Battlefield Park
City Hall 109 3rd Avenue South, Franklin TN • (615) 791-3217
The 110-acre Eastern Flank Battlefield Park was the location of the Eastern Flank of the Confederate Army during the Battle of Franklin.
This historic site had once been turned into the Franklin Country Club & Golf Course. But the City of Franklin TN (in cooperation with the American Battlefield Trust) took ownership of the property in 2006.
In the years since, the Franklin Parks Department has worked hard to restore the area to its former natural glory.
Visitors may now tour the park and its historic interpretive walking trails to get a better idea of how the area might have looked during the Battle of Franklin.
READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Birds of Tennessee
Civil War Sites in Chattanooga TN
8. Lookout Mountain and Point Park
110 Point Park Road, Lookout Mountain TN • (423) 821-7786
It’s an important place to learn about the Chattanooga Civil War sites, and is widely regarded as one of the best Civil War battlefields in Tennessee.
On November 24, 1863, Union troops swept across Lookout Mountain, instigating a siege (known as “The Battle Above the Clouds”) against the Confederate troops at its peak.
Point Park is a 10-acre memorial park that overlooks the Lookout Mountain Battlefield and the city of Chattanooga.
A paved path leads around the park, where guests can read historical plaques and view several monuments. One of the most impressive is the Peace Memorial, which serves as a tribute to the peace between the Union and Confederate veterans.
9. The Battles for Chattanooga Museum
1110 East Brow Road, Lookout Mountain TN • (423) 821-2812
For more insight into The Battle Above the Clouds, visit the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.
Located at the entrance to Point Park, this museum helps visitors to better understand Chattanooga’s Civil War history.
This unique museum uses the latest technology to help bring to life the horrors of that fateful day in November, 1863.
While you’re there, check out the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, which ferries visitors up and down the mountain.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Ocoee River Rafting Guide
Civil War Sites in Gatlinburg
10. Battle of Burg Hill and Alum Cave
Alum Cave Trailhead on Newfound Gap Road, near Gatlinburg TN • (865)436-1200
The Battle of Burg Hill isn’t one of the most well-known Civil War battlefields in TN. But it happened on the land where the beloved mountain town of Gatlinburg now stands.
Many people who lived in the Great Smoky Mountains during the Civil War tried to remain neutral, but the Union and Confederate armies fought there on December 20, 1863.
This area had once been a Confederate stronghold, but after a short battle they realized that they were outnumbered, and thus ended their hold on Gatlinburg TN. Every year, there’s a reenactment of this battle to commemorate the event.
One of the more unusual Civil War sites near Gatlinburg is Alum Cave, one of several Tennessee caverns from which Confederates would mine saltpeter for making gunpowder.