The quiet back roads of Northeast Tennessee wind through small communities that have stories to tell about the turmoil of days gone by. They hold rich history of times when hearing cannon
fire close by became normal as neighbor fought against neighbor in the Civil War. Historic markers and structures point to the areas where significant battles took place and many lost their lives fighting for what they believed in.
Battle of Limestone Station
Deep in Washington County along Hwy 34, near the present-day David Birthplace Crockett State Park, a historic marker (pictured above) identifies the surrounding area where the Battle of Limestone Station took place during the Civil War. After a two-hour battle on September 8, 1863, the 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry surrendered to Confederate forces led by General Alfred E. Jackson. Jackson was a Brigadier General serving in the dept. of East Tennessee.
The Cannonball Church
The Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, located at 201 N. Main St., still bears a reminder of Civil War fighting and stands as a testament that even houses of worship were not exempt from shelling. A cannonball lodged there during a battle in September 1864, remains to this day. At the time, this church was a one-story brick building. With a direct cannonball hit, the church was damaged, and, after the conclusion of the War, the church was rebuilt bigger and better with multiple floors. In 1939, a cannonball from the 1864 incident was taken from the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site by Ms. Dinah Rhea, and relodged into the church around the same spot the original cannonball was lodged. There’s more to this story from our friends at Greeneville Sun and Historian Tim Massey.
A historic marker located by the sidewalk outside the church also points out that General John H. Morgan was killed across the street. General Morgan served as a Confederate Brigadier General, who led raids of terror on Union Forces throughout the Civil War. Downtown Greeneville is alive with reminders of the past that will keep any history seeker busy.
Battle of Blountville
Sullivan County holds significant Civil War memories – The Battle of Blountville (historic marker pictured above). On September 22, 1863, the courthouse and most of the town was burned as
Confederate and Union forces fought a four-hour battle that left its own scars on the area.
A short walking tour along TN-126, where the courthouse stands, takes visitors by the old Deery Inn (pictured above). The Inn reportedly provided a haven for women, children, the sick and
elderly, during the fighting. They were able to run into the building’s cellar area until the shelling stopped. Across the street from the Old Deery Inn stands the Cannonball House, also known as the Miller-Haynes house from owners who bought it after the war. It was known as the Cannonball House due to damage it received during the Battle of Blountville. The stately white house with
its red roof hides it scars from anyone admiring the front view of the large porch. The Civil War Trails historic marker out front displays photos of the cannonball damage in the back of the
house and one of its interior doors. The Battle of Blountville Civil War Reenactment and Military Park sits out in the country just a few miles from where the courthouse and other downtown historic structures are.
To find out more about Civil War markers throughout Tennessee, click here.
Written for Northeast Tennessee Tourism by Connie Clyburn.