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Civil War Trust

Registration & Updates

Anyone is welcome to register for the Annual Conference; feel free to invite friends & family to attend.

Step 1: Register

Step 2: Select Tours

    • If you have questions, please contact Bonnie Repasi at 800-298-7878 ext. 7229 or brepasi@civilwar.org

Tour Descriptions

Annual Conference

Nashville, Tennessee

Annual Conference registration includes Friday and Saturday tours; Color Bearer members also may attend tours on Thursday. You must register for the Conference before selecting your tours. Tour registration is required; space is limited.

« Annual Conference Main | Historian Bios | Select Tours

  Battle of Stones River Tour: A “Hard Earned Victory” in Middle Tennessee (Thursday; Color Bearers Only)

Historian: Jim Lewis/Derek Frisby

Tour Description: Join our guides for a tour of the sites where one of the most important, but least known, battles of the Civil War raged more than 151 years ago. The trip will begin with a ride through the developed areas where Gen Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee opened the fighting on December 31, 1862 with a crushing attack against the Right Wing of Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Union Army of the Cumberland. Once inside the park, the group will walk the ground where Union forces struggled to delay the gray tide long enough for a new defensive line to form behind them protecting their vital connection to Nashville, a place that later became known as the Slaughter Pen. We will stand where Union infantry and artillery beat back wave after wave of Confederates as the last day of 1862 came to a close including the crucial anchor point of that line known today as Hell's Half Acre. We will conclude by moving to the banks of the Stones River where the final charge of the battle claimed more than 2,000 casualties in less than an hour.

Throughout the tour we will consider the crucial military, political, and social themes that led this costly battle, nearly 24,000 of the 81,000 soldiers engaged were killed wounded or captured, to become one of the most important Union victories of the war.

 Civil War Nashville Walking Tour
(Thursday; Color Bearers Only) 

Historian: Ed Bearss and Jim Hoobler

Tour Description:  Join us for a walking tour of Occupied Nashville during the Civil War.  It will begin at the Bridgestone Arena, and go past sites that still survive from the Civil War, as well as locations of buildings that are now gone.  The tour will deal with how the Federal occupation forces used Nashville for supplying the conquest of the western theater from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River, and the creation of a very large complex of warehouses, hospitals, barracks, and the confiscation of private homes, and property.

Nathan Bedford Forrest Through Middle Tennessee, July, 1862–December, 1864
(Friday and Saturday)

Historian: Brian Wills

Tour Description: Nathan Bedford Forrest brought his unique brand of warfare to Middle Tennessee in the turbulent years 1862-1864. In the summer of 1862 he established himself as a factor by raiding the Union post of Murfreesboro and employed bluff, including what would become his famous threat of no quarter, to encourage the surrender of his opponents. The next year he ranged near Nashville and participated in a victory at Thompson’s Station that netted some 1,200 prisoners. Then, in the Winter of 1864, as part of John Bell Hood’s Tennessee Campaign, Forrest encountered the powerful works of Fortress Rosecrans, suffering a difficult setback before being called to assist in the rearguard action that covered Hood’s retreat from Nashville. Stops include: Thompson’s Station, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro Courthouse, Oaklands and Fortress Rosecrans.

Campaign of Fort Donelson
(Friday and Saturday)

Historians: James Vaughan (Friday and Saturday)/
Greg Biggs (Saturday)

Description: Join Greg Biggs and retired LTC James Vaughan for a tour of the crucial Fort Henry-Donelson Campaign of February 1862. This campaign brought the rise of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and opened up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers culminating with the capture of the first Confederate capital to fall - Nashville. Grant's planning and cooperation with the U.S. Navy brought about the surrender of about 13,000 Confederate troops and a key victory for the Union at a time when such victories were scarce. Our tour will visit the site of Fort Henry and some of its outer works; where Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry regiment took on John McClernand's Union division; where the Union ironclads took on the Confederate water battery; Union General C.F. Smith's attack; Dudley's Hill, site of the Confederate breakout attack (and property saved by the Civil War Trust) as well as the fighting along Wynn's Ferry Road. The tour will end at the Surrender House where CS General Simon Buckner surrendered to Grant as well as Forrest's escape site. A stop at the Fort Donelson National battlefield Visitors Center is also included.

  Battle of Nashville (Friday and Saturday)

Historians: Garry Adelman/Sam Smith

Description: (Moderate Walking) Nashville: The Center of the Storm will explore the Civil War history of Nashville, Tennessee. The morning’s portion will survey the State Capitol, Fort Negley, and other sites significant to the Union occupation of Nashville, from 1862-1865.  In the afternoon, we will delve into the details of the bloody days of December 15-16, 1864, and visit key portions of the Nashville Battlefield, including Granbury’s Lunette, Redoubt No. 1, and Shy’s Hill. Throughout the tour, we will extensively utilize primary source accounts and photographs in order to more closely connect to the city in crisis.

 Parker’s Crossroads (Friday only)

Historian: Rep. Steve McDaniel

Tour Description: By the fall of 1862, West Tennessee was controlled by Federal forces under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant.  Earlier in the year, Union victories at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Memphis had opened the territory for use of the rail lines by federal forces to move into Mississippi to take Vicksburg.  Grant was moving men and supplies south along the Mobile and Ohio, which ran through western Tennessee.  Brigadier General Nathan B. Forrest led a very successful raid on these lines of supply in December 1862, forcing General Grant to move his headquarters back to Memphis, thus delaying his approach to Vicksburg several months.  After completing his mission, he sought to recross the Tennessee River back into the safety of the Confederate held portion of Middle Tennessee.

At Parker’s Cross Roads, Brigadier General Jeremiah C. Sullivan tried to cut Forrest off from his retreat toward the Tennessee River.  After a battle lasting some six hours, Forrest found himself caught between two federal brigades, each roughly the size of his own.  At this moment Forrest gave the command, “Charge Them Both Ways.”  The tour will begin at the Parker’s Cross Roads Visitor Center.  The group will then travel to the major locations on the battlefield where Forrest first demonstrated his unique ability to outgun superior numbers of federal forces, earning the name “Wizard of the Saddle.

Battle of Spring Hill and Battle of Franklin (Friday and Saturday)

Historian: Eric Jacobson/ Thomas Cartwright

Description (Thomas Cartwright): Join us for the events of November 29-30, 1864. The tour begins by chronicling the Battle of Spring Hill from Mount Carmel Church to Rutherford Creek and on to the site of Cleburne’s attack against Bradley’s Federal brigade. We will visit General Hood’s headquarters at the Thompson home and Rippavilla, where General Hood held the breakfast with his Generals the morning after the battle. There will be short stop for a walk around Ferguson Hall, where Federal General Wagner made his headquarters and General Earl Van Dorn was murdered.

After lunch we will move to Franklin with stops at Fort Granger, Winstead Hill, Lotz, Carter House, and Carnton Mansion. We will learn about the attack on the eastern flank by Stewart’s Corp. After that we will visit the site of the Cotton Gin, discussing the Confederate breaking the center and Opdycke’s counterattack. The next phase will be the 13 attacks over the Carter garden, and the tour will conclude at the McGavock Confederate cemetery.

Description (Eric Jacobson): Coming soon...

  Tullahoma Campaign (Friday and Saturday)

Historian: Greg Biggs (Friday)/Mike Bradley (Saturday)

Tour Description: Join Greg Biggs and Michael Bradley for a tour of the overlooked Tullahoma Campaign of June/July 1863. This brilliant campaign of maneuver occurred at the same time as Gettysburg and the Vicksburg Campaigns and was glossed over by both due to the low level of casualties by comparison. Yet, in terms of damaging the Confederacy, Tullahoma ranks just below Vicksburg in importance. Union General William S. Rosecrans conceived a wonderful plan of feint and maneuver designed to turn the right flank of Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee and force him into a fight over his lines of supply on a field of his choosing. Only the incessant rains prevented this aspect of the campaign from happening but the end result was the conquest of Tennessee for the Union cause. The tour will visit Hoover's Gap, seized by the mounted infantry and Spencer rifle-armed brigade of John Wilder which earned them the nickname of the Lightning Brigade. Other sites include Fairfield; Liberty Gap; Bell Buckle; Wartrace (including Patrick Cleburne's headquarters); Guy's Gap and Shelbyville, sites of major cavalry fights in the campaign; Tullahoma, Estill Springs and the vital bridges and Cowan, Bragg's last stand. The route back to Nashville will include the University of the South on Sewanee Mountain where the campaign ended. There will be some walking during the tour so be sure to bring comfortable shoes and clothing.

Historic  Homes and Gardens Tour
(Friday Only)

This tour will visit some of the loveliest homes and gardens in Nashville. Tour stops include: Belle Meade Plantation, Cheekwood Art and Gardens, and Historic Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum. 

 Nashville Today (Saturday only)

This tour will visit some of the more unique Nashville tourist destinations. Tour stops include: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Frist Center for the Visual Arts and The Parthenon.

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