Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Battle of Bean's Station

Marker ID:  
Location: 5980 Highway 11W South, Bean Station, TN
County: Grainger
Coordinates: N 36° 19.843    W 083° 22.097
  36.33071666    -83.36828333
Waymark: None


Battle of Bean's Station
Opportunity Lost

Confederate Gen. James Longstreet abandoned his siege of Knoxville early in December 1863 and withdrew northeast with Union Gen. John Parke following distantly. Parke sent Gen. James Shackleford ahead to harry Longstreet, who camped with his main force at Rogersville, where he took command of all upper East Tennessee Confederates. When Shackelford camped near Bean’s Station north of the Holston River, Longstreet decided to turn and destroy the Union force. Before you is the battle site, partly covered by Cherokee Lake in 1940; some earthworks remain.

On December 14, Longstreet’s infantry pushed the Federals into Bean’s Station while his cavalry swept around their northern and southern flanks to block any retreat. Federal artillery fired on the Confederates in front of Bean’s Station Tavern, and Confederate guns replied. Hundreds of rounds were exchanged. After repelling several assaults, Federal troops retreated toward Rutledge. Longstreet learned that his cavalry commander, Gen. William T. Martin, had not delayed the main Federal force. Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones held Bean’s Station Gap, but resourceful Federals escaped west through the hills. Longstreet’s commanders balked at an all-out pursuit, citing meager supplies and their men's weariness. As Union reinforcements arrived, the Confederates marched toward Russellville and went into winter quarters. Longstreet won at Bean's Station, but failed to destroy the Union cavalry.

The historic tavern remained intact until 1940, when it was dismantled before the creation of Cherokee Lake. A later fire destroyed the building’s materials before it could be rebuilt.

Tennessee Civil War Trails