Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Trail of Tears

Marker ID:  
Location: Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN
County: Hamilton
Coordinates: N 35° 03.399    W 085° 18.630
  35.05665    -85.3105
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMFB1


In May 1838 soldiers, under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott, began rounding up Cherokee Indians in this area who had refused to move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). About 15,000 Cherokees were placed in stockades in Tennessee and Alabama until their removal. Roughly 3,000 were sent by boat down the Tennessee River and the rest were marched overland in the fall and winter of 1838-39. This forced removal under harsh conditions resulted in the deaths of about 4,000 Cherokees.

In late June 1838 a party of 1070 poorly equipped Indians was marched overland from Ross' Landing at Chattanooga, TN. to Waterloo, AL because of low water in the upper Tennessee River. Following the general route of present-day U.S. Hwy. 72, they camped at Bolivar, Bellefonte, and Woodville (Jackson County, AL.). About 300 escaped along the way, and on June 26, the remainder refused to proceed from Bellefonte. The local militia, under the command of Army Capt. G.S. Drane, was called out to get the group started and escort it to Waterloo. Arriving in miserable condition on July 10, 1838, the Cherokees were placed on boats to continue their journey West.

The "Trail of Tears", which resulted from the Indian Removal Act passed by U.S. Congress in 1830, is one of the darkest chapters in American history.

This historical marker will forever mark the beginning of this "Trail of Tears".

Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Committee and Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride