Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Road to Chattanooga

Marker ID:  
Location: located at the rest area between Exit 49 and Exit 42; it is accessible only from the southbound travel lanes of I-75, Athens, TN
County: Maury
Coordinates: N 35° 25.766    W 084° 41.37
  35.42943333    -84.6895
Waymark: None


Road to Chattanooga
The Tide Turns for the Union

This interstate highway parallels the historic line of the East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad. Late in 1863, Union and Confederate armies followed the tracks during a series of battles in the fight for control of Chattanooga, a strategically vital rail center.

Multiple Civil War-related sites are located in Charleston (Exit 33), near the location of a raid by Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry. The Henegar House was a headquarters for Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Cumberland Presbyterian Church served as a Confederate hospital. The Hiwassee River Heritage Center interprets the story of Union occupation.

In downtown Cleveland (Exit 25), late in 1863 Union forces built Fort Hill to protect the railroad. A cemetery was established nearby, with the dead of both sides interred there. In 1914, the Grand Army of the Republic erected a monument for the Union soldiers there, one of three such memorials in the state. Fighting occurred around the Masonic Female Institute in Cleveland.

The site of a major Confederate hospital is located near Exit 7. Silverdale Confederate Cemetery contains the graves of about 155 of Gen. Braxton Bragg’s soldiers. Most of them are unknowns who died in hospitals in 1862.

Several units of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park can be accessed from Exit 3, including Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, and Lookout Mountain. Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory there late in November 1863 turned the tide against the Confederates and resulted in Federal occupation of most of East Tennessee for the rest of the war.

Tennessee Civil War Trails