Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Civil War in Tennessee ~ Memphis during the War

Marker ID:  
Location: on North Riverside Drive south of Jefferson Avenue, Memphi,s TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.955    W 090° 3.276
  35.14925    -90.0546
Waymark: None


In 1860, Memphis had Tennessee's largest cotton and slave markets and was a strategic Mississippi River gateway. The naval battle of Memphis in June 1862 took place as thousands of residents watched nine Union vessels defeat eight Confederate ships. The Federals occupied the city for the rest of the war.

Confederate Park, on the bluffs downtown, contains markers and memorials about the battle. Nearby Jefferson Davis Park commemorates the former Confederate president, who lived here as an insurance executive for several years after the war. Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk and Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had their headquarters in the Hunt-Phelan House at different times in 1862. Several U.S. Colored Troops regiments served at Fort Pickering. The Slave Haven Museum is at the Historic Jacob Burkie House(1849).

Beale Street Baptist Church (1871), which houses one of Memphis's oldest African American congregations, and the site of the Freedman's Bank, a key 1865 African American business, tell the Reconstruction story.

Memphis National Cemetery (Exit 8) contains the graves of many Union veterans and those killed in the 1865 Sultana disaster, when a riverboat carrying former Federal prisoners of war exploded and sank near Memphis.

Follow the routes of the armies along the Tennessee civil War Trails. Colorful markers at each stop tell the story of the war's interesting people, places, and events. A free map guide to the Tennessee Trails Network is available in the Welcome Center. Please drive carefully as you enjoy the beauty and history of the Tennessee Civil War Trails.

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.