Portal:Tennessee

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Map of Tennessee

Tennessee is a state located in the Southern United States. Tennessee borders eight other states: Kentucky and Virginia to the north; North Carolina to the east; Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi on the south; and Arkansas and Missouri on the Mississippi River to the west.

Tennessee attained statehood in 1796, becoming the sixteenth state to join the Union.

The state is divided geographically and by law into three Grand Divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Physiographically, East Tennessee includes the Blue Ridge area characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains and the Ridge and Valley region, in which numerous tributaries join to form the Tennessee River in the Tennessee Valley. The state's third- and fourth-largest cities, Knoxville and Chattanooga, are located in the Tennessee Valley.

To the west of East Tennessee lies the Cumberland Plateau, a region of flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. West of the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee is the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin, characterized by rich, fertile farm country and high natural wildlife diversity. Nashville, the state's capital and second largest city, is in Middle Tennessee.

The landscape of West Tennessee is formed on the Gulf Coastal Plain, ranging from rolling hills just west of the Tennessee River to the region of lowlands, floodplains, and swamp land referred to as the Mississippi Delta region. Memphis, Tennessee's largest city, is on the banks of the Mississippi River in the southwestern corner of the state.

Tennessee is known as the "Volunteer State", a nickname earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee.

Selected article

Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the highest ranking officer of either side to die at Shiloh

The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the Union Army of Major General Ulysses S. Grant and came very close to defeating his army.

On the first day of battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the Tennessee River and into the swamps to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with Major General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back in the direction of Pittsburg Landing to the northeast. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of Brigadier Generals Benjamin M. Prentiss's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions, provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. General Johnston was killed during the first day's fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.

Reinforcements from General Buell arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when Buell and Grant launched a counterattack along the entire line, the Confederates were forced to retreat, ending their hopes that they could block the Union invasion of northern Mississippi.

The two-day battle was the bloodiest in U.S. history up to that time. Union casualties were 13,047 (1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded, and 2,885 missing). Confederate casualties were 10,699 (1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded, and 959 missing or captured). Both sides were shocked at the carnage.

The battlefield is now part of the Shiloh National Military Park. (Read more...)

Selected biography

John Sevier.jpg

John Sevier (23 September 1745 – 25 September 1815) was the only governor of the State of Franklin (1785–1789), the first Governor of the State of Tennessee (1796–1801 and 1803–1809), and a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee from 1811 until his death in 1815. In the American Revolutionary War he was the commander of the Washington County, Tennessee, contingent of the Overmountain Men in the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Sevier was born in New Market, Virginia. Along with his first wife, Sarah Hawkins, and their children, he settled in the Holston River valley in what is now East Tennessee, that area was then claimed by Virginia. Sevier served briefly in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774; in this war John Sevier began to win the reputation as an Indian fighter that would make him a hero in his own day, though making some modern historians uncomfortable with his legacy.

Soon after settling in Northeast Tennessee, Sevier became involved in local politics, helping to organize a petition to North Carolina to become part of that state, and commanding Washington County militia in the Cherokee siege of Fort Caswell (or Fort Watauga) near Sycamore Shoals (present-day Elizabethton, Tennessee). After this battle he was promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel, and in this capacity led 240 of over 1,000 militiamen over the Appalachian Mountains to fight against Major Patrick Ferguson and a similar number of British Regulars and Carolina Loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. (Read more...)

Selected picture

Crossvillesign clean edge.jpg

Highway directional sign in Crossville, photographed in 1937. It helped travelers find their way to other Tennessee cities and towns.
Image credit: Ben Shahn (1937)

Selected anniversaries in October

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