Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Markers To Be Installed in Tennessee

The battle ended in 20 minutes, the war a year and a half later.

The legacy endures today - even though the battlefield's long gone.

Two new markers will commemorate the site of Knoxville's defining Civil War battle and one of the city's few surviving forts from that era. The Civil War Trails markers, set to be unveiled today, commemorate the Battle of Fort Sanders near what's now the University of Tennessee campus and Fort Dickerson off Chapman Highway in South Knoxville.

Preservationists hope to see more such markers planted around the county and the state in time for the war's 150th anniversary next year and an expected tourism boom. About 200 markers now dot Tennessee, part of a nationwide network of Civil War historic sites.

"It's an indication that there is an interest, and it's a reminder to people who are in the area," said Steve Dean, president of the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance, which works to promote the region's heritage. "It's a great first step, and there's still a lot more to be done."

The Nov. 29, 1863, battle at Fort Sanders, named for fallen Union Gen. William Sanders, marked the end of the Confederacy's failed attempt to recapture Knoxville from Union forces. The marker will stand in the parking lot of the Church of the Redeemer on 17th Street, near the spot where historians believe Fort Sanders' northwest bastion stood before it fell to suburban development in the 1920s.

Fort Dickerson and 15 other earthworks ringed Knoxville during the Confederate siege, holding off cavalry raids and other attacks. Its marker will stand in the park that bears the fort's name.

The signs bring Knox County's total of Civil War Trails markers in Knoxville to five so far, Dean said. Other markers already stand at Old Gray Cemetery on Broadway, resting place of various local Union and Confederate leaders; Bleak House on Kingston Pike, which served as headquarters for Confederate Gen. James Longstreet during the 1863 Siege of Knoxville; and the Farragut Folklife Museum off Campbell Station Road, near the site of the 1863 Battle of Campbell's Station.