Rave Reviews for

"Guide to Civil War Nashville"

Highly Recommended!--Ed Bearss, the nation's preeminent Civil War historian and tour guide
"This guide is a MUST HAVE for anyone wanting to learn about the Battle of Nashville and wanting to tour the battlefield. I highly recommend it. For those who think Nashville is a lost battlefield, this guide disproves that notion."--Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service and the nation's preeminent Civil War tour guide.

Mr. Bearss is pictured at Confederate Redoubt No. One with Guide to Civil War Nashville, used to conduct tours of the city and battlefield during April's national conference of the Civil War Preservation Trust.

(April 24, 2004)

HistoryAmerica Tours

Highly Recommended!

As owner of HistoryAmerica Tours I have read literally hundreds of tour guides and this is one of the best I've ever seen!--Pete Brown (April 24, 2004)

The Nashville Scene (May 20, 2004) By Ralph Bowden.


New book offers tour guide to local Civil War sites

The newly published Guide to Civil War Nashville by Mark Zimmerman (Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, 76 pp., $19.95) covers Nashville from 1862, when Union forces captured the city, through the Battle of Nashville in 1864, when hopelessly outnumbered Confederate forces tried to liberate it. Their failure shattered the Confederacy's last hope: Lee surrendered four months later.

The book combines brief background narratives with detailed battle accounts, all illustrated with photographs and many battle maps created for this project and not available elsewhere. Also included are a copy of the Union orders on the eve of the Battle of Nashville and a list of soldiers who won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Sections on the many important river battles (including the gunships that fought them) and on fort design and construction help fill out the technical aspects of 19th century warfare.

Because Nashville was the central supply and distribution center for Union forces operating in the western theater, river and rail transportation from and to Nashville is covered in detail. Giant personalities are here too, generals and colonels on both sides showing genius and ego, heroism, brilliance, incompetence and occasional cowardice.

This Guide is more than an ordinary history book, however. It includes a tour designed to peel back the present urban and suburban development to expose occupied and fortified Nashville and the battles for it.

Tourists and Civil War enthusiasts will find here the local details they need, with driving directions (and even GPS coordinates) to 25 hallowed sites. Some of them, such as the state capitol, four antebellum mansions and four churches that served as hospitals, still stand, open to the public, as do the three military cemeteries on the tour. Many of the fortifications, earthworks, redoubts and lunettes, however, all over south and southwest Nashville, are overgrown and inaccessible or obliterated under the current city. The tour guide leads to historical markers where some of them were, and to pieces of the larger forts, such as Fort Negley.

One of the book’s goals is to motivate civic spirit toward historic preservation. Compared to the huge national battlefield parks at Gettysburg and in Chattanooga, for example, there’s not much left in Nashville. Yet for three years the city was an occupied, treeless, fortified supply depot—and for a few days in December 1864, a large area of Nashville was a battlefield of frozen mud covered with bodies.

Ross Massey drew the battle maps to serve as an accompaniment to Zimmerman’s text. Both men are members of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and are enormously well informed.

Civil War Interactive (April 6, 2004)

If you're one of those who thought that all the Civil War sites in Nashville were gone, you need this book! Put out by the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, it's a first-rate look at what's still there to see, and there's plenty. Author Mark Zimmerman lists 19 places to visit, along with the stories behind them. Trying to understand the battle? Timelines, rarely seen photos, and excellent maps make it easy.

New Book Features Everything You Never Knew About Battle of Nashville

April 6, 2004--A book just released by the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society may bring about a revolution in the way historic-tourism fans look at one of the major scenes of the Civil War. Instead of just driving through the town on the way to Shiloh, Fort Donelson or Franklin, visitors will discover an entire day's worth of sites to be seen.

"A Guide to Civil War Nashville," by Mark Zimmerman, features a tour guide to no less than 25 sites most people assume were lost, destroyed or paved over decades ago.

The 50 mile driving tour, Zimmerman notes, will take the visitor through downtown, suburbs, rich neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods and commercial districts as well. The tour explores sites important to the period of Union occupation of the town as well as the climactic Battle of Nashville in late 1864. Numerous maps were created for this publication, which includes large numbers of period photographs, some never before published and others just stunningly obscure.

Nashville represented a sort of "perfect storm" in the military and logistical sense. Besides being located on the vital Cumberland River, it was also the hub of five railroads. Much of the battling that went on in middle Tennessee consisted of struggles over control of the railroads, with cavalry and guerilla bands alternately tearing up and repairing tracks.

The quantity of supplies which moved through the town, mostly on those railroads, is astounding. In less than a year, from November 1863 to August 1864, Zimmerman shows the following being transported:
--41,122 horses
--38,724 mules
--3,795 wagons
--290,000 blankets
--529,000 tents
--445,355 pairs of shoes, many of which would transport their wearers on William T. Sherman's "march to the sea." Additional millions of bushels of corn and oats, and tens of thousands of tons of hay, fed the horses and mules brought in.

The work includes more than statistics. A narrative tells the story of Nashville's occupants, military and civilian, black and white. Such details as the wording of paroles required of citizens are even included:

Parole of Honor:I solemnly swear, without any mental reservation or evasion, that I will not take up arms against the United States, or give aid or comfort, or furnish information directly or indirectly to any person or persons belonging to any of the so styled Confederate States, who are now or may be in rebellion against the Government of the United States, so help me God. It is understood that the violation of this parole is death.

Besides a history and tour guide, the book is intended to serve as a fundraising device for the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society (BONPS). The group has been instrumental in saving Nashville sites including Shy's Hill, Redoubt No. 1 and Kelley's Point.

The book can be ordered through the group's website at bonps.org. The group is a registered non-profit organization and amounts donated over and above the price of the book itself may be tax-deductible.

Author Mark Zimmerman is a resident of Nashville and in addition to BONPS is a member of Save the Franklin Battlefield Inc, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Tennessee Historical Society, and the Civil War Fortification Study Group.

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