Battle of Knoxville exhibit opens at McClung Museum

As Civil War battles go, the Battle of Knoxville wasn’t one of the big ones, but, not counting clashes in Chattanooga, it was the largest one in East Tennessee. The McClung Museum on the University of Tennessee campus is about to open a new permanent exhibit on what is known locally as the Battle of Fort Sanders.


Photo courtesy of McClung Museum

Fort Sanders, an earthen fort atop a hill overlooking the UT campus and the city of Knoxville, was occupied by Union forces when Confederate General Longstreet, fresh from being thrashed at Chattanooga, arrived in November of 1863 with hopes of retaking the city. The Union forces withstood his attack, however–it was all over in 20 minutes–and Knoxville stayed in Union hands for the rest of the war.

The exhibits include a three-dimensional map, uniforms, and various artifacts and weapons. A 30-minute film introduces the exhibit. More details are here.

Alas, there is nothing left of Fort Sanders, where the action took place, but Civil War aficianados can drive west to Confederate Memorial Hall, from which a Confederate sharpshooter dispatched Union General Sanders with one of the more incredible examples of marksmanship in the entire war. It’s no wonder that General Grant never wore a fancy uniform when commanding Union troops.

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