Almost 20 years ago, I submitted Fort Negley to the Civil War Preservation Trust as one of this most endangered sites in the United States. It was selected #1. The Purcell administration had an immediate response to resuscitate the moth-balled city park. In December 2004 it reopened after 60 years.
Jim Lighthizer (still President of the Civil War Trust) flew to the press conference in Nashville. He praised the city, and those of us active in the preservation effort. It’s ironic that he chastised the Franklin and Murfreesboro municipalities for not doing more to save their hallowed battlefields. His quote, I remember, was “get into politics, or get out of preservation”.
Ironic, at least in Franklin, people listened. 20 years later, I can count at least 5 tracts of commercial property that have been reclaimed, cleared and turned back into core battlefield grassland.
I remember attending the victory party for Bill Purcell in 1999. We had met at a Greenways fundraiser when he was running for office. After moving back to Nashville from Denver, Colorado I wondered how long it would take Nashville to catch up with the Greenways network that city had developed.
Mayors Bill Purcell and Karl Dean can take credit for many miles of true green space and green ways. This is not the time to reverse this course, and even more abhorrent, is the desecration of this extremely important part of African American history. Hundreds died at Fort Negley in the service to this country!
I thought this city had matured beyond the power of property development influence. Shame on you that do nothing to stop this.
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything” – Albert Einstein.
Besides the tourism/historic value of this American Civil War icon, why is the city wanting to decrease public green space downtown? There is too little of it now. This 31 acre parcel has been in the public park inventory since the 1920’s. Over half of it is proposed for commercial development by the Metro Council. That could be around 18 acres of public downtown Green Space. As downtown explodes in development, we need more, not less, open space.
Cannibalizing an existing park for a revenue stream, sets a dangerous precedent for Nashville City Parks.
Fort Negley is the largest Civil War stone fort (inland)
Few Civil War sites remain in Nashville
African American Contraband Camps were located here
A former cemetery of over 11,000 Union soldiers – some of which could still be there
“What followed over the next twelve days would be one of the most spellbinding and tragic episodes in American military history, as hunters and hunted left bloody footprints on the bayonet-sharp ice for more than 100 miles. Grizzled Confederates who survived claimed, it was worse than the patriots’ sufferings at Valley Forge. One general wrote ‘that it was a most painful march, characterized by more suffering than had ever before, been my misfortune to witness.’ ”
Sugar Creek was the last battle* of the Confederate Army of Tennessee – in Tennessee. It was fought on the Giles and Lawrence county line, near the Tennessee, Alabama border in late 1864. For ten bitter December days, and over one hundred miles, Lt. General Forrest defended Hood’s vanquished army, in a sequence of valiant rear-guard delaying actions, following the crushing rout at Nashville. From Brentwood, to Sugar Creek, Tennessee, these final desperate maneuvers, enabled the war-weary Confederates to break out, over the Tennessee River into Alabama. But the game would soon be up. The South would capitulate a few months later, ending the long bloody war between the States.
*the Battle of Bentonville, NC was the last battle of the Army of Tennessee before the Army was surrendered by Gen. Joseph is E. Johnston at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina.
“Just before 8 A.M. on a cold winter morning, U.S. Gen. James H. Wilson’s cavalry corps advanced slowly through a thick fog. Forrest had stationed two brigades under Gen. Edward C. Walthall about 200 yards south of the creek’s main ford behind rock-and-log breastworks”… read more
The core battlefield of this last stand, is about 3 miles northwest of the Highway 11 bridge crossing at Sugar Creek. The battlefield is on private property, but can be viewed from several street views. The closest public perspective is on Puncheon Branch Road. PLEASE RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY HERE. This is not a public park.
This virtual tour is the final leg of that 100 mile battle. Tour points include the following historical Civil War sites in southern Giles & Lawrence County, Tennessee:
“Thomas H. Noblit (1812-1899), who served the community as justice of the peace, doctor, merchant, and farmer, built this log dogtrot farmhouse in the 1840s. The Civil War battle at Sugar Creek occurred nearby in December 1864. In the 1890s, his son-in-law, William Franklin “Will” Lytle (1858-1942), renovated the house in the Queen Anne style. Will’s daughter, Mary Will Lytle (1897-1990), was among Tennessee’s first women dentists.”
NOTE: The historical marker for this site disappeared around 2014, as well as the Sugar Creek marker a few miles away.
Take a 360 degree virtual tour of the battlefield land below:
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The Big Red Store
440 Appleton Road, Five Points, TN 38457
The Big Red Store in Appleton, Tennessee is said to be the largest historic rural General Store in the country. It host’s several events during the year, including one on the 4th of July, and the anniversary of the Battle of Sugar Creek, each December 26th.
The event center is open by appointment only, and on special occasions. Contact Linda Boyd for details at (931) 556-2023. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated to help with restoration and upkeep of the building.