Sweetwater Depot
Trails sign 305 Main St, Sweetwater TN 37874
 Road map 
This was an important transportation center during the war thanks to the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad that ran through town beginning in 1852. Military control over the railroad seesawed from one side to the other during September 1863 as armies maneuvered for control of Knoxville and Chattanooga. Confederate Gen. James Longstreet used the town and the railroad as a staging area for his campaign against Knoxville.
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The Great Craighead Cave
Trails sign 140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater TN 37874
Road map
This cave was rich in saltpeter, or niter, which was a key ingredient of gunpowder, obviously a much-needed commodity during the war. Contracts here required 250,000 pounds of the substance to be delivered to the Confederate powder works in Augusta, Ga., in 1862. But production never came close to that amount. The approach of Federal troops caused the works to be shut down in the fall of 1863.
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War Comes to Madisonville
Trails sign
103 College St, Madisonville TN 37354
 Road map 
This town was divided in its loyalties, as were many others in the area. Madisonville was occupied by both sides during the war and citizens turned out in support of one side or the other each time. Union troops destroyed the courthouse and damaged the jail in 1864. A monument to troops serving on both sides was erected in the courthouse square following the war.
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Coker Creek "Caught In The Middle"
Trails sign
12197 New Highway 68, Tellico Plains, TN 37385
 Road map 
[In the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains] the warfare between scattering bodies of irregular troops is conducted on both sides without any regard whatever to the rules of civilized war or the dictates of humanity. The murder of prisoners and non-combatants in cold blood has … become quite common [as well as] almost every other horror incident to brutal and unrestrained soldiery.” — N.C. Gov. Zebulon B. Vance
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Monroe County, TN CIVIL WAR TRAILS

One look at a map should tell you how important Tennessee was during the Civil War. The state lay like a protective blanket over the Deep South. Any invasion of Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi certainly would have to come through Tennessee.

The new Tennessee Civil War Trails Program has begun with installation of interpretive signs in the Franklin area and in Blountville. More than a dozen signs in Columbia and Franklin outline a critical phase of Confederate Gen. John B. Hood's 1864 campaign to regain control of the state. In September 2009, 18 new sites were added in the following counties: Loudon, Monroe, Cumberland, Sumner, Montgomery, Dickson, and Claiborne.