Historic Civil War Sites Near Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is home to many Civil War sites and monuments
Nashville is home to many Civil War sites and monuments | © Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

From battlefields to sprawling plantations, Nashville is resplendent with a rich, vibrant history, as well as preserved sites and relics that still hold the countless stories of the American Civil War. Whether you want to wander the tranquil trails of the memorial parks or tour the plantation homes that became hospitals during some of the biggest battles of the war, Culture Trip’s local insiders share their tips on the best Civil War sites to visit when staying in Nashville.

Battle of Nashville Monument Park

Park
Map View
Battle of Nashville Monument
© David McGill / Alamy Stock Photo

This small park on the corner of Granny White Pike and Clifton Lane has two distinguishing features: a white granite-and-bronze monument and a towering oak tree. The Battle of Nashville Monument, also known as the Peace Monument, honors the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought during the Battle of Nashville, as well as American soldiers who fought in World War I. Next to the beautiful Italian-chiseled monument stands the Witness Tree, which bore witness to the violent battle in 1864. The park is open from dawn to dusk and is free to the public. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Battle of Franklin Civil War Museum

Museum
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Located just 20mi (32km) south of Nashville in the heart of historic downtown Franklin, the Battle of Franklin Civil War Museum is a must-see attraction for history buffs. Step back in time and discover one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War while touring pivotal war sites: the Carnton and Carter House. (The Lotz House is also nearby.) The museum offers classic guided tours every 30 minutes or so until 4pm, as well as extended tours, battlefield tours and slavery tours. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Battle of Hartsville

Historical Landmark
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Want to visit the site of the most victorious cavalry raid during the American Civil War? If so, visit Hartsville, only a one-hour drive from Nashville. Today, it offers beautiful rural views and scenic wonders; however, on December 7, 1862, it was also the site for the short, but violent Battle of Hartsville. A severe winter storm and a sneak attack helped the Confederates win this battle, and today, you can take a 17-stop driving tour, which includes visiting battle zones, war hospitals, homes and a cemetery. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Carnton

Museum, Historical Landmark
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McGavock Family Cemetery on the grounds of the historic Carnton Plantation, Franklin Tennessee USA
© Brian Jannsen / Alamy Stock Photo

This plantation with white columns and lush surroundings may seem peaceful today, but during the Civil War, this home was at the center of the Battle of Franklin (believed to be the bloodiest battles of the entire war). Before the war, this mayoral home was visited by revered Americans such as President Andrew Jackson, but during the conflict, it became the largest field hospital, treating hundreds of injured and dying Confederates. The floors of the home are still stained with the blood of soldiers, and today, you can take a 60-minute guided house tour of Carnton (admission is $18). Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

Shy’s Hill

Historical Landmark
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Shy’s Hill (known as Compton’s Hill during the war) was the site for the Battle of Nashville, which resulted in the Union’s victory during the Civil War on December 16, 1864. Today, it’s hard to imagine a battle ever taking place among the shops, homes and roads of now-suburban Nashville. If you’re looking to soak up some history and nature while in the city, Shy’s Hill offers travelers peaceful wooded walking trails, scenic views and commemorative plaques. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

Carter House

Historical Landmark
Map View
Cannon at the Carter House - site of bloody Civil War Battle of Franklin (Nov 30, 1864), Tennessee USA. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
© Brian Jannsen / Alamy Stock Photo

This historic home was, like Carnton, at the epicenter of the bloody Battle of Franklin. Today, you’ll see more than 1,000 bullet holes lining the walls of the house and property. Indeed, the farm office is the most bullet-laden building still in existence from the Civil War. Take a 60-minute guided tour of the house, which is offered daily (admission of $18), and then spend some time wandering the grounds on your own. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

These recommendations were updated on July 2, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.