Continuing on with the road trip that I took from Boston to Nashville, and back, this month for a conference! Starting from the beginning…..
After leaving behind the history of Virginia, I continued southwest toward Knoxville for another overnight en route to Nashville.
Another long drive, but I discovered that driving through the Shenadoah Valley region on a day with picture-perfect weather just can’t be beaten. And a good night’s rest afterwards left me ready for the final leg of my journey. But first I had a couple of stops to investigate in Knoxville.
I started out at Knoxville National Cemetery. It was established in 1863 during the Civil War, to bury Union soldiers, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. It contains casualties from the battle of Fort Sanders and the East Tennessee Campaign, including Union General Joseph Cooper.
The lighting was lovely, and I loved the shadows cast by the headstones on the ground. I’m always fascinated by history, and cemeteries are a wonderful way to connect with the past. There’s also something very powerful about being in a military cemetery where the majority of graves are identical. It somehow highlights the enormity of losses moreso for me than when I scan a cemetery of vastly different graves.
And you can’t miss the 60 foot Union Soldier Monument in one corner of the cemetery – one of the largest Union monuments in the southern states, completed in 1901. When I first arrived, it was still quite early and the sun was relatively low in the sky, so I caught it in wonderful light. Such a beautiful monument, and beautiful resting place.
Next stop was Fort Dickerson in the town. Knoxville’s role in the Civil War was kind of interesting – it ended up being a key city in the middle of a contentious area that was well known for divided loyalties. Most of the area was anti-secession, siding with the Union cause, and making Confederate military control very tenuous.
Fort Dickerson is now part of a city park in the town, but was one of the Union forts built to protect the southern approaches to Knoxville. Confederates under General Joseph Wheeler attacked it November 15-16, 1864, but were turned back. The city is doing a great job in preserving what remains of the site.
Across from the site you also get to experience great views of Knoxville and the Tennessee River.
So another lovely, sunny start to my day, and perfect blue skies for photography as well as driving.
On to my final destination of Nashville next.