State History
Learn about the history of Tennessee and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across Tennessee. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of Tennessee fun and educational.
Things to See & Do in Tennessee
Stones River National Battlefield
A fierce battle took place at Stones River between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. General Bragg's Confederates withdrew after the battle, allowing General Rosecrans and the Union army to control middle Tennessee. Although the battle was tactically indecisive, it provided a much-needed boost to the North after the defeat at Fredericksburg. Lincoln later wrote to General Rosecrans, "I can never forget [...] you gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over." The 600-acre National Battlefield includes Stones River National Cemetery, established in 1865, with more than 6,000 Union graves; and the Hazen Brigade Monument, believed to be the oldest, intact Civil War monument still standing in its original location. Portions of Fortress Rosecrans, a large earthen fort constructed after the battle, still stand and are preserved and interpreted by the National Park Service.
Shiloh National Cemetery
In July 1862, Congress passed legislation giving the President of the United States the authority to purchase land for the establishment of cemeteries "for the soldiers who shall die in the service of their country." This legislation effectively began the National Cemetery system. Shiloh National Cemetery was established in 1866 and has more than 3,500 Union graves. In 1933 responsibility of the cemetery was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service.
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Unconditional Surrender of Fort Donelson created jubilation throughout the North and silence in Dixie. It was the North’s first major victory of the Civil War, opening the way into the very heart of the Confederacy. Fort Donelson National Battlefield preserves the site of this battle.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in today’s central Tennessee. Over the centuries, the Choctaw, Chickasaw and other American Indians left their marks on the Trace. The Natchez Trace experienced its heaviest use from 1785 to 1820 by the “Kaintuck” boatmen that floated the Ohio and Miss. Rivers to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. They sold their cargo and boats and began the trek back north on foot to Nashville and points beyond. Today, visitors can experience this All-American Road through hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. The Natchez Trace Parkway occupies areas in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennesee.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site honors the life and work of the nation's 17th President and preserves his two homes, tailor shop, and grave site. Andrew Johnson's life exemplifies many struggles faced by Americans today. He worked his way from tailor to President. He stood strong for his ideals and beliefs. His presidency, from 1865 - 1869, illustrates the United States Constitution at work following Lincoln's assassination and during attempts to reunify a nation that had been torn by civil war. His work helped shape the future of the United States and his influences continue today.
Shiloh National Military Park
Shiloh National Military Park was established in 1894 to preserve the scene of the first major battle in the Western theater of the Civil War. The two-day battle, April 6 and 7, 1862, involved about 65,000 Union and 44,000 Confederate troops. This battle resulted in nearly 24,000 killed, wounded, and missing. It proved to be a decisive victory for the federal forces when they advanced on and seized control of the Confederate railway system at Corinth, Mississippi. The battlefield contains about 4,000 acres and has within its boundaries the Shiloh National Cemetery along with the well preserved prehistoric Indian mounds that are listed as a historic landmark. The park is located in Hardin County, on the west bank of the Tennessee River, and about nine miles south of Savannah, Tennessee.
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT) commemorates the campaign leading to the battle of Kings Mountain by following the Revolutionary War route of Patriot militia men from Virginia, today's eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina to the battle site at Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. Although the Trail is still being fully developed visitors may access approximately 30 miles of the route at various points along the 330 mile long corridor. A parallel Commemorative Motor Route may also be driven. The Motor Route uses existing state highways and, in some stretches, actually travels over the old historic roadway.
Stones River National Cemetery
In July 1862, Congress passed legislation giving the President of the United States the authority to purchase land for the establishment of cemeteries "for the soldiers who shall die in the service of their country." This legislation effectively began the National Cemetery system. Located in Murfreesboro, Stones River National Cemetery was established in 1865 and has more than 6,000 Union graves. In 1933 responsibility of the cemetery was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Throughout the ages, poets, songwriters, novelists, journal writers, historians and artists have captured the grandeur of the Cumberland Gap. Thanks to the vision of Congress, who in 1940 authorized Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, visitors today can still bask in its beauty and immerse themselves in its rich history. The story of the first doorway to the west is commemorated at the national park, located where the borders of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia meet. Carved by wind and water, Cumberland Gap forms a major break in the formidable Appalachian Mountain chain. First used by large game animals in their migratory journeys, followed by Native Americans, the Cumberland Gap was the first and best avenue for the settlement of the interior of this nation. From 1775 to 1810, the Gap's heyday, between 200,000 and 300,000 men, women, and children from all walks of life, crossed the Gap into "Kentuckee."
Teaching Tips & Ideas
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
Featured Resources

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Morning by Morning : How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League
Home schooling has long been regarded as a last resort, particularly by African-American families. But in this inspirational and practical memoir, Paula Penn-Nabrit shares her intimate experiences of home-schooling her three sons, Charles, Damon, and Evan. Paula and her husband, C. Madison, decided to home-school their children after racial incidents at public and private schools led them to the conclusion that the traditional educational system would be damaging to their sons’ self-esteem...
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start
An increasing number of parents are turning to homeschooling. This guide helps those parents to determine what are the best first steps to take, how to define your educational philosophy, and the best approach for your children. Included is a discussion of how to choose curriculum, assess progress, and stay within the legalities of your state. 
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports invol...
Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences in Learning and Behaviour
First Published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Life in America
Life in America was designed by home schooling parents to meet the needs of families. Features unit studies in a box, with all resource material supplied.