Civil War Battle of Johnsonville Being Remembered

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Johnsonville. To commemorate the historic event, Johnsonville State Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park will host several events in October and November. 

The 150th anniversary kicked off earlier this month with a Civil War quilt show at Johnsonville, which will be on display through December 31 at the park’s welcome center. All quilts feature traditional patterns that existed during the Civil War.

A special Halloween night program, “Halloween: 1864,” will be held at Johnsonville Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. The free program will feature Civil War Halloween traditions. Johnsonville and Nathan Bedford Forrest will host also free school day events on Oct. 31.

The “Free at Last! Emancipation and Reconstruction in Tennessee” traveling history exhibit will be on display at Johnsonville through Dec. 31. The exhibit provides an introduction to the joys and challenges shared by African Americans during the aftermath of slavery.

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, the actual date of the Battle of Johnsonville, there will be an 11 a.m. commemoration ceremony and a 1 p.m. walking tour at Johnsonville. The tour will include visits to many of the original Union defenses that saw action during the Battle of Johnsonville 150 years to the day.

All activities are free and will include special living history demonstrations that will take place at both parks with Union programs scheduled for Johnsonville and Confederate programs scheduled for Nathan Bedford. Programs are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1 and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2. Each park will feature artillery firing demonstrations, infantry drill, cavalry demonstrations and period civilian activities.

The Battle of Johnsonville occurred on Nov. 4, 1864, when troops led by Nathan Bedford Forrest attached the Union supply base at Johnsonville. The Battle of Johnsonville is the only historical event in the country to have two state parks dedicated to its remembrance.

Event sponsors for the 150th Battle of Johnsonville Anniversary Commemorative Living History Event include Bank of Camden, Benton County Tennessee River Resort District, Betsy Ross Foundation, Inc., Birdsong Marina, City of New Johnsonville, First Bank of Waverly, Friends of Johnsonville State Historic Park, Friends of Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, Humphreys County Commission, Humphreys County Chamber of Commerce, Humphreys County Tourism, Pebble Isle Marina,  Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee Department of Tourism and White Oak Women's Exchange.

Located off U.S. Highway 70, Johnsonville State Historic Park is named for Military Governor Andrew Johnson. This 600-acre park, on the eastern side of Kentucky Lake, encompasses and overlooks the site of the Battle of Johnsonville. Two large artillery redoubts and other surviving fortifications can be visited at the park.  For more information, visit

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park sits on the banks of Kentucky Lake, and is a popular spot for boating, water skiing and fishing.  There are more than 30 hiking trails in the park, as well as camping, picnic areas and cabins.  The park also features Pilot Knob, the highest elevation in West Tennessee, which houses the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center. For more information, visit

Tennessee’s 55 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. There is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, offering a variety of recreational, lodging and dining choices. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, visit or connect via Facebook or Twitter.

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