Jefferson County Vacation • Experience True Tennessee - Find Out More: Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains next to Cherokee & Douglas Lakes. The county is rich in history & atmosphere.

East Tennessee Civil War Trails.

In November 1863, Confederate Gen. James Longstreet led a force from Chattanooga to attack Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s army at Knoxville. The campaign failed, and in December Longstreet’s men marched east along the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad to winter quarters at Russellville, where they remained until March 1864. Numerous small engagements between Longstreet’s and Burnside’s armies occurred during the winter.


Fighting for Food December 24th 1863
Hay’s Ferry once operated near here. The landscape you see now was quite different during the Civil War. Then, fields of corn grew along the banks of the French Broad River, now submerged beneath the waters of Douglas Lake. This corn, left on the stalk, was often all that stood between Confederate soldiers in East Tennessee and starvation during the winter of 1863. On the cold morning of December 24, hungry men from both sides began a battle near here that ended hours later, three miles away.


December 29th 1863


Download our PDF showing our other Civil War locations with details of the history and maps.