(Graphic courtesy of

The American Civil War is often called the first truly "modern" war, because that conflict experienced the tremendous impact of drastic scientific and technological changes associated with the Industrial Revolution which flowered in America during the nineteenth century.  For a general discussion of the impact of the Industrial Revolution on nineteenth century warfare, please visit the Industrial Revolution and Warfare pages.

Tennessee, although primarily agriculturally-oriented and lagging somewhat behind more northerly states in technological/industrial development (along with other southern states), nevertheless had begun to embrace many aspects of the Industrial Revolution at the time of the Civil War.  Moreover, Tennessee's strategic location between the northern and southern states ensured that it would play a pivotal role in the military events of the Western Theater during the Civil War.  Thus, beyond the purely military aspects, Tennessee's Civil War experience includes many technological/industrial components that--along with their human impact--deserve our deeper interest and further exploration.



Tennessee's Civil War technological/industrial heritage involves a great variety of topics.  Although full development of this complicated story will require many years, at the outset of the NHACWTn project only the outlines of the overall story can be articulated, and are organized into the following table which provides links to information on the relevant topics.  The table emphasizes Tennessee technologies and industries influenced by the Industrial Revolution and associated with the Civil War--this listing is not exhaustive, and additional topics will be added as further information becomes available.

Railroads (pilot project)
River Vessels
Road Transport
Powder Mills
Cannon Foundries
Saber/Sword Manufacturers
Small Arms Manufacturers
 Extractive &
Iron Furnaces, Works & Forges
Copper Mines & Smelters
Saltpeter Caves & Works
Factories & Mills




Tennessee's Civil War technological/industrial heritage constitutes an important component of the state's (and the nation's) history.  This rich heritage, both technological and human in character, deserves preservation and interpretation for the enlightenment and understanding of current and future generations.  As with most heritage resources, the physical remnants of early technologies and industries grow increasingly scarce, so that it becomes vitally important to preserve the survivors which speak to the realities of the past.  For inventories of surviving technological/industrial resources, please refer to the appropriate thematic pages linked to the preceding table.  The following tables provide information relating to the preservation and interpretation of Tennessee's surviving Civil War technological/industrial resources.

 Technological and Industrial Preservation Considerations 
 Preservation Advisory Services of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation 
 Regulatory and Technical Preservation/Restoration Services

 Technological and Industrial Interpretation Considerations 
 Interpretive Advisory Services of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation 
Other Interpretation Resources



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Last update: December 7, 2000