Government steamers on Tennessee River [National Archives, Still Picture Branch, NWDNS-111-B-7034]

Tennessee Civil War


Steam power was a major product of the Industrial Revolution, and among its earliest applications were steam-powered vessels that could efficiently traverse oceans, lakes, and rivers.   Steamboats revolutionized Tennessee's river transportation early in the nineteenth century, and by mid-century continued to play a vital role in the state's economy through interconnections with Tennessee railroads (another product of the Industrial Revolution, representing the application of steam power to land transportation).

Tennessee's strategic location between the northern and southern states, with its major rivers giving access to the state's interior, ensured that its river transportation system would play an important role in the Civil War.  River operations would heavily affect both the military and civilian experience of Tennesseans during the war years.

Antebellum Steamboating in Tennessee
River Ports of Tennessee
Shipyards of Tennessee
Types of River Vessels During the Civil War
Military River Actions Involving Warships
Confederate Warships in Tennessee
Federal Warships in Tennessee
  Military River Actions Related to Non-Combatant Vessels 
Civilian Impact of Civil War River Operations
Naval Impact Beyond Tennessee's Borders
River Transportation After the Civil War
Preserving Civil War River Transportation Remnants
Civil War River Transportation Bibliography
Civil War River Transportation Links


  Civil War Technology & Industry in Tennessee

Last update:  December 8, 2000