Athens in McMinn County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Pushing Toward Knoxville
Union Armies on the Move
At Niota (Exit 56), his men converted the brick depot (the state's oldest, constructed 1854) into a temporary fort. They removed bricks at shoulder height to fashion gun ports and scribbled their names—still visible—on the walls in the baggage area.
They also guarded Sweetwater (Exit 60). The nearby Great Craighead Cave, now called Lost Sea Cave, served as a saltpeter mine for the Confederate gunpowder industry from 1861 until the Federals arrived in 1863. Charles W. Hicks later wrote that he and others "camped there and worked faithfully for two years and a half until the Federal soldier came to Sweetwater...when he tore down our works and scattered to our homes."
Union Col. Frank L. Wolford commanded a garrison at Philadephia (Exit 68) to protect the tracks there. On October 20, 1863, Confederate forces under Gen. George G. Dibrell and Col. J. J. Morrison overran the position, captured six mountain howitzers, and achieved the first Confederate victory of the Knoxville Campaign.
Erected 2014 by Tennessee Civil War
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 25.595′ N, 84° 41.261′ W. Marker is in Athens, Tennessee, in McMinn County. Marker is on Interstate 75N 3 miles north of Riceville Decatur Road (Tennessee Route 39), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located at the McMinn County Rest Area. Marker is in this post office area: Athens TN 37303, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Road to Chattanooga (approx. ¼ mile away); First United Presbyterian Church (approx. 5.3 miles away); Battle of Athens (approx. 5.4 miles away); Samuel Cleage (approx. 5.4 miles away); Tennessee Wesleyan College (approx. 5.4 miles away); The Nocatula Legend (approx. 5½ miles away); Petty-Manker Hall (approx. 5½ miles away); John Tyler Morgan (approx. 6.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 26, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 26, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.