Between Two Wars:
The Great Smoky Mountains
Battles for Freedom in East Tennessee
and South Carolina
April 27-May 4, 2013
Historian Guide: Neil Mangum
The rugged vastness and dense forests of the Great Smoky Mountains rise along the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. This majestic mountain range offers more than just beautiful scenery — it's the blend of breathtaking grandeur with the memory of early struggles.
During the American Revolution, when settlements had scarcely breached areas west of the Appalachians, battles were fought generally east of the Smoky Mountains. British strategy was to capture territory with regular forces and then train local militia to hold the territory. While the plan met with some success in the colony of Georgia, in South Carolina British authorities failed to take into account the determination of patriot resistance. Clashes at Kings Mountain and Cowpens and the Siege of Ninety-Six helped the underdog Americans' cause for independence.
During the Civil War the Smoky Mountains formed a natural barrier to the movement of large standing armies. Confederate forces had to send troops and supplies along the southern seaboard to reach East Tennessee by rail or along lines connecting western Virginia with the region. Union forces, using the Tennessee River, found easier access. The North considered Chattanooga the gateway to the Deep South and fought pivotal battles at Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain.
Visit battle sites and absorb all aspects of Appalachian culture on this journey into America's past. With veteran historian guide Neil Mangum, you will gain new insights into a place that had a significant role in shaping two wars.
8 Days / 7 Nights
Cost: $2,850 Single Occupancy, $2,475 Double Occupancy
Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.
Saturday, April 27
Gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Neil Mangum and HistoryAmerica TOURS.
Sunday, April 28
We begin the tour with the 1863 siege of Knoxville and General James Longstreet's assault on Fort Sanders. Journey northeast in the footsteps of the Confederate retreat and engagements at Campbell's and Bean Station. Visit Davy Crockett's birthplace and Andrew Johnson's home, and also see where Confederate raider General John H. Morgan was killed. We take a look at the little-known and short-lived state of Franklin and then return to Knoxville.
Monday, April 29
The Battle of Chickamauga dominates today's activities. The biggest battle ever fought in Georgia, it took place on September 18-20, 1863. With 34,000 casualties, it was the second bloodiest engagement of the war; only the Battle of Gettysburg, with 51,000 casualties, was deadlier. Overnight in Chattanooga.
Tuesday, April 30
The follow-up to Chickamauga is the Battle of Lookout Mountain, the November 1863 engagement that resulted in the Union driving the Confederates out of Tennessee and into Georgia. Overnight in Knoxville.
Wednesday, May 1
Today's feature is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we make a stop at Cades Cove to learn about the mountain culture of the Appalachians. Final stop is in North Carolina at the home of poet Carl Sandburg. Among his many honors was a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. Overnight in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Thursday, May 2
We focus today on the American Revolution and the battlefields in South Carolina. The Siege at Ninety-Six is our first stop, followed by a series of halts at battlefields at Musgrove's Mill, Blackstocks, and Williamson's Plantation. Overnight in Spartanburg.
Friday, May 3
Today we study the two crucial battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens. At Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780, the Patriot militia defeated the Loyalists commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson. This battle was fought by 1,000-plus militiamen without orders, formal military training, uniforms or provisions, and with no promise of pay. The victory is credited with having changed the course of the Revolution in the South.
On January 17, 1781, the Americans won a decisive battle at Cowpens against the better-trained British Army. Over in less than an hour, this victory gave the Patriots the incentive needed to continue fighting and win the Revolution just nine months later. We return over the Smoky Mountains to Knoxville and our farewell dinner.
Saturday, May 4
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.