This site is a Mississippian Cultural Site. It was occupied from around 1000 CE by a Late Woodland and then Early Mississippian peoples. The site was abandoned by 1450 CE. The area was included in the Shiloh National Military Park in 1890, protecting it from development as farmland or a wood lot. This makes it an unique site, with little to no disturbances.
The Battle of Shiloh, also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was the first major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, and it took place on April 6 and April 7, 1862. The Confederate forces were under the command of Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard while the Union Army was led by Major General Ulysses S. Grant. On the first day of the battle only part of Grants army was at Pittsburg Landing, and the Confederates attacked, hoping to defeat his forces before the rest of the army linked up with the main force. The Union Army held at at a sunken road throughout the day in an area to become known as "the Hornets' Nest," buying time for Buell's forces to arrive from Nashville. Confederate General Johnston was killed in the first day of fighting, and his second in command, Beauregard, decided to hold off the final attack until the next day at dawn. Overnight Union General Buell arrived to reinforce Grant, and when Beauregard attacked the next morning, Union numbers were stronger than expected. Grant counterattacked and defeated the now outnumbered Confederates. This was the bloodiest battle in the US up until its time, and it featured the largest artillery barrage ever to occur on the North American continent.
Shiloh Battlefield National Park is located about 10 miles from Savannah and is the area's top attraction. The park preserves nearly 4,000 acres of the site of the first major battle in the Western Theater of the Civil War. On the park grounds is Shiloh National Cemetery with the graves of 3,584 deceased Union soldiers and 2 dead Confederates. The Shiloh Indian Mounds is also located in the park near the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing. The battle was named after Shiloh Church, which was destroyed during the war, but a replica stands in its place. The battlefield has a nice visitors center despite the movie from the 1950s, and the driving tour is excellent. Admission to the park is $5 per car or family.
Pickwick Landing Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River that was built from 1935 to 1938 as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Pickwick dam is a few miles north of the point where the states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi meet. Tennessee State Highway 128 crosses the top of the dam. The dam is 113 feet (34 m) high and 7,715 feet (2,352 m) long, and has a hydroelectric generating capacity of 240,000 kilowatts. The dam has two 110 foot wide locks— one 1,000 feet long and the other 600 feet long.
Pickwick Lake consists of 43,100-acres of water surface area. It is famous among fisherman for small mouth bass and catfish. In the summer, the lake often is full of party boats and fishing boats.
The Cherry Mansion, constructed in 1830, is the oldest structure in Savannah. The huge white house sits on a high bluff overlooking the Tennessee River at the end of Savannah's Main Street. It is said the mansion was constructed by slaves using bricks made from mud of the Tennessee River banks.
During the Civil War, the owner was a Union supporter, and he allowed Union officers to use the house when they were in the area. Union General Ulysses S. Grant spent the night of 5-6 April 1862 in this house. When he awoke on the morning April 6, his breakfast was interrupted with the news that the battle to become known as Shiloh had begun just upriver at a town called Pittsburg Landing. He soon boarded the ship Tigress and steamed the nine miles upriver to command the Union forces on the battlefield.
During the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, Union General William H.L. Wallace fell mortally wounded. On April 7th he was transported to the Cherry mansion where his wife had recently arrived for a surprise visit. Despite the comforting from his wife, General Wallace died in the Cherry Mansion's library on the 10th of April.
The house contains a writing desk and a piano that were present during the Civil War.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
The Tennessee River runs 652 miles from Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, across northern Alabama, back through central Tennessee and into Kentucky before emptying into the Ohio River. From the 1930s to the 1960s the TVA built a series of nine dams along the length of the Tennessee River, as well as numerous dams on its tributaries, in order to generate electricity and create a transportation corridor through some impoverished areas of Appalachia. Today the TVA, a federally owned corporation, is America's largest public power company.
The Tennessee River runs through Hardin County alongside Savannah. The river provides locals recreation at Pickwick Lake, jobs at Pickwick Dam, and electricity from Pickwick dam. The river was also a key element in the nearby Battle of Shiloh, where Union forces were secretly reinforced overnight turning the tide of battle and ensuring a Union victory.
Darryl Worley, a popular country singer, was born and raised in the small town of Pyburn, Tennessee which is a few miles south of Savannah and just north of the Pickwick Dam of of State Route 128. Today Darryl continues to live in the this area, though I'm sure, in a much larger house. When driving through you will see the sign for "Darryl Worley Way." He also opened a restaurant in Savannah called the Worleybird Cafe.
Locals tell me Worley not only donates huge amounts of money to the community for things like improved medical care, he also has an annual fund raiser at Pickwick Lake, and he occasionally drops into some of the local bars, such as the Moose Lodge, to play a few sets.
While many of Worley's most popular songs are generally mainstream country music, he also has a number of songs that were influenced by Hardin County Tennessee. Some of these local songs include "Tennessee River Run," about partying in Pickwick Lake and "Shiloh," a song about the local Civil War Battlefield.
Crump is located just across the river from Savannah. This tiny town of only 1,521 people is most recognizable by its giant white cross at the entrance to town and the huge flea market along the main road through town.
The City of Savannah is one of 22 official Certified Mainstreet Communities in the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Main Street Program provides assistance to communities that wish to revitalize their downtown or central business district. In 2008 Tennessee had 22 certified Main Street programs in mostly small and mid-sized cities and towns across the state. Through guidance from the state along with lots of local volunteers, these 22 towns saw a net increase of 86 businesses, 158 renovated buildings, numerous public improvement projects, plus over 100 million dollars of investment in these downtown areas.
The Savannah Historic District contains some great examples of Southern architecture spread along a quiet two mile driving or walking route. The historic district contains 17 privately owned homes in the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival architectural styles, along with one commercial building. The architecture in the historical district spans the era from 1850 to 1950, and it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 then expanded in 1993.
The majority of the historic homes are on College street, just a block or two north of Main Street.
Tour brochures can be found at the Tennessee River Museum on Main Street.