Portal:Tennessee

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Introduction

Flag of Tennessee.svg

Tennessee (/ˌtɛnəˈs/ (About this sound listen), locally /ˈtɛnəsi/; Cherokee: ᏔᎾᏏ, translit. Tanasi) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a population of 660,388. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which has a population of 652,717.

The state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians. What is now Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Occupied by Union forces from 1862, it was the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war.

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Selected article

Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, the highest ranking officer of either side to die at Shiloh

The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the Union Army of Major General Ulysses S. Grant and came very close to defeating his army.

On the first day of battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the Tennessee River and into the swamps to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with Major General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back in the direction of Pittsburg Landing to the northeast. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of Brigadier Generals Benjamin M. Prentiss's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions, provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. General Johnston was killed during the first day's fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.

Reinforcements from General Buell arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when Buell and Grant launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat, ending their hopes that they could block the Union invasion of northern Mississippi.

The two-day battle was the bloodiest in U.S. history up to that time. Union casualties were 13,047 (1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded, and 2,885 missing). Confederate casualties were 10,699 (1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded, and 959 missing or captured). Both sides were shocked at the carnage.

The battlefield is now part of the Shiloh National Military Park. (Read more...)

Selected biography

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James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the eleventh President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, but mostly lived in and represented the state of Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as Speaker of the House (1835–1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841) prior to becoming president.

A firm supporter of Andrew Jackson, Polk was the last "strong" pre-Civil War president. He is noted for his foreign policy successes, particularly the successful Mexican–American War. Also, he threatened war with Britain, then backed away and split the ownership of the Pacific Northwest with Britain. He lowered the tariff and established a treasury system that lasted until 1913. A "dark horse" candidate in 1844, he was the first president to retire after one term without seeking re-election. He died three months after his term ended.

As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or "Manifest Destiny"), Polk was responsible for the largest expansion of the nation's territory, exceeding the Louisiana Purchase in total area. He secured the Oregon Territory (including Washington, Oregon and Idaho), then purchased 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million km²) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican–American War. In the end, Polk completed the acquisition of most of the current contiguous 48 states.

The expansion re-opened a furious debate over allowing slavery in the new territories. The controversy was inadequately arbitrated by the Compromise of 1850, and only found its ultimate resolution in the Civil War. (Read more...)

Selected picture

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Downtown Murfreesboro. The center of population of Tennessee is located in Murfreesboro.
Image credit: Pollinator (2006)

Selected anniversaries in July

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