Portal:Tennessee Article

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Introduction

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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 to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. 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.

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

Sequoyah.jpg

Sequoyah (about 1767 - about 1843), also known as George Guess, Guest or Gist, was a Cherokee who invented the Cherokee syllabary, thus earning him a place on the list of inventors of writing systems.

The exact place and date of Sequoyah's birth are unknown, since no written record exists. However, James Mooney, a prominent anthropologist and historian of the Cherokee people, quoted a cousin in saying that Sequoyah spent his early years with his mother in the Overhill Cherokee village of Tuskegee, Tennessee. His mother, Wut-teh, is known to have been a Cherokee. Mooney states that she was the niece of a tribal chief. Sequoyah's father was either white or part-white and part Native American.

Some time before 1809, Sequoyah moved to the Willstown settlement in Alabama and established his trade as a silversmith. As a silversmith, he dealt regularly with white settlers in the area. Native Americans were often impressed by the writing used by white settlers, referring to their correspondence as "talking leaves."

Around 1809, Sequoyah began to create a system of writing for the Cherokee language. After attempting to create a character for each word, Sequoyah decided to divide each word into syllables and create one character for each syllable. Utilizing the Roman alphabet and possibly the Cyrillic alphabet, he created 86 characters to represent the various syllables. This work took Sequoyah 12 years to complete.

At first, his fellow Cherokee doubted the value of his syllabary. In order to prove his creation, Sequoyah taught his daughter Ah-yo-ka how to read and write in Cherokee. After amazing locals with his new writing, Sequoyah attempted to display his feat to tribal medicine men who rebuffed him for being possessed by evil spirits. Sequoyah finally proved his feat to a gathering of Chickamaugan warriors. Quickly news of the syllabary spread and the Cherokee were filling schools in order to learn the new written language. By 1823 the syllabary was in full use by the Cherokee Nation. The writing system was made official by the Cherokee Nation in 1825. From 1828 to 1834 the language was used in the Cherokee Phoenix which represented the Cherokee Nation. It is still used today by many Cherokee speakers. ( Read more...)

Selected image

Crossvillesign clean edge.jpg

Highway directional sign in Crossville, photographed in 1937. It helped travelers find their way to other Tennessee cities and towns.
Image credit: Ben Shahn ( 1937)

Selected anniversaries in January

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