For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2008

Print News Release

 

Julie A. Oaks
TDOT, Public Information Officer
 Office: 615.741.2331
Mobile: 615.533.7105
Fax: 615.741.9093

 

Bredesen Announces Enhancement Grant for Battle of Davis Bridge Visitor Center

Nashville, Tenn. - Governor Phil Bredesen joined state and local leaders today to announce a transportation enhancement grant in the amount of $929,132 to the Tennessee Wars Commission for the Battle of Davis Bridge Visitor Center project in Hardeman and McNairy counties.

The grant funds will be used for the development of a tourist/welcome center in the historic Pocahontas School and the creation of 3.5 miles of interpretive pedestrian trails on the battlefield, including a foot bridge across the Hatchie River. 

“The Battle of Davis Bridge was the second largest Civil War Battle fought in Tennessee and an important reminder of the past,” said Governor Bredesen. “I’m pleased the state is able to support efforts to educate citizens and visitors on the important role Tennessee played in this pivotal part of our nation’s history.”

“Hardeman and McNairy counties are rich in history and heritage, but there are very few places open to visitors that wish to learn about that history,” said Representative Johnny Shaw. ” The Battle of Davis Bridge visitor center and pedestrian trails will provide Hardeman and McNairy counties with a new destination for history and heritage tourists.”

Senator John Wilder added, “The old Pocahontas School is a perfect setting to educate the traveling public on the Battle of Davis Bridge.  This project will help make the old school a vibrant part of this community again.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

“TDOT has funded more than $189 million in transportation related projects through our Enhancement Grant Program,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely.  “This program provides funds to cities, counties and state organizations to fund activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping, streetscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects.” 

The federal grant program was established by Congress in the early 1990’s to fund activities designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s transportation system.

"In addition to allowing us to create an extensive battlefield trail system, this grant will allow us to rehabilitate the historic Pocahontas Schoolhouse for use as a welcome and interpretive center for the Davis Bridge Battlefield site," said Fred Prouty, Director Programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission.  "We're thankful to be able to use this grant to help save such a historic structure and use it to share a piece of Tennessee's Civil War history.

The historic Pocahontas School, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, will be rehabilitated for use as a tourist/welcome center for the Civil War Battle of Davis Bridge.  The tourist/welcome center will house an interpretive area where visitors can learn about the Civil War Battle of Davis Bridge.  Approximately 3.5 miles of interpretive hard-surfaced pedestrian trails will allow visitors to walk from the Pocahontas-Ripley Road across the western portion of the battlefield and across the Hatchie River to the engagement area east of the river.  Twenty-two interpretive waysides along the trail will provide information on the battle.  The new trails include three new trailheads, each featuring interpretive three-panel kiosks that will orient the visitor to the battlefield and the events of the battle at that location.

The Battle of Davis Bridge took place on Octover 5, 1862 when Confederate troops retreating from their defeat at Corinth, Mississippi encountered the Union Army as they tried to cross the Hatchie River at Davis Bridge.  With the Union army on the west bank and the Confederates on the east bank, the two battled for control of Davis Bridge.  Eventually, the Union army forced the southerners to retreat and make an alternate river crossing.  The Battle of Davis Bridge was the second largest Civil War battle fought in Tennessee, second only to Shiloh.  The Davis Bridge Battlefield is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Siege and Battle of Corinth National Historic Landmark