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Mayor, officials commemorate Civil War earthen fort site

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 2, 2017) — This afternoon, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, along with members of the County’s Parks and Recreation Department, local leaders and historians, commemorated a Civil War earthen encampment along the Third Creek Greenway.

The site, called a “redan,” was discovered by local archaeologist and former UT professor Charlie Faulkner, but the County only in recent years was able to acquire the property. 

“Knox County has a rich Civil War history and we don’t have to look far to see it in our community,” said Mayor Burchett. “By preserving and commemorating this site, families will be able to enjoy visiting this location and learning about its historical significance for years to come.”

During the event, officials unveiled a bench and plaque at the 19th Century site that historians say was likely built by African-American Union soldiers to protect a nearby wooden railroad from sabotage.

“Although these encampments were built along the railroads in a lot of places, this is one of the only ones left in East Tennessee – they’re gone – plowed away, eroded away,” said Faulkner, who taught anthropology at the university for 41 years before retiring in 2005. “This is one of the best ones I’ve seen in terms of preservation. Three quarters of it is pristine.”

Faulkner discovered the Third Creek Redan – an earthen fort that includes a defensive ditch –about 10 years ago while walking the greenway.

“Just the way it’s laid out you can see where the cannon emplacement is,” Faulkner said. “If you stand in front of it you’ll see it is aimed right at the (Norfolk Southern Railroad) bridge.”

Faulker said scholars and local Civil War experts, who surveyed and tested the horseshoe-shaped site, believe it was built in 1863 by the Union army which controlled East Tennessee from the fall of that year until the end of the conflict in 1865.

For a Google map link to the location of the redan, click here: https://goo.gl/maps/p3P4mKLHJNy

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