The rivers and rails in Tennessee became lifelines for moving men and supplies during the Civil War.
Tennessee prospered in the mid 19th century in large part as a result of the easy transportation the rivers and railways provided. However in 1861, those same rivers and rails that had transported prosperity to Tennessee and the South became lifelines for moving men, ammunition and supplies in a war that split the nation. Ultimately whoever controls the rivers and the rails in the Civil War wins the war. This explains why most of the battles in Tennessee took place near the state's rivers and railways. As a military strategy, it is straightforward and simple. But controlling the rivers and rails in the Civil War goes outside the lines of battles to bring malice and misery to ordinary people who just want to live in peace.