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Camp Trousdale

Camp Trousdale, in Portland, Sumner County, Tennessee, was an early staging and training area for Tennessee Confederate units during the American Civil War, used from June through November 1861.[1] A number of units of the Confederate Army of Tennessee trained in the camp before it was abandoned under pressure from the Union invasion of central Tennessee.

Camp Trousdale
Sumner County, Tennessee
Site history
Built 1861
In use June through November, 1861
Garrison information
Occupants Confederate States of America

Training campEdit

Camp Trousdale was a convenient site for training soldiers. The area had previously served as a station on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.[2] and was located in relatively close proximity to a major city, Nashville, Tennessee. It also had a temperate climate and was close to large open fields which were convenient for the training of volunteers who would later serve in the Army of Tennessee. Camp Trousdale and similar sites such as Camp Moore in Louisiana were often the places where raw volunteers received their first training in military drills, in the form of intense daily practice.[3]

Trousdale also served as a staging area for the military campaigns along the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Felix Zollicoffer, who was appointed commander of Camp Trousdale in July, 1861, used units from the camp to strengthen Confederate defenses near the Cumberland Gap. This campaign led to Zollicoffer's death when he mistakenly crossed into Union lines during a battle near Camp Springs, Kentucky in which the Confederate troops were pushed back into Tennessee.[4]

As with many military camps during the war, disease was a common problem. One of the units that used the camp early in its existence was the Third Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The regiment was moved to the camp in hopes that a change of venue would relieve an epidemic of measles and other diseases that had beset its soldiers. However, even after its move to the camp on July 16, 1861, the soldiers of the Third Tennessee suffered from a variety of illnesses. This prompted the construction of a military hospital, although the hospital was located in a tent rather than a more permanent building.[2] Archaeologists have speculated that the hospital site may provide modern researchers with a variety of artifacts related to the military, medicine, burials, and domestic life.[1]

Despite the vagaries of training, disease, and what one soldier described as "mighty tight rools"[3] (sic), the occupants of Camp Trousdale found time for recreation. One Tennessee soldier wrote that dances were a nightly event at the camp.[5]

The camp was abandoned in November 1861 due to the Union invasion of middle Tennessee.[6]

Confederate Units in trainingEdit

The following Tennessee Confederate Units trained at Camp Trousdale:[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Hardesty, Donald L.; Little, Barbara J. (2009). Assessing Site Significance: A Guide for Archaeologists and Historians. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-7591-1127-1. 
  2. ^ a b Schroeder-Lein, Glenna (1996). Confederate Hospitals on the Move: Samuel H. Stout and the Army of Tennessee. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-1-57003-155-7. 
  3. ^ a b Haughton, Andrew (2000). Training, Tactics, and Leadership in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Routledge. pp. 48–51. ISBN 978-0-7146-5032-6. 
  4. ^ Raab, James W. (2006). Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman. McFarland. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-7864-2460-3. 
  5. ^ Daniel, Larry J. (2003). Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee. UNC Press. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-0-8078-5552-2. 
  6. ^ Brandt, Robert (1995). Touring the Middle Tennessee Backroads. John F. Blair. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-89587-129-9.