Tullahoma, Tennessee

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Tullahoma is a city in Coffee and Franklin counties in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The population was 17,994 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Tullahoma micropolitan area, which consists of Coffee, Franklin, and Moore counties and is the second largest micropolitan area in Tennessee after the Cookeville micropolitan area. It is home to Geeks Etc., Tennessee's largest video game store.



Tullahoma was founded in 1852 as a work camp along the new Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Its name is derived from the Choctaw language, and means "red rock." An alternative explanation (see Sam Davis Elliott's Soldier of Tennessee and sources cited therein) of the name is that Peter Decherd, who donated the land for the railroad right-of-way (and was therefore given the right to name two stations along the line), named one station Decherd, and the other Tulkahoma (later corrupted to Tullahoma). Tulkahoma was the name of Decherd's favorite horse, which was itself named for an Indian chief his grandfather had captured. Tullahoma shares its name with Tullahoma, Mississippi which was later changed to Grenada, MS. Grenada, MS was also founded as a railroad town.

Prior to Tullahoma or the railroad, the area was settled by farmers. These farmers came mostly from Virginia and North Carolina. Early settlers were Moore, Deckerd, Anderson, Ragon, Montgomery, Ferrell, Stephenson, and Gunn. A spring known to the first settlers as Bottle Spring, and later as John Gunn's Spring is today Big Springs. This spring provided water for the steam locomotives[Historical & Biographical Sketches of Coffee County, TN].

In April 1861, Company B, 1st Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers formed Peter Turney's division in Tullahoma. The division joined Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The division fought in the battles of Bull Run, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and surrendered to U.S. Grant at Appomattox. The town became highly significant during the Civil War, and served as the headquarters for the Confederate Army of Tennessee in 1863. The campaign of that year, which ultimately delivered control of Middle Tennessee to the Union and led to the eventual capture of Chattanooga, is known as the Tullahoma Campaign.

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