Civil War

The innovation of the cotton gin saw the fertile Tennessee Valley become a regional leader in the cotton trade.

At the start of the Civil War, the Tennessee River Valley, and by extension Tuscumbia Landing, were at the center of the inland cotton trade. Multiple times prior to the war, Congress targeted the region for economic development due to its importance, specifically including Tuscumbia Landing as a vital port of trade due to its position on the TC&D Railroad. The Tennessee River was the main transportation route for the exportation of northwest Alabamian goods, as well as for most of the region spanning from the Appalachian Mountains to western Mississippi.


Both Union and Confederate forces wanted to control the river – a massive advantage. To the Confederacy, the river and railroads surrounding it were necessary to continue exporting trade goods to fund the war effort. The river was just as integral to the Confederate army for continual restock of foods and equipment. To the Union, control of the river and the railroads was not only a way to cut off vital trade, but also a way to infiltrate deep within Southern territory. 

Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, famous engineer and intelligence expert. He would later aid in the development of the transcontinental railroad.

During the war, specifically in 1862 and 1863, Tuscumbia Landing was subject to Union raids. First damaged in 1862 by the notorious Col. Ivan Turchin, and later destroyed by Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, it never again was used in trade to or from the region. The Port of Florence subsequently grew to be the largest port as it was still intact after the war and so Tuscumbia Landing was never rebuilt. A new port was built on the south side bank further up river near where Sheffield would be established.

USS Tuscumbia, although she never saw service near the Shoals, she did participate heavily in the Siege of Vicksburg.