- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Researchers at the University of Tennessee are planning to search school property for any remnants of the Civil War.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Bhby4z) reports crews plan to begin work this fall on the imitative, which is being paid for with a $45,130 grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

Researchers will be looking for any remaining signs of forts, batteries and trenches that helped Union forces defeat Confederate soldiers in 1863.

They will use Civil War-era maps, photos and other historic document in addition to exploring the property and using digital mapping and radar.

“We’re going to be taking maps and trying to recover the historic landscape,” said Kandi Hollenbach, interim director of UT’s Archaeological Research Laboratory, who will oversee the effort. “The popular image of the Battle of Fort Sanders is that there’s nothing left. We’re hoping there are still some good pieces of the story to be found. It may be covered over or built on top of but not necessarily destroyed.”

The idea for the project stems from a construction project in 2009 that uncovered cannon emplacements and trenches filled with relics that were mostly in good shape.

“You could actually still see the impressions from wheel ruts and the staggered fire pits,” Hollenbach said. “That it was still there and in that good a state of preservation is amazing. We think these trenches ran across the campus. Some of it may still be as well-preserved in other places, just under the grass or just under the pavement. We’re trying to get a best guess of where those intact portions might be.”

Confederate soldiers tried to take the city in November 1863, but Union forces held them off from 16 earthen forts and batteries around the city. Many were on or around UT’s campus. The most famous was Fort Sanders.

“We’re not going to be looking for the fort itself,” Hollenbach said. “Most of Fort Sanders is on private property, so we’re going to be concentrating on UT property on both sides of the river.”

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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