Civil War (American Countess, Chattanooga to Memphis)
8 days with American Queen Steamboat Rating: Deluxe
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Enjoy free shore excursions on every sailing. Click here for eligible departures.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Chattanooga, TN
Departure 5:00 PM
Enjoy Chattanooga at your leisure or consider a pre-cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the American Countess.
Day 2: Leisurely River Cruising
There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Library adorned with bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of serenity. Our fitness facility, Card Room and Grand Lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.
Day 3: Decatur, AL
Nestled in the Tennessee River Valley, the city of Decatur boasts a rich and colorful history. Originally a river crossing for settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains, the town became known as Decatur in 1820. Settlers were drawn to the community at this time by its fertile river valley soil and relatively easy river access to other cities. Enjoy this charming Tennessee River town and all of the amenities it has to offer!
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Completed in September of 1904, the Carnegie Library of Decatur was one of 2,509 libraries built by the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Decatur’s Carnegie Library is an example of one of the classic Carnegie buildings. For nearly 70 years, Decatur’s public library was housed in this facility. When the main library outgrew the facility, the Carnegie became the children’s library. Now, located in the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center shares some of the most unique and impressive art pieces with the public.
Old State Bank Building
Completed in 1833, the building originally housed the Tennessee Valley branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama. The bank survived the destruction of Decatur during the Civil War, along with many other events of destruction through the city’s history. The Old State Bank introduced a new look and influenced building style in Alabama until the Civil War.
Blue and Gray Museum
Believed to be the largest privately-owned collection of Civil War artifacts within the country. The whole collection is owned by one man. This museum holds one of the largest private collections of Civil War era relics. The whole collection is completely owned by one man, who along with his associate, organized, displayed, and opened the collection to the public. See Civil War military equipment, including guns, swords, rifles, bayonets, uniforms, etc. Pre- and post-Civil War items are also on display. Guests will also hear the deep history of Decatur as they learn about the Civil War.
St. John's Episcopal Church
After enduring some extremely challenging times, a divided church decided to separate completely and begin their own church. In 1890, previous members of the St. Paul congregation began planning for the location and funding for the church. In 1893, the construction of the new St. John’s Church began, which is still the same building that member worship in to this day. Explore the church and admire the limestone floors, beautiful church steeple, stained glass windows, organ and bells.
Princess began as a livery stable in 1887; was transformed into a vaudeville playhouse named the Princess in 1919; and, following a 1941 facelift, emerged with the art deco style that remains today and features a brilliantly lit neon marquee. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the 677-seat theatre now serves as Decatur’s performing arts center.
Day 4: Florence, AL
Established in 1818 as a small river town, it is impressive how far this city has grown. Today, Florence is considered one of the largest and most progressive cities in North Alabama. The city offers an extremely developed arts initiative and a vibrant and alive downtown district. Visitors are never disappointed with this city’s delicious cuisine and the unique shopping options.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Pope’s Tavern Museum
It is one of the oldest structures in Florence. Located on the military road that connected Nashville to the Natchez Trace and on to New Orleans, the tavern was an ideal stop for weary travelers in the 1800s. during the Civil War, the wounded were brought here from as far away as Franklin and Shiloh. The building was later home to the Lambeth family and remained a private residence until purchased by the city in 1965.The museum houses beautiful antiques and fascinating artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The second floor is filled with artifacts from the Civil War and items of local history.
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is a gallery, educational facility, museum, and a center for the coordination and promotion for cultural activity in the area. It serves as the administrative office for all the museums. It is a home base and meeting place for cultural groups and a showcase and classroom for all arts disciplines. The center features annual exhibits and rotating exhibits by artists from the Southeast, also offering workshops and classes for all ages, concerts, and interesting lectures and programs.
W.C. Handy House Museum
Handy became famous for his blues compositions, such as “The Memphis Blues” and “St. Louis Blues.” He was also a musician, band conductor, and author. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia, musical instruments, personal papers, and original sheet music. Handy’s famous trumpet and his personal piano are just a few of the items on display. His hometown honors the legacy of the “Father of the Blues” with a birthday party at the museum each November 16 and with the week-long W.C. Handy Music Festival during the summer.
Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House
The Rosenbaum House is the only Wright-designed structure in Alabama. It was built for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, who were the sole owners and occupants of the house until 1999 when the house was purchased by the city of Florence. The house has all the hallmarks of Wright’s Usonian style, including flat multilevel roofs, cantilevered eaves, and carports, flowing space, use of natural materials and expanses of glass. Wright designed an addition to the house in 1948, adding two wings. The house has been meticulously restored. The city received the 2004 Wright Spirit Award in the Public Domain from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy for the preservation of this important architectural gem. The house holds its original Wright-designed furniture and is open as a city museum.
Florence Indian Mound & Museum
The Florence Indian Mound is the Tennessee Valley area's largest domiciliary mound. It is typical workmanship of the Indians who lived in this area before the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Creeks. Early settlers found steps on one side of the mound, and discovered that it had been enclosed by an earthen wall. The museum contains Native American artifacts dating back over 10,000 years arranged in chronological order. (Visible as we turn from Chamber Street onto Court Street)
Day 5: Savannah, TN
Savannah is the largest town on the Tennessee, discovered in the 1820’s and incorporated in 1833. The most common association with this historical town comes with its ties to the Battle of Shiloh – a major Civil War Battle also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, fought on April 6, 1862. Spend the day exploring the stories and history associated with the city of Savannah and its deep Civil War ties then explore the city’s many trails and paths winding down the lush banks of the Tennessee River and admire the beautiful sights!
Day 6: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
National Quilt Museum
Celebrating 25 years in 2016, The National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience - exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who are implementing creative approaches to fiber art. The 27,000-square-foot contemporary structure features three galleries highlighting a collection of contemporary quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. Workshops taught by world-class fiber art instructors are offered year-round. The Museum Shop & Book Store offers Kentucky Crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books.
Lloyd Tilghman House
This historic Greek Revival house was built in 1852 for Lloyd Tilghman, a new member of Paducah’s community at the time. After the house was completed, Tilghman did not purchase the property. Instead, the builder, Robert Woolfolk became the sole owner of the house and grounds. Tilghman, his wife, their seven children, and five slaves resided in the home until 1861. It was then that Woolfolk and his family moved into the home. Their family was pro-South and proudly flew a Confederate flag causing many uproars in the community and with the Federal Troops who located their headquarters just across the street from the home. Eventually Woolfolk and his family were banished from Paducah and the United States, forced to live in Canada on August 1, 1864.
Paducah Railroad Museum
The original Freight House (across the parking lot from the Museum) was built in 1925 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. In 1996, the Freight House was sold and the Museum moved to a building one-half block away. Here, learn the history of the railroad and those who used it, explore the authentic train models, and enjoy the memorabilia showcased for guests.
River Discovery Center
In 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery and her committee pursued the development of a museum to showcase the Four Rivers Region’s maritime heritage. The River Heritage Center was planned in 1992 as the very beginning stages of the mayor’s dream. Years later the museum was relocated by Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and renamed the River Heritage Museum before finally receiving its current name, the River Discovery Center in 2008. Here explore artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that share the history of marine life and the history of the river.
The Moonshine Company
Explore, taste, and purchase traditional and international award-winning Kentucky moonshine and moonshine flavors at The Moonshine Company in historic downtown Paducah. Located only blocks from the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, The Moonshine Company offers complimentary guided museum tours and moonshine samples that are distilled on-site in our 108-year-old building. Get a glimpse into the rich Kentucky moonshine history with their collection of historic moonshine stills and purchase that same moonshine secretly produced and bootlegged by our family over 80 years ago to bring home with you!
Day 7: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid was founded in 1776 by Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró who welcomed Anglo-Saxon settlers but required them to become citizens of Spain and live under the guidance of his appointed impresario, Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Morgan of New Jersey. Some 2,000 settled in the region. In 1800, Spain traded the territory to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, who promptly sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city is remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War. The city is famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will surely steal the hearts of all guests.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
New Madrid Historical Museum
Located in the former Kendall Saloon off of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum shares the history of this river town from the Mississippian period through the 20th century. Here, guests can explore the great earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, documented with seismographic recordings, Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts, early family life in the city of New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries and the gift shop!
New Madrid County Courthouse
In 1812 New Madrid was a vast county extending south through much of Arkansas. The area was cut roughly in half during the following year, and even further reductions came by 1816. New Madrid County, located by the Mississippi, was one of Missouri’s earliest counties. The town of New Madrid was founded in 1783, and the county was organized in 1812. First courts met in New Madrid, but county records previous to 1816 are missing. After the devastating earthquake of 1811 and repeated flooding of the Mississippi, the court chose an inland site for the county seat. For the 20th century courthouse, New Madrid County purchased a new site north of the original town in March 1915. From architects who presented plans, the court selected those from H. G. Clymer of St. Louis. Clymer's plan was for a brick building 107 by 75 feet with stone trim. Additional funds for finishing the courthouse and jail were authorized early in 1917, but no bids were received. World War I was beginning, and the labor force was reduced. Finally, W. W. Taylor, a master builder from Cape Girardeau, superintended final interior work, which was completed in January 1919. Final costs exceeded $100,000. This courthouse continues in use as New Madrid's seat of justice.
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site preserves a now-vanished part of Missouri: The stately Bootheel Mansion. Filled with original pieces and furnished in the style similar to its heydays of the 1860s-1880s, this ornate mansion provides a history lesson in every corner. Most of the original furniture, purchased by the house’s first owners, Amanda and William Hunter, are still in the house today.
Restored to the one-room school that operated at Higgerson Landing in 1948, the Higgerson School is a window to the educational practices that shaped and served rural America from the early 19th century. Experience the typical school day of children attending all eight grades in one room with one teacher. Relive the days of playing “Wolf Over and River” and “Caterpillars,” a trip to the outdoor facility and crossing the fence on the stile. Visit Higgerson Landing Gift Shop before heading to your next stop.
River Walk Gallery
The oldest home in New Madrid, the Hart-Stepp House was built by Abraham Augustine in 1840 and moved to its present location in order to escape the encroaching waters of the Mississippi River. It is now home to the River Walk Gallery and the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce. The Gallery features the works of local photographers and artists.
Day 8: Memphis, TN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy Memphis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.
All This Included
The rivers of the South were of great strategic value as both a transportation and communication route during the Civil War. Experience authentic Southern culture as you journey through living history and explore the legacy of the Civil War both onboard and in ports of call. Distinguished guest speakers will be onboard to captivate you with astounding Civil War presentations.
Complimentary Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions in each port of call
All onboard meals, including both fine dining and casual cuisine
24-hour room service
Complimentary wine and beer with dinner
Complimentary cappuccino, espresso, specialty coffees, tea, bottled water and soft drinks throughout your voyage
Gracious service from a friendly, all-American staff
Acclaimed entertainment worthy of Broadway
Dedicated fleet of deluxe motorcoaches
Accommodations on this Tour
Cabin onboard American Countess
Cabin upgrades are available.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Single occupancy cabins are available.
Port Taxes of $199 per person are additional and not included in the prices shown above.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.