• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

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  • Short Construction Delays Possible Near Tupelo, MS (milepost 264.4)

    Repairs on a bridge will require one-lane closures of the Parkway for about 1/4 mile near Tupelo. Work is expected to be completed in fall of 2014. Please use caution due to construction traffic around the work area. More »

  • Portion of National Scenic Trail Near Tupelo Closed to Hikers

    Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (NOT the Parkway) near Tupelo, MS, has been closed until 2015 due to construction under Tupelo's Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Parkway travelers may expect delays, but no detours are expected. More »

  • Ammendments to the Superintendent's Compendium

    Launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Natchez Trace Parkway is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. More »

War of 1812 and the Trace

1814/1815 Live Fire Demonstration

Although US troops had improved the Natchez Trace since 1801, it wasn't until the War of 1812 that the military capitalized on the efforts. The popular path through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands became a vital thoroughfare when it was believed British ships threatened the Gulf Coast.

Having traveled the Trace repeatedly on other business, General Andrew Jackson relied on the Trace several times for the transportation of his troops. His cavalry traveled to Washington, Mississippi (just north of Natchez) on it in 1813, and when the troops were released without participating in battle, the entire 2nd Division Tennessee Regiment slogged their way back on the Trace. Though the road was the best choice at the time, the troops still had to contend with knee-deep mud, oxen dying from the heat, an occasional rattlesnake, and as "heavy [a] shower of hail & rain that ever fell upon poor Soldiers in the world," according to soldier A.J. Edmundson. It was during this trip that Andrew Jackson earned his nickname "Old Hickory."

From mid-1813 to mid-1814, Jackson and his troops left to fight the Creek War in what is now Alabama. Jackson took one of the Natchez Trace's newest residents, John Gordon, with him. Captain Gordon became leader of one of Jackson's companies of "spies," or scouts. Gordon left his family and home at the intersection of the Natchez Trace and the Duck River behind, and became a Tennessee hero of the Creek War.

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-7809

Depiction of the Battle of New Orleans.

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-7809

With the conclusion of the Creek War, Jackson and his troops again focused on Great Britain and the Gulf Coast. In 1815, the misery of the 1813 trip up the Trace was likely forgotten with a more celebratory journey. After their victory in New Orleans and the declaration of peace, the soldiers were headed to Tennessee. Southbound traveler William Richardson complained of the "noise from the soldiers from N. O. that fill'd every other part of the house" when he met the troops near Colbert Ferry; however, the people of Nashville were waiting impatiently for their arrival. Their husbands and sons, heroes to the nation, were finally coming home.

Did You Know?

Emblem of the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Mississippi Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) played a vital role in the preservation of the Natchez Trace by placing markers in each Mississippi county the old trace passed through.