Andrew Jackson's Hermitage is excited to host a four-week traveling banner exhibit starting next month, Your Obedient Servant: James Monroe’s 1819 Presidential Tour of the Southern States. The exhibit, offered by the James Monroe Museum in Virginia, commemorates the bicentennial of President Monroe’s Southern tour, highlighting his visits to various states, including Tennessee.
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Onboard a commercial steamboat, Monroe's entourage left Washington, D.C., for Norfolk, Virginia, before proceeding overland to the locations shown on this map. Heading south along the coast, the itinerary focused primarily on military installations, fortifications, ocean inlets and dockyards. The president spent a day at most stops, but militarily strategic or larger locations such as Wilmington, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina warranted longer visits.
It took President Monroe almost three months to reach all the places on this map. As physical fatigue mounted and affairs in Washington, D.C., awaited resolution, the initial itinerary, which included St. Louis and New Orleans, was shortened. Frontier citizens' enthusiasm at meeting the president equaled that of people at previous tour stops, but their public ceremonies showed more restraint. At the same time, news spread slowly and sometimes not at all. In Huntsville, Alabama and Corydon, Indiana, the suite arrived completely unannounced. A Washington newspaper reported, "We have lost the president from some days past, and we shall probably hear nothing of him. . .on his passage from the abode of civilized man, through the depths of our Southern forests. . . to the borders of Tennessee."