Clifton, Tennessee


Clifton, located in the northwest corner of Wayne County, sits on a bluff overlooking a section of the Tennessee River known as Horseshoe Bend. Clifton's largest and most popular event is the Horseshoe Bend Festival held every September.

A ferry service across the mighty river was first established in the area in 1818 and later moved to "downtown" Clifton where it continued operation until 1998. There has always been a special bond between the river and the town. Today, Main Street, lined with quaint shops and businesses, ends at a public observation area overlooking the river.

A Tennessee Civil War Trails marker titled "Forrest Crosses Tennessee River" sits next to the observation area. Excerpts from the interpretive sign include:

Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's First West Tennessee Raid late in December 1862 began when his command arrived here on the night of December 15 to ferry approximately 2,100 soldiers across the Tennessee River. Forrest ordered the construction of two flatboats, each capable of carrying 25 men and their horses. The troopers stayed out of sight, without fires, while sentries watched for Union gunboats. By December 17, the Confederates were over and riding westward.

The population of Clifton was 2,699 at the 2000 census.

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