Knoxville, a city and the county seat of Knox co., Tennessee, situated at the head of steamboat navigation on the right or N. bank of the Holston river, 4 m. below the mouth of the French Broad, and 165 m. E. of Nashville; pop. in 1870, 8,682, of whom 2,609 were colored; in 1874, including suburbs, about 12,-000. It is built on a healthy and elevated site, commanding a beautiful view of the river and surrounding country, and is the point of intersection of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia railroad with the Knoxville and Ohio and Knoxville and Charleston lines. It is the principal commercial place of East Tennessee, and has a large wholesale trade in dry goods, hardware, boots and shoes, drugs, groceries, etc, with that part of the state and with the neighboring portions of the adjoining states. The chief manufactures are of iron, embracing nails, bar iron, car wheels, etc. There are also sash and blind factories, flouring and saw mills, and four banks with an aggregate capital of $270,000. It is the seat of East Tennessee university, with which is connected the state agricultural college, and which in 1873 had 14 professors and instructors, 325 students (125 collegiate), and a library of 1,200 volumes, and of the state institution for the deaf and dumb.
It has recently been selected as the site of the Knoxville university (Methodist), and of the freedmen's normal school to be established by the Presbyterians. There are several public and private schools, two daily and four weekly newspapers, a monthly periodical, and 20 churches. - Knoxville was settled in 1789, and received its name two years later in honor of Gen. Henry Knox. From 1794 to 1817 it was the territorial and state capital. For a brief period during the civil war Knoxville was a point of considerable strategical importance. It had been held by the confederates, who abandoned it early in September, 1863, upon the approach of the Union force under Gen. Burnside. Soon after the federal reverse at Chickamauga, Sept. 19, 20, Longstreet was sent to operate against Burn-side, who was strongly intrenched at Knoxville. Longstreet made a vigorous and partially successful assault, Nov. 18, and as Burnside had provisions for only three weeks, the confederates hoped to reduce him by famine. But Bragg was signally defeated at Chattanooga, Nov. 24, 25, and a strong federal force under Sherman moved toward Knoxville. Longstreet thereupon ventured (Nov. 29) upon an assault on Fort Sanders, the key to the federal position.
It was repulsed, the confederates losing about 500 men, the federals less than 50; and the siege was virtually raised, although Long-street did not finally retire till Dec. 5.