Bleak House (a.k.a. Confederate Memorial Hall and) is lovingly maintained and cared for by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Chapter 89. Bleak House was built as a wedding present for Louise Franklin and Robert Houston Armstrong. It was designed as a Tuscany-style Villa and named Bleak House after the famous Charles Dickens novel. Yes--they loved Charles Dickens THAT much!
During the War Between the States (Civil War) this beautiful home served as the headquarters for the beloved Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet and Maj. General Lafayette McLaws during the Siege of Knoxville from 17 November 1863- 4 December 1863.
The house still bears whispers from the past, visible through the bullet holes in the outside, as well as other fascinating remnants you'll find on our tours!
During the Seige of Knoxville, Confederate sharpshooters harassed the troops of Union General William Sanders from the tower of the house. Most historians concur that these sharpshooters inflicted the fatal wound that killed Sanders. A drawing, sketched by an unknown soldier of these three sharpshooters can still be seen today inside the tower walls.
Nowadays, the home serves a decidedly more peaceful and happy role as one of Knoxville's premier wedding venues and the home of Chapter 89 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. We are listed on the National Register of Historic places.