State Nickname of Tennessee
The Volunteer State
Tennessee has had several nicknames, but the most popular is “The Volunteer State.” The nickname originated during the War of 1812, in which the
volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, serving under General Andrew Jackson, displayed courage in the face of danger in the Battle of New Orleans.
Other nicknames include the “Big Bend State,” which refers to the Native American name of the Tennessee River; “The River with the Big Bend”; and “Hog and Hominy State,” now obsolete but formerly applied because “the corn and pork products of Tennessee were in such great proportions between 1830 and 1840”; and “The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen,” because Tennessee furnished the United States three presidents and a number of other leaders who served with
distinction in high government office.
Tennesseans sometimes are referred to as “Volunteers,”“Big Benders” and “Butternuts.” The first two are derived from the nickname of the state, while the tag of “Butternuts” was first applied to Tennessee soldiers during the War Between the States because of the tan color of their uniforms. Later, it sometimes was applied to people across the entire state.