Irish Shanty

Irish Shanty (HM1B09)

Location: Dickson, TN 37055 Dickson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 5.55', W 87° 30.933'

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Only Boiling Eggs

On July 2, 1863, as Federal forces conducted a campaign to rid the Yellow Creek valley of Confederate guerrillas, a forward detachment of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry (US) rode up to a grocery store and tavern located about two miles to the west. The site, known as Irish Shanty, was rumored to be popular with guerrillas.

Several cavalrymen later claimed that about twenty men in front of Irish Shanty fired on the troopers as they approached. The cavalry charged and captured suspected guerrillas Dr. Aaron James, Euphrates Shelton, James Shelton, William Few, Jonas Spicer, and Dr. Payton Washburn. Escorted to Fort Donelson, the men were held for trial before a military commission. Attorneys for the accused claimed that their clients were not guerrillas and never fired on the cavalrymen. Instead, they were merely boiling ten dozen eggs in front of the building, and the cavalrymen mistook the smoke and crackle of the fire for discharged weapons.

The tribunal convicted James, Spicer, and Euphrates Shelton, sentencing the first two men to death and Shelton to five years' hard labor. As regulations required, the trial record and verdicts were transmitted to Washington, D.C., where Joseph Holt reviewed them. Holt reported to President Abraham Lincoln that the evidence was insufficient for conviction and that the trial before the commission was improper. On December 12, 1863, Lincoln disapproved James's sentence and soon also reversed the verdicts regarding Spicer and Shelton. The men were released and returned home by year's end.

"It is however proven that while in a state of disgraceful and brutish intoxication, (James) did on that occasion utter foul and abusive threats and epithets toward the said soldiers." — Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, Dec. 1863

Euphrates Shelton Courtesy Shelton Family Papers
President Abraham Lincoln's disapproval of Dr. Aaron James's sentence Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration
HM NumberHM1B09
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, August 31st, 2014 at 10:19pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 453588 N 3994331
Decimal Degrees36.09250000, -87.51555000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 5.55', W 87° 30.933'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 5' 33.00" N, 87° 30' 55.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615, 931
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 106 Ferbee Rd, Dickson TN 37055, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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