War on the Home Front

War on the Home Front (HM1B1C)

Location: Nashville, TN 37205 Davidson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 6.4', W 86° 51.864'

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Belle Meade and Union Occupation

William Giles Harding, the owner of Belle Meade Plantation, was an ardent Confederate supporter who provided thousands of dollars to help arm Tennessee's Confederate forces. He served on the state's Military Armaments Committee. In March 1862, he helped Col. Nathan B. Forrest during the evacuation of Nashville by sending 30 wagons of munitions south.

After the evacuation, Union commanders soon took control and arrested leading Confederates, such as Harding, who was imprisoned at Fort Mackinaw, Michigan, from April to September 1862. His wife, Elizabeth McGavock Harding, ran the plantation in her husband's absence. That fall she complained bitterly to Military Governor Andrew Johnson about the treatment of the family's plantation: "There has been removed already from this place ? five hundred wagon loads of hay, corn, oats, wheat, etc. ? The Government has made a requisition upon me for horses for the use of the Cavalry and have taken every suitable horse I had except my carriage horses. The soldiers have entered the lawns and killed before my eyes and carried away very head of poultry upon the place, not only my own but the negroes' also. They broke (into) my dairy and removed from there every onion, potatoes, and winter vegetables which I had provided for the use of a family of 150 persons."

The arrival of Union soldiers also reduced the size of the plantation's enslaved workforce. According to Harding, "They have taken from me without even giving me a receipt therefore every negro man—able-bodied—on this place, 22 in number."

William Giles Harding, 1856 Courtesy Belle Meade Plantation
Elizabeth McGavock Harding, 1857 Courtesy Belle Meade Plantation
Foraging for hay - Courtesy Library of Congress
HM NumberHM1B1C
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 8:55am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 512204 N 3995787
Decimal Degrees36.10666667, -86.86440000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 6.4', W 86° 51.864'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 6' 24.00" N, 86° 51' 51.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100 Bellevue Dr W, Nashville TN 37205, US
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