Occupation of McMinnville

Occupation of McMinnville (HM1B7B)

Location: McMinnville, TN 37110 Warren County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 40.902', W 85° 46.39'

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Conflict on the Home Front

Early in 1861, when the state first voted on secession, Warren County residents, like many Tennesseans, opposed it. When balloting next occurred in June 1861, however, sentiment overwhelmingly favored secession, and county residents voted nearly 100 to 1 to leave the Union. Young men flocked to Confederate enlisting offices, quickly forming the 16th Tennessee Infantry under John Houston Savage. Benjamin J. Hill organized the 5th Tennessee Infantry, later renumbered the 35th; it trained just south of town at nearby Camp Smartt.

The county's resources and the Manchester and McMinnville Railroad made McMinnville a strategic location that attracted raids by Confederate Gens. Joseph Wheeler, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Braxton Bragg. Gen. John Hunt Morgan spent his honeymoon here and planned his Kentucky and Ohio raids from the home of kinsman Dr. John Barkley Armstrong.

McMinnville changed hands at least five times. After April 1863, it frequently served as a Federal base; fourteen forts and blockhouses eventually were constructed to guard against Confederate attack. Union Col. Henry C. Gilbert's 19th Michigan Infantry was among the first Federal units to occupy the town.

Federal occupation meant some safe from Confederate guerilla bands, but some county residents felt the hand of war when houses, warehouses, factories, and bridges were burned. Local Confederates especially disliked Gen. William "Bull" Nelson, who ransacked the Cumberland Female College here. Partisan bands harassed the Union garrisons with occasional raids. Local poet Lucy Virginia French chronicled the war in diaries detailing the conflicts between Confederate and Unionist families. The last Federal troops departed in September 1865.

Col. John H. Savage, ca. 1860 Courtesy Magness Library
East Main St., McMinnville, ca. 1861 - Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
Cumberland Female College, ca. 1855- Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
Warren Co. Courthouse, ca 1868 Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
HM NumberHM1B7B
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 7:30pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 611016 N 3949338
Decimal Degrees35.68170000, -85.77316667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 40.902', W 85° 46.39'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 40' 54.12" N, 85° 46' 23.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)931
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 113 W Court Square, McMinnville TN 37110, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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