Tellico Iron Works

Tellico Iron Works (HM1FDB)

Location: Tellico Plains, TN 37385 Monroe County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 22.007', W 84° 17.836'

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Gripped in the War's Iron Fist

Throughout the Civil War, both sides depended on the iron industry for vitally important munitions. The Tellico Iron and Manufacturing Company, then located one mile east, caught the attention first of the Confederate army and eventually of Union Gen. William T. Sherman himself.

In 1843, Elisha Johnson, former mayor of Rochester, N.Y., and his brother Ebenezer Johnson (died 1849) purchased the Tellico Iron Company. Established in 1824 amid rich deposits of brown hematite, it produced what was touted as "the finest grade of iron ore in the world." After the war began, the high quality of Johnson iron influenced the Confederacy to seize his company. Co. H.B. Latrobe supervised the works to ensure that Johnson? Union sympathies did not affect the production.

Early in December 1863, Union Gen. William T. Sherman marched into East Tennessee to relieve Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside troops in Knoxville, where Confederate James Longstreet besieged them. On learning of the Confederacy use of the ironworks, Sherman accompanied Gen. Morgan Smith and his troops there. They established headquarter at the Johnson house on December 9-11. Johnson was accused of operating the ironworks to support the Confederate army. Sherman presided over a trial in the house and acquitted Johnson, perhaps because of Johnson Northern birth and sympathies.

Elisha Johnson Union loyalties saved his house from Sherman torch, but Union soldiers completely demolished the Tellico Iron Works before leaving for Chattanooga on December 12.


(lower left) Elisha Johnson Courtesy Monroe County Archives; Gen. William T. Sherman Courtesy Library of Congress

(upper right) Elisha Johnson house - Courtesy Sharon Cain

(lower right) Iron bars, Tellico Iron Works - Courtesy Charles Hall Museum
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 7:41pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 745553 N 3917072
Decimal Degrees35.36678333, -84.29726667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 22.007', W 84° 17.836'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 22' 0.42" N, 84° 17' 50.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)423
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 229 Cherohala Skyway, Tellico Plains TN 37385, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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