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Mosheim in Greene County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Pottertown Bridge Burners

Unionists Pay the Ultimate Price

 
 
Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 30, 2013
1. Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker
Inscription. When Tennessee left the Union in June 1861, Greene County was a hotbed of divided loyalties. Several Unionists, who crafted multi-colored earthenware pottery which is still highly valued, were among the occupants of the nearby community named “Pottertown.” That autumn, celebrated antebellum potter Christopher Alexander Haun conspired with other residents to cripple the Confederate-controlled rail system by burning railroad bridges. The Rev. William Blount Carter, a local minister and Unionist, devised the plan. President Abraham Lincoln approved and promised Federal forces would protect the bridge burners’ families.

Capt. David Fry, Co. F, 2nd Tennessee Infantry (U.S.) came from Kentucky with orders to burn the bridges. With his help, Carter finalized the plan to burn all major railroad bridges in East Tennessee in one night. On November 8, 1861, local Unionists arrived at the home of Jacob Harmon, Jr, another local potter, and were sworn into Fry’s command.

About sixty men then went to the Lick Creek railroad bridge, where they captured Confederate pickets. After burning the bridge, they released the Confederates, a decision they soon regretted. Although the president had promised military protection, Confederates later captured several men associated with the bridge burning and hanged Haun, Henry Fry,
Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 30, 2013
2. Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker
Close up of the map in the lower left side of the marker
Jacob Harmon Jr., Henry Harmon and Matt Hinshaw. Confederate President Jefferson Davis commuted Harrison Self’s sentence.

The Harmons are buried here in the family cemetery. Haun’s pottery kiln stood a few hundred feet up Pottertown Road to the right, and the Bridge-Burner Memorial marker and flagpole are on the left.

“I am very glad to hear of the action of the military authorities and hope to hear they have hung every bridge-burner at the end of the burned bridge.” —Confederated Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin

(captions)
Jar made by Christopher A. Haun —Courtesy Donahue Bible Collection, Mohawk, Tenn.
Capt. David Fry (left) and Sgt. John McCoy —Courtesy Donahue Bible Collection, Mohawk, Tenn.
“Execution of Jacob Harmon and His Son, Henry,” from Parson Brownlow’s Book (1862)
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 12.033′ N, 83° 0.826′ W. Marker is in Mosheim, Tennessee, in Greene County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Pottertown Road and Gravel Woods Road, on the left when traveling east.
Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 30, 2013
3. Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker
Distant photo showing the Harmon Family Cemetery in the background
Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1270 Pottertown Road, Midway TN 37809, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Execution of the "Bridge-Burners" (approx. 0.6 miles away); Blue Springs Lutheran Congregation (approx. 3.2 miles away); Battles of Blue Springs (approx. 4.5 miles away); Battle of Blue Springs (approx. 4.6 miles away); Cabin of Three States (approx. 7.7 miles away); Bent Creek Baptist Church (approx. 7.9 miles away); Bent Creek Church (approx. 8.6 miles away); Bright Hope Industries (approx. 8.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Mosheim.
 
Also see . . .  Rivers and Rails-Remembering the Pottertown Bridge Burners (video). (Submitted on November 20, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 30, 2013
4. Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker
Grave marker of Henry Harmon, buried in the Harmon Family Cemetery. He is mentioned in the text of the marker
Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 30, 2013
5. Pottertown Bridge Burners Marker
Grave marker of Jacob Harmon buried in the Harmon Family Cemetery. He is mentioned in the text of the marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 624 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on November 21, 2016.
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