Collierville in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
The Original Depot
Civil War Walking Trail
The first railroad depot in Collierville was located in this vicinity adjacent to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. A letter was discovered in the Mississippi Library Department of Archives and Special Collections regarding the completion of the original depot. It was written in 1854, from Collierville by a man representing the railroad. He was giving notice that the windows and doors must be shipped as contracted so they could be installed in the depot. When completed, the depot was to be used by people traveling, to transport mail, and move goods and services for farmers, merchants, and citizens. However, by 1865, the Collierville depot had been destroyed. It was one of a multitude of places that would be changed by the events of the Civil War.
After the fall of Memphis to Union forces in 1862, the railroad was securely held by the Union Army as an east and west supply line. During the Union Army's occupation of Collierville, the Depot was described from officer's reports and documents as being a small brick building with a telegraph and used for storage. It was a witness to many
The telegraph operator came out of the depot with gun-in-hand signaling General Sherman's east bound train to stop. He warned them of the three thousand or more Confederate cavalrymen led by General James R. Chalmers preparing an attack on Collierville from the south. The train was then stopped just past the RR cut in the hill east of Mt. Pleasant Road, where General Sherman's 13th US Federal Regulars disembarked from the train and positioned themselves along the railroad cut and Mt. Pleasant Road. Then the train backed up until the rear cars were past the depot enabling Sherman and his men to enter the Union earthen fort located approximately three hundred yards northeast of the depot.
A four to five hour battle ensued and the depot was utilized for covered shooting by the Union Forces comprised of no more than 500 men of the 66th Indiana and Sherman's 13th Regulars combined. A few civilians sought cover from the battle under the floor of the depot. The telegraph operator then was able to telegraph Union troops in Germantown before the telegraph lines were cut. Their arrival ended the five- hour battle and Chalmers
Trains were often the target of hostilities during the war, but the end of the war did not ease the difficulties of traveling by train. There were sporadic guerrilla activities with many of them directed at railroads. After the war, the passenger list included large numbers of ex- soldiers, prisoners of war and displaced residents from the north and south that were returning home. Federal forces maintained order on the trains by posting armed military guards on trains. The federal government was aware of the importance of the trains moving freely as part of the nation's transition from war to peace.
Almost two months after the official end of the Civil War, Lt. Col. Thomas W. Harris, C.S.A., was returning to his home by train where he planned to resume his law practice. He was on the last leg of a long journey that included significant action during the war. He was captured by Union Forces at Egypt Station, MS on October 28, 1864, and sentenced to Johnson Island as a prisoner of war. He was released after the war on June 18, 1865, once he took the oath of allegiance. He boarded a train and was nearing home as his train stopped in Collierville on June 24, 1865. He had no way of knowing that events were unfolding that would change his life.
A Union soldier named Francis Long
Dr. Gray and Lt. Col. Harris became friends during the lengthy recovery. When Harris was well enough to travel, Dr. Gray took Harris home to Holly Springs. Harris practiced law in Holly Springs and later in Memphis until his death in 1890. He is buried in Holly Springs.
Erected by Tennessee Wars Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is June 18, 1865.
Location. 35° 2.525′ N, 89° 39.954′ W. Marker is in Collierville, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is at the intersection of North Rowlett Street and North Center Street, on the left when traveling west on North Rowlett Street. Marker is on a metal railing by the railroad tracks. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Collierville TN 38017, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Collierville United Methodist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Collierville Civil War Battles Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Collierville, Tenn. (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Collierville (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Collierville (about 400 feet away); The Wigfall Grays (about 400 feet away); Memphis & Charleston Railroad (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Collierville.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 29, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 194 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 29, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.