Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Mary Elizabeth Bradford Johns
February 11, 1836 - July 25, 1913
— A Confederate Heroine in the Battle of Nashville —
Mary Bradford was descended from several Virginia patriots of the Revolutionary War. Her grandfather, Captain John Bradford, came to Tennessee soon after the war, and settled on a grant of land given for his war service. Her father was Edward Bradford, and her mother was Virginia Austin Campbell. Her father went to Mississippi at age I8, and made a fortune as a planter. Mary was born on the plantation, but attended the Nashville Female Academy. Her father built a summer home here. It was called “Zenaida” and was just east of Granny White Pike. It burned early in the 20th Century, and another home was built on the site on Lipscomb Drive.
After Tennessee seceded, local ladies sewed a battle flag for the 11th Tennessee Infantry. Mary Bradford gave the flag which was accepted by James E. Rains. In 1862 she was on hand for a review of the Army of Tennessee at Murfreesborough. The commanding general, Braxton Bragg, stood next to her in her carriage where they received salutes. General Rains was killed in battle there and is now buried here
In December 1864 the Army of Tennessee, then under General John Bell Hood, returned in another attempt to retake Nashville. The U.S. Army had built fortifications to hold the city. Much of Hood's line was parallel to today's Woodmont Boulevard, but the left (about 5,500 men) turned south along Hillsborough Pike. On the 15th about 45,000 U,S. troops struck the left forcing it to retreat toward Granny White Pike. The Bradford ladies and friends were at the Bradford schoolhouse, near their home, when retreating troops began to stream past. Mary observed a Confederate, officer striking one of his soldiers with the flat side of his sword, trying to rally his men. Mary ran out to scold the officer, but when she understood the situation she staved to help rally the men. A postbellum poem claimed a bullet grazed her cheek. In General Hood's autobiography he wrote, “When our troops were in the greatest confusion a young Lady of Tennessee, Miss Mary Bradford, rushed in their midst regardless of the storm of bullets, and in the name of God and our country, implored them to reform and face the enemy. Her name deserves to be enrolled among the heroes of the war.”
In 1873 Mary married her childhood sweetheart John Johns. Three children blessed the union. Mr. Johns lived until 1898, and Mary until 1913. The funeral was at First Presbyterian where her pastor said, “She has fought a good fight and finished her course, and she goes to glory crowned.”
Erected by Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 28.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil • Women. In addition, it is included in the Sons of Confederate Veterans/United Confederate Veterans series list.
Location. 36° 8.905′ N, 86° 44.101′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Lebanon Pike. Marker is on Confederate Circle in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1101 Lebanon Pike, Nashville TN 37210, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Edwards Rains (a few steps from this marker); Mary Kate Patterson Davis Hill Kyle (a few steps from this marker); Thomas Benton Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); Hylan Leitus Rosser (within shouting distance of this marker); Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham (within shouting distance of this marker); Adolphus Heiman (within shouting distance of this marker); William Hicks Jackson (within shouting distance of this marker); John Bell (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
More about this marker. Marker is part of Mt. Olivet Confederate Memorial Hall Trail.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.