“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Johnsonville in Humphreys County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

The Tennessee River in the Civil War

The Tennessee River In the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 19, 2014
1. The Tennessee River In the Civil War Marker
Inscription.  The Tennessee River flows from the mountains of east Tennessee to the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky. In the 19th century it was navigable from the Ohio to Great Bend at Muscle Shoals in northern Alabama. Steamboats and gunboats could move freely from Paducah to Alabama, bringing supplies and soldiers to whichever side controlled the river.

The Confederates Occupy Columbus

In a monumental blunder, the Confederates occupied neutral Columbus, Kentucky, in September 1861. Federal forces quickly responded by seizing Paducah and Smithland, Kentucky, at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.

Forts Henry and Heiman Fall

The Confederates constructed two forts on the Tennessee River, Fort Henry on the east bank in Tennessee and Fort Heiman on the west bank in Kentucky. The Union navy made short work of both. Gunboats again steamed as far south as Alabama, demonstrating Union might.

The Union Takes the River

Combined Union army-navy operations proved successful at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh, blows from which the Confederacy never recovered. Once
The Tennessee River In the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 19, 2014
2. The Tennessee River In the Civil War Marker
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Union forces took the Tennessee River it became part of a supply network for Federal armies in the west. The river and railroad connection at Johnsonville made it a key component in the Union supply line.

(lower left) Union engineers built strong fortifications in Paducah, strengthening the army’s hold on the mouth of the Tennessee River. (upper right) Fort Henry was no match for the Union’s “brown water navy.” Ironclad gunboats shelled the fort into submission. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Erected by Tennessee State Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1861.
Location. 36° 3.769′ N, 87° 57.996′ W. Marker is in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, in Humphreys County. Marker is on Old Johnsonville Road, 0.1 miles west of Museum Road, on the left when traveling west. The marker is on the grounds of the Johnsonville State Historic Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 Nell Beard Road, New Johnsonville TN 37134, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Union Supply Depot (a few steps from this marker); Artillery at Johnsonville (within shouting distance of this marker); Forrest Shells the Depot (about
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300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Final Tally (about 300 feet away); Forrest's Opening Move (about 300 feet away); The Horse Corral (about 300 feet away); Winfrey Cemetery (about 400 feet away); Lower Redoubt (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Johnsonville.
Also see . . .  Johnsonville State Historic Park. (Submitted on June 15, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 695 times since then and 47 times this year. Last updated on July 10, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 24, 2023