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

Bridge Burners

Hangings at the Depot

 
 
Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2012
1. Bridge Burners Marker
Inscription.  
After Unionists burned several East Tennessee railroad bridges on November 9, 1861, Confederate engineer Colonel Danville Leadbetter soon arrived to rebuild the brides and capture the perpetrators. Later that month, his forces captured Henry Fry, Jacob Hinshaw, and Hugh Self and confined them in the Greenville jail. A court martial convicted them on the morning of November 30 and sentenced them to death. Self’s sentence was commuted to imprisonment because he was only 16 years old.

That afternoon, “a detail with hangman’s ropes in hand” approached the jail. Fry and Hinshaw, with “hands bound behind them,” marched up Depot Street “in a hollow square of soldiers.” They walked across the railroad tracks near the depot and then “up a gently sloping hill to the edge of the woods where two ropes were dangling from a hung limb of a huge oak tree.” At 2 P.M., they were hanged. “Their bodies were left swinging in the air all that afternoon, and through the night, and until 4 o’clock P.M. the next day.” A witness could see the bodies from his home at the corner of Depot Street and Morehead
Bridge Burners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2012
2. Bridge Burners Marker
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Street (present-day Cutler Street).

Unionist prisoners cut the bodies down and buried them under the tree. Confederates reburied them on Andrew Johnson’s property west of town on a rise west of present-day Nanci Lane and called the burial ground the Rebel Graveyard. Their families reburied them again after the war, Hinshaw in a private cemetery and Fry at Blue Springs Cemetery.

Bridge-burners and destroyers of railroad tracks . . . will be tried by drum-head court-martial and be hung on the spot.” – Colonel Danville Leadbetter, Nov. 30, 1861
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #17 Andrew Johnson, and the Tennessee Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1919.
 
Location. 36° 9.921′ N, 82° 50.183′ W. Marker is in Greeneville, Tennessee, in Greene County. Marker is at the intersection of W Depot Street and Loretta Street, on the left when traveling west on W Depot Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 103 Loretta Street, Greeneville TN 37743, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James H. Quillen United States Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Clem School (approx. 0.2 miles
Marker in Greeneville image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2012
3. Marker in Greeneville
away); Opera House (approx. ¼ mile away); Dickson - Williams Mansion (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named The Dickson - Williams Mansion (approx. ¼ mile away); Death of Gen. John Hunt Morgan (approx. ¼ mile away); General Morgan Inn (approx. 0.3 miles away); Andrew Johnson and Family (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greeneville.
 
More about this marker. The marker contains a portrait of Col. Danville Leadbetter, courtesy of Library of Congress; a map showing the location of the marker and of bridges burned or attacked; and an illustration of the “Hanging of Fry and Hinshaw, from Parson Brownlow’s Book.”
 
Greeneville Railroad Depot image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2012
4. Greeneville Railroad Depot
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 5, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 700 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 5, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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Apr. 17, 2021