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

Harpeth Shoals

Hazardous Navigation

Harpeth Shoals Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
1. Harpeth Shoals Marker
Inscription.  After the fall of Fort Donelson in February 1862, Federal forces gained control of Nashville and transported most of their supplies to the city via the Cumberland River. Extending for five miles along the river here, the Harpeth Shoals made navigation hazardous. The rough waters gave Confederate guerrillas an opportunity to disrupt the Union supply line. In 1862 and 1863, Confederate Col. Thomas G. Woodward’s partisans frequently attacked Union shipping at the Shoals. Federal commanders sent frequent patrols to the area, but their poorly equipped cavalry and the guerrillas’ ability to disperse rapidly thwarted Union attempts to control the Shoals effectively.

On January 13, 1863, Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry established positions nearby and ambushed Union ships. Wheeler’s men destroyed two Union hospital ships, USS Trio and Parthenia, and one gunboat before retiring. Federal authorities sent large patrols to intercept Wheeler’s force, but they were unsuccessful. Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans complained a month later that the attacks represented “inhuman violations of the rules of civilized warfare by the rebel
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authorities” that revealed the “barbarism of these rebel leaders.” Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg asked authorities to promote Wheeler “as a just reward to distinguished merit.”

Federal forces resumed construction of the unfinished Nashville and Northwestern Railroad in 1863. Completed in May 1864, the rail line transported Union supplies into Nashville, thereby negating the navigational hazards of Harpeth Shoals. Confederate guerrillas mounted no more attacks on the Cumberland River in this area following the completion of the railroad.

Gen. Joseph Wheeler Courtesy Library of Congress
“Guerillas burning Steamers on the Cumberland River” John Fitch, Annals of the Army of the Cumberland (1863)
(map) Courtesy of U.S. Corps of Engineers Archives, Nashville
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 Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 13, 1863.
Location. 36° 18.22′ N, 87° 9.209′ W. Marker is near Charlotte, Tennessee, in Dickson County. Marker is on Dozier Boat Dock Road, 1.1 miles north of Ashland City Highway (Tennessee
Harpeth Shoals Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
2. Harpeth Shoals Marker
Route 49), on the right when traveling north. The marker is located on the grounds of the Pardue Recreation Area, Cheatham Lake. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1190 Dozier Boat Dock Road, Charlotte TN 37036, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Neptune (approx. 2.9 miles away); Clifton Forebears are Buried in Old Church Cemetery to Southeast (approx. 4½ miles away); Clifton Methodist Church (approx. 4½ miles away); Old Neptune School (approx. 4.9 miles away); Thomas Jefferson Stump (approx. 5.2 miles away); J.W. Johns, Jr. Park (approx. 5.2 miles away); Cheatham County Courthouse (approx. 5.4 miles away); Sycamore Mill (approx. 5.8 miles away).
Harpeth Shoals Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
3. Harpeth Shoals Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,565 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Al Wolf was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 29, 2024