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

Connection To Johnsonville

U.S. Military Railroad

Connection To Johnsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
1. Connection To Johnsonville Marker
Inscription.  In November 1863, Federal troops occupied Kingston Springs to serve as headquarters for the supervisors of the U.S. Military Railroad Construction Corps. They oversaw the construction of this section of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad. When it was completed, the rail line connected Nashville to the major Union depot at Johnsonville on the Tennessee River. Federal commanders impressed both free blacks and escaped slaves to build the railroad, side-by-side with Irish immigrants. Together they constructed three wooden trestles near here, as well as bunkers, blockhouses, and fortifications to guard the line. The black laborers were inducted into the 12th and 13th United States Colored Troops (USCT) in 1863 and stationed in Kingston Springs. Col. William W. Wright, Chief of Engineers, reported that about 500 men of the 13th USCT began the work on November 19, 1863, and the 12th USCT relieved them on May 10, 1864. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem commanded both units. After the construction was completed, the 13th USCT remained on guard duty along the railroad until November 30, 1864.

Col. William W. Wright (1824-1882)
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was an engineer who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1847 to 1854 and from 1859 to 1861, for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad until 1857, and for the Honduras Interoceanic Railroads until 1859. During the Civil War, he served in the U.S. Military Railroad Department, where he was highly regarded. He was in charge of the Aquia Creek Railroad and was responsible for extensive wharf construction. In 1864, he became chief engineer of military railroads in the Mississippi division. In January 1865, he joined Gen. William T. Sherman’s army and headed the Military Railroad Construction Corps. After the war, Wright worked for the Kansas Pacific Railway and the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, among others. In 1879-1880, he joined the International Technical Commission to investigate an interoceanic route across the Isthmus of Panama. He died in Pennsylvania and is buried there.

Big Harpeth No. 7 Bridge, with a handcar visible above the first pier. A stockade for the guards stood on the opposite bluff behind the single man on the bridge. The stone piers are visible in the Kingston Springs City Park about a half a mile in front of you. Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archives
Sullivan’s Branch Bridge, Craggie Hope Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archives
Big Harpeth No. 6 Bridge, with USCT sentry at left, bridge piers
Connection To Johnsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
2. Connection To Johnsonville Marker
can be seen 150 feet south of modern Harpeth River Bridge. - Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archives
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1865.
Location. 36° 5.974′ N, 87° 6.901′ W. Marker is in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, in Cheatham County. Marker is on North Main Street north of West Kingston Springs Road, on the right when traveling north. The marker is on the grounds of the Kingston Springs Library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 358 N Main Street, Kingston Springs TN 37082, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Trail Head (approx. half a mile away); Patterson Forge (approx. 1.9 miles away); Mound Bottom (approx. 2.7 miles away); South Cheatham County Veterans Monument (approx. 3˝ miles away); Marine War Memorial (approx. 4.9 miles away); The Civil War in White Bluffs (approx. 6.2 miles away); Newsom’s Mill State Historic Area (approx. 6.8 miles away); Newsom's Mill (approx. 7.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kingston Springs.
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 1,262 times since then and 18 times this year. Last updated on October 15, 2013, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. 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. 25, 2024