New Johnsonville in Humphreys County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Constructing a Military Depot
By May 1864, the 90-acre depot included a sawmill, docks, wharves, offices, warehouses, horse corrals, and quarters for 2,500 soldiers. Union soldiers constructed a fort that U.S. Colored Troops (USCTs) manned to protect the depot. On May 10, Tennessee’s military governor, Andrew Johnson (later the 17th U.S. President), rode the 78 miles on the first train from Nashville to the new depot. According to witnesses, Johnson “stood on a pile of cross-ties and made a flowery speech, … then breaking a bottle of wine on the railroad track … named the place
On November 4, 1864, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked Johnsonville from the western bank of the Tennessee River. When Union commander Col. Charles R. Thompson ordered all vessels burned to prevent their capture, the fire also engulfed most of the buildings here. Losses were estimated in the millions of dollars.
Early in 1865, the Union army abandoned the depot except for a small USCT detachment. After the war, Johnsonville flourished as a railroad town. In 1867, the Tennessee River was bridged to the western shore, allowing trains to run continuously between Nashville and Memphis. Johnsonville ceased to exist 80 years later. In the mid-1940s the Tennessee Valley Authority dammed the Tennessee River and formed Kentucky Lake. The fort and defensive lines are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and comprise the Johnsonville State Historic Park.
(lower left) Andrew Johnson, ca. 1869 and Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, ca. 1864 Courtesy Library of Congress
(upper right) Johnsonville supply depot with fort on hill in background Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • 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.
Location. 36° 3.611′ N, 87° 57.563′ W. Marker is in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, in Humphreys County. Marker is on Old Johnsonville Road 0.4 miles west of Nell Beard Road, on the right when traveling west. The marker is located at the entrance to the Johnsonville State Historic Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Johnsonville TN 37134, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Forrest's Opening Move (within shouting distance of this marker); United States Colored Troops at Johnsonville (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nashville and Northwestern Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Town of Johnsonville (approx. ¼ mile away); The Union Supply Depot (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Johnsonville (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Tennessee River in the Civil War (approx. 0.4 miles away); Battle of Johnsonville (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Johnsonville.
Also see . . . Johnsonville State Historic Park. (Submitted on June 14, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 14, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 500 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 14, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.