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

Cedar Grove Iron Furnace

Shelled by Gunboats

Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 22, 2014
1. Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker
Inscription.  Tennessee’s iron industry was strategically important to both North and South. Numerous furnaces supplied iron to foundries to manufacture munitions as well as armor for ironclad vessels. The fall of Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862 opened the Tennessee River to Union gunboats. That month, one such flotilla (USS Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington) shelled this ironworks, where the ironmaster’s house, office, company store, workers’ houses, barns, smokehouse, and other buildings surrounded the furnace. At least 100 people, black and white, worked here. During the shelling, the workforce of mostly African American slaves scattered, and the furnace ceased operations. The ironmaster, William Bradley, was later ambushed and killed.

In his report on the Tennessee River expedition, gunboat commander Lt. Cmdr. Seth L. Phelps noted: “We have met with the most ratifying proofs of loyalty everywhere across Tennessee. …Men, women, and children several times gathered in crowds of hundreds, shouted their welcome and hailed their national flag with enthusiasm there was no mistaking. It was genuine and heartfelt.
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Those people braved everything to go to the river bank, where a sight of their flag might once more be enjoyed.”

Cedar Grove is the only remaining double-stack charcoal furnace in Tennessee. Constructed of local limestone that was hand carved and fitted by skilled craftsman, it stands 30 feet tall and measures 31 feet by 52 feet at the base. The iron ore was mined around nearby Marsh Creek and transported by mule-drawn carts for smelting at the furnace. Bars of pig iron were produced and shipped to foundries all over the country, where it was transformed into machinery, implements, pots, and decorative iron pieces. Entire hardwood forests were cut down to make charcoal to fuel the furnace during its productive years. Cedar Grove Iron Furnace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of several furnaces that operated in at least fifteen counties in or around the Western Highland Rim at the beginning of the Civil War.

(upper center) Looking up interior of one furnace stack; Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Courtesy National Park Service, Natchez Trace Parkway
(upper right) Iron Furnace Map - Courtesy MTSU/Center for Historic Preservation
(lower right) Sections through a typical antebellum furnace show (left) a bridge at the top of the stack, the arch at lower right through
Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 22, 2014
2. Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker
which the molten iron flowed, and (right) twin arches for the blast from the bellows. From Frederick Overman, The Manufacture of Iron (1850)
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Appalachian Iron Furnaces, and the Tennessee Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1862.
Location. 35° 33.536′ N, 87° 57.678′ W. Marker is in Linden, Tennessee, in Perry County. Marker is on Buckfork Road, 0.2 miles east of Cedar Creek Road (County Route 1775), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Linden TN 37096, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Cedar Grove Iron Furnace (here, next to this marker); Cedar Grove Iron Works (approx. 4.8 miles away); Amphibious Attack on Linden (approx. 5.7 miles away); In Memoriam (approx. 5.8 miles away); Perryville First County Seat of Perry County (approx. 6.2 miles away); Razing the Courthouse (approx. 8 miles away); Hufstedler Grave House (approx. 8.1 miles away); Site of Decatur County School Gymnasium (approx. 8.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Linden.
Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 22, 2014
3. Cedar Grove Iron Furnace Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 2, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 990 times since then and 109 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 2, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 25, 2023