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

War Comes to Germantown

Guarding the Railroad

War Comes to Germantown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 20, 2014
1. War Comes to Germantown Marker
Inscription.  In 1861, Germantown was divided between secessionists and unionists until the news of Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers tilted the balance in favor of secession. Germantown women announced on April 26, “We…offer to the (Confederate) soldiers of Germantown all the assistance in our power with our needles, and promise also to aid in the care and sustenance of their families during their absence. And should the war approach our own homes, we will watch over the sick and wounded (though strangers) as our own brothers or fathers.” Local men and other county residents formed the 4th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A., which trained briefly at Germantown and later fought in such important battles as Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Nashville.

Federal troops entered Germantown in June 1862 and occupied houses, churches, and other buildings. Residents suffered as the soldiers confiscated crops and livestock, while many dwellings and businesses were dismantled or burned. The Presbyterian church became a Federal hospital and headquarters. The Masonic Hall, also used as a hospital, survived because both the Union commander
War Comes to Germantown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 20, 2014
2. War Comes to Germantown Marker
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and the Presbyterian minister were Masons.

The Memphis & Charleston Railroad depot became the focal point of the Federal garrison. The men built an earthen redoubt and stockade just east of town. Confederate cavalry and Union troops fought at least eleven engagements around this rail line in the Germantown area.

By war’s end, Germantown’s population had been reduced by more than half. It would be many years before Germantown recovered and again became a thriving community.

(lower left) Masonic Hall, which served as a Union hospital (demolished 1985)
(upper center) Germantown Presbyterian Church, constructed 1851 (bell tower added 1867)
(upper right) Germantown railroad depot, constructed 1858 (replaced 1948
(lower right) Fort Germantown, built June 1863 to guard the railroad (burned and abandoned October 1863)
All images courtesy Germantown Community Library
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1864.
Location. 35° 5.218′ N, 89° 48.661′ W. Marker is in Germantown, Tennessee
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, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Germantown Road and 2nd Street, on the right when traveling south. The marker is located on the grounds of the Germantown Visitor Center and former depot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2260 West St, Germantown TN 38138, 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. Confederate Germantown (here, next to this marker); Germantown, Tennessee (within shouting distance of this marker); Germantown Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fortunate Survivor (approx. 0.2 miles away); Neshoba Junior High School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Oaklawn Garden (approx. 0.7 miles away); John Gray Historic House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Raiding the Rails (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Germantown.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 559 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on May 3, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 26, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 15, 2021