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McMinnville in Warren County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Occupation of McMinnville

Conflict on the Home Front

 
 
Occupation of McMinnville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
1. Occupation of McMinnville Marker
Inscription.  Early in 1861, when the state first voted on secession, Warren County residents, like many Tennesseans, opposed it. When balloting next occurred in June 1861, however, sentiment overwhelmingly favored secession, and county residents voted nearly 100 to 1 to leave the Union. Young men flocked to Confederate enlisting offices, quickly forming the 16th Tennessee Infantry under John Houston Savage. Benjamin J. Hill organized the 5th Tennessee Infantry, later renumbered the 35th; it trained just south of town at nearby Camp Smartt.

The county’s resources and the Manchester and McMinnville Railroad made McMinnville a strategic location that attracted raids by Confederate Gens. Joseph Wheeler, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Braxton Bragg. Gen. John Hunt Morgan spent his honeymoon here and planned his Kentucky and Ohio raids from the home of kinsman Dr. John Barkley Armstrong.

McMinnville changed hands at least five times. After April 1863, it frequently served as a Federal base; fourteen forts and blockhouses eventually were constructed to guard against Confederate attack. Union Col. Henry C. Gilbert’s 19th Michigan Infantry was among
The map is located on the lower right side of the marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
2. The map is located on the lower right side of the marker
Click or scan to see
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the first Federal units to occupy the town.

Federal occupation meant some safety from Confederate guerilla bands, but, nonetheless, county residents felt the hand of war when houses, warehouses, factories, and bridges were burned. Local Confederates especially disliked Gen. William “Bull” Nelson, who ransacked the Cumberland Female College here. Partisan bands harassed the Union garrisons with occasional raids. Local poet Lucy Virginia French chronicled the war in diaries detailing the conflicts between Confederate and Unionist families. The last Federal troops departed in September 1865.

(captions)
Col. John H. Savage, ca. 1860 Courtesy Magness Library
East Main St., McMinnville, ca. 1861 - Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
Cumberland Female College, ca. 1855- Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
Warren Co. Courthouse, ca 1868 Courtesy Heritage Alliance, Inc.
 
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 year for this entry is 1861.
 
Location. 35° 40.902′ N, 85° 46.39′ W. Marker is in McMinnville, Tennessee, in Warren County. Marker is
Occupation of McMinnville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
3. Occupation of McMinnville Marker
at the intersection of West Court Square and East Main Street (Tennessee Route 380), on the left when traveling south on West Court Square. The marker is located on the grounds of the Warren County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: McMinnville TN 37110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gen. Benjamin J. Hill (here, next to this marker); 16th Tenn. Reg’t. C.S.A. Memorial (here, next to this marker); POW and MIA Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Elisha Pepper II (within shouting distance of this marker); Symbol of Strength (within shouting distance of this marker); Uncle Dave Macon (within shouting distance of this marker); Morgan's Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles Faulkner Bryan (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McMinnville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 10, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 967 times since then and 64 times this year. Last updated on May 7, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 10, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 29, 2022