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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Centerville in Hickman County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Hickman County Courthouse

A Brick Fortress

 
 
Hickman County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2016
1. Hickman County Courthouse Marker
Inscription.  In 1864, the Hickman County Courthouse and Centerville's business district around the public square became a burned-out war zone. Confederate Col. Jacob B. "Jake" Biffle pursued Col. John Murphy's 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry for two days from Buffalo, about forty miles west of her. The Federals reached Centerville and occupied the courthouse. Protected by the thick brick walls, they temporarily held off Biffle's men, who had no artillery. When the opportunity arose, the Federals retreated to the safety of fortified Nashville. Confederate Capt. Albert H. Cross ordered the courthouse burned to prevent its reuse as a fort. In retaliation, Capt. John W. Taylor's company (2nd Tennessee), known as the Perry County Jayhawkers, returned here and burned all the commercial buildings, as well many private dwellings.

Earlier in the war, Confederate generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and Joseph Wheeler passed through Centerville on their retreat after the Battle of Dover on February 3, 1863, when their attack on the Federal garrison there failed. Union Gen. Jefferson C. Davis left Franklin and attempted to intercept the retreating Confederates
Hickman County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 19, 2020
2. Hickman County Courthouse Marker
but had little success. Slowed by cold weather, bad roads, and unfriendly citizens, Davis's men captured only thirty prisoners at Weems (Bon Aqua) Springs. Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk wanted Gen. Earl Van Dorn to join Wheeler's men and attack Davis, but Van Dorn was too far south to comply. Forrest and Wheeler continued to the Duck River crossing at Centerville, where volunteers swam the icy river and secured the ferry. The weary cavalrymen then took a brief respite in town.
 
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.
 
Location. 35° 46.71′ N, 87° 28.021′ W. Marker is in Centerville, Tennessee, in Hickman County. Marker is at the intersection of South Public Square and West Public Square, on the left when traveling east on South Public Square. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Public Square, Centerville TN 37033, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hickman County Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Edwin Hickman (approx. ¾ mile away); Beth Slater Whitson (approx. 5.7 miles away); Grace Baxter Thompson (approx. 5.8
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miles away); The Nunnelly Family Memorial Garden (approx. 5.8 miles away); First County Seat (approx. 6½ miles away); Coble Pottery (approx. 9 miles away); Old Trace Walk (approx. 10½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Centerville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 472 times since then and 122 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on October 21, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA.   2. submitted on September 20, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
 
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Sep. 26, 2020