The Nashville and Decatur in the Civil War

History of an Embattled Railroad


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About the Book

The Nashville and Decatur Railroad was in operation five months before the start of the Civil War and 17 months before the Federals took control of Nashville and the railroad. Running through Central Tennessee to Alabama, the highly contested line passed through Confederate-held territory, where rebels and their sympathizers continually sabotaged bridges, trestles and track. This first full-length work on the N&D Railroad emphasizes its importance in the Western Theater and brings to light the four key men who kept it open for the duration of the war. Significant military activities in the region are described, along with the contraband camp, military complex and other features surrounding the railroad’s only tunnel.

About the Author(s)

Retired professional civil and structural engineer Walter R. Green, Jr., has written documents for use by the City of Franklin, Tennessee, and for publication in the local historic journal. He lives in Franklin.

Bibliographic Details

Walter R. Green, Jr.

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, maps, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8852-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4651-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 3

1. Going Home to Michigan 5
2. Harnessing the Iron Horse 7
3. Innes and the 1st Michigan Build Their Reputation 29
4. Raids and Stockades 46
5. Dodge and Boomer Rebuild Trestles and Bridges 61
6. U.S. Colored Troops, Contraband Camps and Tunnel Hill 81
7. Relying on Merrill’s and Innes’ Blockhouses 91
8. Forrest Comes Calling 103
9. Hood Looks for a Fight 121
10. The Battles of Franklin and Nashville 135
11. Chasing Hood: The Battle of Bridge Builders 145
12. In the Wake 160
13. After the War 164

A—Early History of the Three Railroads Composing the N&D 177
B—Civil War–Era Railroads, Communications and Pontoon Bridges 185
C—Locating the Crossings and Fortifications in Mid–1864 193
D—Troops Protecting the Railroad 212
E—The Southern Claims Commission 219
F—The 1901 Franklin, Tennessee, L&N Passenger Depot 224

Chapter Notes 227
Bibliography 235
Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Augmented profusely with maps, photographs, and illustrations, Green’s carefully researched history of the Nashville and Decatur Railroad is among the best of recent publications on individual railroads in the Civil War. It will appeal not only to railroad aficionados, but also to readers interested in the Western Theater—particularly the maneuvers in Tennessee and Alabama.”—The Civil War Monitor

• “The N&D’s full Civil War story is presented in comprehensive fashion for the first time in Walter Green’s very impressive book…A stupendous Civil War railroad study…Will likely stand far into the future as the standard history of this relatively short but important western theater rail line…This volume is a highly notable contribution to the growing modern library of Civil War railroad, transportation, engineering, and logistics studies.”—Civil War Books and Authors