Address: 2276 West St. Germantown, TN 38138
This marker recounts the Federal occupation of Germantown in 1862. The inscription reads:
Guarding the Railroad
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 (through 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 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.