Courthouse Square - Murfreesboro, TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 35° 50.763 W 086° 23.521
16S E 554902 N 3967043
Quick Description: There are several markers on the square for activities at different dates here.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 3/31/2022 5:50:48 AM
Waymark Code: WM15ZFD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 0

Long Description:

County of courthouse: Rutherford County
Location of courthouse: End of Main St., bordered by Maple St., Public Square, & Church St., Murfreesboro
Date built: 1859


Location of marker: Public Square, courthouse lawn, Murfreesboro
Marker erected by: Rutherford County Historical Society

This view of the square looks to the west and depicts several wood and canvas "shebangs" that sheltered the Federal troops guarding the Provost Marshal's Office downtown.

The soldiers constructed these makeshift shelters from all kinds of salvaged materials - random planks served as rough flooring, interior walls were covered with the illustrated pages of weekly papers, and crude chimneys were laid up from the bricks taken from the wall that surrounded the courthouse. Some type of shade, either from trees or cut woven branches, was highly desirable.

At the top left of the photograph [see gallery] the Old City Hotel, then owned by D.H.C. Spence. Officers usually found quarters in boarding establishments or private houses. The upper story windows provided protected firing platforms for Union riflemen to defend themselves against Forrest's raid in the summer of 1862. After several hours of fierce fighting, gray-clad cavalrymen captured Brig. Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden, briefly the commander of the Murfreesboro post, at the Spence Hotel.

When the battle was over, the prisoners were taken to McMinnville, where they were soon paroled. The task of caring for the wounded of both sides fell to the citizens of Murfreesboro. Federal casualties went to the field hospitals that had been established earlier, while the Confederates were taken into private houses and cared for by the townspeople. The dead of both sides were buried honorably in soldiers' graves.

Location of marker: end of W. Main St., main sidewalk courthouse lawn, Murfreesboro
Marker erected by: Tennessee Civil War Trails

Marker text:

Beginning of a legend
Forrest's First Raid
For two weeks in July 1862, Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest led 1,400 cavalrymen through Middle Tennessee to raid, scout, and disrupt the Union Army of the Cumberland's operation there, leaving Murfreewsboro on July 13.

Few union soldiers stationed in Murfreesboro were stirring in the early hours of Sunday morning, July 13, 1862, when Confederate Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry thundered down East Main Street. The substantial Federal garrison here under Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden guarded the vital Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad line, but the troops had been separated into groups. An infantry regiment, a cavalry detachment, and an artillery battery were camped on Stones River more than a mile northwest of the town square. Another regiment bivouacked at Maney's Spring (Oaklands mansion), and an infantry company guarded the courthouse.

After capturing the sentinels on the outskirts of town without firing a shot, Forrest formed his men into three columns and attacked each separate Federal detachment simultaneously. The action on the square was heavy and Union sharpshooters killed more than twenty Confederates from protected positions in the courthouse and surrounding buildings. The Federal defenders held fast until the Confederates set fire to the first floor of the courthouse and threatened to burn them out.

The combination of surprise, strategy, and guile proved to be effective. Each of the three Federal detachments surrendered in turn. Forrest's cavalry took more than a thousand prisoners, including Crittenden, four artillery pieces, and a large quantity of military stores. They also freed a number of local citizens being held hostage in retaliation for the killing of some foraging Union soldiers.

Location of marker: 1 public square, W. side of courthouse, Murfreesboro
Marker erected by: Rutherford County Historical Society

Marker text:
Murfreesboro's first experience with Federal occupation came in March 1862, shortly after the fall of Fort Donelson.

Headed by Brig. Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel, Union cavalry entered the town, hoisted the United States flag to the top of the courthouse steeple, and pitched their tents wherever there was a convenient water supply. Once the army settled in, the commander appointed a provost marshal, who administered loyalty oaths and issued military passes to the local people

Shortly after establishing the post, Gen. Mitchel ordered squads of soldiers to search the houses and other buildings for guns and ammunition. Any weapons found were confiscated, regardless of condition. Citizens who were accused of disloyalty were jailed or sent to the penitentiary in Nashville. Upon their release they were required to obtain a bond with security in order to guarantee future good conduct. Federal scouting and foraging parties left the town each day to search for Confederate troops and to obtain additional supplies that would augment the rations shipped in from Nashville.

By the war's end, considerable physical changes had taken place in the county. Many fine houses had been looted and abused. A number of buildings, including the First Presbyterian Church, the slave market and the jail, had been torn down for military purposes. Fields were overgrown and the fences were used for firewood. Much of the region's wealth had been destroyed and it would take generations for the area to recover former prosperity.

Related Website: [Web Link]

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