Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Battle for Decatur 6 - Union Leadership at Decatur

Marker ID:  
Location: at the intersection of Sycamore Street Northwest and Market Street Northwest, Decatur, Alabama
County: Morgan
Coordinates: N 34° 37.009    W 086° 59.07
  34.61681666    -86.9845
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


“a place of importance” - Union Leadership at Decatur
“A Hard Nut to Crack”
— The Battle for Decatur —

The Decatur crossing of the Tennessee River was used extensively by Union forces. In the Fall of 1863, elements of Major General William T. Sherman's Army of the Tennessee passed through Decatur on their way from Vicksburg to Chattanooga. Union commands from the Army of the Tennessee spent the spring of 1864 camped at Decatur, and were inspected by Major General James B. McPherson and Sherman on March 25, 1864.

On March 8, 1864, Union Major General Grenville M. Dodge and XVI Army Corps permanently occupied Decatur and constructed a pontoon bridge and substantial fortifications. You are near where the southern entrance to the pontoon bridge was in 1864-1865. After the Army of the Tennessee joined the Atlanta Campaign in late April, 1864, a permanent garrison commanded by Colonel Charles C. Doolittle of the 18th Michigan Infantry, and consisting of 1,500 infantry and seventeen pieces of artillery was established here. This garrison would substantially reinforced in October, 1864.

The Federal army briefly withdrew the garrison to reinforce Nashville on November 23, but Decatur was re-occupied by Major General James B. Steedman and a division of U. S. Colored Troops on December 27, 1864. Decatur was occupied by Union forces until the end of the war. The last known date that Federal troops were in Decatur was June 30, 1865. After the war Grenville Dodge would go on to serve as Chief Engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad, responsible for the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Erected by City of Decatur. (Marker Number 6.)

End of The Battle for Decatur 6 - Union Leadership at Decatur