Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Johnsonville State Historic Area

Marker ID:  
Location: In the Johnsonville State Historic Park near Kentucky Lake on Old Johnsonville Road.
County: Benton
Waymark: None


In the early years of the Civil War, the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad ran from Nashville to Kingston Springs. Due to the vulnerability of Nashville as a supply depot, the Federals started building the railroad westward to Johnsonville on the banks of the Tennessee River. Upon completion of this 78 mile stretch of railroad, Johnsonville became a major supply depot for the march to Atlanta. Freed slaves were pressed into the military, 12th and 13th color Troop Infantry Regiments. Then position in hastily constructed field fortifications and blockhouses to guard the trestles and bridges between Kingston Springs in Johnsonville. One such well-defined fortification which was called Fort Johnson is still visible here in the Johnsonville State Historic Area. On November 4, 1864, Confederate Major General Nathan B. Forest attacked and destroyed the Johnsonville Depot as depicted it in the picture on the left. Although the battle lasted less than 24 hours, the fall of Johnsonville represented not only a major Confederate victory, is the only record of a naval force being engaged and defeated by a cavalry force.