Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Fort Hill Cemetery

Marker ID:  
Location: 12th St SW west of Goode St SW, Cleveland, TN
County: Bradley
Coordinates: N 35° 9.327    W 084° 52.917
  35.15545    -84.88195
Waymark: None


Fort Hill Cemetery
Defending Cleveland

First called City Cemetery, this is the resting place of both Confederate and Union soldiers. On November 4, 1862, a train wreck south of Cleveland killed 17 Confederate soldiers who are buried here in a mass grave. Nearby engagements in 1863 resulted in the deaths of Union soldiers also interred here. Capt. Jonathan Dickerson, 112th Illinois Infantry, was killed on September 18 by Confederate troops on the Dalton Road. Fort Dickerson in Knoxville was named after him. Nineteen-year-old Pvt. Hazard Barrere, 1st Ohio Cavalry, was mortally wounded on Inman Street in downtown Cleveland on November 27. Slaves belonging to Confederate sympathizer Jane Hardwick carried him into her residence, where she and her daughters nursed him until his death.

The high terrain made ideal sites for Fort McPherson and Fort Sedgwick, the latter located here. With a clear view of the railroad and depot, the forts defended Cleveland during Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler's attack on August 22, 1864. After receiving cannon fire from Fort McPherson, Wheeler sent a message to Union commander Col. Horatio G. Gibson: "I desire to know if you intend compelling me to shell the town?" Gibson confidently replied, "I have no objections to your shelling the town," and ordered Cleveland evacuated as both forts' guns opened fire on the Confederates. Wheeler and his men withdrew during the night.

On May 30, 1914, the Cleveland chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), the Union veterans group, erected a monument at the cemetery's entrance to memorialize Bradley County's "Boys in Blue." It is one of only three G.A.R. monuments in Tennessee.

Tennessee Civil War Trails.