Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Celina During the Civil War

Marker ID:  
Location: at the Clay County Courthouse, intersection of Main Street and East Lake Avenue (Tennessee Route 52), Celina,TN
County: Clay
Coordinates: N 36° 33.026    W 085° 30.364
  36.55043333    -85.50606666
Waymark: None


Celina During the Civil War
Hamilton's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion —

During the Civil War, the residents of the eastern and Cumberland River sections of present-day Clay County (then part of Jackson and Overton Counties) were usually Confederate sympathizers, while those in the western section supported the Union. Men from this area enlisted in both armies.

Oliver P. Hamilton organized one of the first local Confederate regiments in December 1862. He was elected major (and later became lieutenant colonel) of Hamilton’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. This partisan ranger band made its headquarters at Celina. Hamilton’s men patrolled the Tennessee-Kentucky line, enforced the conscript law, and guarded army stock and supplies between Celina and Gainsborough.

As the war progressed, Hamilton’s horsemen skirmished frequently with Federal cavalrymen based in Kentucky. Early in June 1862, 180 of his men attacked a detachment of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry and killed its commander. The Federals hotly pursued the Confederates back to Celina, where Hamilton’s men scattered into the hills to evade capture.

On April 19, 1863, Union Col Felix W. Graham’s 5th Indiana Cavalry attacked Hamilton’s command here, routed his forces, destroyed their camp and commissary supplies, and shelled the town. A little more than a month later, the Federals again routed Hamilton’s men at Kettle Creek. Union troops captured Hamilton here at Celina in March 1864 and charged him with being a guerrilla. While Hamilton was being transported to Lexington, Kentucky, for trail, his guards killed him under unknown circumstance

Tennessee Civil War Trails..