Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Dyer County in the War

Marker ID:  
Location: at the intersection of West Court Street and South Main Ave, Dyersburg, TN
County: Dyer
Coordinates: N 36° 1.957    W 089° 23.155
  36.03261666    -89.38591666
Waymark: None


Dyer County in the War
A Scoured Countryside

At least fifteen Confederate companies were formed in Dyer County, including Capt. Otho F. Strahl’s Co. K, 4th Tennessee Infantry, and Capt. Tyree H. Bell’s Co. B, 12th Tennessee Infantry. Both men rose to the rank of brigadier general. Strahl was one of six Confederate generals to die at the Battle of Franklin in 1864. He is buried in Dyersburg’s Old City Cemetery on East Court Street. Bell served under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and participated in the postwar Dyer County Aid Society to help former soldiers and their families.

No major engagements took place in Dyer County, but foragers from both sides scoured the countryside here and in adjacent Gibson County. Confederate cavalry Col. William H. Jackson in 1862 described the area as “the richest portion of the State of Tennessee” with an “abundant supply of bacon, corn, and hay.” After a surprise attack on one of Jackson’s companies in August 1862, Union Gen. Grenville M. Dodge freed two slaves who had provided information.

Sharing borders with Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas, Dyer County harbored several Confederate guerrilla bands. From his headquarters in Trenton, Dodge requested additional cavalry to fight them. By the end of the 1863, the pro-Union Memphis Bulletin reported that guerrilla activity had decreased.

A confederate soldier, apparently acting alone, burned the courthouse in 1864. Rebuilt in 1867, it was replaced by the present Classical Revival building in 1911. Local resident Jane Skeffington unveiled the granite Confederate monument on the anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh in 1905.

Tennessee Civil War Trails.