Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Gen. John T. Wilder

Marker ID:  
Location: 101 E Depot Ave, Monterey, TN
County: Putnam
Coordinates: N 36° 8.82    W 085° 16.09
  36.147    -85.26816666
Waymark: None


Gen. John T. Wilder
East Tennessee Railroads and Bridges

Born in New York's Catskill Mountains, Union general and postwar Tennessee industrialist John T. Wilder joined the 17th Indian Volunteers when the Civil War began.
Wilder and his 17thh Indian Mounted Infantry (nickname "Wilder's Lighting Brigade") were an effective force against Confederate combatants, including those under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Using Spencer repeating rifles that Wilder purchased, his men fired seven rounds in the same time it took their musket-toting Confederate counterparts to shoot twice. Wilder distinguished himself during the Tullahoma Campaign and the battles for Chickamauga and Chattanooga. A year later, he resigned from the army and went home.

Soon after the war, Wilder returned to Tennessee and began exploring the area's vast iron and coal deposits. He established steel mills, coal mines, and coke ovens here and created jobs. He opened coal mines a few moles north of Monterey and attracted community.

Wilder built a house in Monterey at S. Holly Street and E. Stewart Avenue, just south of the Monterey Tennessee Central Depot. He developed the 20-room Imperial Hotel at E. Commercial Avenue and S. Holly Street. Highly respected for his civic leadership by veterans of both sides, he supported the creation of a national military park at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga battlefields. Wilder, a former Chattanooga mayor and honorary member of the Nathan B. Forrest Bivouac of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV), died on October 20, 1917. The UCV national chaplain officiated at Wilder's funeral. He is buried with his family in Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.

Tennessee Civil War Trails