Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Raiding the Rails

Marker ID:  
Location: 2745 Hacks Cross Rd, Germantown, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 4.482    W 089° 47.784
  35.0747    -89.7964
Waymark: None


Raiding the Rails
Civil War in Germantown 1862

During the Civil War, the railroad in front of you was the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Union forces occupied the area soon after the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh and the capture of Memphis on June 6. they used the railroad to transport troops and supplies east from the city.

On June 22, at a curve in the track to your right, Confederate Col. William H. Jackson's cavalrymen derailed an entire Federal supply train. This train (the first out of Union-occupied Memphis) was carrying troops and supplies to Union Gen. William T. Sherman's headquarters at Lafayette (now Rossville). As the train approached, Jackson's men dislodged a rail, watched the wreck, and then emerged from hiding in the woods. Union Lt. Col. William H. Raynor, 56th Ohio Infantry, reported that they "took Col. [Peter] Kinney, together with 1 sergeant and 8 privates, of Company B, of this regiment, prisoners," with 73 others. When Sherman learned of this incident, he informed his superiors that Germantown "is a place of mischief. ... I am told they openly boast the Yankees will never run a train over the road."

Persitent attacks by Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest's command along this vital supply line prompted the establishment of Federal camps to guard it. In 1863, a redoubt was constructed just east of here in another failed attempt to prevent Confederate raids. This derailment was one of several along the line, and one of at least eleven skirmishes in or near Germantown.

Willim H. Jackson (1835-1903), attended West Tennessee College (now Union University) before his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (graduated 1856). He served as colonel, 1st Tennessee Cavalry (CSA), in 1861 and was promoted to general in 1862.

Tennessee Civil War Trails.

Photos of this marker can be found on HMDB.org