The Burning of Centerville and Vernon Tennessee During the Civil War
Union Troops Occupied the Courthouse in Centerville, Tennessee
In the year 1864 Union troops occupied Centerville, Tennessee
In the year 1864 Northern troops occupied Centerville, Tennessee, and used the town as a Union outpost and base of operations in Hickman County. Centerville the county seat of Hickman County, and Vernon one of the oldest settlements in Hickman were the scenes of considerable conflict that year. The venerable stately courthouse had been converted to a fortress, impervious to small arms, the Union troops had occupied the building, and converted many of the rooms into a large storage depot for Union army arms and ammunition.
Vernon had been the first County Seat for Hickman County TN
Desolation Reigned Supreme, Centerville & Vernon Tennessee
Captain Cross and his band of Confederate soldiers made a late night, sneak attack, and burned to the ground with only the shell standing, the once beloved Centerville Courthouse building to prevent its further use by the occupying Union army. The Northern commanders sent in Union troops under Captain John Taylor, Company F, 2nd Mounted Infantry sometime known as the ruthless Perry County "Jayhawkers". These Union troops were instructed by Northern Commanders to burn the entire business portion of the town of Centerville, along with many stately and fine private homes. According to one resident, ‘The Union troops left the entire town of Centerville in ruins, the town was a smoking mass of hot coals and ashes covered everything for miles. All over the community of Centerville down to the banks of the Duck River total desolation and complete destruction reigned supreme in every direction.
Centerville Courthouse Build in 1845 & Burned to a Shell in 1864
An Act of Terrorism on the Beautiful & Stately Town of Vernon
Union troops then were ordered to duplicated the act of terrorism on the once beautiful and stately town of Vernon, and the outrageous of the attack was so great it left nothing of Vernon to rebuild, not one barn, home or store left standing, all were chard-burnt ruins. Vernon had been the first County Seat for Hickman County Tennessee, and this was a deep cultural blow to the county of Hickman, and it took many years to recover from this unjustified rape of these two communities. All the court records prior to 1864 were destroyed in the burning of the Centerville Courthouse. All marriage records, birth, census and deeds were destroyed. Basically the entire history of this county prior to 1864 was left in ashes.
The Burning of Centerville and Vernon Tennessee During the Civil War
The Burning of Centerville and Vernon Tennessee During the Civil War. 8 likes · 9 talking about this. The Burning of Centerville & Vernon Tennessee. The...
Centerville, TN, Town Square looking all Magical for Christmas
Centerville Banks hiding all their Gold and Gilver in the Gaves under the Gity
It was one of the most under reported battle of the Civil War, no mention of the local banks hiding all their gold and silver in the caves under the city before the Union Army took the city the first time. That hidden silver and gold coinage was why the town leaders were able to rebuild Centeville after the war. Horatio Claggett Sr. the towns leading banker and financer had most of the coinage moved down into the caverns under the city at the time of the first occupation. The sad thing about the burning of Centeville and Vernon, is the people did not want to talk about it and look at it as a source of shame, a conquered people mentality took over the area. They are stuck on Minnie Pearl and do not want to dig any into the bad times. Before the burning of the town, Centerville had been the sight of several conflicts up to that time. It had been occupied at various times by members of the 2nd Tennessee and other troops. The old courthouse had been loopholed and fortified. Tragically most historians were obsessed with the Battle of Franklin, and Nashville, and just did not bother to properly save the records of the tragedy in Centerville and Vernon. Photo of Mr. Horatio Claggett Sr, below … His son Horatio Claggett, Jr. took on the monstrous task of rebuilding Centerville, but Vernon was neglect and is mostly just a memory today of it past glory.
Horatio Claggett Sr. the towns leading Banker and Financer
The Amazing Cave System under the Town of Centerville Tennessee
They Left the Town in Ruins, the Burning of Centerville by the Union Army
The Rebuilt Downtown Centerville TN in Hickman County Today
The Last Courthouse, Build on the Ruins of the old City Center
Historic Downtown Centerville Tennessee in Hickman County
Hickman County's First Courthouse & Jail, Stood in Vernon Tenn.
We cannot make missing records re-appear, but we CAN learn to make progress without them.
- Hickman County TNGenWeb Project
Hickman County TNGenWeb
Hickman County Tennessee, Centerville Courthouse at Christmas
Lost marriage records: 1807 to 1868, Lost probate records: 1807 to 1866
Hickman 1864 fire
1864 Hickman County Courthouse Fire damaged courthouse records.
- Lost censuses: 1810
- Lost marriage records: 1807 to 1868
- Lost probate records: 1807 to 1866
Because of a courthouse fire in 1864, the marriage books began with 1868 and went through 1894. The records prior to 1868 were gathered from many sources: loose papers in the courthouse vault, family Bibles, obituaries, census records, and two earlier publications: Court Records of Hickman County, Tennessee, 1833-1856 and Marriages of Hickman County, Tennesseeby Leeper. This is a well-researched and helpful listing of early marriages that cannot be found in official records along.
Marriage records (Hickman County, Tennessee), 1868-1961; index to marriages, 1868-1974; Author: Hickman County (Tennessee). County Court Clerk
Old marriage records of Hickman County, Tennessee; Author: Daughters of the American Revolution. Duck River Chapter (Tennessee)
Burned to the Ground the Once Beloved Centerville Courthouse
1863 General Davis's Captured thirty Confederates at Bon Aqua
Earlier in the Civil War in Hickman County, the famous Confederate Generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and Joseph Wheeler passed through Centerville, Tennessee, when they were on their retreat after the Battle of Dover on February 3, 1863, when their attack on the Union garrison there failed. At this time the Union General Jefferson C. Davis left Franklin Tennessee and attempted to overtake and intercept the retreating Confederates forces but he and his troops had little success. Slowed by extremely cold weather, bad muddy roads, and unfriendly to the Yankee troops citizens of Hickman County, General Jefferson Davis's troops captured only about thirty Confederates prisoners at the village of Weems, which is now known as the town of Bon Aqua, in Hickman County ...
Centerville, Tennessee, The Public Square became a Burned-out War Zone
- Hickman County Courthouse Marker - Historic Markers Across Tennessee
In 1864, the Hickman County Courthouse and Centerville's business district around the public square became a burned-out war zone. Confederate Col. Jacob B. "Jake" Biffle pursued Col. John Murphy's 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry for two days from ...
A 1862 Photo of a Hickman County Confederate, Bon Aqua Area
Lieutenant Jordan W. Creasy, was a Monster in their Midst's
According to may citizens of Hickman County during the Civil War Lieutenant Jordan W. Creasy, was a monster in their midst's. He was in Company E, the 12th Union Cavalry. Jordan Creasy was described as being extremely proficient in the burning of houses, barns and businesses. He and his cavalry were experts at the robbing of defenseless homesteads, and farms, and they were proficient in insulting of unprotected women. Creasy and his cavalry were also responsible according to the remaining local authority as being the most cowardly, cruel, and brutal murderers in the history of Hickman County.
Union Lieutenant Jordan W. Creasy, Proficient in Burning Houses
A New Downtown District of Centerville was Rebuilt by the 1920s
Tennessee and the Civil War, and the Daggers of the Civil War
Map of Hickman County Tennessee around 1890 Civil Districts
Union Captain John Taylor leaves Downtown Centerville in Ruins
In the Civil War year of 1864, the Hickman County Courthouse and Centerville's bustling business district around the public square became a horrible chard, burned-out war zone of desolation. Confederate troops under the command of Col. Jacob B. "Jake" Biffle were in hot pursued of Col. John Murphy's 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry for over two days from the Buffalo river, which is about forty miles west of Centerville. The Union troops reached Centerville and occupied the courthouse, they turned it into a fortress. The Courthouse in Centerville at this time was very well made, these Union troops were protected by the thick brick walls of the Courthouse, it was here that they temporarily held off Col. Jacob Biffle's Confederate troops, who had no heavy artillery. When the Col. Hacob Biffle was distracted by Northern forces that were laying waste and pillaging local farms in the surrounding communities, the Union troops abandoned the Courthouse and retreated to the safety of fortified Nashville. Tragically Confederate Capt. Albert H. Cross ordered the courthouse in Centerville burned to prevent its reuse as a fortress for the occupying Northern troops. In retaliation, Union Captain John W. Taylor's company (2nd Tennessee), known as the Perry County Jayhawkers, returned to Hickman County with the wrath of Hades, and burned all the fine commercial buildings, warehouses, as well many private dwellings; leaving Centerville in ruins that took many years of hard work to rebuild to half its former glory.
Union Major General Jefferson C. Davis, the Wind of Death 1863
Showing Tennessee the First to Fall, Day by Day the Civil War
Destruction of Towns and Cities in the South was Unparalleled
Most folks in Hickman County wanted to be left out of the War
Most folks in Hickman County wanted to be left out of the battles and they were divided at the outset of the war. When Fort Sumter was bombarded and President Lincoln made the call for over 75,000 volunteers to fill the army, and to suppress the rebellion folks in Hickman County did not want to go to war with their southern brothers. Like most Tennesseans the people of Centerville and Hickman County saw this as a threat to their freedom and an sword drawn to their "southern brethren." Most of the pro-Unionism in Tennessee came from the eastern portion of the state. However Tennessee did furnish more troops for the Union Army than any other Confederate state, combined. However, over three times that number of Tennesseans volunteered for the Confederacy.
The Restoration of the Burned Centerville Courthouse
Centerville Tennessee in Ruins Never to Regain Her former Glory
Tennessee was Gateway to the Confederate, Fort Donelson
The Union's Brick Fortress the Hickman County Courthouse 1864
It was a fine fortress indeed, up to three brick think and stood tall and proud like a castle. To a large extent, the Civil War was fought in cities and towns like Centerville, sadly beautiful strategic buildings became warlord fortresses. And tragically the farms of Tennessee like the many in Hickman County were looted and burned when the conquering army was finished with its livestock and supplies. Surprising only the state of Virginia saw more battles than Tennessee. However. It is very shocking that Tennessee is the only state to have major battles and even epic skirmishes fought in every county in the state. This was a brother against brother war in Tennessee. For one thing Tennessee was the last of the states in the south to declare that she had succeeded from the Union; this is because a large portion of the states population was very much against secession.
Union Troops Burning towns Became the Norm In the Civil War
Centerville & Vernon saw more than their Share of Devastation
Sadly Centerville, Vernon and many other communities in Tennessee saw more than their share of the horrid devastation resulting from years of the two warring armies crisscrossing the state, and the helpless communities in their path were just sources of supplies to be looted, and building to burn and destroy. Its rivers like the Duck River that goes through Centerville were the key arteries to the deeper sections of the south, and the Confederacy, and the North from the early days of the war focused its forces on securing control of those transportation routes, as well as all major roads that ran through Centerville to rich farm land that made Tennessee "the Bread Basket" of the Confederacy. Centerville had new Northern overlords to feed and a population to loot and subjugate. For Hickman County, and other Tennessee county's rich farmland was to fed both armies during the war.
Some of the Community leaders that helped rebuild Centerville
The photo above are Community leaders the Rebuild Centerville
In the photo above are some of the Community leaders that helped finance a lot of the rebuilding of downtown Centerville after the physical destruction the Civil War caused to the community ... First directors of First National Bank 1886. Mr. Gardner, R.B. Barnwell, J.B. Walker, Horatio Clagett, Henry Nixon, John H. Clagett, John Hungerford.
In the Civil War the Union used Terror as a Psychological Weapon
Soldiers Killed in Centerville on 28th and the 29th of September
The roster of the Second Mounted Infantry, United States, that were stationed at Clifton Tennessee, 1863, until the end of the war shows in the numbers how much fighting, and unreported looting, and killing went on around Centerville during the war. One can only note that a great number of soldiers were killed, captured or went missing on 28th and the 29th of September in the year 1864 at Centerville in Hickman County, Tennessee. Just an example of the under reported blood shed and unreported activities that never got properly reported or written down in this forgotten part of the war. No description of the battles at Centerville were ever properly reported because this whole event was terrorism on a epic scale.
The Battle at Centerville, by W. R. Morris, from the B. R. Jennings Collection
- The Battle at Centerville
It was a clear and frosty Monday morning, September 26, 1864 when Colonel John Murphy and 250 men of their 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (U.S.V.) left his headquarters to scout southward for Confederates.
The Citizens of Centerville had the Strength to rebuild their Town
Centerville needs to be remembered & Honored in Tennessee
This atrocity should have been front page news, but the battle of Franklin got all the headlines, and all attention went to Franklin, and Centerville was totally forgotten. But I feel it needs to be remembered, and Centerville needs to be remembered and honored by the state of Tennessee just as much the horrible battle of Franklin, and we need to let the world know this happened, and Centerville survived. Tragically for Vernon it never regained its former glory, the Union troops atrocity had been so complete for that community.