Saturday, December 08, 2018

In 20 images: A journey to find Nashville's 'hidden' battlefield

U.S. Colored Troops are believed to have formed here before their assault on Peach Orchard Hill 
on Dec. 16, 1864, the second and final day of the Battle of Nashville.  This sliver of land, 
near six-lane Interstate-65, is in a residential neighborhood. (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
Near downtown Nashville, Union General John Schofield's "jump-off" point looks much 
different than it did in 1864.
Now in a residential neighborhood, remains of Confederate Redoubt No. 1 are preserved by the 
Battle of Nashville Preservation Society.

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Attorney Jim Kay, president of the Battle of Nashville Trust,  
shows artifacts from the battle discovered on his property
in the Oak Hill suburb of Nashville.
"The Nashville battlefield has a torturous history," I wrote in my Rambling column in the February 2019 issue of Civil War Times, "Bulldozed, paved over, developed and mostly ignored, the hallowed ground on which John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee was nearly destroyed December, 15-16, 1864, is today unrecognizable as a battlefield. Only pockets of core battleground remain — in a grimy industrial area, on the grounds of a modern church, in residential neighborhoods, on a golf course, and elsewhere. Sadly, Nashville is mostly a battlefield of the mind." (Read the column here.)

Over the past several months, I explored many of the mostly forgotten sites on the massive battlefield. Of 3,840 acres of core battlefield, only about 320 acres are preserved, according to the most recent survey. The total battle acreage is approximately 39,500 acres.

RESOURCES: Battle of Nashville Preservation Society | Maps | American Battlefield Trust

Near Redoubt No. 1, a historical sign notes the site of Confederate trenches. 
The meager remains of  Redoubt No. 3 -- one of five redoubts Hood's army constructed in the countryside
south of Nashville -- may be found near the parking lot of Calvary United Methodist Church off Hillsboro Pike.
The Union army's III Brigade charged up this hill on the battle's first day, routing the defenders.
“We have had sermons about how a battlefield was turned into a church,” says Dave Nichols. archivist
of United Methodist Church, standing by remains of Redoubt No. 3. “This is a place where people
 were killed that has been turned into a place of peace.” (READ MORE.)
The remains of a war-time wall along busy Hillsboro Pike. Near here Iowan Sylvester Hill, 
the 44-year-old colonel  of the Union's III Brigade, was killed during the attack at Redoubt No. 3. 
Gary Burke, descendant of Peter Bailey of the U.S. Colored Troops, stands at Granbury's Lunette
 in industrial South Nashville. This was the extreme right of the Confederate line on the first day
 of the battle. Bailey fought here and at Peach Orchard Hill on the second day. (READ MORE.)
Raines' Cut, the seldom-visited railroad cut where U.S. Colored Troops were ambushed on 
Dec. 15, 1864, the battle's first day. Gary Burke (photo above) once sneaked into the cut because
 he wanted “to feel the fear that went through [U.S. Colored Troops]."
This stone wall on busy Granny White Pike dates to the battle. Confederate Brigadier General 
Henry Jackson was captured along the wall on Dec. 16, 1864. The historical sign is in a residential area.
On busy Franklin Road near downtown Nashville, few stop to read this Battle of Nashville historical sign.
A battlefield "witness" tree frames the Battle of Nashville Peace Monument, dedicated in 1999.  The 
original monument, located off Franklin Road, was toppled in a storm in 1974. Fighting occurred here
on the old Noel farm on the first day of the battle. The monument is just off Granny White Pike.
A stone wall snakes through the Oak Hill residential neighborhood near Nashville. On the second day
of the battle, the Army of Tennessee fought from behind it. (READ MORE.)
The left flank of the Army of Tennessee was anchored on Shy's Hill, known as Compton's Hill in 1864.
When John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee was routed here, his soldiers fled south on Franklin Pike.
A portion of Shy's Hill, located in a residential neighborhood, is one of the few 
undeveloped sections of core battlefield.
The only monument on Shy's Hill honors soldiers from Minnesota who fought here.
The steep slope of Shy's Hill. The site is located in a residential neighborhood.
A deer dashes across the crest of Shy's Hill, defended by Confederates on Dec. 16, 1864.
Peach Orchard Hill, where the right flank of Hood's army was anchored on Dec. 16, 1864, 
bears little resemblance to its war-time  appearance. A residential neighborhood and high school 
were built on the site of brutal second-day fighting.
 Fierce, often hand-to-hand, fighting broke out on Dec. 16, 1864, during the Army of Tennessee's
 retreat from Nashville. The "Battle of the Barricadeoccurred on or near the present-day site 
of Richland Country Club, off Granny White Pike.  Here,  Battle of Nashville Trust
president Jim Kay 
stands near a replica cannon on the course.  (READ MORE.)
Glen Leven, a plantation house four miles from downtown, served as a hospital for Union wounded.

-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.


  1. Peggy Vogtsberger11:48 PM

    Great photos of what little is left

  2. thanks for this wonderful information. it makes me sad that so much development has taken place at these sites.

  3. Thanks Plan to visit once this virus ends

  4. Francesco Terracciani10:10 AM

    Fantastic John!!