Johnsonville State Historic Park
Johnsonville State Historic Park commemorates the Battle of Johnsonville, which was fought in 1864 during the Civil War. The park also commemorates the former townsite of Johnsonville that existed from 1864-1944. The city was eliminated with the establishment of dams that led to the formation of Kentucky Lake. In 2012, the park opened a new welcome center which features a museum, theater and gift shop.
Backstory and Context
During the Civil War, Johnsonville was the location of a Union supply depot that moved food, guns, uniforms and everything else needed to supply an army. Steamboats brought supplies up the Tennessee River to the Johnsonville Depot. The supplies were transferred on to railroad cars and transported along the 78 mile Nashville & Northwestern Military Railroad to Nashville, Tennessee and on to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army in Georgia.
The Johnsonville Depot was attacked by Confederate forces under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest on November 4th of 1864. It is believed that a local Confederate sympathizer, Jack Hinson, guided Forrest and his troops so that they were able to position their artillery pieces right under the noses of the Union defenses without being detected. Union gunboats and soldiers from the 43rd Wisconsin Infantry, 1st Kansas Artillery, and the 12th, 13th, and 100th United States Colored Troops fought to defend the depot, but the battle was a Confederate victory. Following the Battle of Johnsonville, Forrest and his troops joined Confederate General John Bell Hood on his Tennessee Campaign which ended with the Battle of Franklin and the Battle of Nashville in the late autumn of 1864.