Bridge Burners

Bridge Burners (HM13EC)

Location: Greeneville, TN 37743 Greene County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 9.921', W 82° 50.183'

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Hangings at the Depot

After Unionists burned several East Tennessee railroad bridges on November 9, 1861, Confederate engineer Colonel Danville Leadbetter soon arrived to rebuild the brides and capture the perpetrators. Later that month, his forces captured Henry Fry, Jacob Hinshaw, and Hugh Self and confined them in the Greenville jail. A court martial convicted them on the morning of November 30 and sentenced them to death. Self's sentence was commuted to imprisonment because he was only 16 years old.

That afternoon, "a detail with hangman's ropes in hand" approached the jail. Fry and Hinshaw, with "hands bound behind them," marched up Depot Street "in a hollow square of soldiers." They walked across the railroad tracks near the depot and then "up a gently sloping hill to the edge of the woods where two ropes were dangling from a hung limb of a huge oak tree." At 2 P.M., they were hanged. "Their bodies were left swinging in the air all that afternoon, and through the night, and until 4 o'clock P.M. the next day." A witness could see the bodies from his home at the corner of Depot Street and Morehead Street (present-day Cutler Street).

Unionist prisoners cut the bodies down and buried them under the tree. Confederates reburied them on Andrew Johnson's property west of town on a rise west of present-day Nanci Lane and called the burial ground the Rebel Graveyard. Their families reburied them again after the war, Hinshaw in a private cemetery and Fry at Blue Springs Cemetery.

"Bridge-burners and destroyers of railroad tracks . . . will be tried by drum-head court-martial and be hung on the spot." - Colonel Danville Leadbetter, Nov. 30, 1861
HM NumberHM13EC
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 10:24pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 334828 N 4003850
Decimal Degrees36.16535000, -82.83638333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 9.921', W 82° 50.183'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 9' 55.26" N, 82° 50' 10.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)423
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 300-398 W Depot St, Greeneville TN 37743, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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