Bolivar (HM1LDO)

Location: Bolivar, TN 38008 Hardeman County
Country: United States of America

N 35° 15.379', W 88° 59.26'

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Strategic Position

Located midway between Memphis and Corinth, Mississippi, Bolivar's position on the Hatchie River (a navigable route to the Mississippi River) and its junction of north-south railroads made it a strategic location for both armies. By the fall of 1862, Union forces had occupied West Tennessee, where they remained until the war's end.

Several Union generals quartered in nearby dwellings: Gen. Lew Wallace stayed at the Levi Joy House, while Gens. William T. Sherman, James B. McPherson, and Ulysses S. Grant each used Austin Miller's house (Magnolia Manor) as a headquarters.

Early in 1864, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry re-entered West Tennessee to raid and disrupt Union supply lines. When Union Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis learned that Forrest was in Bolivar, he marched here from Memphis on May 2. After a brief fight, Forrest withdrew to the south. To punish Bolivar for supporting Forrest, Sturgis ordered the courthouse and town square burned to the ground. The Methodist and Baptist churches and most of the business district were also destroyed. Fortunately, the courthouse records were saved. According to local tradition, a Union officer and Freemason contacted fellow Masonic brother Austin Miller and gave Miller two hours advance warning. Miller moved the records to his house. The current courthouse was erected in 1868 to replace the one that burned.

Bolivar's Confederate monument here on the courthouse square is one of the oldest in the state. Local residents began raising funds for the obelisk to commemorate fallen soldiers in 1868, the year that the new courthouse was completed, and erected it in 1873.

(top left) Hardeman County Courthouse (built 1868) Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archives(top left) Hardeman County Courthouse (built 1868) Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archive(bottom left) Gen. Nathan B. Forest; Gen. Lew Wallace; Gen. James B. McPherson; Gen. William T. Sherman; Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis Photos courtesy Library of Congress
(top right) Austin Miller House Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archive
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 10:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 319177 N 3903279
Decimal Degrees35.25631667, -88.98766667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 15.379', W 88° 59.26'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 15' 22.74" N, 88° 59' 15.6" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)731
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-128 TN-125, Bolivar TN 38008, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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