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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE CITY OF RUINS AND ROSES, c. 1930

Battle of Nashville: 1864

Battle of Nashville: 1864

1864. "Nashville. Railroad yard and depot with locomotives; Tennessee Capitol in the distance. From photographs of the War in the West: Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive at any cost, Gen. John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashville, where it was overthrown by Gen. George H. Thomas on December 15-16, 1864, in the most complete victory of the war. If the date borne on this photograph is correct, it was taken in the course of the battle." Wet plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. View full size.

 

View of the capital of Nashville

I have lived in Nashville and scoured this area in modern times. The Capital building still stands today without much change! The rail yards shown here in the foreground are long gone but this is the present area of Union street and 10th avenue. Nearby Church street passes under a RR grade. This view looks to the North East and the camera focal length must shorten the distance.

Tennessee State Capitol

As noted in the caption, the building is the State Capitol. The street view, though an ugly parking lot now, seems an improvement to me over war nonetheless.


View Larger Map

Beautiful Building

The big building on the hill in the upper right corner is very beautiful. Does anyone know if that building still stands? Regardless of that what is the name of the building so I can search for more pictures.

Battle of Nashville

During the Civil War, an army was composed of Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry. The Cavalry were the eyes and ears of the army. Without a Calvary component, an army was simply not an effective fighting force.

Gen Hood commanded the Cavalry component of General Johnston's Confederate Army. Once Atlanta fell, in desperation, the Confederacy split up Johnston's Army and sent Hood to Tennessee to try to disrupt the supply lines to Sherman and to engage the Union forces occupying Tennessee and Kentucky.

For both Johnston and Hood, their mission objectives were simply impossible. Johnston stood no chance of stopping Sherman without a viable army. And Hood stood even less of a chance against a well fortified city. Hood's army were so starved that they actually ate pumpkins and walnuts on the march back to Tennessee.

For an excellent read on the civil war in the western front from a southern private's perspective I urge you to pick up "Company Aytch" by Samuel Watkins - 1882.

Of 3200 men who made up his regiment, 65 returned home - 4 days shy of 4 years from the day they marched off. General Hood sacrificed both legs and an arm in the war.

The story is not one of tactics and strategies, but of the daily life and struggles of the southern soldier.

Watkins tale is humorous and uplifting. I simply do not know how he found it within himself to keep such a positive spirit against such adversity & desperate circumstances. All of Tennessee should be proud of their native sons...

It is a great book! Shelby Foote's favorite on the topic.

A part of my history was here

While recently tracing my ancestry, I found one of my great-great-great-great-grandfathers. Thanks to some wonderful 19th century person/group who understood the value in such things, I found a mini biography of him that says he served under General Thomas; enlisted in Company F, 64th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf. in September of 1864. 145 years ago.

I can't wait to further comb through pictures like these. I figure it's the closest I'll ever get to seeing through his eyes.

Indexing files

Is there any that the pictures can be indexed? When perusing your files for long periods of time, as I do, I would like to be able to quit the site and return at some time and be able to locate the place where I was previously. However I find no way to accomplish this. Can you help?

[Bookmark the page. - Dave]

Beat me to it, Code Basher

As many times as I've seen this image and focused on the brass and woodwork of the 4-4-0s by the engine house, this time the 2-6-0 jumped out at me like something from the future (how did that get there?!); the first comment in the column addressed my surprise perfectly.

Holy Mogul!

Those shiny American 4-4-0's are really beautiful, but the most interesting locomotive in the picture has to be the burned-out hulk right in the middle. It appears to be a 2-6-0 Mogul with a swiveling front "bogie" truck.

Considering that the first recorded locomotive of this type was built for the Louisville & Nashville in 1860, this could the remains of that historic engine, the first of thousands of a very successful locomotive type.

Sure would like to know how she ended up in such terrible shape. Fortunes of war?

Thomas Circle

Major General George H. Thomas, a native Virginian, remained true to his oath and became the most successful Union general during the war. His victory over Hood at Nashville did little to improve Grant's dislike of him. Thomas, though, was enormously popular with his soldiers in the Army of the Cumberland who called him "Old Pap". He is commemorated at Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C. (Connecting the Shorpy dots)

Battle of Nashville

To clarify, Hood was the Confederate general, attacking Nashville from the south. The Union defenders had larger numbers, and better leadership, and destroyed Hood's army.

In the middle of a war zone, many of the locos are immaculately maintained, in contrast to the track and buildings. The first engine out is interesting, bigger and fancier than the others, and with unusual outside bearing lead truck. Wonder if it was getting prepped for an official's (Gen. Thomas?) inspection train? The tenders are lettered "US Military RR."

Elegant Engines

Those locomotives are beautiful. Looks like the one that pulled Capt. James West and Artemus Gordon in the Wild Wild West.

War Bonnet

Wow, nice image of the poke bonnet on the lady to the right.

 
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