Driving Tour Stops
From the Trousdale County Courthouse, travel 0.8 mi. south on Hwy. 141 and turn right on Puryears Bend Road. Go one mile and turn left (still on Puryears Bend Rd.); follow this road 1.5 miles and take the right fork (still on Puryears Bend Rd.) Go to the end of the road and follow the map to begin your tour.
**Please respect private property along tour route as most of these stops are at private residences or farms.**
Stop 1: Puryears Ferry
Arriving from Lebanon across the river at 10:00 p.m. on the night of December 6, 1862, Colonel John Hunt Morgan assembled his troops for their crossing of the Cumberland River. Wanting to cross in five hours, he sent Colonel Basil Duke's Cavalry a few miles down the river to cross. Morgan, with the Artillery, Infantry, and a small part of the Cavalry, began the difficult task of moving horses, heavy cannons, and men across the swollen Cumberland in two leaking flat boats that had been supplied by a local citizen, 74 year old Oliver Goldsmith "Ollie" Dickerson. Dickerson was sent to prison for this, but was paroled after 6 months. Due to the harsh conditions, the crossing took seven hours instead of the allotted five.
(Go back the way you came and stay to the right until you reach Stop #2)
Stop 2: Home of Colonel James Dearing Bennett (1816-1862)
Commander of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, of which many local men were a part. Most of the 9th Cavalry were men from Hartsville, Coatsmen (now Westmoreland) and Richland (now Portland). Earlier in the war, Bennett had formed the 7th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. Col. Bennett was reported to be a fine man who was respected by his troops. He died of typhoid-pneumonia on Morgan's Second Kentucky Raid in Elizabethtown, Kentucky on January 23, 1863. He was brought back to Hartsville by his faithful servant "Jeff" and buried here. Fourteen years later his widow, Martha (Hutchison), had his body reentered into the Hartsville Cemetary.
(See Stop #17)
Stop 3: Hager's Shop
At this site was the blacksmith shop of Andrew Jackson "A.J." Hager (1824-1918). This was the planned rendezvous point for Morgan and his men. Taking 30 minutes from Puryears Ferry, Morgan arrived about 5:30 a.m. with Colonel Thomas Hunt, commander of the infantry. Col. Duke found, having been sent further down river and having trouble finding a place to cross, arrived only minutes before Morgan. After arriving at this predetermined crossing, which is thought to be Averitt's Ferry, Duke found the river too high to cross. Therefore, his scouts directed him to a ford that was far from any known road (which was believed to be the area that became known as Watson's Landing.) A narrow bridle path was the only access to the river. With each mount and man going down the slippery path, led by Col. Bennett's 9th Tennessee, the men plunged into the river from a four foot ledge. Most of the men became completely submerged in the freezing water. The first men across built fires to warm themselves, but 15 men were so badly frozen they had to be left behind. By 3:00 a.m. with fewer than half his men across the river, Duke realized he had to hurry to meet Morgan, leaving the other half of his men on the south side of the river with orders to hurry on. At this spot Colonels Morgan, Duke and Hunt prepared their final plans for their attack on the Federal camp, just two miles away to the east.
(Continue ahead and take the first right, Lytle Drive to the end)
Stop 4: The Window Hallibuton
Here was the home and burial site of Letty Halliburton (1796-1865). This lady was instrumental in helping many of the wounded after the battle. A yellow flag was hoisted above her home, a sign for wounded that this was a place for help. After the battle, wagons with wounded soldiers were here for case. She used her entire supply of bed linens as bandages for the Confederate wounded, as they then occupied every room of her home. Dr. John Orlando Scott, of the 2nd Kentucky, and the only Confederate surgeon left after the battle, said, "It is a grand sight to see the men in blue assisting his brother in gray in all kindness and affection."
(Turn left on Boat Dock Road, 13 miles to old Hwy. 25, then turn right 0.2 miles for stop #5)
Stop 5: Final Approach
After leaving Hager's Shop (and following the route you just drove), here is where Morgan detached Col. Bennett's 9th Tennessee Cavalry to set up a roadblock on the Hartsville-Castalian Springs road and other points to cut off any escape the Federals might try to find. Bennett took the rest of his regiment to Hartsville 1 mile away. Morgan and the rest of his troops crossed here through the lowest point and made his initial approach toward their objective, still undetected.
(Go straight ahead into town)
Stop 6: Town of Hartsville
Here the remainder of Col. Bennett's Cavalry made their way into town. The 9th succeeded in capturing 450 Federals, including Co. A, 104th Illinois, who were posted to guard the town. The soldiers had occupied many buildings in town including the Locke Hotel on the corner of Main St. and Broadway (at the site of the Old Back of Hartsville building). Two buildings used as hospitals stand today. At the corner of Church and West Main stands the Hager Building (now Total Image), built in 1838. This building housed the bed patients. Behind here on Church Street stands the Old Methodist Church (now Russell's Popcorn) built in 1843. Here the soldiers with less severe wounds were cared for.
(Get out and stretch your legs. Look around Historic Hartsville)
(Go back to Hwy 141 S 0.6 miles, turn right on Rom Lane to stop #7)
Stop 7: The Rebels Are Coming
As Morgan approached this hill from the valley between the two hills to the northwest, (Stop 5) he sent a small force dressed as Union soldiers to capture the pickets stationed north and west of the Federal Infantry Camp. The reserve pickets observed this and fired the first alarm as Morgan approached with his main task force (the Artillery) from the northwest. He dispatched Col. Cluke's and Col. Chenault's cavalry unites toward the camp while he accompanied Col. Hunt and Cobb's Battery southward to occupy a position to observe the Union Camp and adjust their artillery firing on the Federals.
(Follow this drive to the end and turn left)
Stop 8: Morgan Pushes On
At this point Morgan's Infantry and Cavalry spread out and deployed on a low ridge overlooking the Infantry camp. The Cavalry dismounted (Morgan's Cavalry often fought as Infantry) and moved to the left to flank the Federals. The Infantry pushed onward toward some 2,100 Federal troops who had formed a line of defense on the hill (behind the Highway Dept. Garage). The Federal Artillery on this hill was forced to move back to the bluff on the river. Here the fiercest part of the battle was fought.
(Go to the river, 0.4mi.)
Stop 9: Cobb's Battery
Here, across the ravine, (high atop this hill behind the water plant and to the right) Colonel Robert Cobb's Battery set up for the artillery assault on the Federal camp upon the hill to your left. As Col. Morgan stood there during the battle, one caisson was completely destroyed by a direct hit from the Federal cannons, killing David Watt who was sitting upon it. Colonel Morgan's young aide, William Craven Peyton, was mortally wounded. He was taken to the home of a Mrs. Lee, where he died of blood poisoning.
(Cross the river bridge)
Stop 10: Stoner's Battery
Here on the south side of the river on the elevated ground to the left, Major Robert G. Stoner set up his battery of two Mountain Howitzers. Knowing that these guns would not reach the Federal camp, his job was to keep the Federals wondering if they would. (Turn around here and go back to the river and pause) Afterwards, Stoner's men forded the river several times, bringing a prisoner back across each time. The black side of the bluff to the right was the camp of the Union Army. The Ridge ahead and to the left is Stop #7.
(Back across the river 0.6 miles, turn right on Cemetary Road and go 0.5 mi.)
Stop 11: Union Camp Site
Arriving here from Tompkinsville, Kentucky via the Goose Creek Valley on November 28, 1862, the Federal Garrison of the 39th Brigade, 12th Division, under the command of Col. Joseph R. Scott, relieved Col. John Marshall Harlan (later Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) of the tenth Kentucky Infantry, commanding the Second Brigade, First Division, who had been in Hartsville about two weeks. Col. Scott's forces consisted of the 104th Illinois Infantry, 106th and 108th Ohio Infantry, 2nd Indiana Cavalry, Co. E, 11th Kentucky Cavalry and two cannons of the 13th Indiana Battery; approximately 2,400 men. On December 2, Col. Absalom B. Moore of the 104th Illinois, and ranking officer, relieved Col. Scott as he was called to Nashville. Here a large part of the fighting and surrender of the Federal garrison took place some one hour and fifteen minutes after the battle began.
(Go to the end of the road)
Stop 12: The Cumberland River
Imagine crossing this river in chest deep water with a 4" snow on the ground, bitterly cold, and 2 or 3 men on horseback. It was done with such success that it still amazes not only the common man, but military minds as well. Morgan sent most of his men and prisoners here to cross the ford, while sending the wagons and cannons 1/2 mile upriver to Hart's Ferry. (See Stop 16)
(Turn around and go 0.3 miles and turn right on Herod Road)
Stop 13: The Battlefield and Retreat
Stop here and look to the right. In the distance (a clear view in winter) is the Federal Camp and Battlefield. Across these ravines some 4,000 men, both North and South, were making quick time to leave this area before Colonel Harlan arrived from Castalian Springs some nine miles away with 4,000 reinforcements. Of course the Federal soldiers had a little help in persuading them to do so!
(Continue on this road)
Stop 14: Averitt-Herod House
Atop the hill overlooking the battlefield, this beautiful home was built around 1834 by Peter Averittm, Sr. During the battle, Peter's son, Richard, and his family lived here. According to tradition, wounded Confederate soldiers were brought here to be cared for after the battle, and it was where Federal Col. John M. Harlan pardoned them. There is a large bloodstain resembling a man's face in the floor on the east side of the house.
(Continue on this road)
Stop 15: Federal Cavalry Camp
Here is the 2nd Indiana and Co. E. 11th Kentucky Cavalry camped and were positioned to guard Hart's Ferry. The entire Calvary force moved up to support the Infantry, but participated very little in the battle. They suffered only three casualties, and most escaped capture.
Step 16: Hart's Ferry
Located some 400 yards from here at the river, Hart's Ferry was started in 1798 by James Hart (for whom Hartsville was named). From here, Col. Morgan began his exit from Hartsville with all his captured goods, two pieces of artillery, ammunition, supplies and wagons. Just as Morgan was getting the last of his men across the river, Union Col. John M. Harlan arrived and opened fire, but did not pursue them. One of the cannon shots barely missed Morgan and his staff, instead hitting a tree limb above them. The federals destroyed three wagons in the river as the Confederates made their exit from Hartsville.
(Go to the end of Herod Drive and turn around, go back to Cemetary Road and turn right)
Stop 17: Hartsville Cemetery
This is the eternal resting place for over 50 Confederate Veterans, among them Colonel James Dearing Bennett, commander of the famed 9th Tennessee Cavalry. After the battle, Winslow Hart (the son of James Hart) and other citizens buried both Federal and Confederate dead on a knoll at the rear of the cemetery. Some of the Union dead were later moved and returned to their homeland or reentered at the National Cemetery in Nashville. At the rear of the cemetery, a special monument was dedicated to the southern men who died at the Battle of Hartsville.