By Lee Millar
In 1861 Germantown became a rendezvous point and temporary training camp for Confederate troops from several counties including Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, Dyer, Obion, Hardeman, and Gibson. By January of 1862, the mobilization was over, and the streets of Memphis and most of the small towns like Germantown were deserted, with most of the men off in the army.
February 1862 saw the war come to Tennessee, with battles at Forts Henry and Donelson along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and Nashville was evacuated.
The great Battle of Shiloh was fought in April, and many of the Southern wounded were distributed along the M&C RR from Corinth, MS to Memphis. All of the Germantown churches became hospitals, as did many of the nearby homes. The Union army soon occupies Corinth.
At Memphis on June 6, 1862, the city was captured after the largest inland naval battle in world history, a battle between Union ironclads and the CS ‘cottonclads’. The city was in Northern hands for the rest of the war.
|June 18||Skirmish at Germantown; a Union cavalry detail from northeast of Memphis attacked Confederate scouts in the town and a short running battle ensued. Both sides, fearing that the other had the larger force, retreated.|
|June 22||A Confederate cavalry force under a Colonel William Jackson derailed a Federal train at Hacks Cross Road and succeeded in destroying it. The train consisted of one passenger car and four cars loaded with sutlers’ supplies headed to Corinth. The attacking force captured the stores and destroyed the rest. The Confederates also took 84 prisoners, among them a Colonel Kenney of the 56th Ohio.|
|June 25||General U.S. Grant and his escort ride through Germantown enroute from Corinth to Memphis. CS Colonel Jackson misses capturing Grant by about 45 minutes.|
|July 18||Sherman’s infantry division marches through Germantown; much pillaging occurs.|
|July 28||Skirmish at Germantown|
|August||Short occupation of the town|
|October 12||Raid through Germantown, down Germantown Road|
|October 2||Running battle from Germantown to Collierville|
|November||Small scale occupation of Germantown begins, but it continued to be a hotbed of Confederate sympathy. Company F, 59th Indiana Infantry sets up camp.|
|November 25||U.S. Gen’l W. S. Smith assembles a 7,000-man army at Germantown to invade Mississippi; defeated at the Battle of Okolona by N. B. Forrest|
|November 27||Baptist Church was destroyed by departing Federal troops. The contents and the pulpit bible were saved.|
|December||Methodist Church burned by Federal soldiers. Several houses burned.|