Franklin resident Walter Green has written a book titled, The Nashville and Decatur in the Civil War – History of an Embattled Railroad.
Until now, the story of the Nashville and Decatur (N&D) had not been told. The author was motivated to research and write because there was no book on the subject. Also, being located in almost exactly the same place it was 160 years ago, the railroad, like the battlefields and historic houses, is a highly visible reminder of the Civil War.
The author spent four years and 3,500 hours developing this detailed and well-researched text. We now know that the N&D became a weapon that the federals used against the Confederacy and that its main role was supplying General Sherman for his invasion of Georgia and beyond, which brought the war to an earlier close. The N&D was highly contested and embattled because the Confederates tried incessantly to disrupt the railroad’s operation while the federals worked hard to keep it open.
The book describes the work of four key federal men who were primarily responsible for design and construction of the bridges, trestles and railroad fortifications during the period when Sherman was preparing the N&D to support him. It discusses the most significant military activity near the railroad and has a chapter about freed Blacks, U.S. Colored Troops and contraband camps. It also presents recent research about perhaps the most fascinating section of track on the N&D during the war – just north and south of the railroad’s one tunnel in southern Giles County.