War Comes to Manchester

After the Battle of Stones River in January 1863, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg moved his army along turnpikes and the railroad south to Manchester. His men occupied the Coffee County Courthouse, along with other buildings, for the next six months. While camped in and around the town square, wounded soldiers recuperated. Some, however, died from their wounds and disease. Several members of the Kentucky Orphan Brigade are buried in the city cemetery on West High Street. Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans's forces pushed the Confederates out of Manchester late in June 1863 and took control of Middle Tennessee. Maj. James A. Connelly, 123rd Illinois Infantry, wrote that on June 27, he and his men "went to Manchester on a gallop. We swept by the deserted fortifications of the town on a full run, and while the citizens were at their breakfast tables we rushed into the public square, scattered out in small parties, and in five minutes every street and alley was occupied by Yankees, the town was surrendered, and a rebel major and about 50 soldiers."