Johnsonville, Constructing a Military Depot

As the Union military occupation spread over Middle Tennessee, Federal commanders needed a supply depot on the Tennessee River. By 1863, they agreed that such a depot, navigable year round, would provide Union armies in the west with a stream of vital supplies. To connect it with Nashville, Gen. William S. Rosecrans ordered in October 1863 that the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, which ended at Kingston Springs, be extended to the Tennessee River. The 1st Michigan Engineer Regiment designed the line and 5,000 conscripted African American laborers from surrounding counties built it.