Major General
A. P. Stewart















Two miles southwest of Decherd, Winchester is one of the oldest towns in middle Tennessee.  It was a stop along the old stage and post road that ran from Virginia down through Knoxville, Sparta, McMinnville, and Huntsville to New Orleans.  As well, its location on Boiling Fork Creek in the Elk River valley made it part of the cotton boom of the early trans-Appalachian southwest.  Thus, Winchester developed quickly, featuring, among other sites, Carrick Academy dating from 1809.  Then, the town’s position was further enhanced when, a few years after the creation of Franklin County (1809), Winchester beat out rival Cowan to become the local seat of government (1814).  In the early days, the town became important in the shipment of cotton down the Elk to the Tennessee, then to the Ohio, then to the Mississippi, then to New Orleans.  It also became notable for education, boasting the Winchester Female Academy (1835), sponsored by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Mary Sharp College, founded in 1850 as the Tennessee and Alabama Female Institute. 

Winchester was part of the campaign’s final movements.  As Bragg’s army left Tullahoma, it took a position momentarily in the Cowan-Winchester-Decherd area.  However, with his back to the Cumberland Plateau and mentally undone by his inability to counteract Rosecrans’ movements, the Southern commander ordered a retreat.  A little later, Rosecrans made the town his headquarters for six weeks.

Historic and Historical Civil War Resources:

Rosecrans Headquarters This house near the square dates to the 1830s and was used by General William Rosecrans as his headquarters in early July.  The house is privately owned and does not give tours.

A.P. Stewart House – Today a duplex with no period features intact, this structure was the pre-war home of Confederate Major General A. P. Stewart. 

Old Jail Museum – An 1897 brick jailhouse that sits on the site of the original county jail and houses Civil War, World War II, Native American, and farm artifacts and memorabilia.  It also features a restored jail cell.  Open for tours.

Franklin County Courthouse - The building standing today was constructed in 1937 as a New Deal public works project.  However, it does sit on the original courthouse site where Franklin County voted overwhelmingly to secede when the state held their first referendum in February of 1861 and decided to stay in the Union.  Angry at the outcome, Franklin County tried to leave the state and join Alabama.

Site of Mary Sharp CollegeThe structure that housed Mary Sharp College for Women, no long standing, was used to house Rosecrans’ staff while in Winchester.  A Franklin County office building now rests on the site.  A state historical marker designates the site.

Old Winchester City Cemetery – The remains of 88 Confederate soldiers are buried in the cemetery, almost half are unknown.

Bell Buckle, Fairfield, Beech Grove, Wartrace, Shelbyville, Tullahoma, Manchester,
Estill Springs/Allisonia, Decherd, Winchester, Cowan, Sewanee