Battle of the Barrels - Nashville, TN

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

During the Civil War, many battles were fought in Nashville, TN. Driving up and down Granny White Pike and Franklin Road, one can see several historical markers along these highways and byways depicting where some of the battles had taken place. At the entrance to Princeton Hills subdivision in Brentwood, TN, is a scene depicting one of the Battles of Nashville. According to local folklore here is what happened. 

After the defeat of Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Nashville, the Confederate troops scattered and retreated in a rout down Franklin Pike. Union forces were in hot pursuit of them via Granny White Pike about a mile or so to the west. It was their plan to cut off the retreat by crossing over from Granny White Pike to Franklin Pike by a "country road" now known as Maryland Way. General Hood issued an urgent order to stop the Union Forces, saying that if they were not halted "all would be lost."  

Confederate Gen. James R. Chalmers dispatched a group of soldiers under the command of a Col. Rucker to do what they could to stop the Union force. Rucker’s men set about creating a barricade across Granny White Pike of fence rails, planks, sticks and stones, old barrels, and any other debris that they could find. In later years the skirmish came to be known as the "Battle of the Barrels." 

The Union army reached Rucker’s barricade later that night, and almost immediately, both armies were engaged in heavy hand to hand combat by the light of gun fire and a bright moon. In the melee and confusion of the battle, Col. Rucker mistakenly rode into the middle of the Union troops. Finding himself in such dire straits, he did not hesitate to engage the Union commander, Col. Spaulding, in a sword fight. As the two leaders clashed in the dark, their arms and weapons are said to have become entangled and they somehow swapped swords! Ironically, years later the swords were returned to their original owners. The duel in the midst of battle between Cols. Rucker and Spaulding has remained so legendary an encounter that it is carved in stone and can be found at the entrance to Princeton Hills subdivision off Murray Lane.  

The hasty maneuver proved a success for the Confederates. The Northern army was slowed long enough for Hood’s troops to pass along Franklin Road to the northern foot of Holly Tree Gap where they went into camp for the night. This battle was faught approximately where Oman Drive joins on th Granny White Pike. The marker is about a half mile to the north of Oman Drive at the entrance to Richland Country Club.

This posting and the contents written here are the intellectual property of Michael Thornton owner of Complete Home Inspections, Inc. providing Nashville home inspections for Davidson county and Brentwood home inspections for Williamson County and other areas of Middle Tennessee. The views and opinions expressed are just that - views and opinions of Michael Thornton and those who comment.  This post is part of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, which is a social network highlighting the best of Web 2.0.  Information and is provided with the intent of educating and assisting home owners, home sellers, home buyers and real estate investors with information they can use to make better real estate decisions.  Visit some of my other posts at

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297


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Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions - Fort Myers, FL
International Financing Solutions

WOW ..... now THAT was an awesome post. I love Civil War History and the pictures of the front entrance is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Sean Allen

Feb 27, 2008 07:58 AM #1
Chris Frantz
EDU Real Estate Group - Indianapolis, IN


Very interesting history

Thanks for sharing.


Feb 27, 2008 08:21 AM #2
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN
Michael - That was a great story. I had no idea, and I've living in the area for 50 years. I add some pictures of the homes and the subdivision tomorrow.
Feb 27, 2008 02:19 PM #3
» Bill Burress Nationwide Mortgage Originator
» Bill Burress Nationwide Mortgage Originator - Fort Myers, FL


I love to read about the battles of the War of Northern Aggression.

Feb 27, 2008 08:37 PM #4
Steve Parker

Enjoyed the article. My ancestors: Franklin Parker and Alexander Parker were under the command of Rucker at the Battle of the Barrels. Frankllin Parker was wounded and probably left the battlefield and rode home to Middleton,  Hardeman County, TN as was paroled in May 1865. Nice to see a marker and story to go with Franklin Parker's last battle in the Civil War. We do not know what happened to Alexander Parker, his brother that was with him from August 1863 to December 1864 in Company A of Neely's 14th Tennessee Calvary, of NB Forrest's Calvary (from August 1862-1863 they were in the 1st Mississippi Partisan rangers company G).

Steve Parker

Feb 20, 2011 12:57 PM #5
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