Decatur is located on the banks of the Tennessee River. During the Civil War, it was a key transportation point, because both the Memphis and Charleston railroads crossed the Tennessee River in Decatur. Decatur also had a national road (US Highway 31) that went through the city.
The Confederates were determined to stop the Union Army from taking the city. They knew without Decatur it would be extremely difficult for the Union to get supplies, artillery, and reinforcements to their troops.
The Confederate Army fought fiercely for four days with General Hood in command. General Hood was confident that Decatur would not fall to the Union Army. He said, Decatur was a “hard nut to crack.” General Hood employed the use of mounted troops, gunboats, and a vast number of infantrymen.
General Robert Granger was in command of the Union troops, which included the 14th United States Colored Troops (USCT) led by Colonel Thomas Morgan. The USCT was able to drive back the Confederate troops and take control of the city.
Most of Decatur was destroyed during the war and only five buildings remained. Four of those buildings are still standing today: the Old State Bank, the Dancy-Polk House, the Todd House, and the McEntire Home.
Source: Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau