Trousdale County

A group of soldiers crosses the Cumberland River during training maneuvers. The 21 soldiers killed in Trousdale County in March 1944 would have been on a raft much larger than this one. (Albert Gore Research Center, MTSU photo)


Trousdale County was the scene of a terrible tragedy in 1944.

During World War II, the U.S. Army used Middle Tennessee for maneuvers; more than 850,000 soldiers trained in the state. During these military exercises, it wasn’t unusual for a farmer to see tanks driving through his cow fields or for children to encounter soldiers marching down the highway.

Front page story of the Knoxville News Sentinel on March 24, 1944 (click on the image to make it larger)

Military exercises can be dangerous – especially ones that involve the movement of larger numbers of troops at night.

On March 23, 1944, a unit of U.S. Army soldiers were crossing the Cumberland River near Hartsville when their boat capsized. The river was high and flowing fast that night, and twenty-one soldiers drowned. They hailed from places as far away as Massachusetts and Texas.

A cooling tower of the never-finished Hartsville
nuclear power plant

Today, Trousdale County is home to a nuclear power plant that the Tennessee Valley Authority never finished. You can see the never-operational Hartsville Nuclear Power Plant from nearly 20 miles away. It sort of towers over Trousdale County.

If you can think of a use for it, please tell someone, because the people in Trousdale County have been trying to do something with the Hartsville Nuclear Power Plant for a long time!

Rand McNally’s 1888 map of Trousdale County

Trousdale County is also the answer to a trivia question: With about 110 square miles, it is Tennessee’s smallest county.


Here (on the right) is the Trousdale County Courthouse.