June 1860 The locomotive Clarksville sinks in the Cumberland River.
October 16, 1860 A “locomotive, driving a small train of boxcars, in coming to town from Palmyra,” struck a mule, the Clarksville Chronicle reported. The boxcars derailed, and “in the momentary fright, occasioned by the accident, several persons jumped off the cars, and were right badly bruised, though none were seriously hurt.” The mule, sadly, died in the collision.
May 17, 1861 The body of an enslaved man was found beneath the railroad bridge over Yellow Creek. His head and one leg were severed. “It is thought that he must have been on the bridge, either drunk or (asleep) when the night train passed,” the Clarksville Jeffersonian reported.
December 7, 1866 A Memphis-bound train derailed a few hundred yards north of the trestle over Budds Creek. Apparently the tender derailed, and “the entire train, with the exception of the sleeping car, was precipitated into a deep mountain gully.” Two people — James McGuire, the express agent, and an unidentified passenger from Germany were killed. Some reports indicate three people perished in the wreck, which also injured 25-30 others.
July 28, 1869 Five people are killed at a wreck at Budds Creek.
February 10, 1870 Around 4 p.m. on February 10, 1870, locomotive No. 9 was pulling a freight train over the Red River trestle roughly one mile from Clarksville when its boiler exploded. The blast sent engineer Thomas J. Bradley “whizzing through the air for some distance,” according to the Feb. 12, 1870, edition of the Clarksville Chronicle.
April 3, 1871 A train from Louisville to Memphis struck and killed bridge builder named Norris near Cumberland City; the train was running 54 minutes behind schedule and “was going at an unusual rate of speed,” The Tennessean reported in its April 6, 1871, edition.
March 15, 1871 A “mass of rock” falls onto the track at the Tennessee River, stopping the train and wrecking the engine.