Jack Hinson

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John W. "Jack" Hinson, "Old Jack" (1807–1874) was a farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee, who operated as a Confederate partisan sniper in the Between-the-Rivers region of Tennessee and Kentucky during the American Civil War.

A prosperous land and slave-owner of Scotch-Irish descent, Hinson had opposed secession and remained neutral at the outbreak of the war. He had even welcomed Union General Ulysses S. Grant to his home when Grant was in the area during the Union attack on Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862. However, Hinson took up arms after his sons George and Jack Jr. were executed as suspected Bushwhackers by Union troops. The Union soldiers dragged the bodies to the nearby town of Dover, where they reportedly cut off the boys' heads and mounted then on the gate posts of the family's home. [1]

For the remainder of the war, Jack Hinson used a 50 caliber Kentucky long rifle to conduct a personal war against the Union Army. He targeted Union soldiers at distances as great as half-mile on land and on military transports and gunboats on the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River. Hinson is credited with as many as one hundred kills, although his rifle had only 36 notches on it. (The notches were said to be for officers.)[2]

Hinson served as a guide for Nathan Bedford Forrest during his successful cavalry raid on the Union supply base at Johnsonville, Tennessee in November 1864. Hinson's son Robert led a guerrilla band in the area until he was killed in action on September 18, 1863. Jack Hinson himself evaded capture, despite elements of four Union regiments being assigned at different times to pursue him.

Jack Hinson died on April 28, 1874 in the White Oak/Magnolia area of Houston County, Tennessee. He is buried in the family plot in the Cane Creek Cemetery, off White Oak Road, near McKinnon, Tennessee. A monument to him is also located in the Boyd Cemetery in the Land-Between-the Lakes area.

Hinson is commemorated in a roadside marker just across the state border in Kentucky,[3] and his story has been told in two books by Tom McKenney:

  • Battlefield Sniper: Over 100 Civil War Kills, Tom C. Lt. Col. McKenney[4]
  • Jack Hinson's One Man War.[5]


  1. ^ "Book review", Washington Times Archived 2011-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Pettit, Carl (June 16, 2016). "The Sniper Who Slayed More than 100 Union Soldiers". OZY. OZY Media. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Civil War Sniper (Jack Hinson) Historical Marker"
  4. ^ "Battlefield Sniper - Over 100 Civil War Kills, Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney". Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  5. ^ McKenney, Tom. Jack Hinson's One Man War. Pelican Publishing Company, 2009.