Northeast Tennessee Prisoners of War

A prisoner of war is any person held captive by the enemy during a conflict. This applies to organized armed forces, but it can also include guerrillas, civilians who openly take up arms against the enemy, noncombatants associated with a military force, or civilians who accompany the army. Prisoners of war are held in custody for a variety of legitimate and illegitimate reasons: to punish them, to prosecute them for war crimes, to collect intelligence from them, or to force them to serve in their army.

Prisoners from the Front, Winslow Homer (1866).
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A youthful Union brigadier general, Francis Barlow, (right) confronting a trio of captured Confederates—about to be fellow-citizens again, against their will—on a devastated field. Barlow, crisp and cool, with his hands clasped behind him, radiates professional rectitude. Two of the rebels are clad in near-rags: one is an inattentive, shambling young lout; the other a white-bearded man, his face clenched with anxiety. The third is a long-haired cavalier in high boots, his tight gray uniform negligently buttoned and his cap set at a rakish angle. 

23 AUGUST 1861
Arresting Women
Women on both sides of the American Civil War are suspected of engaging in treasonous activities, especially spying for the enemy. This is often true in border regions like Washington DC, with its large population of Confederate sympathizers. Several DC women suspected of disloyal behavior are arrested and imprisoned.
On 23 August 1861, Federal authorities arrest Eugenia Levy Phillips, an outspoken Southerner. She is held at the home of another suspected spy for the Confederacy, Rose O’Neal Greenhow. In her journal, Phillips describes the humiliation of her confinement with her two daughters and her sister Martha.
After her release, Phillips moves to New Orleans where she crosses paths with USA General Benjamin Butler whose nickname is ‘Beast’ for a reason.
Butler imprisons Phillips on Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. Her husband negotiates her release after a few months and moves the family out of Union-held territory for the duration of the war.

Eugenia Levy Phillips became known as a “fire-eating secessionist in skirts” for her avid support of the Confederacy.

Undermining Confederate Authority
• Unionist bridge burners destroy two railroad bridges in Northeast Tennessee.
• Other Union men organize into groups, many with weapons, and rise up against the Confederate government.
• The proposed invasion by Union troops to support and protect the bridge burners is called off.
• Confederate authorities hang five men for bridge burning.
• 1500 to 2000 Unionists are arrested and forced to serve long confinements in southern prisons, where many die.
• 5000 to 10,000 men flee from their homes into exile or into the army.
• These actions fill the minds of all loyal people of Northeast Tennessee with fear and anxiety for almost two years.
East Tennessee and the Civil War, Oliver P. Temple

‘Must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa jail.’
At this juncture, Confederate authorities make a key blunder, which will drastically change the situation in Northeast Tennessee. Reasoning that their policy of conciliation has failed, the unanimous decision is to employ terror tactics.
CSA Secretary of War Judah. P. Benjamin’s instructions for dealing with the East Tennessee Unionists are quite plain:
1st All such as can be identified as having been engaged in bridge burning are to be tried summarily by drumhead court-martial and if found guilty, executed on the spot by hanging. …
2nd All such as have not been so engaged are to be treated as prisoners of war and sent with an armed guard to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there to be kept in prison at the depot selected by the government for prisoners of war. Whenever you can discover that arms are concealed by these traitors, you will send out detachments, search for, and seize the arms.
In no case is one of them known to have been up in arms against the government to be released on any pledge or oath of allegiance. The time for such measures is past. … Such as voluntarily take the oath of allegiance, and surrender their arms, are alone to be treated with leniency.
P.S. Judge [David T.] Patterson [son-in-law of Andrew Johnson], Colonel [William] Pickens [who attempted to burn the Strawberry Plains bridge], and other ring-leaders of the same class must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa jail as prisoners of war.
Unconventional Warfare in East Tennessee, 1861-1865, pages 49-50.


Tuscaloosa Paper Company
The Tuscaloosa Paper Company was on River Hill. Cotton rags were used to make fine quality paper, but the company went out of business after a few years, likely due to difficulty of transporting paper. The building was used to house Union prisoners during the Civil War. [No image.]

30 NOVEMBER 1861
Twenty-one of the prisoners lately brought here from East Tennessee, yesterday appeared in the Confederate Court, acknowledged the error of their ways, took the oath of loyalty to the Southern Confederacy, and attached themselves to a company being raised in Nashville.
~ Nashville Daily Gazette

5—7 DECEMBER 1861
Dispersal of Union sympathizers in Cocke County.
KNOXVILLE, 5 December 1861.
The following dispatch received this morning dated from Bird’s Point: Capt. Cocke just in with two bridge-burners and other prisoners. Have no news from Col. Leadbetter. Col. Powel reports by special messenger that he has seen no gathering. Will hold his position. Will throw my forces over the river in the morning and report. Dispatch from Morristown says courier in from [Capt.] Monsarrat. Cannonading and musketry at 8 o’clock. Tories have made a stand.
WM. H. Carroll, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army.

Map of Tennessee highlighting Cocke County

KNOXVILLE, 7 December 1861.
Capt. Monsarrat has dispersed the tories in Cocke County and captured thirty of the ringleaders.
WM. H. Carroll, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, p. 852.



8 JANUARY 1862 – 20 JANUARY 1862
Entreaties for the release of prisoners jailed for uprising against the Confederacy in East Tennessee
CLEVELAND, TENN., January 8, 1862.
DEAR SIR: I have received your request to write you the facts about the arrest of James S. Bradford by Capt. W. L. Brown’s command, and he was a few days after sent to Tuscaloosa.
The nature of the charge against him I am ignorant of. I feel confident that his arrest and transportation from here must have been done under a misconception of his position as regards the rebellious feeling that has disturbed East Tennessee, and had an investigation be allowed him he would have been discharged without spot or blemish. …
I do not desire as you know to have any man released who in any way encouraged rebellion; but Bradford I know is an innocent man and is a good Southern man and so shown himself from date named and I would therefore be glad to see him released.

10 JANUARY 1862
Plea for pardon on Confederate charges of treason
BLOUNTVILLE, TENN., January 10, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Southern Confederacy.
SIR: I am charged with treason toward the Government of the Confederate States for which I make an appeal to Your Excellency for pardon. I will give you the details of my case in full. At the time of the gathering up of the Union men in Eastern Tennessee I went into camp and took the office of issuing commissary. I staid in camp two days when the regiment left for Kentucky, and I being unwilling to go with them started home, and on my way home I learned that some soldiers were lying in wait for me to kill me.
On receiving this information I left in search of refuge. I went to Kentucky. On arriving there and finding out Lincoln’s policy in full it became so obnoxious to me that I returned to Tennessee though not to my home. I have turned aside to await an answer from Your Excellency.
I have given you the case in full. You can examine it and see whether I am guilty of a crime worthy of death or not. If it please you to pardon me, I am then willing to take a position in your army; and if not I will again return to the North but I much prefer the South to the North. I await your answer with patience.
Your humble servant,


13 JANUARY 1862
SIR: I have the honor to inform you officially that the Congress on this day (to wit, January 13) adopted the resolution a certified copy of which is herewith transmitted:
Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate to Congress by what authority and under what law citizens of Tennessee are imprisoned at Tuscaloosa or other points in the State of Alabama, and whether said prisoners or any portion of them have been transported beyond the limits of their own State without a trial, and whether in any instance the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. J. HOOPER, Secretary of the Congress.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, pp. 1412-1413.

20 JANUARY 1862
Plea for release of political prisoners held by Confederate authorities.
President of the Confederate States of America:
We, the undersigned petitioners, humbly request that E. Hodges and W. E. Hodges, citizens of Sevier County, Tenn., and who were sent to the military prison at Tuscaloosa and are as we understand now at Mobile, Ala., be released from prison and set at liberty by their giving full assurances of their loyalty to the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States.
We also believe that the said Hodges have fully atoned for the crimes they have committed and that justice is fully satisfied in their cases. We, your petitioners, would further represent that men more guilty than they have been released and nolle prosequi entered in their cases merely by their giving bond for their good behavior; and we would represent to you that the Hodges are men whose families are in straitened circumstances and those to whom clemency has been shown are in quite affluent circumstances.
We, the undersigned petitioners, would also represent to you that we are men that have in no way favored the late attempt at rebellion in Eastern Tennessee but have been contending and laboring for the cause of the South both before and since the difficulties have been upon our country, and we would further state that we ask not for their release upon any personal grounds but merely that even-handed justice be meted out to all alike.
And your humble petitioners will ever pray, &c.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 876-877.

20 JANUARY 1862
Bridge-burning cases of East Tennesseans
SIR: In passing through East Tennessee I have been informed by a gentleman of integrity and whose loyalty to the Confederacy has never been questioned that some forty-five or fifty of the citizens of that section of country have been arrested by persons having or assuming to have military authority under this Government; that after arrest the most of them have been told they must volunteer or be sent to the Government prison at Tuscaloosa, Ala., and that those who refused to volunteer under such compulsion have been sent to and imprisoned at Tuscaloosa where they now remain.
The names of the persons thus dealt with as far as my information extends are as follows: Dr. John G. Brown, Charles B. Champion, James S. Bradford, Allen Marlow, Sidney Wise, John F. Kinchelow, Samuel Hunt, —Potts. W. R. Davis, —Gamble, Thomas L. Cate, John bean, Sr., and John Boon.
These men were arrested by a captain of Tennessee cavalry and as I learn without ever having been before any tribunal, civil or military, without any specification of charges and without the examination of a single witness they were hurried off to imprisonment.
Levi Trewhitt, William Hunt, Stephen Beard, John McPherson, George Munsey, —Thompson were taken to Knoxville but had no investigation before any tribunal. The first two were sent from thence to Tuscaloosa. The remaining four were released either on parole or unconditionally but after returning to their homes they were arrested by the captain of cavalry before alluded to and also sent to Tuscaloosa. As I am informed none of the persons whose names I have given were taken in arms or suspicioned of having been in arms against the Government.
I was requested to bring these facts to the attention of the Tennessee Congressional delegation. I learn that many if not all of them have received corroborative information. By their request I have been induced to bring the subject to your attention that justice might be done in the premises and the character of the Government vindicated. It is insisted and I presume correctly that the terror engendered by these arrests was an efficient cause in changing public sentiment in East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 870-871

John C. Burch
Staff Officer in the Confederate Army

During the Confederate crackdown following the East Tennessee bridge-burnings in late 1861, Levi Trewhitt was arrested and detained at the Knoxville jail.

On the 19th day of November last I arrested and brought to this place Levi Trewhitt, esq., of Cleveland, Tenn. This arrest was made under an order from Col. W. B. Wood, commanding the Sixteenth Alabama Regt., who at that time was the commander of this post.
The arrest was ordered because Mr. Trewhitt was suspected of a knowledge of the burning of the railroad bridges and the plans by which it was done. He was retained here for some weeks and then sent to Tuscaloosa by order of Gen. W. H. Carroll, who succeeded Col. Wood in command. There was no trial or investigation of the charges so far as I know or have understood.
Col. Forty-third Regt. Tennessee Volunteers.

President of the Confederate States of America:
Your petitioners, the undersigned citizens of Bradley County, Tenn., humbly represent and show unto your excellency that Levi Trewhitt, who is now as they understand confined in Mobile as a prisoner of war, is one of the old, influential citizens of Bradley County, Tenn.; that he is about sixty-five years of age and has been for the past few years afflicted with paralysis, and as they now understand is sick and in the hospital at Mobile. … We therefore pray that said Levi Trewhitt be released from said confinement upon his becoming a loyal citizen and taking an oath to support the constitution of the Confederate States of America.
[+ 31 others.]
We, the undersigned officers in the Confederate service, fully concur with the above petitioners.
D. M. KEY,
Lieut.-Col. [JAMES W. ] GILLESPIE,
Col. Regt. Tennessee Volunteers.
[+ 16 others.]

Levi Trewhitt died in a Confederate prison in Mobile, Alabama, in 1862. East Tennessee’s Unionists were incensed by his senseless death.

21 JANUARY 1862
Warnings of residual pro-Union sentiment in East Tennessee.
HDQRS., Knoxville, Tenn., January 21, 1862.
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector-Gen., Richmond, Va.
SIR: Outwardly the country remains sufficiently quiet but it is filled with Union men who continue to talk sedition and who are evidently waiting only for a safe opportunity to act out their rebellious sentiments. If such men are arrested by the military the Confederate State courts take them by writ of habeas corpus and they are released under bond to keep the peace; all which is satisfactory in a theoretical point of view but practically fatal to the influence of military authority and to the peace of the country.
It seems not unlikely that every prisoner now in our hands might or will be thus released by the Confederate court even after being condemned by court-martial to be held as prisoners of war.
It is reported to-day that several fragmentary companies recruiting in different counties ostensibly for the service of the Confederate States have suddenly disappeared; gone to Kentucky. It is confidently hoped that the bridge over the Holston at Union [Zollicoffer] will be completed in the current month.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
D. LEADBETTER, Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, p. 877.

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond.
Honorable [L. C.] Landon Carter HAYNES, Knoxville, Tenn.
SIR: On the 28th of January last Brigadier-General [Jones M.] Withers was directed to release Samuel Hunt with other political prisoners upon their taking the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States.
Your obedient servant,
Secretary of War.

General Jones Mitchell Withers CSA

24 FEBRUARY 1862
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond.
GENTLEMEN: When a body of traitors a few months ago combined to wage war against the Government in Eastern Tennessee a number of captives were taken. Those found engaged in actual commission of the crime of bridge-burning were tried by court-martial and executed. Others found in arms were by executive clemency considered rather as prisoners of war than as traitors and as such are held in custody in Mobile.
It is not only possible but probable that in the confusion and disorder of the times some innocent men have been confounded with the guilty yet it is almost impossible to discern the truth. Nothing could be more alien to the wishes and intentions of the Government than to exercise arbitrary power or to hold any of its citizens in custody except under due process of law.
It was an act of clemency not of persecution to consider the misguided men found in arms as public enemies instead of traitors. I have, however, received the inclosed statement* and petition of some of those now held as prisoners of war and from which you will perceive that they deny the fact that they were taken in arms or were hostile to the Government. If so, they ought at once to be released.
Will you be good enough to take this subject into consideration and give me your advice and counsel as to these men. Do you know them? Is there any one here that can tell whether or not their statements are correct? Do you think that they can be safely returned to East Tennessee at this time?
I would feel greatly obliged by your co-operation in this matter that I may do what is right for the individuals without endangering the public safety.
Very respectfully,
Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, 24 February 1862
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,
SIR: Yours of this date with inclosed petitions has been duly considered. We are credibly informed that all the petitioning prisoners have been released from confinement except Stone, Anderson, Fitzgerald, Beam, Matthews and Evans. We think it was bad policy to discharge them but we know the Government acted in view of the best interests of the country. In answer to your interrogations we state that some of us know all the prisoners. We believe the statements false. We do not think it would be safe to permit them to return to East Tennessee at this time.
We are, sir, with great respect, your obedient servants,

No date
I submit to Colonel W. M. Churchwell, provost-marshal for East Tennessee, the following conversation of Captain Fry now a prisoner. I was placed in charge of the wife of said Fry to conduct her to her husband and allow her to communicate with him:
Among other things spoken of by said Fry he was directing his wife how to dispose of his property. He told her that Colonel Carter would see that she got his wages, remarking that there was $1,000 due him aside from his wages.
I then made him explain how the $1,000 extra came to be due him. He then told me that General Thomas had agreed to pay him $1,000 to come to East Tennessee. He did not tell on what business he came.
Respectfully, submitted,
A. C. BLEVINS, Captain, C. S. Army.

Union men crossing Northeast Tennessee mountains into Kentucky
Sketched by A. W. Warren

By the spring and early summer of 1862, when it became evident that the Confederate conscript act would be enforced, nearly every male inhabitant, liable to military duty, who was able to endure the hardships of the journey and could leave his family, had determined to seek safety in Kentucky. …
If these unfortunate men were captured [as many were], though already exhausted by their journey, they were placed in line for an immediate march to Knoxville, distant more than forty miles. They were hurried forward as rapidly as they could be forced to go. …
They were driven to the already crowded jail or small jail-yard, into which they were huddled, making their condition almost intolerable. Soon afterwards, they were marched under a strong guard to the railroad and sent off to Tuscaloosa, or some other prison, to be held during the war as political prisoners.
They were the tender and gentle sons of the intelligent and independent farmers around New Market and of the beautiful and rich valley of the same name, celebrated all over the state and beyond it as one of the fairest and wealthiest regions in all the land. …
The imprisonment of these young men was done under the order of CSA Gen. E. Kirby Smith, who had recently taken command of this department [8 March 1862]. General Smith … had the reputation, both before and since the war, of being a fair and a just, indeed a good man, and that was true of him in his normal condition. But he had caught the spirit then prevailing in East Tennessee and was no longer himself.
Soon after the accession of Gen. Smith, the celebrated orders directing Mrs. Andrew Johnson, Mrs. W. G. Brownlow, Mrs. Horace Maynard, and Mrs. William B, Carter, with their families, to leave the state and go north, were issued at his command … These families were ordered to leave in thirty-six hours … harmless, innocent ladies, … all of whom were verging on old age, and two of them well advanced in life.
It is no justification of such a policy to say that General S. P. Carter afterwards sent out of Knoxville women and children, nor that Andrew Johnson did the same at Nashville and General Sherman at Atlanta. It is enough to say that the practice, except in cases of actual danger to the general cause, is one to be discountenanced rather than encouraged. …
And after the bridges were burned, and it was found that no Federal army was coming, the Union men again became perfectly quiet, and remained so for twenty-two months following. During all these long, gloomy months, arrests and imprisonments numbering thousands were made, so that at last most of the male population were driven into exile. …
The condition of the Union men of East Tennessee during the latter part of the year 1861 and during the year 1862, and until September of the year 1863 [when Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupied Northeast Tennessee], was gloomy beyond description. …
It was hard, very hard to leave home and family as an exile, not knowing when, nor whether at all, they should ever return. … Many persons who could not go, did not dare to remain at home. So, they hid themselves in the hills or the mountains, coming in when no danger seemed to be near. …
In April 1865, the exiles and wanderers nearly all returned to their homes. Some of them had been absent two, some three, and some nearly four years. They returned wiser and generally better men. War and time had to some extent mellowed their fierce spirits. …

17 APRIL 1862
Military Governor Andrew Johnson favors release of Tennessee prisoners of war who affirm they will take the oath of allegiance to the United States.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Nashville, Tenn.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Inclosed herewith I send a petition from certain members of Tennessee regiments at Camp Douglas in which they express a strong desire to renew their allegiance to the Government and become true and loyal citizens. I will only state in presenting this petition for the consideration of the War Department that whenever circumstances shall justify the discharge of prisoners of war from this State entertaining such views and feelings as are set forth by these petitioners their reappearance among their friends and relatives will I doubt not exert a great moral influence in favor of the perpetuity of the Union.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
ANDREW JOHNSON. OR, Ser. II, Vol. 3, pp. 457.

17 APRIL 1862
Capture of Union refugees near Woodson’s Gap
Report of Major General E. Kirby Smith,
C. S. Army, with instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
SIR: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky [at Woodson’s Gap], and sent, by Maj. Gen. [E. Kirby] Smith’s order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance. …
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 649.

Woodson’s Gap and nearby locations
Woodson’s Gap [now Woodson] is in Campbell County, Northeast Tennessee.
The elevation is 742 meters above sea level.

23 APRIL 1862
Skirmish near Woodson’s Gap, East Tennessee
Report of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army.
With instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
SIR: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky [at Woodson’s Gap], and sent, by Maj.-Gen. Smith’s order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance.
Elsewhere they may make good soldiers. Remembering your request, the major-general commanding directs me to say that you have whatever authority he can give you to proceed to Milledgeville, Ga., and enlist as many of them as consent for service in South Carolina, or elsewhere except in East Tennessee. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 649.

26 APRIL 1862
Report of Capt. H. M. Ashby,
Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
SIR: According to your order of the 16th I left Knoxville at 4 p. m., with about 40 men from my company and the same number of Capt. Bradley’s, and proceeded to Clinton, where I was joined by 40 men of Capt. Gillespie’s company, under Lieut. King. I marched all night, reaching Jacksborough about sunrise next morning.
Five miles above Jacksborough, at Big Creek Gap, I left Capt. Bradley, with his command, to reconnoiter the country between that point and Fincastle, 5 miles above Big Creek Gap, there to await further orders. With the remainder of my command I pressed on to Woodson’s Gap, 6 miles beyond Fincastle, where I detached Lieut. Gibbs, of my company, with 10 men, to guard the road coming into Woodson’s Gap from the direction of Clinch River.
I then pressed forward with the remnant of my command to watch some passes a few miles above. In a short time a courier from Lieut. Gibbs informed me that he had captured the advance guard of the tories, when I immediately changed direction and returned to Woodson’s Gap.
The tories had by this time come in full view, with an apparent force of from 700 to 800 men. I at once ordered Lieut.’s Owens and Gibbs, of my company, to attack them in the rear with 25 men, while I charged them in front, thereby preventing their crossing to Cumberland Mountains. After an hour’s fight I succeeded in capturing 423 prisoners, killing about 30 and wounding the same number.
Five members of my company were seriously wounded during the engagement; among the number Lieut. Gibbs. Capt. Bradley’s company was not engaged in the fight, having been left, as stated above, at Big Creek Gap. Officers and men under my command behaved with great gallantry.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. M. ASHBY, Capt. Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt, I, pp. 649-650.

28 APRIL 1862
Knoxville, Tenn.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a portion of the Fourth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers (Colonel Morgan) will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Ga., in charge of Union prisoners. The officer of the detachment is directed to report afterward with his command to the military authorities at Savannah, Ga. In more than one communication Brigadier-General Stevenson has reported many desertions from this regiment to the enemy and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap.
Because of this and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of this department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers. I trust my action in this matter will meet the approval of the Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.


19 APRIL 1862
Brigadier General S. P. CARTER [USA],
Commanding Twenty-fourth Brigade, Cumberland Ford.
GENERAL: In acknowledging the receipt of your communication of the 16th instant let me assure you that nowhere within the limits of this department will any violation of the rules of civilized warfare meet with my sanction.
David Fry was captured within our lines in citizen’s dress and was sent to Knoxville charged as a citizen of East Tennessee with bridge-burning. He has as yet laid no claim to being a prisoner of war nor has he announced himself as an officer in the U. S. service.
His presence within our lines in citizen’s dress and engaged in the felonious occupation of bridge-burning makes him amenable either as a citizen of East Tennessee to the criminal courts of the land or as a spy to the military court of the service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.

26 APRIL 1862
Confederate imprisonment order for Unionist W. H. Malone and release of John Patterson.
SIR: By direction of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, commanding this military department, I have to request that you will admit into the prison in which the Union men of Tennessee are confined Mr. W. H. Malone, a gentleman who bears this communication and whose loyalty is indorsed by some of the best and most patriotic citizens of the State.
Mr. M. proposes to enlist into the army of the Confederacy such of the prisoners as may be disposed and whom he may deem reliable for service without the limits of this department. The major general commanding heartily approves the motive which influences Mr. M., and trusts that the object he would attain will as far as possible be advanced by the authorities who have the prisoners in charge.
You will release John Patterson, one of the prisoners who was by mistake sent among the number.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 885.

26 APRIL 1862
Report of Capt. H. M. Ashby, Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
SIR: According to your order of the 16th I left Knoxville at 4 p. m., with about 40 men from my company and the same number of Capt. Bradley’s, and proceeded to Clinton, where I was joined by 40 men of Capt. Gillespie’s company, under Lieut. King. I marched all night, reaching Jacksborough about sunrise next morning.
Five miles above Jacksborough, at Big Creek Gap, I left Capt. Bradley, with his command, to reconnoiter the country between that point and Fincastle, 5 miles above Big Creek Gap, there to await further orders. With the remainder of my command I pressed on to Woodson’s Gap, 6 miles beyond Fincastle, where I detached Lieut. Gibbs, of my company, with 10 men, to guard the road coming into Woodson’s Gap from the direction of Clinch River.
I then pressed forward with the remnant of my command to watch some passes a few miles above. In a short time a courier from Lieut. Gibbs informed me that he had captured the advance guard of the tories, when I immediately changed direction and returned to Woodson’s Gap.
The tories had by this time come in full view, with an apparent force of from 700 to 800 men. I at once ordered Lieut.’s Owens and Gibbs, of my company, to attack them in the rear with 25 men, while I charged them in front, thereby preventing their crossing to Cumberland Mountains.
After an hour’s fight I succeeded in capturing 423 prisoners, killing about 30 and wounding the same number. Five members of my company were seriously wounded during the engagement; among the number Lieut. Gibbs. Capt. Bradley’s company was not engaged in the fight, having been left, as stated above, at Big Creek Gap. Officers and men under my command behaved with great gallantry.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. M. ASHBY, Capt. Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, part, I, pp. 649-650.

2nd Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry CSA

8 MAY 1862
Release of Confederate political prisoners.
HDQRS., Knoxville, Tenn.
Mr. JOHN L. M. FRENCH, Chattanooga, Tenn.
SIR: Your favor of the 5th instant is to hand. The political prisoners you mention can be released under the consideration that they will each give a bond signed by a good Southern man, provided such prisoner or prisoners have not heretofore taken the oath of allegiance to the Southern Confederacy. Of course you must require good Southern men to indorse the bonds and return same to these headquarters.
Respectfully, W. M. CHURCHWELL,
Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, p. 1423.

19 MAY 1862
Confederate proposal to release political prisoners upon taking loyalty oath.
KNOXVILLE, Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: As per your order of the 13th instant I proceeded to Madison, Ga., and released the prisoners whose signatures are appended to the oath I herein hand you. My instructions were to “release no man who had before taken the oath;” and to discriminate between those that had or had not taken the oath, I had this oath administered to them:
That you shall make true answers to the questions I shall ask your having taken an oath to support the constitution of the Confederate States of America. So help you God.
I then asked them if they had taken said oath and in every case was answered in the negative. As soon as they had all taken and signed the oath as per orders I turned them all over to Mr. T. J. Jarnagin. In looking over my list I found that several were never there, several are dead, and some have volunteered; and I would advise that a statement be made by Capt. Calhoun of all the prisoners that are or have been there-when released and by whose order. …
I consulted with the prisoners before their release but could find out nothing important enough to include in this report.
The above report, colonel, is respectfully submitted.
H. M. BEARDEN, Lieut., Company D,
Thirty-ninth North Carolina Troops.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 2, pp. 1426-1427.

Provost Marshal, Department of East Tennessee

27 MAY 1862
Letter from Confederate Assistant Surgeon Sam Houston Hynds at Big Creek Gap.
To his mother, Ann Hynds, in Dandridge, Jefferson County, Northeast Tennessee
Your letter directed to me at this place came safely to hand, as usual, glad to hear from you and from Dandridge.
I am not surprised that you wonder at the miraculous marches we have made since we left Knoxville early in the Spring. We have been, it seems to me, in every nook and corner in these Mountains … hunting up those interesting aids of Old Abe’s Army “Styled Home Guards” … these pious and puritanic soldiers are composed of the ignorant Mountaineers who are too lazy to run and consequently unfit to serve Old Abe in the Regular Army.
But from their knowledge of the mountains they are able to skulk about and murder our pickets and destroy the property of innocent persons under the covers of the “Stars & Stripes.”
A few Sundays ago I was sent with a detached Corps from our Brigade to scout in the mountains, and if possible to ascertain the position of a Federal band said to be stationed on Pine Mountain 15 miles from our present encampments, a portion of our corps engaged a number of “Jay Hawkers” about half way [into] our journey, one killed, one dead wounded, another badly, took 7 prisoners and captured a lot of guns, ammunition and camp equipment of ours.
One Lieut. was wounded badly in the head from the ax in the hands of an old woman, our boys did not kill the old woman as has been reported, they only knocked her in the head with a gun and left her for dead, but she was not badly hurt. I saw her myself in less than a half hour after the fight.
I have seen some very narrow risks since I have been in the Mountains, but have so far escaped unharmed. Perhaps the narrowest risk I have seen since I have been in the Army occurred while I was at Kingston. I came very nearly being captured and held as a prisoner for life by a very fascinating young lady of that Village.
It required the combined forces of resolution and determination to get me released but now I am safe again, yet extremely anxious to visit the place where I came so near falling a victim to woman’s charm. You see, I was Asst. Surgeon in the Kingston Hospital and some power devine laid low with the fever my fair one’s Grand-mother.
Of course I was called on to officiate in the capacity of the Good Samaritan. Many were the professional airs I put on, and large were the pills of bread I administered to cure the poor old woman. The same power that had laid her low soon came and restored every wound in nature and I was crowned with honor and respect besides being permitted to visit the family at my pleasure and without ceremony.
I now found that while in the presence of Miss Emilee I had not forgotten entirely some of my old accomplishment, and as my visits were by no means disagreeable, either to Miss Emilee or myself, I thought I might just as well use them as not. I cannot tell you everything that happened to me during my short stay in Kingston, Yet I assure you I am by no means displeased with what has passed between the fair Miss Emilee and myself. …
We do not like our Brigadier Gen. [probably Crittenden] he is a drunken braggart, and wholly unfit to command, he has been vainly attempting to occupy with our little army; to the side of the C. [Cumberland] Mountains at once. I have no idea what his next move will be as he must be convinced by this time that his former plans must prove fatal. …
The only news from the place is that the enemy; 10,000 strong are removing the blockade from these Gaps. They killed one of our spies yesterday, another went out this morning, he told us all goodby and said he would not return that he would be killed, that his brother was lying at that time dead on the ground (the one who was killed yesterday evening), that his father had been killed sometime since, that his family had been scattered by the vandals, and he intended to release them or to bring them into our encampment …
Give my love to all in general and Grand-ma in particular. …
Yours Affectionately,
Sam Houston Hynds
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, pp. 93-94.

3 JULY 1862 – 14 JULY 1862
Statements of East Tennessee Unionists taken prisoner as Confederates seeking removal from Camp Chase.

3 JULY 1862
PRISON No. 3, MESS No. 1, Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio.
DEAR SIR: I am a prisoner at Camp Chase, Ohio, and I feel myself a loyal man, if I could have hope [helped] myself, but I am here and wish to let you know that I was not persuaded into it, but actually driven in, as all the violators of the Confederacy were, or hung, or imprisoned.
I as well as many other Union men of East Tennessee joined a company of Union home guard, gotten up by J. S. Lamb, in the Fourth District of Knox County, Tenn. I drilled with them and expressed my honest sentiments for the Union and Constitution, and for Andrew Johnson, Horace Maynard, [William G. ] Parson Brownlow and T. A. R. Nelson.
I have the pleasure to announce to you that I voted for the Union three times and would have done so again and again had I had the opportunity; but, alas, we have been overrun by a military despotism that prevailed in East Tennessee for over twelve months; but after the August election had done all that I could at the ballot box for the Union, and J. S. Lamb and some others saw it plain by Governor Harris’ and Zollicoffer’s proclamation that we were bound to be oppressed.
They gathered all they could and made an effort to cross Cumberland Mountains to Kentucky to join the U. S. Army, but we were defeated by the secesh soldiers and several prisoners taken. I got back home and kept myself hid for some time, and though all was over, I was surrounded and notified that those who were engaged in trying to get to the U. S. Army would be hunted up, and if they refused to go into service would be “sent up” – a phrase to mean shooting, hanging, or imprisonment, for they said that they would join the Union Army.
I therefore consented to go into a company of sappers and miners, as I was informed it was to work and not to fight, with the intention if I had any chance to escape and get to the Union Army; and four of us boys of the same company had entered into a secret covenant, as soon as we were sure that the Union forces were near enough we would go to them and leave Mr. Secesh.
Our names are as follows: J. S. Lamb, Calvin Garrett, William Martin, and myself, Joel B. Crawford. We were taken before we knew they were so near. I send this to you and I wish you as my friend to do the best you can for me. I am willing to take any oath that the War Department may require.
I am, respectfully, yours,

Layout of Federal prison at Camp Chase, Ohio

3 JULY 1862
FROM PRISON No. 3, MESS No. 1, Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio.
Hon. HORACE MAYNARD, Washington, D. C.:
We, the undersigned, wish to give you as full account of the cause as possible of our being prisoners in Camp Chase, as we were Union men, as J. S. Lamb has already referred to us as his “Union fellow-sufferers in East Tennessee,” by the secesh military despotism that reigned for some time in our country.
We know you and our fathers were your warm supporters as well as Union lovers, and so would we have done the same, but William Martin was too young to vote, I did myself, Calvin Garrett. I know you are acquainted with our fathers, Reuben Garrett and Jonathan Martin, that live (Garrett) on the top of Copper Ridge and Martin at the foot of the same, Union County, Tenn., on the road leading from Knoxville to Maynardville, Tenn.
We were with Joseph S. Lamb when he started to cross Cumberland Mountains to join the U. S. Army, but as J. S. Lamb has already informed you we were stopped by the secesh army and defeated, but we made the second attempt and again found we could not go through.
We got home and were about to be taken. We scouted in the ridges for some time. We were informed that if we would give ourselves up and agree to go into the service we would not be hurt. As we saw no other prospect, by their giving us our choice of company and some time to choose, we agreed to it and put off the time as long as we could and finding no possible way to get out of it we concluded to go into a company of sappers and miners, as we were informed that that company was to work and not to fight.
We had concluded to enter that company, and if any possible chance offered, if the Federal Army got close to us, we would desert and go to the Union Army. Four of us boys had entered into that covenant secretly ourselves.
The names are Calvin Garrett, William Martin, Joseph S. Lamb and Joel B. Crawford. We would not wish you to publish this to the world, for if we are safely discharged from here our secesh neighbors would kill us secretly.
The prisoners, some of them that are here, have threatened, particularly if an exchange takes place, that J. S. Lamb and Martin are to go up … Martin for conducting the Union boys to camp where Lamb was waiting … when I (Garrett) was taken, and for telling them that there were two horses and some Union boys who would be glad to go with them, and J. S. Lamb for going and getting the powder and giving it to them in order as he said to defeat the secesh pursuit; and none of us four ever wish, as you and the War Department may judge, to be exchanged.
We wish to be discharged by taking any oath that the Department may require. We send this to you and wish you to read and lay it before the War Department, and if you can do us any good we will be under all obligations to you.
We subscribe ourselves,
your obedient servants,
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 122-123.

Camp Chase > Prisoner of War Camp near Columbus Ohio
Upon an oath of honor, Confederate officers were permitted to wander through Columbus, register in hotels, and receive gifts of money and food; a few attended sessions of the state senate. But they were still prisoners.

14 JULY 1862
Statement of Joseph S. Lamb, prisoner.
I reside in Knox County, Tenn., ten miles from the city of Knoxville. I am a Union man and will continue to be as long as I dare speak and have been so all the time. I voted against secession and talked against it as long as I dared. I had a Union flag at home and have yet unless they have gotten in and robbed me of it. About the 1st of June 1861, I had my likeness taken with the Stars and Stripes across my breast.
I was well known at home as a Union man both by Union men and secessionists and can give plenty of references of Union men as to this fact. After the time of taking my likeness and the election Gen. Zollicoffer, of the rebel army, came to Knoxville and took command and proclaimed that all those of the South should unite with the Confederacy and warning them that they had better never have been born than strike a blow against the South.
Afterward, about the 9th of August [1861], I together with Calvin Garrett, William Martin and Joel B. Crawford, now confined in prison with me at Camp Chase, with many others left our homes in Knox and Union Counties and started for Kentucky to unite with the Federal Army, then lying at or near Camp Dick Robinson [KY].
After traveling all night and the forenoon of the next day, having arrived at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains and about thirty miles on our journey, our advance was attacked by a squad of secession cavalry under command of Capt. [Hunter] Ashby.
We were unarmed. Capt. Thornburg, of our party, was wounded in the neck and me and nine others taken prisoners. We were informed by the mountain pilots that it would be impossible to cross the Confederate lines, they being too closely guarded, upon which we all returned to our homes, narrowly escaping being taken prisoners upon our return. …
In about ten or fifteen days afterward there came into my home upon me some seven armed men and arrested me and informed me that the charge was treason. …
They cursed my wife the same night they arrested me for saying she did not think the Union men were traitors and tories for maintaining their sentiments; that such a charge should rather go upon the other side.
They compelled me then to go along with them to Knoxville. There I was informed that the only way to save myself was to join the Southern Army and support the South against invasion.
Being advised by my friends I did so, in hopes that the Federal Army would soon come and rescue us, and with the full determination never to fire a gun against the flag that had protected us. …
I was at Big Creek Gap waiting on and cooking for some sick soldiers about the 21st day of February last, when a squad of Capt. Cross’ company, of Second Tennessee (Union) Regt., came in sight some 200 yards off. I could easily have escaped after I discovered them had I had any disposition to do so.
Calvin Garrett was then with me and he could have easily escaped also. Instead of making my escape I was out of doors and immediately started, meeting them walking slowly. Garrett did not start toward them with me but did not attempt to escape.
I and Crawford, Martin and Garrett had previously entered into a secret agreement that if ever we came near enough to the Federal lines that we knew we could make our escape we would do so and unite with the Federal Army. We were all of us taken prisoners the same day by Capt. Cross’ company of infantry. … and have remained prisoners ever since. …
I am willing and anxious to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government and to enlist and fight in the Federal Army till the last gun is fired if I should live or the rebellion is put down, and to support the government of Governor Andrew Johnson. I am a warm friend of William G. Brownlow and Horace Maynard and of Governor Andrew Johnson.
I am firmly of the opinion that Calvin Garrett, William Martin and Joel B. Crawford have at all times at heart been Union men, are now, and if released will be good citizens of the United States and I believe they would unite with the Federal Army.
Taken, subscribed and sworn to before me this 14th day of July, A. D. 1862.
C. W. B. ALLISON, Col., Cmdg. Post, Camp Chase, Ohio.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, pp. 217-219.

22—26 JULY 1862
Union and Confederate negotiators reach an agreement for a standard of prisoner exchanges.

24 JULY 1862
Rules of procedure for hearing before the Provost Marshal.
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal, Knoxville, Tenn.
COL.: I am directed by the major-general commanding to say that you will order the assistant provost-marshal of the department whenever an arrest is made to send up with the prisoner a statement of the case accompanied with the names of the witnesses cognizant of the facts upon which the arrest is made.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 826.

Major-General E. KIRBY SMITH CSA

1 AUGUST 1862
Confederate General E. Kirby Smith decries Federal policies toward civilians and threatens reprisals.
Brig. Gen. GEORGE W. MORGAN, Cmdg. United States Forces, Cumberland Gap.
GEN.: It has been reported to me that by your orders peaceable citizens without your lines have been arrested on account of their political opinions and are now held as prisoners. Since assuming command in this department I have arrested but 7 persons for political offenses and of these 6 have been released. By my intercession many who before my taking charge of the department had been sent South and confined have been released. I have ever given to the citizens of East Tennessee protection to persons and property regardless of their political tenets.
Six hundred and sixty-four citizens escaping to Kentucky, most of them with arms in their hands and belonging to military organizations in open hostility to the Confederate States, have been taken prisoners. All of these have been released excepting 76, who previously had voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States Government, and are now held as prisoners of war.
This policy has been pursued with an earnest desire to allay the horrors of war and to conduct the campaign with as little severity as is consistent with the interests of my Government. It is therefore, general, with deep regret that I hear of your arresting peaceable citizens without your lines, thereby inaugurating a policy which must bring great additional suffering on the two contending peoples.
I cannot but hope that this course has resulted from a misapprehension of my policy and a want of knowledge of my treatment of the Union element in East Tennessee. I have constantly had it in my power to arrest numbers of citizens disloyal to the Confederate States, but have heretofore refrained from so doing for the reasons above stated, and hoping all the while that the clemency thus extended would be appreciated and responded to by the authorities of the United States.
It is perhaps needless for me to state that if you continue to arrest citizens from without your lines whom the usages of war among civilized nations exempt from molestation, I shall be compelled in retaliation to pursue a similar course toward the disloyal citizens of my department, and shall arrest and confine the prominent Union men in each community.
I hope, however, that this explanation may correct any misapprehension on your part regarding my policy, and thereby obviate the necessity of my pursuing a course which is, to say the least, a disagreeable duty. This communication will be delivered to you by Mr. Kincaid, who hopes to be able to effect the release of his father, now held as a prisoner. …
I am, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 244-245.

3 AUGUST 1862
Military Governor Andrew Johnson’s policy on releasing Tennessee Confederate prisoners.
Hon. P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary:
In reply to your inquiry by telegraph I have to state, first, all Tennessee prisoners who are willing to take the oath of allegiance and enter into bond for its faithful observance should be released upon parole subject to notice. If they were released as suggested and permitted to return to Tennessee it would exert a powerful influence upon the State at this time.
The oath when taken and the bond should be forwarded to the Governor of Tennessee and filed in secretary’s office. If the power were conferred on me as intimated a short time since by the President—the power to prescribe the terms of release—I would at once appoint an agent competent to exercise proper judgment and send him to the various prisons where Tennesseeans are confined authorized to examine and release all who would take the oath and give bond.
All those who were not willing to comply with foregoing conditions I would either exchange or retain in prison. If this course were adopted I feel well assured that much good would result from it. I repeat I hope none of those Tennessee prisoners will be exchanged and sent South who are willing to conform to the conditions herein set forth.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 333.

9 AUGUST 1862
Andrew Johnson appoints former Tennessee Governor William B. Campbell as prisoner of war commissioner to carry out prisoner of war release policy.
Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-Gen.:
In compliance with authority and instructions from the War Department on 4th instant I have appointed ex-Governor Campbell commissioner to visit the various prisons containing Tennessee prisoners and prescribe the terms and conditions of their release.
All prisoners not officers who are willing to take the oath of allegiance and give bonds will be released upon parole to report to the Governor of Tennessee, and all who refuse to do so will be retained in prison, exchanged. Governor Campbell will communicate to the War Department what policy he adopts in regard to the release of these prisoners.
I trust in God that in making an exchange of prisoners that the East Tennesseeans now confined in Southern dungeons will not be overlooked. The eastern part of the State has been too long neglected and our people left to oppression. Let that portion of her people are now in dungeons be set free at least while there is an opportunity to redeem them with traitors and rebels.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 4, p. 362.

Gov. Campbell of Tennessee, whose mission to Chicago we noticed at some length a few days since, has been successful in securing the release of three hundred and eighty-seven prisoners, now confined at Camp Douglas. By consent of the War Department, the prisoners alluded to came up yesterday and took the oath of allegiance. Twenty one of them left last evening—the balance taking their departure to-day. …
We are informed that many others would take the oath were it not for the general impression prevailing among the prisoners that they are to be released by exchange. The prisoners universally manifested a feeling of joy and relief that their captivity was over …
It is a noticeable fact that the prisoners from the Gulf States manifest no desire to take the oath, but, on the other hand, manifest a most inveterate hatred to everything federal. The batch lately brought from New Mexico are especially dogged and contumacious. They are a bloodthirsty, brutal pack, whom no amount of good treatment or kindness will ever effect.
~ Nashville Dispatch.

4 OCTOBER 1862
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: After being a few days in command here and finding the disloyalty and disaffection to the Government much more general and bitter than I had expected, I became satisfied that much good might result to our cause by putting myself in communication with a few of the most influential Union men. …
I believe there are Southern men in East Tennessee, small politicians generally, who do not desire that influential men who have heretofore been strong Union men should change their course and come out in support of the Government. They are actuated by petty party jealousy, and have done much mischief by denunciatory articles in the public prints on men who if let alone would gladly have abandoned their hostility and opposition to the Government. …
While I shall endeavor by a conciliatory but firm course to bring the leaders of what is known as the Union party and through them the mass of the party to the active support of the Government, I shall not fail every means in my power to suppress everything like open hostility or secret treachery. I regret to believe that much of such hostility and treachery exists in this department.
I have a detachment out now in an adjoining county to kill, capture, or disperse a party of some 200 or 300 armed men collected together in the mountains to join the enemy in Kentucky; and I hear there are other such bands. It may be well to arrest and send out of the country a few of the most obdurate and perverse Union men. I have received no instructions from you and am not informed as to the policy it is desired I should pursue.
I send with this copies of orders and a short proclamation to the people of East Tennessee. They, together with this letter, will indicate somewhat of the policy I propose to pursue, and I have respectfully to ask that you will submit them to the President and inform me if they meet his approval.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen.

Major General SAM. JONES CSA
Commander at Knoxville

13 OCTOBER 1862
Confederate forces ordered to Johnson and Carter counties to disperse Unionists.
Lieut. Col. [GEORGE N. ] FOLK, Cmdg.
Seventh North Carolina Volunteers:
You will proceed with four companies of your command to the counties of Johnson and Carter and break up and disperse an organization of tories from North Carolina and such other hostile bands as you may find. The prisoners taken from the North Carolina band will be sent to the provost-marshal at Salisbury, N. C., and the Tennessee prisoners to this place.
Private property will be strictly respected and all lawless acts of violence repressed with the utmost vigilance and discipline. A full report will be made to these headquarters.
Your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 940.

22 NOVEMBER 1862
A petition from Union Citizens in East Tennessee to Military Governor Andrew Johnson.
The undersigned would respectfully, as Union Citizens of Tennessee, request you to enforce your Proclamation of May last, and arrest or cause to be arrested ten rebels, or some such number, for each loyal Citizen of Tennessee now under arrest, or who may hereafter be arrested by the rebels, or under their authority, to be treated in all things as the loyal citizen may be treated by them. Such arrests, as far as practicable to be from the neighborhood of the loyal Citizen. …
The undersigned, in making the above request are satisfied that they represent the Union sentiment of Tennessee and by pursuing the policy of the Proclamation, hundreds of loyal citizens, now confined in loathsome prisons will soon be released and at home with their families and others can remain at home in security. …
Respectfully your fellow Citizens.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 66.
Note: The petition contained 132 signatures, most of them from East Tennessee, including W. G. Brownlow, Horace Maynard, William J. Clift and A. B. Shankland, all mainstays of devoted Unionism in East Tennessee.


23 JANUARY 1863
Daniel Ellis account of the murders of East Tennessee Unionists seeking to escape Confederate East Tennessee.
[Ellis was a pilot who led Northeast Tennessee Unionists across the mountains into Kentucky, either for their personal safety or to join the Union Army.]
Some of the men whom I had agreed to conduct through to Kentucky had the misfortune of being captured and cruelly murdered by the rebels. The names of the poor fellows were James Taylor, Samuel Tatum, Alfred Kite, Alexander Dugger, and David Shuffield.
The infamous men who perpetrated these murders belonged to Folk’s regiment, accompanied by some of the home guards of Johnson County, who had been ranging all over the country for conscripts, taking these home guards along with them for guides.
They were all together when the rebels discovered them, they being on one side of the Watauga River and the rebels on the other. When they first observed these men, they at once dashed across the river on their horses and surrounded them on a small ridge.
Some of these men had arms … nothing more than a pistol or a knife, which so enraged the rebel demons that they rushed forward like blood-thirsty tigers, and butchered these poor men in cold blood, without pity and without mercy. …
When the rebels first fired, poor Taylor surrendered; they continued to shoot at him, while he begged them to be treated as a prisoner, but instead, one of these incarnate devils ran up and soon silenced in, by shooting the top of his head off with a musket.
Two of them then caught him by his feet, and pitched him violently over a large rock down a steep declivity, which bruised his body and broke his limbs in a most shocking manner. … Tatum was killed nearly at the same time that Taylor was, he being first wounded in the shoulder, and then dispatched with great cruelty. …
Thrilling Adventures of Daniel Ellis, p.107-110.

A pilot through Northeast Tennessee mountains
Ellis led Unionists, Confederate deserters, prison escapees, slaves, and fugitives through the mountains into Kentucky or the Union lines.

2 JUNE 1863
Bragg issues General Orders No. 18
Relative to refugee policy
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT No. 2, Tullahoma, Tenn.
The enemy has seen fit to expel from his lines and send to our midst not only those supposed to be guilty of crimes, but non-combatants found at their homes in the peaceful pursuits of life. In the perpetration of these outrages on humanity, and these violations of civilized warfare, he has prostituted the flag of truce to the base purpose of protecting the guards who drive forth these exiles.
Hereafter that flag will not protect those guards, but they will be seized and sent forward to be treated as spies or prisoners of war, as the circumstances in each case may require.
By command of Gen. Braxton Bragg
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 858-859.

25 JUNE 1863
One East Tennessean’s concerns about Federal conscription.
From Loveland Ohio.
Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee
Dear Sir: Will your Honour please to inform me whether I am subject to conscription or draft or not. Here is my case. I am an East Tenn. 14 months ago I left home to join the Union Army. In crossing the Lines I was captured as a citizen, to remain a prisoner during the war.
So having no protection from the U. S., I took an oath not to fight against them. (Rather then to remain a prisoner) I gave Bond of $2000 Dollars. Since I crossed the Lines, rather than go to the Rebel Army, I have also got my family here, with me. My home was once in Greeneville Tenn. I was a printer in the Democrat office. …
I hope to have your opinion soon.
Your Friend, F. M. Farmser.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, pp. 276-277.

29 JUNE 1863
Return to duty orders for Confederate prisoners of war in East Tennessee.
General Orders No. 60
Headquarters, Dep’t East Tenn., Knoxville.
All officers and soldiers captured by the United States forces under Col Saunders is their recent raids—Sanders’ Raid—are hereby directed to report for duty immediately to their representative commands, as the paroles given are not recognized by the Authorities at Richmond.
By command of,
Maj. Gen. S. B. [Simon Bolivar] Buckner
Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle.

Major General Simon Bolivar Buckner CSA

Federal Provost Marshall seeks release of political prisoners in East Tennessee.
Office Provost Marshal Gen. of E. Tenn., Knoxville.
All persons whose friends have been arrested for political offenses, and carried off by the Rebels, and are still held in confinement, are requested to report the names of such prisoners at this office, as soon as possible, with the charges on which they were arrested, in order that measures may be taken to secure their release.
By command of S. P. CARTER,
Brig. Gen. and Pro. Mar. Gen. E. Tenn.
Knoxville Daily Bulletin.

‘Dear wife I was captured at Jonesborough.’
Letter from prisoner of war John Bachman at Knoxville.
To his wife Rachel in Sullivan County.
I am well except a very sore ankle. I wish you would send me a good pair of socks and 2 shirts and a good Blanket or an overcoat and pants; put them in a satchel or haversack. Don’t grieve after me … tell the Boys to take care of the Crop, as well as they can keep what grain you have.
Get Lynes or bob to see to your claims &c. Andy Coleman owes $16.00 & Thomas Hickman $10.00. Borrowed at Salt Works. I have no time to write you much satisfactions; there is with me J. H. Grouch, Jon Ball Edmon, Wheelock & others of my friends.
We expect to be sent to Camp Chase, and if it should be so, we may Remain some months.
So I remain your affectionate Husband,
John Bachman
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, p. 126.

Hail! Hail! Burnside!
During the first few days of September 1863, Major General Ambrose Burnside arrives in Northeast Tennessee and begins to free the Unionists there from Rebel occupation, which they suffered under for more than two years.
The general travels with his troops up the Valley and personally takes part in some of the engagements, like wresting Cumberland Gap from the Confederate garrison occupying it. Not the best general in the war, but he deserves the credit for finally coming to the aid of the Unionists in Northeast Tennessee.

GENERAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 13, regarding foraging regulations and punishments for depredations.
As it is the mission of this army to rescue East Tennessee from rebel despotism, so it is also its duty to see that within its lines law and order are enforced.
No advantage must be taken of its presence to avenge private wrongs or to gratify a personal malice, and it must be distinctly understood by all, both citizens and soldiers, that any unauthorized injuries inflicted by any, on either person or property, will be promptly punished with the utmost rigor of military law.
No levies on property for the public service will be made, except by the proper authority, and in no case will any person, no matter how great may be his criminality, be left without the means of subsistence. Offenses or depredations should be at once reported to the nearest provost-marshal, who is authorized to immediately arrest the offender and hold him for punishment.
Vouchers will be given in all cases for property, and these vouchers will state on their face what is known as to the loyalty or disloyalty of the persons from whom property is taken. …
Citizens as well as soldiers are notified that all prisoners of war, when released on their taking the oath of allegiance, will be permitted to return to their homes and resume their ordinary avocations, and will not be threatened or molested by any one so long as they observe their faith to the Government … but any violation of the oath will be promptly reported to the nearest provost-marshal, who is authorized to take immediate action.
By command of Maj. Gen. [Ambrose] Burnside.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. III, pp. 718-719.

Wagon train carrying supplies to the armies

6 OCTOBER 1863
Federal policy of retribution against Rebel sympathizers in East Tennessee announced.
Office Provost Marshal General East Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn.
WHEREAS, The Rebel forces in Upper and Lower East Tennessee have been engaged in the wanton seizure and destruction of the property of Union men, … it has been threatened that Union citizens shall be visited with “fire and sword” – and the threat has already been carried out by the arrest, imprisonment, and maltreatment of Union men, for no alleged crime but that of loyalty to their Government …
It is not the desire of those in authority to arrest quiet and orderly citizens, or molest them merely on account of opinions they may have held, it is, therefor Ordered, that with a view of bringing such barbarous practices to an end, the severest retaliatory measures shall be adopted.
In every case where a Union man, has been arrested and is held in confinement, a prominent Rebel, or active Rebel sympathizer, living in his vicinity, shall be arrested and held in close confinement as a hostage, and be subject, in all respects, to the same treatment and punishment which the Union man receives at the hands of the rebel authorities, until his release from prison and restoration to liberty …
In all cases where it can be shown that the property of Union men has been seized or wantonly destroyed, the property of rebels, and of citizens of rebel sympathies in the neighborhood where such destruction has occurred, shall be taken and held by way of retaliation, and for the purpose of indemnifying Union citizens for their losses.
By command of S. P. CARTER,
Brig. Gen. and Pro. Mar. Gen. E. Tenn.

4 NOVEMBER 1863 – 23 DECEMBER 1863
Longstreet’s Knoxville Campaign.

At First Light: The Gwinnett Artillery at the Battle of Fort Sanders
Ken Smith, Artist

29 NOVEMBER 1863
Assault on Fort Sanders
Knoxville, Tennessee
Report of Lieut. Samuel N. Benjamin, Second U. S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery.
Maj.-Gen. BURNSIDE, U. S. Army:
DEAR GEN.: Inclosed you will find an account of the siege of Fort Sanders, giving the plan of the defense and a description of the assault. …
We took over 250 prisoners unhurt, 17 of them commissioned officers (we were not 250 strong in the fort); over 200 dead and wounded lay in the ditch, among them 3 colonels. One-half in the ditch were dead; most of the others were mortally wounded. We also got over 1,000 stand of arms. The prisoners in the ditch represented eleven regiments, and estimated their regiments at about 400 strong, each. …
From what I learned from their officers and from what I saw, I gathered the following plan of assault:
Two brigades to watch and fire on our lines, one brigade to assault, and two more to support it. Two brigades came up to the ditch.
The party actually engaged in the assault numbered about 4,000 men, not including reserves. Of these they lost from 1,300 to 1,500 killed, wounded, and prisoners; a very large proportion killed, and a large number mortally wounded.
In the fort we lost 13 men, 8 killed and 5 wounded. Gen. Ferrero was in the little bomb-proof, and I did not see him outside, nor know of his giving an order during the fight.
The capture of the fort was to have been at once followed by a general assault on the town, their whole army being in readiness.
Lieut., Second U. S. Artillery.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 342-344.

Lieut. Samuel N. Benjamin USA
Medal of Honor Recipient for Civil War service.
From Bull Run to Spotsylvania, VA – July 1861 to May 1864.

Maj. Gen. JOHN G. FOSTER, Tazewell.
GEN.: I forward dispatches received from scouts. Prisoners will be forwarded in the morning. One of them by the name of Smith, First Tennessee, was attached to Gen. Jones’ headquarters; told him the night before the fight that he was going to Blain’s Cross-Roads. It is possible that while Wheeler’s brigade started toward Kingston, Jones’ command will move up toward Virginia to cover Longstreet’s left flank. There is no doubt that Col. Dibrell was wounded and Assistant Adjutant-Gen. Allison killed in the affair of yesterday.
O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 394-397.

10 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish at flour mill at Rutledge, Confederate still near Clinch River and surrender of Confederates at Knoxville.
Rutledge, December 10, 1863—6.15 p. m.
… If the enemy had any spare force across the river, their remaining so long thereabouts is explained by the fact that they are running a still about 1 1/2 miles back from the river. Marsh reports that Strong and Anderson, of Gen. Foster’s staff, were in Knoxville yesterday.
The other brigade he met on the road with Mott’s was composed of Tennessee troops, and I suppose was Spears’, and Marsh says between 300 and 400 prisoners came into Knoxville yesterday, picked up in squads on the French Broad.
Yours, truly ROBERT B. POTTER, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 369-370.

13 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish near Dandridge’s Mill.
GEN.: I have just received the order to move with my command to Morristown to protect a telegraph party sent out from Strawberry Plains. My pickets were attacked at 10 o’clock this morning by a small scouting party of the enemy sent out (as prisoners assert) from Bull’s Gap. I happened to be near the picket post at the time and immediately pursued them with the reserve, on the Bull’s Gap road, and succeeded in capturing 6 of them … after a chase of 6 miles. We got their horses, arms, and saddles. I send the 6 prisoners to you herewith …
I am, general, very respectfully,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 404.

15 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish near Kingston and capture of Confederates.
HDQRS., Kingston.
Maj.-Gen. FOSTER: Company E of my old regiment that is now down at White’s Creek informs me that a body of about 40 rebels made an attempt to cross the river near where they are stationed. They fired into the rebels and took about 14 of them prisoners. About 12 of them succeeded in crossing to the south bank of the Tennessee. They were armed with Colt revolvers and axes. The prisoners say that John [Hunt] Morgan was among those that crossed the river and made their escape.
Respectfully, R. K. BYRD, Col., Cmdg. Post.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 418-419.


15 JANUARY 1864
Capture of C. S. A. cavalry, including General Vance, brother of the Gov. of North Carolina.
DANDRIDGE, 15 January 1864.
Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, U. S. Army.
Commanding Cavalry, Department of the Ohio.
I have just word from Col. Palmer … and whom I had sent after a party 300 strong, under command of Gen. Vance, a brother of the Governor of the Governor of North Carolina, that he overtook them on Cosby Creek, 23 miles from Sevierville, at 3 p. m. on the 14th instant.
They had rested to feed their animals, and were about to take the road to Newport when he charged them, routing their entire command.
He captured 52 prisoners, including Gen. Vance, his adjutant-general, and inspector-general; also about 150 saddle-horses and over 100 stand of arms, besides destroying a large number of arms on the road. …
The Home Guards are pursuing the dismounted rebels, who fled to the mountains, and many of them will no doubt be captured.
The entire command is dispersed, and the rebels not captured will no doubt return to their homes. …
The prisoners are on their way to Knoxville …
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry Corps.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 74.

Old farm in Cosby, Cocke County, Northeast Tennessee.

24 JANUARY 1864
Skirmish near Newport [Cocke County]
REPORTS. No. 1.-Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis,
U. S. Army, commanding Cavalry, Department of the Ohio.
GEN.: I have just returned from Fair Garden [Sevier County] and McCook’s position near Dandridge [Jefferson County].
Yesterday evening Col. LaGrange (First Wisconsin) was sent with his brigade to intercept a reported train of wagons (said to be 100) with infantry escort war Newport, and conveying forage to Morristown [in Hawkins County during the Civil War].
The colonel has returned, but found no wagons. He captured 15 prisoners.
Both these scouting parties examined the country with a view to its resources of forage … and report that the forage has been nearly all hauled by the enemy to the north side of the river, where it is protected by strong guards of infantry.
Col. LaGrange estimates that in what was reported to be the richest portion of the valley a division of cavalry could not subsist longer than three days.
I do not know that it can be avoided, but I may say that it is a pity that circumstances should compel us to entirely exhaust the country of these loyal people.
If we remain here long they must suffer, and it will be impossible for them to raise anything [crops] next year.
The necessity for pressing supplies leads so immediately to plundering that soldiers find no difficulty in taking the step from the one to the other, and in spite of all I can do to the contrary.
It is distressing to witness the sufferings of these people at the hands of the friends for whom they have been so long and so anxiously looking.
You cannot help it; neither can I, and I only refer to it because my heart is full of it.
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 114-115.

27 JANUARY 1864
27 January 1864—6 p. m.
GEN.: After driving the whole cavalry force of the enemy steadily all day long, our troops went in about 4 o’clock with the saber and a yell and routed them, horse, foot, and dragoon, capturing over 100 prisoners, which I am sending down, and 2 pieces of artillery, 3-inch steel guns.
Our troops are very much worn down with continuous fighting and little to eat, but they are a band of as patient and brave soldiers as I have ever seen thus far. Some 50 or 60 of the enemy were wounded and killed in the charge alone. In the whole day’s fighting their loss must be very large.
As Wolford and Garrard were brought from a long distance, they fell in as reserves, so that this glorious day’s work was performed alone by the gallant men of LaGrange’s and Campbell’s brigades, of McCook’s division.
Respectfully yours, &c.,
S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen.

28 JANUARY 1864
Maj. Gen. J. G. Foster telegraphs from Knoxville, Tenn., under date 9 a.m. 28th, as follows:
I have the honor to report that the cavalry under Gen. Sturgis achieved a decided victory over the enemy’s cavalry yesterday near Fair Garden, about 10 miles east of Sevierville.
McCook’s division drove the enemy about 2 miles, after a stubborn fight, lasting from daylight to 4 p. m., at which time the division charged with the saber and yell, and routed the enemy from the field, capturing 2 steel rifled-guns and over 100 prisoners.
The enemy’s loss was considerable, 65 of them being killed or wounded in the charge.
Garrard’s and Wolford’s divisions came up, after a forced march, in time to be pushed in pursuit, although their horses were jaded.
Brig. Gen. and Chief of Staff.

USA Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff, with wife and daughter at door of their quarters. City Point VA, 1864.

Report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry.
Commanding First Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland.
… Col. LaGrange, with detachments of Second and Fourth Indiana Cavalry, by a magnificent and gallant saber charge upon the Fair Garden road, captured two pieces of artillery, sobered the cannoneers and supports, and captured a large number of prisoners. …
It was now nearly dark … our men were worn out by an advance over a hotly contested and difficult ground, our supply of ammunition was in a great measure exhausted, and I therefore, after occupying the position taken, sent out detachments of the First East Tennessee and First Wisconsin Cavalry – these detachments comprising the only men that had not been actively engaged in pursuit.
They overtook the enemy at Flat Creek and captured quite a number of prisoners. …

23 APRIL 1864
Capture of thieves in Greene County.
A few days ago that most efficient of the Federal scouts, Capt. Reynolds, in command of about fifty picked men, visited Greene county for the purpose of breaking up a nest of twenty-five thieves and murderers under the command of a villain by the name of Reynolds who have been for months robbing Union hoses and killing Union citizens.
They were an independent organization, and had done as much real and hellish work as any equal number of assassins in the rebel service.
Our troops came upon them in the waters of Lick Creek, some ten or twelve miles from Greeneville, and killed ten, and captured the remaining fifteen with their infamous leader included, bringing them all to this city [Knoxville] and the leader of the gang in irons.
We think our soldiers are to blame for making prisoners of any of them – they ought all to have been executed on the spot.
Brownlow’s Whig and Independent Journal and Rebel Ventilator.

21 AUGUST 1864
Tennessee Confederate Congressman Joseph Heiskell arrested during Union military operations at Rogersville.

MINI BIO: Joseph Heiskell
Joseph Brown Heiskell was born in Knoxville, son of publisher Frederick S. Heiskell, editor of the Knoxville Register. Before the Civil War, Joseph practiced law in Rogersville, Hawkins County, Northeast Tennessee.
Like many secessionists, Heiskell first opposed secession but switched sides after Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the rebellion.
Heiskell was elected to the first Confederate Congress in November 1861. He took his seat in Richmond on 18 February 1862 and served through the end of the second session in October 1862.
Congressman Heiskell favored arresting any Unionist and holding them hostage until Confederates could be exchanged.
He was reelected unanimously to the second Confederate Congress and assumed more and more responsibilities.
Federal forces captured Heiskell on August 21, 1864 and imprisoned him at Camp Chase, Ohio until the end of the war.
After the war he moved to Memphis, like other former Confederate officials like Landon Carter Haynes and William G. Swan, where he practiced law.
Heiskell did not receive a pardon for his actions during the American Civil War and was considered an Unreconstructed Rebel.

Confederate Congressman Joseph Heiskell

28 AUGUST 1864
Military Governor Andrew Johnson proposes keeping captured Confederate Congressmen in prison.
NASHVILLE, 28 August 1864.
Gen. SHERMAN: Albert G. Watkins, ex-member of Congress, and Joe Heiskell, member of the Confederate Congress, have been captured in the recent expedition in upper East Tennessee and sent to Knoxville.
I hope Gen. Sherman will permit me to suggest the propriety of their being [kept] elsewhere for safe-keeping …
They are bad men, and exercised a dangerous and deleterious influence in the country, and deserve as many deaths as can be inflicted upon them.
They are extensively connected with influential persons throughout that region of the country.
ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 311.
[Heiskell is held as prisoner of war at Camp Chase, Ohio for the balance of the war.]

S. P. Carter, Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
Seeking release of Confederate political prisoners.
Brig.-Gen. [Alvan] GILLEM, Bulls’ Gap:
I am advised by the commissioners who met the rebels at Greeneville that according to their arrangement no more citizens should be arrested in East Tennessee by either side for mere political offenses before their next meeting, on the 1st of October.
As I am most anxious to secure the release of Union citizens, will you please direct your command to abstain from any further arrests that would be in violation of above agreement.
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen.
Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 440.

17 NOVEMBER 1864
A Confederate prisoner’s letter to his sweetheart at Mulberry Gap, Hancock County.
Chattanooga Military Prison
Miss Jo:
I have been a prisoner of war since October 28th. I was captured at Morristown, Tennessee.
I am in very good health and expect to be sent North in a very short time – would like very much to receive a letter from you but do not expect to be so heavenly favored soon.
When I am permanently located in a Northern Federal Prison, I will let you know where I am and you must write me there.
I saw your father at Knoxville, he was looking well. I have written a note to Lizzie – I hope you succeed in sending it through.
Yours as ever,
W.P.A. Civil War Records, Vol. I, p. 60.

1 DECEMBER 1864 – 7 FEBRUARY 1865
Initiation and termination of talks relative to the exchange of East Tennessee political prisoners.
Brig. Gen. JOHN C. VAUGHN, C. S. Army:
GEN.: Your communication of November 29 has just been received.
The major-general commanding the department [] directs me to say that you and Gen. Carter can continue negotiations for the exchange of non-combatants at a designated place during eight or ten days, or longer if necessary.
Ladies within your lines whose husbands or relatives are in our army, and who may wish to come into our lines, will be received.
Ladies within our lines who may wish to go within yours must apply to the proper authority for permission.
These negotiations, &c., not to interfere in any manner with or suspend the military operations of the U. S. forces in East Tennessee.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. AMMEN, Brig.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, p. 1176.

Major General John C. Breckinridge CSA
Department of East Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia
27 September 1864 – 20 February 1865

Confederate foraging party attacked near Greeneville
In regard to sending Gen. [Basil] Duke’s command north of the Holston River as soon as I can spare them, that time will not come as long as the forces remain in East Tennessee that were in our front when you left us, and now there is a force that came from Cumberland Gap of from 2,000 to 4,000 men, so all my scouts and citizens report.
But is my intention to send Gen. Duke’s command to Hawkins County to-morrow or next day, if everything is quiet.
My scouts were at Noah’s Ferry of Ford, yesterday p. m., and the enemy were still encamped in the vicinity of Bean’s Station, with pickets at all the fords on the Holston near there.
This county is full of parties from the Federal Army bushwhacking.
Gen. Duke’s men were attacked to-day, while foraging, within four or five miles of Greeneville, and two of his men captured. …
The enemy have foraged none above the Strawberry Plains since you left south of the Holston River.
Gen. Carter and I agreed to exchange all citizen prisoners, except a few who are indicted for treason.
I have sent a copy of the agreement to the Secretary of War. Whether they will agree to it or not is to be seen. I did what I thought was best for our friends.
The railroad is repaired only about half way to Greeneville at this time.
To send Cosby’s and Giltner’s brigades into Hawkins or Hancock Counties, in Tennessee, or Lee Country, Va., would threaten Cumberland Gap and cause the force at Bean’s Station to fall back. There is plenty of supplies of all kinds in either of those counties.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. II, p. 664.

10 DECEMBER 1864
Exchange and release of citizens of East Tennessee.  
Maj. Gen. E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Commissioner for Exchange, Washington DC
GEN.: I inclose copy of agreement entered into on 1st instant at New Market, East Tenn., with Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, acting in behalf of the so-called Confederate Government, for exchange and release of citizens of East Tennessee held by the U. S. military authorities and by the rebels.
I also inclose list of rebel sympathizers now imprisoned at Johnson’s Island and Camp Chase, Ohio, as hostages for Union men imprisoned by rebels, and respectfully request that they be sent to Knoxville as early as practicable, in order that the proper exchange may be effected according to agreement.
For your information I send lists of rebel sympathizers held at this place as hostages who are to be released, as well as of Union men supposed to be in the hands of the rebels.
Copies of these lists were left with rebel commissioner.
An effort was made by the rebel commissioner to secure release of parties indicted for treason … to agree to make no further arrests in East Tennessee and to agree to a suspension of the conscript law for this district. Under your instructions I declined to consider his proposition.
Hoping that the arrangement I have made looking to the release of many warm friends of the Government who have suffered long in rebel prisons will meet the approbation of our authorities.
I am, general, respectfully,
your obedient servant,
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen. and Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.

Prisoner of War Camp on Johnson’s Island, Ohio

10 DECEMBER 1864
Brig. Gen. J. C. VAUGHN, Cmdg. Confederate Cavalry, East Tennessee.
SIR: I am in receipt of your communication of the 7th instant, inclosing list of twenty-nine citizen prisoners this day delivered at our lines.
In looking over the list I am surprised to find that the name of Charles Inman of Sevier County, does not appear.*
He has been arrested, as I understand, since you took command in East Tennessee, and his case was specially referred to in our interview, with a promise on your part that he should be speedily released.
I trust that the apparent oversight in his case will be speedily corrected. I have already written to Washington to have the prisoners who are held as hostages at Johnson’s Island and other points sent to this place for exchange.
They will be sent to your lines without unnecessary delay after their arrival at Knoxville.
I trust that you will have the Union prisoners, who have been so long absent from their homes, brought to East Tennessee at as early a day as possible in order to [secure] their release.
I inclose list of hostages who are hereby released and sent to your lines.
You will see that [they] have been set at liberty here.
A few other persons held at Knoxville shall be sent to your lines, if they desire it, at an early day.
I have already written on the subject of treason cases, as agreed upon.
Hoping that all citizen prisoners of East Tennessee now held may soon be restored to their homes,
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. P. CARTER, Brig. Gen. and Provost-Marshal-Gen. of East Tennessee.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 1208-1209.
* Author Charles Frazier based his book, Cold Mountain, on the Civil War service of William P. Inman of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Infantry Regiment.

15 DECEMBER 1864
Brig. Gen. JOHN C. VAUGHN:
SIR: I regret that I cannot give my approval to the recent agreement made between Brig. Gen. S. P. Carter and yourself in relation to East Tennessee prisoners.
Whilst it requires that all “Union citizens of East Tennessee who are held by the Confederate authorities” shall be released, there is no corresponding stipulation in respect to our own loyal people.
It is well known that a large number of Confederate citizens have been arrested by the U. S. military authorities in East Tennessee and turned over to the State for indictment.
Most of the Union men whom we hold were arrested in retaliation, and in fact are held as hostages for such persons.
The agreement not only leaves such as have been turned over to the State authorities to an almost hopeless captivity, but fails to require the release of all other citizen prisoners.
The Federals only agree to deliver the hostages.
It is believed there are some, if not many, loyal Confederates now in confinement who have not been turned over to the State and who are not held as hostages. As to such Gen. Carter only agrees “to use his best efforts” for their release.
The Confederate authorities are willing to enter into an agreement for the release of all citizens or political prisoners on both sides belonging to East Tennessee.
They cannot be charged with any want of liberality in this proposition, as it is generally conceded that the larger part of the population of that country, not under arms, is hostile to us.
Capt. Shad. Harris is a deserter from our service; he was tried as such and condemned to death. The mercy of the President saved him from a just doom.
Capt. Battle is unjustly held as hostage.
To give up Harris for Battle would strengthen the hands of the enemy in their avowed purpose of contesting our right to try deserters from our service. Capt. Rogers is now safe within our lines.
The fifth section of the agreement, if adopted, would, I am afraid lead to difficulties.
What is meant by conforming to the “requirements of the authorities?”
We and the enemy will in all probability give very different constructions to such a phrase and thus again precipitate what we wish to avoid.
In the event of your inability to secure general release of citizen prisoners belonging to East Tennessee, including Mr. [Joseph] Heiskell, I approve of your desire “to arrest a number of prominent men as hostages.”
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War USA.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, p. 1229.

HON. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.
… I would also respectfully call your attention to the propriety of something being done that shall secure the exchange and release of our citizen prisoners from East Tennessee.
There are many noble and inoffensive Southern citizens confined North who can be exchanged for, thus relieving our friends of much suffering, restore them to their families and friends, and save our Government of much expense in feeding the many citizens we have confined under the most trivial charges. …
I remain, as ever, your true friend,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 964-965.

Brigadier General John C. Vaughn CSA
Commanding Vaughn’s Brigade; 60th Tennessee, 61st Tennessee, 62nd Tennessee

20 FEBRUARY 1865
Negotiations for exchange of prisoners of state in East Tennessee, excerpt:
Brig. Gen. L. S. TROWBRIDGE, Provost-Marshal-Gen., Department of East Tennessee:
… Justice to the citizens who are made thus to suffer for their opinions’ sake requires it at my hand, and candor requires me to give you timely information that I will continue to arrest man for man one Union citizen for every Southern man arrested on your side.
I will in carrying out this determination have regard to those and all of those who have been arrested since the 10th of November, the date of the New Market agreement.
I promised Gen. Carter orally that I would wait a reasonable time for the release of Jos. B. Heiskell, in whose case he said there were some difficulties over which he could not then exercise full control, but he hoped to be able to effect his discharge in a short time.
Mr. Heiskell is still in confinement, and I have given orders for the arrest of citizens to be held as hostages for him.
Permit me, however, general, to give you my solemn assurance that whenever a proper disposition shall be exhibited by the U. S. authorities to carry out the letter and spirit of our agreement, entered into in November at New Market, which can be illustrated only by the release of all citizen prisoners now in your custody and by ceasing to make any such arrests in future, I will gladly not only discharge all we hold, but will throw full and inviolable protection around all Union citizens in the same manner.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig. Gen., Cmdg. Cav.
Dept. of East Tenn. and Southwest Va.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 8, pp. 272-274.

Civil War Refugees of Northeast Tennessee

A refugee is a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially in time of political upheaval or war. The Union men of Northeast Tennessee who crossed Cumberland Mountain into Kentucky—whether or not they joined the Union Army there—are considered refugees.

Union Refugees by George W. Pettit, 1865


30 AUGUST 1861
Confederate Sequestration Act.
The Confederate Congress passes the Sequestration Act authorizing the seizure of enemy estates and effects.  Confederate Senator Landon Carter Haynes is appointed to dispose of all property in this category. Haynes interprets this act as pertaining to any Unionists who have escaped from Northeast Tennessee or who have aided the United States in any way. Many will never see their possessions again.
The Confederates begin arresting Union sympathizers on one pretext or another. Life is made miserable for Unionists; some of them are so uncomfortable they just want to leave. Many do not consider the hardships their families will endure in their absence.

Jacob Montgomery Thornburgh
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Thornburgh fled to Kentucky and enlisted as a private in a brigade commanded by Gen. George W. Morgan. In 1862, Thornburgh joined what would eventually become the 4th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry USA with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Suspected leaders in the Unionist resistance in East Tennessee—among them John M. Thornburgh, Charles L. Barton, and Joel W. Jarvis—are arrested. At a preliminary hearing in Knoxville, the judge rules that they should stand trial for treason before the Confederate District Court at the October term. He sends them by rail to Nashville where they are marched through town as traitors to the Confederacy.
Thornburgh gains his release through a friend of Jefferson Davis and returns to his home. Barton jumps out of the window of the train’s water closet and eventually joins the 1st Tennessee Regiment USA. Jarvis joins the First Tennessee Cavalry USA on 16 March 1862, but dies of measles soon after.
The Papers of Andrew Johnson. Vol. 5, p. 150.

During the autumn of 1861 thousands of Union men cross the mountains between Northeast Tennessee and Kentucky. They are organized into six regiments for the Federal Army. Frustrated Confederates increase their efforts to stop the flow by guarding every pass, but it continues. Though some cross the mountains alone, many refugees depend upon local citizens—called guides or pilots—to aid them in their perilous journey. These men know the terrain and are well aware of Confederate activities in the region.


11 OCTOBER 1861
Confederate Sequestration Act in action.
On October 11, 1861, a Richmond Enquirer article reports that a Confederate court has confiscated Monticello. Weeks before, the Confederate Congress passed the Sequestration Act, authorizing the seizure of Northern property …
A captain in the U.S. Navy, Uriah P. Levy of Pennsylvania, owns Thomas Jefferson’s former estate.
As a U.S. citizen, Levy has been designated an alien enemy to the Confederacy. Consequently, all of his property located within the borders of the Confederate States is subject to permanent, uncompensated seizure and sale for the benefit of Confederate citizens who had lost property to the Union.

Though thousands are escaping into Union territory, every refugee in Kentucky fully expects to be back in Northeast Tennessee in a few days or weeks. When the advance movement of the Union Army into Northeast Tennessee is countermanded, and the exiles, now in the Union army, are ordered to turn toward Ohio, their hearts were crushed within them. They shed bitter tears of anguish. This was not childish weakness. It was the sad condition of their families at home that filled their minds with trouble. …
Page 464

Confederate Army uniforms

The majority of enlistees in the Confederate Army are young men from poor rural areas. A key motivating factor is the fear of a Northern invasion of their homeland. Confederate recruitment posters contain dire warnings of Yankee confiscation of property and the violation of Southern families. Anxiety was especially acute in border states such as Virginia and Tennessee.

15 DECEMBER 1861
A Change of Sentiment in East Tennessee
A correspondent of the Knoxville Register writing from Bradley County [in Southeast Tennessee] under date of the 11th inst. informs that paper, that … scarcely a Union man can be found – all declare themselves for the South. One or two hundred of them have joined the Southern army in the last forty eight hours. There is a much better feeling than has ever prevailed in the community before.
The people say they have been misled by their leaders in regard to the policy of the Northern government. Our correspondent’s account of the good work says the Register … will carry joy to every true Southern heart in the State. May we not hope to hear similar accounts from every county in East Tennessee. God grant that we may yet be a band of brothers in defence of rights against the encroachments of Northern despotism and abolition fanaticism.
Nashville Daily Gazette.


APRIL 1862
Instructions to attack and disperse Unionists leaving East Tennessee.
Knoxville, April 18, 1862.
Cmdg., &c., Kingston, Tenn.
COL.: The major-general commanding directs me to inform you that large numbers of Union men are leaving this and adjoining counties, intending to go through the passes of the Cumberland into Kentucky. He directs that all the disposable cavalry of your command be sent with the utmost dispatch to operate between Clinton and the north valley of Powell’s River and intercept them in their attempt. Few of them are armed. You will give the officer commanding the cavalry instructions to attack and disperse these men wherever they may be found.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. II, p. 429.

Between four and five hundred young men and boys from New Market and its vicinity, [in] Jefferson county, [Northeast Tennessee] started as refugees to Kentucky. … In crossing Powell’s Valley, when in sight of the Cumberland Mountains, where there was safety, nearly forty miles from home, … they were intercepted and captured … by a regiment of East Tennessee Confederate cavalry.


15 MAY 1862
Knoxville, Tenn.
Deputy Provost-Marshal, Blountville
… It would be well to see that all men [refugees] that have attempted to stampede to Kentucky will take the oath before they shall be recognized as citizens; and if they refuse to do so and you are convinced that they have attempted to join the enemy then it is your duty to arrest them and report the same to these headquarters.
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 888.

5 JUNE 1862
Governor Andrew Johnson to Major General Henry W. Halleck
Relative to the refugee problem in Middle Tennessee
and Unionists in East Tennessee
Nashville, June 5th, 1862
Genl. Halleck USA, Corinth Miss.
… There are many refugees from the Confederate Army all through this part of the State. Large numbers of them are coming forward voluntarily & renewing their allegiance, and seem gratified of the opportunity of doing so. There is a great reaction taking place here in favor of the Union & restoration of the State.
If poor East Tennessee could be relieved, it would produce a thrill throughout the nation. They are being treated worse than beasts of the forest and are appealing to the Government for relief & protection. God grant that it may be in your power ere long to extend it to them.
If there could have been more forces left in the middle part of the state it would have convinced the Rebels that there was no chance of a successful rising up and by this time the Disunionists would have been put completely down, and the forces could have entered East Tennessee by way of Chattanooga, while general Morgan would have entered by way of Cumberland Gap, and the whole army in East Tennessee would have been bagged and the people relieved.
God grant that all your efforts in the noble work in which you are engaged may be crowned with success; and the hearts of the people made glad.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 5, fn 1, p. 442.

9 AUGUST 1862
Editorial from the Cleveland Banner; “In a Nice Fix”
In the breaking out of the present difficulties a good many East Tennesseeans with treason in their hearts, left and went over to the bosom of King Abraham, thinking, no doubt, that they would return to their homes in a very short time with a sufficient army to protect them in their treason.
Sixteen months have gone by and these poor deluded fools are no nearer the object they set out to accomplish than they were the day they started. They cannot get back to their homes, and never will.
If the war was ended, and arrangements made for their return they could not live here. They would be looked upon and treated as tories, loathed and despised – forsaken even by the cowardly wretches who persuaded them to leave their homes and dear ones, for a situation in the Federal army.
Those of them that have left property behind have forfeited it to their government, and their families will be bereft of it. Who is responsible for this state of things? Such men as Andy Johnson, Horace Mayfield Maynard, Bill Brownlow, and the smaller lights of toryism who are suffered to run over the country and preach treason to the people.
In this [group are] such pettifoggers as Mitch Edward [Richard Mitchell Edwards] and Mr. Brownlow were applauded for their [truth?] while men who were older and wiser, were scoffed and hooted at for their loyalty. These vile miscreants are now [receiving?] their just reward at the hands of an often indignant people. There never was a more just retribution visited upon a corrupt set of men.
They sowed the storm – let them receive the fury of the whirlwind. They deserve it. They have no home and are entitled to none in the Southern Confederacy. They deserted her in infancy; when she needed help the cowardly scoundrels shrunk from the task and went over to the enemy-in her manhood she will never receive to her bosom [these same?] traitors. …
~ Cleveland Tennessee Banner

Southeast Tennessee Railroad Map
Showing the location of Cleveland Tennessee

The Cleveland Banner, a Democratic newspaper by editor Robert McNelley, published its first edition on 1 May 1854. McNelley, a Confederate supporter, was arrested by Federal troops in the fall of 1863, and the paper ceased publication. The Banner returned on 16 September 1865 under McNelley’s leadership.

23 AUGUST 1862 – 21 OCTOBER 1863
U. S. N. rescues 60 to 70 Union refugee families on Tennessee River
Excerpt from the Report of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, regarding naval operations in the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, 23 August 23, 1862 – 21 October 1863:
During my trips up and down the Tennessee, I brought out on the gunboats some 60 or 70 refugee families, with their effects, punished as much as I could all rebels and disloyal persons, and gave all the protection I could to loyal citizens.
Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23. p. 318.


Belle Boyd: Confederate spy in Knoxville
Belle Boyd was a daring and notorious Confederate spy. After being captured and imprisoned by the Union on two separate occasions, she is exiled to the South. She comes to Knoxville to visit the Boyd family, who live in Blount Mansion, former home of Tennessee first territorial governor, William Blount. Her cousin, Dr. John Boyd is away serving as a surgeon in the Confederate army. Belle describes her time in Knoxville as filled with parties and fun.

Confederate spy Belle Boyd

Since the departure of the important personages that have enlivened all Knoxville for the past ten days, the denizens have lapsed into their usual ways. However, the attractive, “dashing” Belle Boyd, once an inmate of Fortress Monroe upon the charge of being a Confederate spy, perambulates Gay Street in all her glory … ~ Columbus [Georgia] Enquirer.

4 JUNE 1863
General Orders, No. 19, relative to refugees from Union lines
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT No. 2, Tullahoma, Tenn., June 4, 1863.
I. All helpless people expelled from the lines of the enemy will report to the general commanding the army, department, or district nearest the place first reached by them. Upon their request, the inspector-general of such army, department, or district nearest the place first reached by them. Upon their request, the inspector-general of such army, department, or district will furnish, at Government expense, to those who come with certificates of expulsion, transportation to some convenient point in the rear near the line of a leading railroad, and subsistence in kind until they reach their destination. Such inspectors-general will make out and send to these headquarters a list of the persons so sent, the points to which they are sent, and such other information as they may deem important.
By command of Gen. [Braxton] Bragg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 861.

4 JUNE 1863
Editorial urging voter participation in the Confederate State elections
To the People of Tennessee.
The time is rapidly approaching when by the constitution and laws of Tennessee, we are to be called upon to elect a Governor, Congressmen, and Members to the Legislature.
It is more important that this duty should be performed now than at any other previous period in our history. … In the present condition of the country, this can only be done by securing a meeting of the largest number of citizens possible, from every part of the State, for the purpose of consulting and determining who shall be our candidates. …
Regiments are requested to hold primary meetings, and to appoint delegates. Exiles and refugees from counties within the enemy’s lines, are requested to attend as delegates from their respective counties.
~ Fayetteville Observer.

5 AUGUST 1863
“What Tennessee Loyalists Have Done.”
The State of Tennessee has in the service ten regiments of infantry, ten of cavalry and two batteries of artillery. Organized as many of them were of refugees beyond the limits of their own State, and at a time when there was no competent State authority to recognize their existence, they rushed into the fight regardless of the forms taken in such cases. The result is that six “First Tennessee” regiments appeared in the field from the East, Middle and West grand divisions of the State.
Col. Alvin C. Gillem, of the 2st West Tennessee infantry, has lately been appointed Adjutant General under Governor Andrew Johnson, and general order “No. 2” from his office reads: “In order to present confusion in adjusting the future claims of the Tennesseans in the service of the United States, as well as to remove a misunderstanding at the Adjutant General’s office in Washington, it is ordered that the regiments from Tennessee be designated as follows:

  • 1st Tennessee infantry. Colonel Byrd, late 1st Tennessee.
  • 2nd Tennessee infantry, Colonel Carter, late 2nd East Tennessee infantry.
  • 3rd Tennessee infantry, Col. Cross, late 3rd East Tennessee.
  • 4th Tennessee infantry, Col. Stover, late 4th East Tennessee.
  • 5th Tennessee infantry, Col. Shelby, late 5th East Tennessee.
  • 6th Tennessee infantry, Col. Cooper, late 6th East Tennessee
  • 7th East Tennessee infantry, Col. Cliff, late 7th East Tennessee.
  • 8th Tennessee infantry, Col. Reese, late 8th East Tennessee.
  • 1st Tennessee cavalry, Col. Johnson, late 1st East Tennessee.
  • 2nd Tennessee cavalry, Col. Ray, late 2nd East Tennessee.
  • 3rd Tennessee cavalry, Col. Perkins, late 3rd East Tennessee.
  • 4th Tennessee cavalry, Major Stevenson, late 4th Tennessee.

With twenty regiments of loyalists becoming refugees from their own State to volunteer in the service of the Nation, Tennessee well maintains in this struggle, as she has in all the past, her right to the proud title of “Volunteer State.” Is it not time that the redemption of her soil should be made complete by the liberation of long suffering East Tennessee?
~ Memphis Bulletin.

2nd Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry.
Company D of the 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry (USA).
Organized at Maryville, Blount County, September 1, 1862.

We yesterday morning saw several women surrounded by large families of children; these persons were fugitives from the tyranny of “Dixie.” … One of the women had five small children, and was driven from her home because she had a brother in the 6th Tennessee (Union) cavalry. This is liberty, with a vengeance.
~ Memphis Bulletin.

It was love of the Union which made them refugees and exiles.
Whatever the world may think of the conduct of the Union men of East Tennessee in refusing to join their Southern brethren, there can be no difference of opinion as to the honesty of the intentions of the Union soldiers.

What possible selfish motive could have induced them to expatriate themselves, and become exiles and wanderers for two, three, or even four years? What evil motive could have induced them to quit their families and homes, and undergo the perils and sufferings of a long journey through the mountains in search of the Federal army?

Men do not do such things without powerful impelling incentives. … They fled from a government they disliked. They sought protection under one they loved as dearly as life itself. … In all the land … was there so conspicuous an example of suffering and sacrifice for the sake of principle as was manifested by these refugees of East Tennessee?
Page 533-534.

Stoneman’s Switch, Virginia,
11 December 1862
John Paul Strain, Artist

1862 Civil War Battles Timeline

12 JANUARY 1862
Gen. Felix Zollicoffer CSA, entrenched about 40 miles north of the Tennessee border, on the “wrong” (unfordable) side of the Cumberland River, is facing a Federal force about 10,000 strong. Confederate reinforcements are said to be on their way.
~ New York Times

14 JANUARY 1862
Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden CSA leaves Knoxville to join Zollicoffer in Kentucky. Gen. George H. Thomas USA advances toward Zollicoffer.

19 JANUARY 1862
Battle of Mill Springs
At the Battle of Mill Springs near Somerset, Kentucky, General George H. Thomas defeats the Confederate force under Generals Crittenden and Zollicoffer, compelling the Confederates to retreat into Middle Tennessee. Zollicoffer wanders into the Union forces in the dark and is killed. The victory secures Union control of eastern Kentucky.

Cumberland Gap remains under Confederate control when CSA Gen. Carter Stevenson moves in and reinforces the Gap.

Skirmish near Cumberland Gap.

White Rocks Cliffs at Cumberland Gap
These rock formations served as a landmark for early settlers who were traveling through the Cumberland Gap.

Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith CSA assigned to command in Northeast Tennessee.

8—23 MARCH
Battle of Big Creek Gap.

Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith CSA assumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Skirmishes at Big Creek Gap and Jacksborough.

21—23 MARCH
Reconnaissance to and skirmishes at Cumberland Gap.

Expedition into Scott County.

Oldest available image of Huntsville, Scott County, Northeast Tennessee

28 MARCH – 18 JUNE
Cumberland Gap campaign.

Martial law is declared in East Tennessee.

Affair near Woodson’s Gap.
Capture of Union refugees.

Skirmish at Cumberland Gap.

Skirmishes at Rogers Gap.
Rogers Gap is a saddle in Tennessee and has an elevation of 1,893 feet.

Map of Rogers Gap

11—13 JUNE
Skirmishes at Big Creek Gap.

Action at Big Creek Gap.

Occupation of Cumberland Gap by Union forces.

7—11 JULY
Operations about Cumberland Gap.

Affair at Tazewell.

Map of Tazewell, Cumberland Gap and other areas in Northeast Tennessee

Skirmish at Tazewell.

Operations around Cumberland Gap.

Action at Tazewell.

Skirmish at Huntsville, Scott County.

Skirmish at Rogers Gap.

Army of Kentucky CSA under Gen. E. Kirby Smith crosses the Cumberlands into Kentucky.

Kirby Smith Invades Kentucky
Heth’s Division, with the army’s artillery and subsistence trains, passed into Kentucky through Walker’s and Big Creek Gaps, while other combat elements of the Army of East Tennessee moved through Roger’s Gap. The two columns reunited at Barbourville, moving thence to Richmond, Ky., where on Aug. 30, they routed the Federal force under Maj. Gen. William Nelson.
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission.
Marker is in Jellico, Tennessee, in Campbell County.

16—22 AUGUST
Operations about Cumberland Gap.

Department of the Ohio re-established.

Maj. Gen. J. P. McCown CSA assigned temporarily to command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Skirmish at Cumberland Gap.

Skirmish near Cumberland Gap.

Civil War in Tennessee Marker
War in the Mountains
Tennessee’s mountain residents were bitterly divided about secession in 1861, although most were Unionist. In Huntsville, Scott County residents voted to secede and join Kentucky if Tennessee joined the Confederacy.
Confederate commanders struggled to defend Tennessee’s lengthy border with Kentucky and western Virginia. A confederate fort in LaFollette overlooked Big Creek Gap, a mountain pass, in case a Federal advance came that way. Other gaps were similarly fortified. Although when Confederated Gen. Simon B. Bruckner inspected the posts from Clinton east to Cumberland Gap in June 1863, he found them “very imperfect.” Buckner strengthened the Cumberland Gap defenses; today, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park preserves both early Confederate fortifications and later Federal works.
The Confederate forts were intended to protect Knoxville, an important transportation center. In the city, Knoxville National Cemetery contains the remains of white Federal soldiers and U.S. Colored Troops who died in the area fighting. Both Confederate and Unionist leaders are buried in adjacent Old Gray Cemetery. The East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street interprets the region’s divided loyalties and the effects of the war.
Follow the routes of the armies along the Tennessee Civil War Trails. Colorful markers at each stop tell the story of the war’s interesting people, places, and events. A free map guide to the Tennessee Trails network is available in the Welcome Center. Please drive carefully as you enjoy the beauty and history of the Tennessee Civil War Trails.
“Drawing Artillery Across the Mountains,” Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 21, 1863
Cumberland Gap Courtesy Lincoln Memorial University
Union Monument, Knoxville National Cemetery (statue of Union soldier replaced the eagle in 1906) Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker is in Jellico, Tennessee, Campbell County.

Skirmish at Rogers Gap.

Maj. Gen. John McCown CSA assumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Skirmish at Big Creek Gap.

Expedition from Cumberland Gap to Pine Mountain, Sullivan County, Northeast Tennessee.

Looking down the spine of Pine Mountain, to the southwest.

Skirmish at Pine Mountain Gap.

7—9 SEPTEMBER 1862
Several engagements occur in and around the Cumberland Gap and are known collectively as the Battle of the Cumberland Gap.

Operations at Rogers and Big Creek Gaps.

Union Army Evacuates Cumberland Gap.
Its garrison marches to Greensburg KY.

Confederate Army of Tennessee
This army is formed on 20 November 1862, when General Braxton Bragg renames the former Army of Mississippi. It is divided into two corps commanded by Leonidas Polk and William J. Hardee. A third corps is formed from troops from the Department of East Tennessee and commanded by Edmund Kirby Smith; it is disbanded in early December 1862, after one of its two divisions are sent to Mississippi.

Maj. Gen. John McCown CSA assigned to command the Department of East Tennessee.

Skirmish at Huntsville, Scott Country.
Home Guard.

Confederate Army of Tennessee consists of E. Kirby Smith’s, Leonidas Polk’s, and Wm. Hardee’s corps.

20 DECEMBER 1862 – 5 JANUARY 1863
General Samuel P. Carter’s raid into East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

E. Kirby Smith CSA resumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Cumberland Gap in Winter
Cumberland Mountains ridge line looking southwest from Cumberland Gap with Tennessee on the left and Kentucky on the right.

24 DECEMBER 1862 – 1 JANUARY 1863
Expedition into East Tennessee.

Capture of Blountville, Northeast Tennessee.

Skirmish at Carter’s Depot, Northeast Tennessee.

Unionists of Northeast Tennessee Exiled in the Civil War

MARCH 1861
U.S. Congress takes action against Southern Senators
After Abraham Lincoln is elected to the presidency, Southern states begin to secede from the United States. The U. S. Senate has to decide what to do with the seats that are left vacant by Southern senators. In March 1861 they decide that by leaving the Senate and making no notification of their status, the Southern members have resigned their positions. They mark the seats of six members as ‘vacant’ and strike their names from the Senate roll.

JUNE 1861
Senator Andrew Johnson exiles himself
James P. T. Carter of Carter County, Northeast Tennessee—brother of Gen. Samuel P. Carter and bridge-burner Wm. Blount Carter—is one of “three brave men” to escort Senator Andrew Johnson from Greeneville, Tennessee to Washington DC in June 1861. 

JULY 1861
Ten U.S. senators expelled 
The debate continues about Southern members who have not returned to the Senate nor sent word that they are resigning and their terms have not expired. Ten senators are expelled in July 1861 for being engaged “in a conspiracy against the peace and union of the United States Government.” The resolution for expulsion cites that they have failed to appear in the Senate.

United States Senator Alfred O. P. Nicholson

11 JULY 1861
A. O. P. Nicholson expelled
The United States Senate expels Democrat Alfred O. P. Nicholson on 11 July 1861 for support of the rebellion. He was born in the Carter Creek area near Spring Hill [Middle] Tennessee in 1808. During the 1850s, he serves as chancellor of the Middle Tennessee Division, a delegate to the Nashville Convention, a presidential elector on the Franklin Pierce ticket, and as U.S. senator (1859 to 1861). He also resumes his editorial career, serving as the public printer for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855 and for the U.S. Senate from 1855 to 1857. Alfred Osborne Pope Nicholson is the only member from Tennessee to be expelled from the U.S. Congress in 1861.

8 AUGUST 1861
Tennesseans are to elect members for the new Confederate States Congress
The date is set for the election of Confederate States Congressmen. However, the names of the current members of the U.S. Congress are not removed from the ballot and several Unionists are re-elected.
Among those is U.S. Congressman Horace Maynard. On the day of the state election—8 August 1861—Maynard is in Scott County, Northeast Tennessee, not far from the Kentucky border.
In the afternoon he quietly climbs onto his horse and leisurely rides away; by the next morning he is safely beyond Confederate lines. Maynard continues to serve in the U.S. Congress, where he constantly prods President Abraham Lincoln to send aid to his countrymen in Northeast Tennessee.
In 1863 Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee, appoints Maynard attorney general of the state. Two years later Maynard returns to Congress to represent Tennessee’s Second District until 1875, when President Ulysses S. Grant appoints him minister to Turkey.
In the summer of 1880 President Rutherford B. Hayes recalls Maynard and appoints him to the cabinet position of postmaster general, a post he held until March 5, 1881. Maynard dies at his home in Knoxville on May 3, 1882.

Congressman Horace Maynard
Painting by Lloyd Branson

George W. Bridges is elected to the U.S. Congress from Tennessee’s Third District. He too starts North after the August election, but he is enticed back on the pretense that his wife is dying and is arrested. A Southern Unionist, he is jailed by Confederate authorities for the first few months of the Civil War in 1861. Though he eventually escapes, he does not take his seat in Congress until 25 February 1863, a few days before his term expires.

Secessionist John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, still a U.S. Senator, flees into Tennessee. He will shortly emerge as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and in December will be expelled by resolution from the Senate for support of the rebellion.

The United States Civil War Senate

Gradually the fact became apparent to the Union men that they were under the dominion of a power hostile to their opinions. They were denounced as ‘tories,” as “Lincolnites” and as cowards. Their situation was becoming unbearable. So, they began at last to cast their eyes in the direction of Kentucky, as an asylum of safety. On the first Thursday of August 1861, the real flight of Union men from East Tennessee commenced. On that day Felix A. Reeve, then a young man, started North …
Very soon after the flight of Mr. Reeve, Robert K. Byrd, and others from Roane county, also left their homes as exiles. Gradually the disposition to leave spread through all the counties of East Tennessee. So, there came to be a constant stream of refugees silently working their way by night, through the wide expanse of mountains separating East Tennessee from the thickly settled parts of Kentucky. Many of these left without any settled purpose as to what they were to do when they reached their destination. They fled from what they regarded as a present and terrible danger. Anything that could befall them was better than their condition at home. …
The condition of the Union men remaining in East Tennessee was day by day becoming more disagreeable. Arrests and imprisonments had commenced. Dr. John W. Thornburgh and H. C. Jarvis, for no crime, except being Union men, were arrested and carried to Nashville for trial and imprisonment on a charge of treason.
Page 368-369
Perhaps … it might have been better for the Union men of East Tennessee to have submitted to the will of the majority of the state after the June election, as a majority of them would have done if they had been treated with clemency and toleration. But unfortunately, they were not thus treated. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these men … were driven into exile and the army solely from a sense of insecurity. …
It must be kept in mind that the Union people were perfectly quiet and peaceable until after the bridges were burned. Let it be kept in mind, also, that the system of arrests and imprisonments had been commenced before that event. … Let it be kept in mind also, that the system of arrests and imprisonments had been commenced before that event.
Page 455
In October 1861, there was not an exile in Kentucky who did not expect to be back in East Tennessee in a few days or a few weeks, … The [Union Army invasion of] East Tennessee on which their hopes rested was suddenly abandoned, and all they could do was to wait. When the advance movement was countermanded, and the exiles, now in the Union army, were ordered to turn toward Ohio, their hearts were crushed within them. They shed bitter tears of anguish. This was not childish weakness. It was the sad condition of their families at home that filled their minds with trouble. …
Page 464
The proposed movement [invasion of East Tennessee by Union troops] sent five men [bridge burners] to the gallows, fifteen hundred or two thousand to long confinements in prisons, where many died, and drove from five to ten thousand men from their homes into exile. It filled the minds of all loyal people with fear and anxiety and put them in constant and extreme peril for nearly two years.  
Page 409
The feeling among their enemies at home was that these men [Unionists] should be coerced to fight for the South, or driven out of the country. Under this policy nearly three-fourths of the male population became exposed to arrest or imprisonment, or to be forced to fight for a cause they disliked. Desperation at last drove them into the hills, or into exile. They were told by their own people … that neither they nor their families should remain on the soil of Tennessee … Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these men … were driven into exile and the army solely from a sense of insecurity. …
By the spring and early summer of 1862, when it became evident that the [Confederate] conscript act would be enforced, nearly every male inhabitant, liable to military duty, who was able to endure the hardships of the journey and could leave his family, had determined to seek safety in flight. …
In April 1862, between four and five hundred young men and boys from New Market and its vicinity, [in] Jefferson county, started as refugees to Kentucky. … In crossing Powell’s Valley, when in sight of the Cumberland Mountains, where there was safety, nearly forty miles from home, … they were intercepted and captured … by a regiment of East Tennessee Confederate cavalry.
As soon as these unfortunate men were captured, though already exhausted by their journey, they were placed in line for an immediate march to Knoxville, distant more than forty miles. They were hurried forward as rapidly as they could be forced to go. It was a hot, sultry afternoon when they arrived at Knoxville. They were driven to the already crowded jail or small jail-yard, into which they were huddled, making their condition almost intolerable. Soon afterwards, they were marched under a strong guard to the railroad and sent off to Tuscaloosa, or some other prison, to be held during the war as political prisoners.
They were the tender and gentle sons of the intelligent and independent farmers around New Market and of the beautiful and rich valley of the same name, celebrated all over the state and beyond it as one of the fairest and wealthiest regions in all the land. …
The imprisonment of these young men was done under the order of Gen. E. Kirby Smith, who had recently taken command of this department [in March 1862]. General Smith … had the reputation, both before and since the war, of being a fair and a just, indeed a good man, and that was true of him in his normal condition. But he had caught the spirit then prevailing in East Tennessee and was no longer himself.
Soon after the accession of Gen. Smith, the celebrated orders directing Mrs. Andrew Johnson, Mrs. W. G. Brownlow, Mrs. Horace Maynard and Mrs. William B, Carter, with their families, to leave the state and go north, were issued at his command … These families were ordered to leave in thirty-six hours … harmless, innocent ladies, … all of whom were verging on old age, and two of them well advanced in life.
It is no justification of such a policy to say that General S. P. Carter afterwards sent out of Knoxville women and children, nor that Andrew Johnson did the same at Nashville and General Sherman at Atlanta. It is enough to say that the practice, except in cases of actual danger to the general cause, is one to be discountenanced rather than encouraged. … And after the bridges were burned, and it was found that no Federal army was coming, the Union men again became perfectly quiet, and remained so for twenty-two months following. During all these long, gloomy months, arrests and imprisonments numbering thousands were made, so that at last most of the male population were driven into exile. …
The condition of the Union men of East Tennessee during the latter part of the year 1861 and during the year 1862, and until September of the year 1863 [when Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupied Northeast Tennessee], was gloomy beyond description. … It was hard, very hard to leave home and family as an exile, not knowing when, nor whether at all, they should ever return. … Many persons who could not go, did not dare to remain at home. So, they hid themselves in the hills or the mountains, coming in when no danger seemed to be near. …
In April 1865, the exiles and wanderers nearly all returned to their homes. Some of them had been absent two, some three, and some nearly four years. They returned wiser and generally better men. War and time had to some extent mellowed their fierce spirits. Hardships and absence had chastened them.
Pages 422-429
9 APRIL 1865
The end was long delayed. At length it came. Spring had once more come. The events of the 9th of April, 1865, had made Appomattox immortal. Peace was soon to smile once more on the land. The imprisoned soldiers all over the country would be released and sent home.
Page 482
Whatever the world may think of the conduct of the Union men of East Tennessee in refusing to join their Southern brethren, there can be no difference of opinion as to the honesty of the intentions of the Union soldiers. What possible selfish motive could have induced them to expatriate themselves, and become exiles and wanderers for two, three, or even four years? What evil motive could have induced them to quit their families and homes, and undergo the perils and sufferings of a long journey through the mountains in search of the Federal army?
Men do not do such things without powerful impelling incentives. … it was love of the Union which made them refugees and exiles. They fled from a government they disliked. They sought protection under one they loved as dearly as life itself. … In all the land … was there so conspicuous an example of suffering and sacrifices for the sake of principle as was manifested by these refugees of East Tennessee.
Pages 533-534

14 AUGUST 1861
Nashville’s Vigilance Committee expels Justice John C. Catron of the U.S. Supreme Court because he refuses to resign his judgeship. He is forced to leave his ailing wife behind.

East Tennessee Refugees in Ohio
“Several families of Tennessee exiles arrived at Cincinnati, Ohio in farm wagons today. They were driven from Jefferson County, Tennessee, on account of their Union sentiments, some weeks since.”
~ Louisville Journal.

Pseudo Tennessee Emigres.
Some sharpers are making a good thing in Cincinnati and other Western cities, playing the role of Tennessee exiles. The costume is an antiquated wagon, a venerable horse, with great development of hip and rib, and an ordinary stock of sun-burnt children clad in dilapidated costume. The caravan parades the streets, and a crowd of curious spectators is soon assembled; when the doleful tale of exile is told. Driven from home with barely enough time to get aboard of their carts, they have traveled, so the story goes, through “thick and thin,” and reached their destination penniless of course. Then contributions are solicited, the hat goes around—and $40 or $50 is subscribed at once.
~ Charleston Mercury.

12 OCTOBER 1861 – New York Times
Andy Johnson and the Tennessee Exiles
Hon. ANDREW JOHNSON of Tennessee,
In his speech at Columbus KY last week, referring to a visit to Camp Dick Robinson:

The other day, when I stood in the presence of TWO THOUSAND Tennesseeans, exiled like myself from their homes of comfort and the families of their love, I found that my manhood and sternness of mind were all nothing, and that I was only a child. There they were, my friends and fellow-citizens of my beloved State, gathered upon the friendly soil of Kentucky, from the tender stripling of sixteen to the gray-haired fathers of sixty, all mourning the evil that has befallen our land and our homes, but all seeking for arms wherewith to go back and drive the invader from our fields and hearthstones. [Applause.]

I essayed to speak to them words of counsel and encouragement, but speech was denied me. I stood before them as one who is dumb. If it be true that out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh, it is also true that the heart may be too full for the utterance of speech. And such were ours – two thousand of us exiled.

Tennesseeans, and all silent! Silent as a city of the dead! But there was no torpor there. There were the bounding heart and throbbing brain, there were the burning cheek and the blazing eve, all more eloquent than ever were the utterings of human speech. [Cheers.]

Each of that throng of exiles, who had wandered among the mountains and hid in their caverns, who had slept in the forest, and squeezed themselves, one by one, through the pickets of the invader, each was now offering comfort and pledging fidelity to the other. Youth and age were banding together in a holy alliance that will never yield till our country and our flag, our Government and our institutions are bathed in the sunlight peace, and consecrated by the baptism of patriotic blood. [Vociferous applause.]

There were their homes, and there too is mine – right over there. And yet we were homeless – exiled! And why? Was it for crime? Had we violated any law? Had we offended the majesty of our Government, or done wrong to any human being? Nay, none of these. Our fault, and our only fault, was loving our country too well to permit its betrayal. And for this the remorseless agents of that “sum of all villainies” secession, drove us from our families and firesides, and made us exiles and wanderers. But the time shall soon come when we wanderers will go home! [Cheers.] …
~ New York Times

26 OCTOBER 1861
Departure editorial of William G. Brownlow, the very excitable editor of the Knoxville Whig.
This issue of the Whig must necessarily be the last for some time to come; I am unable to say how long. The Confederate authorities have determined upon my arrest and I am to be indicted before the grand jury of the Confederate court which commenced its session in Nashville on Monday last. I would have awaited the indictment and arrest before announcing the remarkable event to the word but as I only publish a weekly paper my hurried removal to Nashville would deprive me of the privilege of saying to my subscribers what is alike due to myself and them.

I have the fact of my indictment and consequent arrest having been agreed upon for this week from distinguished citizens, legislators and lawyers at Nashville of both parties. Gentlemen of high positions and members of the secession party say that the indictment will be made because of “some treasonable articles in late numbers of the Whig.” …

I presume I could go free by taking the oath these authorities are administering to other Union men; but my settled purpose is not to do any such thing. I can doubtless be allowed my personal liberty by entering into bonds to keep the peace and to demean myself toward the leaders of secession in Knoxville, who have been seeking to have me assassinated all summer and fall, as they desire me to do …

I expect to go to jail and I am ready to start upon one moment’s warning. … there I am prepared to lie in solitary confinement until I waste away because of imprisonment or die from old age. … I will submit to imprisonment for life or die at the end of a rope before I will make any humiliating concession to any power on earth. I have committed no offense. I have not shouldered arms against the Confederate Government or the State or encouraged others to do so. I have discouraged rebellion publicly and privately. I have not assumed a hostile attitude toward the civil or military authorities of this new government.

But I have committed grave and I really fear unpardonable offenses. I have refused to make war upon the Government of the United States; I have refused to publish … false and exaggerated accounts of the several engagements had between the contending armies; I have refused to write out and publish false versions of the origin of this war and of the breaking up of the best government the world ever knew; and all this I will continue to do if it cost me my life; nay, when I agree to do such things may a righteous God palsy my right arm and may the earth open and close in upon me forever.

The real object of my arrest and contemplated imprisonment is to dry up, break down, silence and destroy the last and only Union paper left in the eleven seceded States and thereby to keep from the people of East Tennessee the facts which are daily transpiring in the country. … I did expect the utmost liberty to be allowed to one small sheet whose errors could be combatted by the entire Southern press. …

I shall in no degree feel humbled by being cast into prison whenever it is the will and pleasure of this august Government to put me there; but on the contrary I shall feel proud of my confinement. … I shall go … because I have refused to laud to the skies the acts of tyranny, usurpation and oppression inflicted upon the people of East Tennessee for their devotion to the Constitution and laws of the Government handed down to them by their fathers …

I feel that I can with confidence rely upon the magnanimity and forbearance of my patrons under this state of things. They will bear me witness that I have held out as long as I am allowed to and that I have yielded to a military despotism that I could not avert the horrors of or successfully oppose.

I will say in conclusion … that they of this country have been unaccustomed to such wrongs; they can yet scarcely realize them. They are astounded … with the quick succession of outrages that have come upon them and they stand horror-stricken …

Exchanging with proud satisfaction the editorial chair and the sweet endearments of home [for] a cell in the prison or the lot of an exile,
I have the honor to be,  
Editor of the Knoxville Whig.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 912-914.

Parson William G. Brownlow as he appears on the frontispiece of his 1856 book, The Great Iron Wheel Examined

26 NOVEMBER 1861
We have very late and perfectly trustworthy information direct from East Tennessee. … The union men of East Tennessee were never more loyal and hopeful than now. They stand dauntless and incorruptible, and if there is any chance, they are becoming more ardent and confident in the good and great cause of National unity and free Government, which they regard as one and inseparable, now and forever. The Secessionists whisper that their attempted revolution must end in a failure.

 It is true, as rumored for a few days, that there are camps of Union men in Tennessee — 1,200 in one and 700 in another — each man with his rifle and a pound of powder, and a corresponding quantity of balls, and regarding his powder as far more precious than gold. …

[After the bridge burnings] the loyal East Tennesseans were hourly expecting a Federal army to force its way through Cumberland Gap, and if a vigorous advance had been made there, the capture of [Gen. Felix] ZOLLICOFFER’s army would have been absolutely certain. Not a man could have escaped. ZOLLICOFFER’s effective force in Kentucky has not at any time exceeded 7,000 men, and he cannot now muster 6,000. The number of secesh troops guarding the East Tennessee Railroad when the bridges were burned was less than 800. …

The sturdy loyalty of the East Tennesseeans appears in the returns of the recent Confederate election for President and Vice-President and Members of Congress [8 AUGUST 1861]. In Roane County, where two thousand votes are usually given, less than three hundred and fifty were polled. JOHN BAXTER, a Submission Union man, (that is, one who is in favor of the Union, but looks upon the rebellion as an accomplished fact,) run for the Confederate Congress in [Horace] MAYNARD’s District, thinking the Unionists would support and elect him, rather than permit the election of an ultra-Secessionist.

The Union men had about 8,000 majority in the District, but refused to vote, and the Secessionist had a very small, but nearly unanimous vote. In Knox County, where the Union men had 3,200 votes, BAXTER, the submissionist, received but 80 votes. The Union men would have nothing to do with the election, but treated it with contempt. In many places the polls were not opened, and in some whole counties not a vote was cast.

The destitution of the rebel troops is extreme. It is not unusual to see the cavalry wearing spurs on their naked heels. They suffer terribly for want of blankets, and search the houses … for blankets, quilts and thick clothing. …

Much dissatisfaction with the Richmond Government is felt. It is denounced on every side as distinguished by imbecility and favoritism, in a style with which the criticisms on the legitimate Government by the Northern journals is moderate. With good management, the war may be closed before the first anniversary of the bombardment of Sumter.
~ New York Times


MARCH 1862
CSA Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith commands Department of East Tennessee
Appointed commander of the Department of East Tennessee in March 1862, Smith enforced martial law, suspended habeas corpus, jailed and deported suspected Unionists, and vigorously enforced the April 1862 Confederate Conscription Act, sending hundreds of Unionists into headlong flight to Kentucky.

He wrote to Adjutant General Samuel Cooper on 2 April 1862:
“The arrest of the leading men in every county and their incarceration South, may bring these people right. They are an ignorant, primitive people, completely in the hands of, and under the guidance of, their leaders. … Remove these men, and a draft might soon be made, to which a portion of the population would respond.”

These heavy-handed measures only succeeded in further provoking Unionists and spreading discontent by turning previously neutral East Tennesseans into enemies.

CSA Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith

17 APRIL 1862
Capture of Union refugees near Woodson’s Gap
Report of Major General E. Kirby Smith,
C. S. Army, with instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
SIR: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky [at Woodson’s Gap], and sent, by Maj. Gen. [E. Kirby] Smith’s order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance. Elsewhere they may make good soldiers. Remembering your request, the major-general commanding directs me to say that you have whatever authority he can give you to proceed to Milledgeville, Ga., and enlist as many of them as consent for service in South Carolina, or elsewhere except in East Tennessee.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, p. 649

Map of Woodson’s Gap and other nearby locations
Woodson Gap is located in Campbell County, Northeast Tennessee.
The elevation above sea level is 742 meters.

28 APRIL 1862
Knoxville, April 28, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that a portion of the Fourth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers (Colonel Morgan) will leave to-day for Milledgeville, Ga., in charge of Union prisoners. The officer of the detachment is directed to report afterward with his command to the military authorities at Savannah, Ga. In more than one communication Brigadier-General Stevenson has reported many desertions from this regiment to the enemy and urged its removal from Cumberland Gap. Because of this and the general character of the regiment for disloyalty I have thought it best to send it beyond the limits of this department. Being thus removed beyond the influence of friends in the ranks of the enemy it is thought these men may make loyal and good soldiers. I trust my action in this matter will meet the approval of the Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.

23 APRIL 1862
Confederate Proclamation to the Disaffected People of East Tennessee; holding women and children hostage to induce loyalty to the Confederacy.
Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
Department of East Tennessee:


The Major-General commanding this department, charged with the enforcement of martial law, believing that many of its citizens have been misled into the commission of treasonable acts through ignorance of their duties and obligations to their State, and that many have actually fled across the mountains and joined our enemies under the persuasion and misguidance of supposed friends but designing enemies, hereby proclaims:

1st. That no person so misled who comes forward, declares his error, and takes the oath to support the Constitution of the State of the Confederate States shall be molested or punished on account of past acts or words.

2nd. That no person so persuaded and misguided as to leave his home and join the enemy [Union] who shall return within thirty days of the date of this proclamation, acknowledge his error, and take an oath to support the Constitution of the State and of the Confederate States shall not be molested or punished on account of past acts or words.

After thus announcing his disposition to treat with the utmost clemency those who have been led away from the true path of patriotic duty the Major-General commanding furthermore declares his determination henceforth to employ all the elements at his disposal for the protection of the lives and property of the citizens of East Tennessee, whether from the incurious of the enemy or the irregularities of his own troops and for the suppression of all treasonable practices.

He assures all citizens engaged in cultivating their farms that he will protect them in their rights, and that he will suspend the militia draft under the State laws that they raise crops for consumption in the coming year.

He invokes the zealous co-operation of the authorities and of all good people to aid him in his endeavors.

The courts of criminal jurisdiction will continue to exercise their functions, save the issuing of writs of habeas corpus. Their writs will be served and their decrees executed by the aid of the military when necessary.

When the courts fail to preserve the peace or punish offenders against the laws, these objects will be attained through the action of military tribunals and the exercise of the force of his command.

23 APRIL 1862
The undersigned, in executing martial law in this department, assures those interested, who have fled to the enemy’s [Union] lines and who are actually in their army, that he will welcome their return to their homes and their families. They are offered amnesty and protection if they come to lay down their arms and act as loyal citizens within thirty days given them by Maj.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith to do so.
At the end of that time those failing to return to their homes and accept the amnesty thus offered, and provide for and protect their wives and children in East Tennessee, will have them sent to their care in Kentucky or beyond the Confederate States lines at their own expense.
All that leaves after this date with knowledge of the above facts, will have their families sent immediately after them.
The women and children must be taken care of by husbands and fathers either in East Tennessee or in the Lincoln Government.
Col. and Provost-Marshal. OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 886.

The militia draft under the State laws having been suspended by the proclamation of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith. He also suspends the operation of the conscript bill in this department. It is expected all good citizens will return from Kentucky. They will not be molested if they come to remain and cultivate their farms and take care of their families.
W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.

Nashville has become a surprisingly dynamic city: it provides medical care, maintenance, and supplies for the war effort and the railroads; it attracts refugees, both black and white (including multitudes fleeing Confederate occupation in East Tennessee, and a huge number of contraband workers and their families); and it supplies food, rest, and recreation for military personnel, including “a licensed and medically regulated prostitution district.” [Hunt]

Carter’s Raid

Although Tennessee voted to secede from the Union in June 1861, East Tennessee remained loyal. The residents of Carter County voted against secession, 1,343 to 86. One of those residents, Samuel P. Carter (1819-1891), served in the navy as a midshipman beginning in 1840, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1846, and was at sea when the Civil War began.

Rear Admiral and Brigadier General Samuel Perry Carter


In 1861 U. S. Navy Lieutenant Samuel P. Carter writes a letter to then-Senator Andrew Johnson pledging his loyalty to the United States if there is a civil war. The Senator uses his influence at the U. S. War Department for Carter to be detached from the Navy. 

Carter is ordered to organize and enlist Unionists within his native East Tennessee, but the Confederates soon occupy the region in July 1861. Instead Carter raises a brigade of infantry from among the hundreds of East Tennesseans fleeing to Kentucky.

During this operation, he adopts Powhatan as a code name when secretly communicating with Unionists who remain behind Confederate lines.

1st and 2nd East Tennessee Regiments
Lieutenant Samuel P. Carter is assigned as acting brigadier general to the 1st and 2nd East Tennessee Regiments. These regiments serve together most of the time until 6 August 1863.

Carter’s Brigade is designated as the 12th Brigade of Brigadier General George H. Thomas’ 1st Division. The 12th serves at London and Somerset, KY and in front of Cumberland Gap.


Carter leads an infantry brigade at the Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, 1862.

The 12th Brigade then returns to duty at London and along the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

General S. P. Carter is part of a force that surprises and captures Lieutenant Colonel John F. White and two companies of the 1st East Tennessee Cavalry CSA at Jacksboro, Campbell County, Northeast Tennessee.

21-23 MARCH
The brigade takes part in skirmishes near Cumberland Gap.

14 APRIL 1862
General Carter’s Brigade is designated as the 24th Brigade, of Gen. George W. Morgan’s 7th Division, of the Army of the Ohio. The brigade serves in the operations around Cumberland Ford and Cumberland Gap.

MAY 1862
Carter accepts a commission as Brigadier General in the Union Army without resigning from the Navy. He is the only officer in American history to wear two stars in both the navy and the army.

17 JUNE 1862
Carter participates in operations under Brigadier General George W. Morgan that results in the occupation of Cumberland Gap by Union forces on 17 June 1862. The 24th Brigade is involved in numerous actions in that area.

Samuel P. Carter: Admiral and General Marker
Although Tennessee voted to secede from the Union in June 1861, East Tennessee remained staunchly loyal. The residents of Carter County voted against secession, 1,343 to 86. One of those residents, Admiral and General Samuel P. Carter (born August 6, 1819), lived here in Elizabethton. He was the only officer in American history to wear two stars in both the navy and the army. He served in the navy as a midshipman beginning in 1840, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1846, and was at sea when the Civil War began. Then-Senator Andrew Johnson had Carter detailed to Tennessee for “special duty” to recruit soldiers for the U.S. Army, and he received a general’s commission. Before the end of 1861, Carter led a cavalry raid across the mountains to destroy bridges on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. His raid gave hope to East Tennessee Unionists and disheartened Confederate supporters.
In the summer of 1863, Carter commanded the Union army’s XXIII Corps cavalry during the Knoxville Campaign. His October victory at the Battle of Blue Springs contributed to the success of the Union advance in the region. He was brevetted to the rank of major general in May 1865.
After the war, Carter left the army and resumed his naval career, commanding USS Monocacy. Before he retired in 1882, he was promoted to rear admiral. He died in Washington, D.C., on May 26, 1891.
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker is in Elizabethton, Northeast Tennessee at the intersection of North Main Street and East Elk Avenue at the southwest corner of the Carter County Courthouse grounds.

Carter’s hope that he might convince Morgan to invade and occupy East Tennessee is dashed. While moving north to take part in the Confederate invasion of Kentucky, Major General E. Kirby Smith threatens Gen. Morgan’s supply line. Morgan evacuates Cumberland Gap, withdrawing into eastern Kentucky and marching north to Greensburg KY on the Ohio River.

31 OCTOBER 1862
Morgan is now in command of the District of Western Virginia, which includes Gen. S. P. Carter’s 3rd Brigade of that District.

Gen. Carter is separated from the brigade for special assignment.

Carter raids Northeast Tennessee
Gen S. P. Carter successfully lobbies his superiors for permission to conduct a raid into East Tennessee and cripple the vital East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. The result is the first large-scale Federal cavalry raid of the war.

With a force of just under 1,000 men Carter moved through the rugged mountains of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee during the last week of 1862.

30 DECEMBER 1862
Carter’s raiders destroy railroad bridges at Zollicoffer [now Bluff City] and Carter’s Depot (now the town of Watauga). He repeatedly defeats the Confederate forces in his path, captures a moving train, destroys tens of thousands of dollars of military stores, and returns safely to Kentucky on January 2, 1863.
Plans to follow the raid with an invasion and occupation of East Tennessee, a move urged by Lincoln, are canceled when Carter reports the route impracticable for a large force.

7 JANUARY 1863
CINCINNATI, OHIO, January 7, 1863.
GENERAL: I have just received a dispatch from Major-General G. Granger that the cavalry force of about 1,000 men which he sent to East Tennessee on the 21st ultimo, by my order, under the command of Brig. General S. P. Carter, to destroy the East Tennessee Railroad bridges, &c. has been heard from.

General Granger has just received a dispatch from General Carter at Manchester, Ky., on his return, stating that on the 30th ultimo he entirely destroyed the Zollicoffer and Watauga Bridges, with 10 miles of railroad. Five hundred and fifty rebels were killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. Seven hundred stand of arms and a large amount of flour, salt, and other rebel stores, also a locomotive and two cars, were captured and destroyed.

A brisk skirmish took place at the Watauga Bridge and another at Jonesville [VA]. We lost but 10 men. This expedition, as characterized by General Granger, has been one of the most hazardous and daring of the war, attended with great hardships and privations, owing to the almost impracticable nature of the country, the length of the route (nearly 200 miles each way), and the inclement season.

The important results of this expedition can hardly be overrated, severing, as it has, Virginia and the Southwest; and Gen. Carter, his officers and men, deserve the thanks of the country. Great credit is also due to Maj.- Gen. Granger, under whose immediate supervision the expedition was fitted out, and whose long cavalry experience was a guarantee that nothing tending to its success would be neglected or forgotten.
Major-General, Commanding.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt I, p. 86-87.

7 JANUARY 1863
Cincinnati, Ohio, January 7, 1863.
Major-General G. GRANGER,
Lexington, Ky.:
General Carter has done well. He has severed the great rebel artery of communication between the North and South, the importance of which at this time can hardly be overestimated; has killed, wounded, and captured more than half of his own numbers, with the loss of only 10 men; has destroyed large amounts of rebel stores, arms, &amp;c., and has brought back his own command in safety.

The result of the expedition has been telegraphed to the General-in-Chief, with an expression of my views as to the importance of the results accomplished. While waiting a reply from Washington, please present to General Carter, his officers and men, my congratulations upon the success of their efforts, and my full appreciation of the hardships and privations endured by them on their long and hazardous march over an almost impracticable country.
Major-General, Commanding.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt I, p. 86-87.

Brigadier General Samuel Perry Carter

9 JANUARY 1863
Report of Brig. General Samuel P. Carter
U. S. Army, commanding expedition.
Major-General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.
LEXINGTON, KY., January 9, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the expeditionary force to East Tennessee, which was intrusted to my command.

Although a movement on East Tennessee was proposed as early as November 25 last, it was not until December 19 that arrangements were completed and the necessary order given for the movement of the troops. It was hoped that the force to be sent on this hazardous, but most important, expedition would have been much larger than that which the commander of the department felt could be detached for such service when the final arrangements were made.

My original design was to have divided the force into two columns, and strike the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad at two points at the same time, distant 100 miles apart, and, by moving toward the center, have completely destroyed the road for that distance; but, on the junction of the different detachments, I found that the number was too small to risk a division, and I was reluctantly compelled to keep them united, or within easy supporting distance during the whole of my operations.

{All action from December 20-28th, 1862, take place in Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia.}

… The enemy, deterred by the resolute advance of our brave men, fled from [Estillville, VA] toward Kingsport, East Tenn. (as I afterward learned), without firing a gun. A rebel lieutenant and several soldiers, with their arms, were captured on the south side of the gap, on the Blountville road.

During the remainder of the night we moved forward, as rapidly as was practicable over unknown roads, picking up rebel soldiers by the way. Owing to the darkness of the night, a portion of the command lost their way and became separated from the main body. A small force of rebel cavalry, which was hovering about our rear, killed a sergeant of the Second Michigan and captured two others who had wandered from the road.

At daylight on the morning of the 30th we reached the town of Blountville, Sullivan County, East Tennessee, surprised and took possession of the place, captured some 30 soldiers belonging to the Fourth Regt. Kentucky (rebel) Cavalry, in hospital, and paroled them. …

We were informed that at Bristol, 8 miles distant, there was a large amount of stores, [but] … we were reluctantly compelled to leave it … and move toward the railroad bridge at Union [called Zollicoffer during the Civil War], 6 miles from Blountville.

I accordingly sent forward Lieut. Col. Campbell with a portion of the Second Michigan, under the direction of Col. James P. T. Carter, of the Second East Tennessee Infantry, toward Zollicoffer, with orders to take the place and destroy the railroad bridge across the Holston River.

As soon as the remainder of the troops, which got separated from us during the night, came up, I moved them rapidly forward in the same direction. When we reached Union, I found the town in our possession, and the railroad bridge, a fine structure some 600 feet in length, slowly burning.

The rebel force, about 150 strong, consisting of two companies of the Sixty-second North Carolina troops, under command of Maj. McDowell, had surrendered without resistance, the major himself having been first captured by our advance while endeavoring to learn if there was any truth of our reported approach.

The trestle at Carter’s Depot held immense strategic importance during the Civil War, as the ET&VA was part of a vital supply line connecting Virginia with the rest of the South. The trestle was among those targeted by the East Tennessee bridge burnings in November 1861, though the conspirators found it too heavily guarded by Confederates. In late December 1862, General Samuel P. Carter conducted a raid into the region, overwhelming the Confederate detachment at Carter’s Depot before destroying the trestle.

The prisoners were paroled, and a large number of them were that afternoon on their way to the mountains of North Carolina, swearing they would never be exchanged. Their joy at being captured seemed to be unbounded.

The stores, barracks, tents, a large number of arms and equipments, a considerable amount of salt, a railroad car, the depot, &c., were destroyed …

As soon as the work of destruction was fairly under way, I dispatched Col. Walker, with detachments from the Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania, and Seventh Ohio Cavalry (in all 181 men), the whole under guidance of Col. Carter, toward the Watauga Bridge, at Carter’s Depot, 10 miles west of Union.

On their way they captured a locomotive and tender, with Col. Love, of Sixty-second North Carolina troops, who, having heard of the approach of the Yankees, had started on the locomotive to Union to ascertain the truth of the rumor.

On reaching the station, about sunset, they found the enemy, consisting of two companies Sixty-second North Carolina troops, estimated by Col. Walker at nearly 200 men, falling into line. Col. Walker gallantly attacked them, and, after a brief but firm resistance, they broke and fled to the wood.

The gallant Maj. Roper, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, with two companies of the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, under Capt. Jones, of that regiment, made a dashing charge, and captured and destroyed many of their number. Our loss was 1 killed, 1 mortally and 1 severely wounded, and 2 slightly wounded. …

The railroad bridge across the Watauga River, some 300 feet in length, was soon in flames, and entirely destroyed; also a large number of arms and valuable stores. The captured locomotive was run into the river and completely demolished, destroying in its passage one of the piers of the bridge.

The men and horses, especially the latter, were much worn and jaded from constant travel and loss of rest. The alarm had been given; the rebels had the road open to Knoxville, and could move up a strong force to resist us.

I also learned that some 500 cavalry and four guns, under Col. Folk, were within 3 miles of us; that an infantry force would be concentrated at Johnson’s Depot, 6 miles west of Carter’s Station, by daylight; and, further, that Humphrey Marshall, who was at Abingdon, was moving his troops to occupy the passes in the mountains, and thus cut off our egress. It was deemed prudent, therefore, to return.

We left Watauga about midnight, and, after a hard march, reached Kingsport, at the mouth of the North Fork of the Holston River, at sunset on the 31st ultimo. After feeding and resting a short time, and issuing a ration of meat to the men, we were again in the saddle.

We passed some 8 miles north of Rogersville, and reached Looney’s Gap, in Clinch Mountain, late in the afternoon; passed through without opposition, and about 11 p. m. of January 1 reached a place in the edge of Hancock County, Tennessee, where forage could be obtained, and bivouacked for the night. This was the first night’s rest we had been annoyed during the day and night by bushwhackers, but we, providentially, escaped with only 2 men slightly wounded.

Soon after daylight, on the morning of the 2nd instant, we resumed our march toward Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia, with the intention of reaching the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, on the Kentucky side, before we halted. …

Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, the severity of the marches, and the scanty supply of rations for no inconsiderable portion of the time, both officers and men bore their hardships without a single murmur or a word of complaint.

They returned, after a journey of 470 miles, 170 of which were in the enemy’s country, in high spirits and in good condition, proud to think they had accomplished a feat which, for hazard and hardships, has no parallel in the history of war. …

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. P. Carter, Brig.-Gen. of Volunteers.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. I, pp. 88-92.

Samuel P. Carter Marker
Born in this house. After attending Washington College and Princeton, graduated from U.S. Naval Academy; serving in the Navy until May 1, 1862, he was appointed brigadier general, U.S. Volunteers. His most conspicuous service was a raid into East Tennessee with a cavalry brigade late in 1862. Brevetted major general, he returned to the Navy as a commander, retired as a commodore in 1881, and was named a rear admiral on the retired list in 1882. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission.
Marker is at 829 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton TN 37643.

Birthplace of Samuel P. Carter
Alfred Moore Carter House 
Elizabethton, Carter County, Northeast Tennessee.

Sanders’ Raid

<SPRING 1863>
Since the beginning of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln has been urging Union generals to invade East Tennessee and give some relief to the Unionist residents there. In Spring 1863, Major General Ambrose Burnside USA is assigned to the command of the Department of the Ohio, which includes Northeast Tennessee. 

Major General Ambrose Burnside USA in dress uniform
Engraving by Benjamin Perley Poore

To President Lincoln’s delight, Gen. Burnside is willing to invade Northeast Tennessee. Just when he is putting his plans in motion, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant requests that he send his IX Corps to take part in the Vicksburg Campaign.

While waiting for his IX Corps to return from Mississippi, Burnside orders a cavalry raid to destroy important railroad bridges and track, particularly around Knoxville, the largest city in Northeast Tennessee. This raid is to be carried out by a select force of cavalry and mounted infantry. To lead the raid he chooses Kentuckian William P. Sanders, colonel of the 5th Kentucky Cavalry.

Col. William Sanders of the 5th Kentucky Cavalry USA

<14 JUNE 1863>
Sanders and his 1,500 cavalrymen and mounted infantry leave Mount Vernon KY.

<16 JUNE 1863>
Skirmish in Powell Valley, 15 miles from Jacksboro, Tennessee
SOMERSET, June 19, 1863.
Gen. STURGIS: Col. Reily, of the One hundred and fourth Ohio, telegraphed from Mount Vernon that some of the men who were with Col. Gilbert say that he and Col. Sanders passed through Big Creek Gap at 2 p. m. on Tuesday [16th], and went into Powell’s Valley. They had a slight skirmish 15 miles this side of Jacksborough. I am sending orders.
S. P. Carter, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 439.

<17 JUNE 1863>
Sanders’ column passes west of Huntsville, Tennessee and arrives near Montgomery on the evening of 17 June.

From Williamsburg KY—at the top edge of the map below, above Boston— Sanders’ raiders move southwest to Kingston TN.


Affair at Lenoir’s Station
On 19 JUNE at 8 a.m., the Union cavalry descended on Lenoir’s Station —southwest of Knoxville—capturing 65 Confederates and three iron 6-pounder field guns. The raiders cut the telegraph line, burned the depot, seized 75 horses and mules; and destroyed 2,500 weapons, 5 pieces of artillery, ammunition, and military equipment.

Lenoir’s Station: Sanders’ Raid Marker
Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside needed to gather information on Confederate troop strength and to cripple the important East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad before he invaded East Tennessee in 1863. In June, he ordered Col. William P. Sanders to march from Kentucky and destroy track both north and south of Knoxville. Unable to destroy the heavily-defended railroad bridge crossing the Tennessee River at Loudon, Sanders and his 1,500 men (including the locally raised 1st East Tennessee Mounted Infantry) turned to Lenoir’s Station, located within the 2,700-acre plantation of the Lenoir family. On June 19, Sander’s troops overwhelmed a small Confederate force here and destroyed the depot, the general store, and a railroad car containing Confederate military supplies. They also captured 65 artillery men and their cannons, horses, and mules.
Sanders spared the brick cotton mill in front of you (damaged severely by a 1991 fire). He allegedly wished to protect the only source of cloth for local Unionists. According to local tradition, Dr. Benjamin B. Lenoir, one of the owners, exchanged secret signs with fellow Masons among the Federal officers, ensuring the mill’s safety. The next day, Sander’s troops marched to Knoxville, briefly engaging Confederate batteries there before continuing to Strawberry Plains and destroying a major railroad bridge. The raid netted some 300 Confederate prisoners and ten pieces of artillery.
Later in November 1863, Confederate Gen, James Longstreet passed through Lenoir’s Station—briefly liberating the place—during his Knoxville campaign. Sanders died of wounds received on November 19, 1863, during the fight of Knoxville, and in his memory Union officials named a fort in his honor. Fort Sanders Hospital is near the fort site in downtown Knoxville.
Cotton mill, ca. 1870 from Lenoir City Golden Jubilee: 1907-1957
Gen. William P. Sanders Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute
Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.

At about 7 p.m. on 19 JUNE, Sanders and his cavalry reach the outskirts of Knoxville. He leaves the 1st Kentucky to watch the west side of Knoxville while he circles around the city with the rest of his raiders to approach it from the north. He tears up the railroad into Northeast Tennessee to delay the movement of Confederate reinforcements.

<20 JUNE 1863>
Burning the Strawberry Plains Bridge
At daylight, Sanders moves his men to the Tazewell Road and reconnoiters the approaches to Knoxville. The Confederate garrison of about 1,000 Southern soldiers, plus a good many stubborn civilians, are hunkered down behind barricades of cotton bales—rural Northeast Tennessee is largely Unionist, but Knoxville is primarily Confederate.
The Union raiders skirmish with the Rebels for about an hour. Realizing he cannot take Knoxville, Sanders withdraws.
At 8 a.m. on 20 June, the Union horsemen ride northeast along the ET&VA Railroad, destroying track, bridges, and any other property useful to the Confederate States of America, including a bridge at Flat Creek.
Approximately 15 miles from Knoxville, a 1,600-foot-long railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains crosses the Holston River on eleven stone piers. The Unionist bridge burners attempted to burn this bridge on 8 November 1861, but were unsuccessful.
This bridge is crucial to all railroad traffic through Northeast Tennessee during the Civil War. It changes hands between the Union and the Confederacy several times; one side destroys it and the other rebuilds it. It is considered the most important bridge in East Tennessee, making it a priority target for the Union raiders.
Sanders reports that his army has “destroyed the splendid bridge over the Holston River, over 1,600 feet long, built on eleven piers. [With] the trestle-work included, this bridge was 2,100 feet in length.” 
The Strawberry Plains Bridge will be destroyed three more times during the war.

Ruins of Strawberry Plains Bridge, Siege of Knoxville, autumn 1863.
George N. Barnard photograph of the ruins of the railroad bridge over the Holston River at Strawberry Plains.
This image also shows a Union sentry on the right, a burned-out house on the left, and Knoxville’s Fort Loudon [later Fort Sanders] on the hilltop in the background. This photograph was taken during the Siege of Knoxville, November-December 1863.
Source: Library of Congress.

20 June 1863
At Strawberry Plains, Sanders finds four hundred Confederates guarding the highly coveted railroad bridge. Col. Sanders and his men flank their position and attack while receiving murderous grape and canister shots. Many Confederates retreat to the Old Stringfield Cemetery at the northern end of the bridge.
The Rebels defend themselves from behind the cemetery’s four-foot stone walls, but the Federals eventually overrun their position, forcing 140 to surrender. Many of these sign parole papers stating that they will return to their homesteads and cease all opposition to the Federal government.
Probably half of the parolees immediately rejoin their unit, while the rest actually go home. Many of these later serve as Home Guards. 
O.R., Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. II, p. 547.

Present-day view of Strawberry Plains, looking north

Report of W. P. SANDERS,
Col. Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, Cmdg.
Expedition into East Tennessee,
LEXINGTON, KY., July 26, 1863.COL.: … I left Mount Vernon, KY 14 JUNE, with a force of 1,500 mounted men … From Mount Vernon to Williamsburg, on the Cumberland River, a distance of 60 miles, a train of wagons containing forage and subsistence stores accompanied the expedition.
From this point I followed a route known as the Marsh Creek road to near Huntsville TN. … We reached the vicinity of Montgomery, TN on the evening of 17 JUNE and learning that a small party of rebels were stationed at Wartburg, 1 mile from Montgomery, I sent 400 men from the First East Tennessee to surprise and capture them, following one hour afterward myself with the remainder of the command.
The surprise was complete. We captured 102 enlisted men and 2 officers (one of them an aide to Gen. Pegram), together with a large number of horses, 60 boxes artillery ammunition, several thousand pounds of bacon, salt, flour, and meal, some corn, 500 spades, 100 picks. besides a large quantity of other public stores, and 6 wagons with mule teams.
The prisoners were paroled and the property destroyed. A small portion of this command, who were out some distance from the camp, with their horses, escaped and gave the first notice of our approach at Knoxville … and other places.
On 18 JUNE, 8 a.m.… I determined to avoid Loudon, and started immediately for Lenoir’s Station, which place I reached about 8 a. m., arriving there about thirty minutes after the departure of the rebel troops. … Burned the depot, a large brick building, containing five pieces of artillery, with harness and saddles, two thousand five hundred stand of small-arms … a very large amount of artillery and musket ammunition, and artillery and cavalry equipment.
There was a large cotton factory and a large amount of cotton at this place, and I ordered that it should not be burned, as it furnished the Union citizens of the country with their only material for making cloth … I had the telegraph wire and railroad destroyed from here on to Knoxville, at points about 1 mile apart.
We met the enemy’s pickets at Knoxville about 7 p. m. on 19 JUNE, and drove them to within a mile of the City. Leaving a portion of the First Kentucky Cavalry on this side of the town, I moved the rest of the command as soon as it was dark by another road entirely around to the other side, driving in the pickets at several places, and cut the railroad, so that no troops could be sent to the bridges above.
At daylight 20 JUNE I moved up to the City, on the Tazewell road. I found the enemy well posted on the heights and in the adjacent buildings, with eight or nine pieces of artillery. The streets were barricaded with cotton bales, and the batteries protected by the same material. Their force was estimated at 3,000, including citizens who were impressed into service. After about one hour’s skirmishing, I withdrew …
I then started for Strawberry Plains, following the railroad, and destroyed all the small bridges and depots to within 4 miles of the latter place, at Flat Creek, where I burned a finely built covered bridge, and also a county bridge. The guard had retreated. I left the railroad 3 miles below the town, and crossed the Holston River, so as to attack the bridge on the same side the enemy were.

Flat Creek Bridge burned during Sanders’ Raid

As soon as we came in sight, they opened on the advance with four pieces of artillery. … After about an hour’s skirmishing, the enemy were driven off, and having a train and locomotive, with steam up, in waiting, a portion of them escaped, leaving all their guns … 137 enlisted men and 2 officers as prisoners, a vast amount of stores …
I remained at this place all night, and … destroyed the splendid [Strawberry Plains] bridge over the Holston River, over 1,600 feet long, built on eleven piers. The [wooden] trestle work included; this bridge was 2,100 feet in length.
At daylight on 21 JUNE I started up the railroad for the Mossy Creek Bridge, destroying the road at all convenient points. At Mossy Creek, New Market, and vicinity I captured 120 prisoners and destroyed several cars, a large quantity of stores … The bridge burned at Mossy Creek was a fine one, over 300 feet in length. …
I determined to leave the railroad here and endeavor to cross the mountains at Rogers’ Gap, as I knew every exertion was being made on the part of the enemy to capture my command. I forded the Holston at Hayworth’s Bend and started for the Powder Springs Gap, of Clinch Mountain.
Here a large force was found directly in my front, and another strong force overtook and commenced skirmishing with my rear guard. … On arriving within a mile and a half of Roger’s Gap, I found that it was blockaded by fallen timber, and strongly guarded by artillery and infantry, and that all the gaps practicable were obstructed and guarded in a similar manner.
I then determined to abandon my artillery, and move by a wood path to Smith’s Gap, 3 miles from Roger’s Gap. The guns, Carriages, harness, and ammunition were completely destroyed, and left. I had now a large [enemy] force both in front and rear, and could only avoid capture by getting into the mountains, … which I succeeded in doing, after driving a regiment of cavalry from Smith’s Gap.
The road through this pass is only a bridle-path, and very rough. I did not get up the mountain until after night. About 170 of men and officers got on the wrong road, and did not rejoin the command until we reached Kentucky. Owing to the continual march, many horses gave out and were left, and, although several hundred were captured on the march, they were not enough to supply all the men.
We reached Boston, KY, on 24 JUNE. Our loss was 2 killed, 4 wounded, and 13 missing…
I am much indebted for the success of the expedition to Col. R. K. Byrd, for his valuable assistance and advice … To Sergeant Reynold, First East Tennessee Volunteers, and his guides, I am chiefly indebted for the main success. His knowledge of the country … was invaluable. All the officers and men deserve great credit and praise for the cheerfulness with which they submitted to great hardships and fatigue, and their energy and readiness at all times either to fight or march. I inclose the parole of 461 prisoners.


23 JUNE 1863
Report of Col. William P. Sanders, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry.
Commanding expedition.
BOSTON KY, 23 June 1863.
I arrived here with my command at 11 o’clock this morning. I struck the railroad at Lenoir’s; destroyed the [rail]road up to Knoxville; made demonstrations against Knoxville so as to have their troops drawn from above; destroyed the track, and started for Strawberry Plains; burned Slate Creek Bridge (312 feet long), the Strawberry Plains Bridge (1,600 feet long), and also Mossy Creek Bridge (325 feet long).
I captured 3 pieces of artillery, some 200 boxes of artillery ammunition, over 500 prisoners, 1,000 stand of arms, and destroyed a large amount of salt, sugar, flour, and saltpeter, and one saltpeter works and other stores.
My command is much fatigued; we have had but two nights’ sleep since leaving Williamsburg. The force in East Tennessee was larger than I had supposed. I did not attack Loudon Bridge for reasons that I will explain.
At Mossy Creek I determined to return in the mountains. I had very great difficulty that was unexpected. I found the gap strongly guarded with artillery and infantry, and blockaded with fallen timber, through which I expected to return. A force was also forming in our rear. I determined to cross at Smith’s Gap. I will report more fully as soon as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding.

25 JUNE 1863
CINCINNATI, OHIO, June 25, 1863-12 m.
Colonel Sanders, in returning from East Tennessee, found the gap through which he intended to pass so well fortified that he was obliged to go through another, which was impassable for artillery. He therefore destroyed the two pieces of artillery which he took with him, and three captured pieces, and left them behind.

25 JUNE 1863
CINCINNATI, June 25, 1863.
Colonel W. P. SANDERS, London, Ky.:
Your dispatch of yesterday duly received.
Please accept my best thanks and hearty congratulations for the brilliant success of your expedition.

26 JUNE 1863
MOUNT VERNON, June 26, 1863-3.30 p. m.
GENERAL: I have just arrived at this place. Will turn the command over to Colonel Byrd … as directed by General Hartsuff. Major Dow, with 170 men, is still back. He will be in Loudon to-night.
The number of pieces of artillery taken was ten, three at Lenoir’s, two at Knoxville, and five at Strawberry Plains. The bridge at the latter place was guarded by 400 men and five pieces of artillery. We captured all the guns, 125 prisoners; killed their commanding officer and several privates.
Our loss was only 1 wounded at that place, 1 killed and 2 wounded at Knoxville. Have lost some stragglers taken prisoners. The operator was taken the day we reached Knoxville. Have lost a number of horses.
W. P. SANDERS, Colonel, Commanding.

27 JUNE 1863
H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
Colonel Sanders’ command has arrived inside of our lines. … He and his command deserve great credit for their patience, endurance, and gallantry. The Strawberry Plains Bridge is the most important on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. Intelligent men from that neighborhood assert that it will take months to rebuild it. …

28 JUNE 1863
LEXINGTON, June 28, 1863.
GENERAL: I was in the edge of the town [Knoxville] limits. The force was 1,500 regular soldiers, and all the citizens were forced into the ranks. They had artillery in position; the streets were barricaded with cotton bales; batteries protected by the same. We were engaged with the enemy for about one hour at long range at this place.
General Buckner was absent at the time. He commands East Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia, and Western North Carolina. Part of the troops at Knoxville were brought from Bristol the evening I arrived there. I was within 2 miles of the place from sundown until 8 o’clock the next morning.
W. P. SANDERS, Colonel.


<19 JUNE 1863>
Major General SAM. JONES.
Knoxville, June 21, 1863.
SIR: At the request of Colonel [Robert C.] Trigg, temporarily in command of the troops at Knoxville in the absence of Major-General Buckner, I have the honor to report the following particulars in regard to the battle of yesterday:
On the 18th instant I returned to this city from Sevier [County], where I had been in command of an expedition against a party of bushwhackers.
On my arrival, I learned that Major-General Buckner had marched toward Big Creek Gap with all the artillery and all the other disposable force at this post, except Colonel Trigg’s Fifty-fourth Virginia Regiment and Colonel [J. J.] Finley’s Sixth Florida Regiment; effective force about 1,000 men.
On the morning of the 19th, I was informed by Major Van Sheliha, acting chief of staff, that the enemy in large force had passed by Loudon, and were at Lenoir Station, 24 miles from Knoxville, and he requested me to take charge of the artillery defense of the city, and to organize my force from the convalescents in the hospitals and from citizens to man my guns then in the city.
Lieutenant Colonel Milton A. Haynes, C. S. Artillery.

Colonel Robert C. Trigg CSA
Temporary commander at Knoxville

<20 JUNE 1863>
General S. COOPER.
KNOXVILLE, June 20, 1863.
Major-General Buckner is at Clinton [NW of Knoxville] concentrating his forces. Enemy (2,000 strong) attempted to burn the railroad bridge yesterday, but failed. Attempted to burn depots here last night, but failed again, and retired this morning after severe cannonading in direction of Rogersville.
V. SHELIHA, Chief of Staff.

General S. COOPER.
KNOXVILLE, June 20, 1863.
The enemy attacked us with five regiments mounted infantry and two pieces of rifle artillery last night. This morning we drove him back, and he will try to escape via Rogersville through Big Creek, Moccasin or Mulberry Gap, attempting to destroy bridges at Strawberry Plains before leaving. Your Fifty-first [Fifty-fourth] Virginia has been ordered to that point. General Buckner left for Clinton yesterday.
V. SHELIHA, Chief of Staff.

<21 JUNE 1863>
MORRISTOWN, June 21, 1863.
Maj.-Gen. SAM. JONES, Dublin:
The enemy burned the bridge over the Holston, 16 miles east of Knoxville, last evening. They advanced to within 14 miles of this place this morning and burned a bridge and depot. No troops here except my regiment, Brig.-Gen. Jackson in command.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 882.

Major General SAM. JONES CSA
Commander of Department of East Tennessee

The June 21st edition of Knoxville’s Daily Register features the ‘Visit of the Yankees to Knoxville’ the previous day, recounting a Union cavalry raid into Confederate-held East Tennessee. People of the rural areas of East Tennessee are largely Unionist, but Knoxvillians are mostly Confederate.

<21 JUNE 1863>
Major General SAM. JONES.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Milton A. Haynes, C. S. Artillery.
Knoxville, June 21, 1863.
SIR: At the request of Colonel R. [Robert] C. Trigg, temporarily in command of the troops at Knoxville in the absence of Major-General Buckner, I have the honor to report the following particulars in regard to the battle of yesterday:
On the 18th instant I returned to this city from Sevier [County], where I had been in command of an expedition against a party of bushwhackers.
On my arrival, I learned that Major-General Buckner had marched toward Big Creek Gap with all the artillery and all the other disposable force at this post, except Colonel Trigg’s Fifty-first Fifty-fourth Virginia Regiment and Colonel [J. J.] Finley’s Seventh Sixth Florida Regiment; effective force about 1,000 men.
On the morning of the 19th, I was informed by Major Van Sheliha, acting chief of staff, that the enemy in large force had passed by Loudon, and were at Lenoir Station, 24 miles from Knoxville, and he requested me to take charge of the artillery defense of the city, and to organize my force from the convalescents in the hospitals and from citizens to man my guns then in the city. …
In the mean time the citizens of Knoxville had been ordered to report … for duty [for] the defense of the City. …
At 3 [o’clock] in the afternoon of that day [19th] it was known that the enemy was within 5 miles of the City, and their advance were skirmishing with 37 of our cavalrymen (all we had at Knoxville) at Mrs. Lomis’ house. …
I immediately posted them [eight pieces of artillery] in sections at College Hill … second, on McGee’s Hill … and third … at Summit Hill …
In the evening … I ascertained that about 200 persons, citizens, and convalescent soldiers from hospitals, had reported for duty, and that each of my batteries was fully manned, although in the morning of the same day there was no artillery force whatever in the City.
During the night [19th] I made a reconnaissance, passing the enemy’s lines as a farmer, giving all the information they desired in regard to the state of the defenses, telling them that they could march into Knoxville without the loss of a man.
I told them that I saw Col. Haynes about sunset, moving some cannon toward the depot – I thought about four in all – drawn by mules.
Having passed to a point at which it was necessary for me to turn off, and having all the information I could obtain, I returned to Knoxville at midnight [19th]. I visited all my batteries, and advised them that early in the morning the enemy would attack …
During the night [19th-20th] the pickets of the enemy advanced upon the City, but our pickets, thrown out by Col. Trigg, after an hour’s skirmish, drove them back at about 2 o’clock in the morning [20th].
At 7 o’clock on the 20th … I then went to Summit Hill battery, where I found Col. Trigg and his chief of staff (Maj. Sheliha) near the hospital. While in consultation with them, we saw the enemy marching at double-quick time on our right beyond the work-shops, where we had neither battery nor soldiers to oppose them. … I had taken a section of Wyly’s battery and moved them at a gallop to a point immediately in front of the advancing column, and opened fire upon them with spherical case.
The enemy took shelter behind houses and fences, and threw forward sharpshooters within 200 yards of our battery, we being … 400 yards from any support.
At the same time a battery of 3-inch rifled guns belonging to the enemy opened upon us at 800 yards, and during the first two or three shots killed and wounded some of our men and several horses. I then advanced the battery, and ordered them not to fire at the artillery, but at the infantry.
The enemy … advanced rapidly, and for a moment I supposed the day was lost. … I dismounted, took my post as a gunner … ordered canister, and sighted the piece myself, and after two rounds the enemy was in full retreat and the day was won. …
That they were fully beaten may appear from the fact that the commanding officer of the army sent to me a message by Lieut. Lutrell, of the C. S. Army, a prisoner, paroled by him, to the effect: “I send you my compliments, and say that but for the admirable manner with which you managed your artillery I would have taken Knoxville to-day.” …
Among many citizens who reported to me that day for duty, I must not forget to mention Hon. Landon C. Haynes, Hon William H. Sneed, Hon. John H. Crozier, Rev. James H. Martin, and Rev. Mr. Woolfolk—[all Confederate men]—and many others who do not desire me to mention their names. …
I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
Lieut. Col., Provisional Army Confederate States.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 391-392.

<22 JUNE 1863>
KNOXVILLE, June 22, 1863.
Gen. BRAXTON BRAGG, Shelbyville:
The enemy appeared near Knoxville on the 19th, and attacked on 20th. Were repulsed. They burned the railroad bridges at Flat Creek and Strawberry Plains. Please grant permission to [A. L. ] Maxwell, bridge-builder, to rebuild them at once.
S. B. BUCKNER, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 882.

Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner CSA
Buckner was given command of the Department of East Tennessee at Knoxville on 8 March 1863. This military organization had badly deteriorated and was less than one-third its original size; Buckner has worked hard improving his command.
Believing the Sanders’ Raid is the long-awaited Union invasion, Buckner begins repositioning his troops. He leaves 1,000 Confederates under Col. Robert C. Trigg to defend Knoxville. They are joined by 200 armed civilians and soldiers not fit for active duty.
Trigg places six 6-pounder field guns on three hills outside the city—McGee’s, Summit, and Temperance—and supports them with his infantry units.

<24 JUNE 1863>
Report of Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, C. S. Army.
KNOXVILLE, June 24, 1863.
GEN.: The enemy’s cavalry escaped through Childer’s Gap, with loss of a few prisoners and horses, and their artillery and baggage. They are beyond the mountains. The railroad and small trestles will be in order to the Holston in four days. The cars can cross the Holston, on a trestle-bridge I am building, within two weeks. After that time there will be no delay or transfer of freight. After four days hence the only transfer will be in crossing the Holston, where, if necessary, I will send a small steamer.
S. B. BUCKNER, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 390.

<28 JUNE 1863>
It has already been announced that this marauding party made their escape through Childer’s Gap [Campbell County] late Monday evening [22nd]. We learn that McKenzie’s Regiment, Lieut. Col. Montgomery commanding, and a portion of Col. Hart’s 6th Georgia Cavalry, under command of Maj. Fain, had reached a position in the valley fronting this gap on Monday at 5 o’clock P. M., and before the raiders.
While Col. Montgomery’s command, however, was in this position, a courier reported the enemy on our right, endeavoring to turn our flank in that direction. Col. Montgomery receiving this intelligence, ordered his command including the portion of Col. Hart’s regiment to move back down the valley about two miles and await the enemy’s approach.
While Col. Montgomery was in this last position the raiders made their way across the valley to Childer’s Gap and escaped. Some prisoners captured by our forces stated that they expected all to be captured, as their officers had told them that three brigades of our forces were in front of them and Scott and Pegram close on their rear.
We make these statements on authority, not for the purpose of casting censure upon any one; but simply as part of the history of this whole marauding expedition.
Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle.

<28 JUNE 1863>
Editorial comments on recent Federal raids in and around Knoxville. MILITARY RAIDS.
Well, we have had the benefit of a Renegade Yankee raid. We have, as it were, seen the giraffe – caught a glimpse rather close than comfortable, of the mongrel monster alive and hideous. We abhor it and all the breed.
We remember to have read somewhat of such things away back in the dim eras of history, before there was either Christianity or civilization, and near indeed to the Deluge. But how our eye hath seen it, and we pronounce and denounce it as neither christen, heathen nor human; but fiendish, satanic and devilish and upon the whole profitless.
It certainly profits us nothing who suffer it; that’s axiomatic. Nor is it worth the while and toil and peril of our enemy who make it. Such an incursion weighs nothing and determines nothing as to the great final result of the war.
A marauding party has caused individual suffering; ruined here and there a private citizen; may even have occasioned a momentary inconvenience to the Government – but this is the sum.
The energies of an invaded people and government rising with the emergencies of the occasion, follow close in the path of the destroyed to rebuild, repair and restore, like the returning waters to smooth and obliterate the furrows of the ocean-plowing keel, leaving no trace behind save the bare hateful memory of the moment.
War at best is inhuman, but such a war as our enemy wages against and forces upon us is worse than savage or demonic; it is pure, unminced, dephlegmated, Yankee.
Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle.

<28 JUNE 1863>
A call for home defense in Knoxville; a reaction to Sanders’ Raid
We earnestly appeal to the people of Tennessee, and most especially to the citizens of Knoxville and its vicinity, to organize into companies for home defence. Delays are dangerous, such is the case at this particular crisis, and it is absolutely necessary to form companies and have them well armed and ready to march to the field of action at a moment’s warning in case of another raid.
It is the height of folly and crime for the people of this State to remain inactive and defenseless – such conduct is nothing more nor less than an invitation to bring about grief, despair and devastation upon our State.
It is the duty of all persons between the ages of 15 and 50 years of age capable of bearing arms, to arm themselves and be in readiness to protect their homes and firesides against the ruthless invader. There are hundreds upon hundreds who are capable of bearing arms, and who are liable to regular military duty that could with propriety form themselves into effective companies and be of invaluable service to their country should another raid occur within the lines of our State.
If such was the case, raids would soon be suppressed and public order secured. There is no part of the State entirely secure against raids, and if its citizens will organize and select daring and active men for their leaders, raids in Tennessee would soon terminate and peace reign.
In but few instances should exemptions and substitutes be admitted – let all be enrolled – foreigners not excepted. They should not remain in our midst and be inactive – if they refuse to stand by the colors of our flag let them dig its entrenchments or forsake its folds of protection.
~ Knoxville Daily Southern Chronicle


Col. Sanders is appointed chief of the cavalry corps of the Department of the Ohio in September 1863. He and his forces then march to Knoxville with Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s army, arriving on 3 September 1863. Sanders takes part in the military actions that take place almost daily in Northeast Tennessee that autumn.

<18 OCTOBER 1863>
William P. Sanders was appointed brigadier general. 

Brigadier General William Sanders

<AUTUMN 1863>
Sue Boyd and Col. William Sanders
Sue Boyd was a regionally famous singer with a clear, soprano voice. … Daughter of a former mayor, she grew up in Blount Mansion. During the War, her family favored the Confederacy. Her cousin was the famous rebel spy Belle Boyd, who spent several weeks in Knoxville in 1863 to avoid being arrested for her espionage activities.
Sue turned 19 during the Union occupation of Knoxville, and during that time, Kentuckian Col. William Sanders, 30 years old, caught her eye. For a few weeks in the fall of 1863, they spent some time together. Though he had a girlfriend back home, Sanders was attracted to Sue and gave her one of his colonel’s epaulets as a keepsake. 
After the war, Sue married a merchant from Massachusetts and had two sons. Her husband died 18 years later, leaving her a widow for almost half a century. … She never wrote about their relationship, but she dropped hints.

❤ NOVEMBER 1863>
Federal situation and military intelligence report, Morganton, Maryville, Unitia, Loudon. environs.
Maryville, November 3, 1863—8 p. m.
[Maj. Gen. JOHN G. PARKE:]
GEN.: … All quiet through the day. A citizen, said to be reliable, who was arrested by the rebels last night and left there this morning, says that [CSA Gen. Carter] Stevenson has been at Sweet Water some time, but moved up toward Loudon; says their force is from 10,000 to 13,000, with which they expect to capture Knoxville.
He professes to have overheard a conversation between [CSA Gen. John C.] Vaughn and others to the effect that their force in East Tennessee was overrated, and had been diminished by re-enforcing Bragg, but that they could get Cheatham and Breckinridge if they needed them. He also says that he learned of their intention to cross 1,400 men to-day with four days’ rations, who are to go up as far as Morristown and see what is there. …
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. P. SANDERS, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 36-37.

<4 NOVEMBER 1863>
Federal Scout, Maryville to Nile’s Ferry road
Maryville, Tennessee, November 4, 1863.
Gen. BURNSIDE: The scouting party … has returned; they met the enemy’s pickets some miles this side and drove them several miles without any result. All the citizens report seven regiments this side the river and say they are still crossing at that place and above, and report the infantry on the other side.
The rebels say they intend to take this place and all of East Tennessee. …
W. P. SANDERS, Brig. Gen. Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 46.

<10 NOVEMBER 1863>
Federal scouts and intelligence in East Tennessee
Rockford, Tennessee
[Maj. Gen. JOHN G. PARKE:]
GEN.: All quiet in the front. Col. Adams, at Maryville, reported late yesterday evening that there were no rebels on this side the river. … It is almost impossible to get a true report from any citizens, even those who are undoubted Union men, as they do not wait to find out the truth, but run on the slightest rumor, and it naturally increases, and the rebel citizens do not know anything. …
I feel satisfied that I can be able to give you timely information of any approach of the enemy in this direction, and that I can hold this part of the country for some time.
I have one brigade here without shelter or blankets. If possible I would like to get the latter at least to-day. My quartermaster is in town for that purpose. Col. Adams has just reported no rebels this side the river (9.30).
Respectfully, W. P. SANDERS, Brig.-Gen.

<11 NOVEMBER 1863>
Federal cavalry authorized to cross Little Tennessee with intent of capturing Confederate soldiers
KNOXVILLE, November 11, 1863—3.15 p. m.
Gen. SANDERS, Cmdg. Cavalry Division:
The commanding general directs me to inform you that you have full authority for making a trip across the Little Tennessee with the view of capturing some of the enemy’s force on the other side. The general suggests that you cross the river at or near the foot of the mountain, and sweep down on the south side, recrossing at the ford near the mouth. If practicable, it would be well to start to-night. …
Yours, respectfully,
JNO. G. PARKE, Maj.-Gen.
P. S. -If you determinate to make the move, please let us know the route, so that couriers may follow you.

<14 NOVEMBER 1863>
Skirmish at Maryville
KNOXVILLE, November 14, 1863—12 m.
Gen. BURNSIDE, Lenoir’s:
Col. Sanders sends word that Maj. Graham was attacked early this morning at Maryville and most of his men captured. Sanders moved out to his aid with First Kentucky and Forty-fifth Ohio. Met the enemy 2 miles out; the First Kentucky was in the advance and was driven back, but he succeeded in rallying them …
JNO. G. PARKE, Maj. Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 147.

Northwest bastion of Fort Sanders
Union troops held off a Confederate assault here.
George N. Barnard photograph.
Library of Congress.

<15 NOVEMBER 1863>
Excerpt from the Report of Major-General Joseph Wheeler, C. S, Army.
A description of the action in which Col. William P. Sanders was mortally wounded.
Commanding Cavalry Corps relative to skirmish at Stock Creek.
I moved over Little River on the following morning, the condition of the ford making it nearly noon before the entire command was crossed. We pressed upon the enemy, which consisted, as I learned from prisoners and citizens of Sanders’, Shackelford’s, Wolford’s, and Pannebaker’s brigades, with one battery of rifled guns, all being commanded by Gen. Sanders.
After driving them for 3 miles we came to Stock Creek, which was not fordable for horses, and the enemy had partly torn up the bridge. Just beyond the enemy had taken a strong and elevated position behind a fence inclosing a thick wood, with large fields intervening between the enemy and my position, the ground descending rapidly toward the line occupied by my troops.
The flanks of the enemy from Little River to Knoxville were protected by a high ridge on their left and the Holston River on their right, thus preventing my turning their position and compelling me to fight superior forces in positions chosen by themselves. …
In the meantime we continued to push the enemy … driving him from several strong positions. … The lines of the enemy were broken and the entire mass of the enemy swept on toward Knoxville in the wildest confusion. The charge was continued successfully for 3 miles to within less than half a mile of the river opposite the City.
The bulk of the enemy dashed over their pontoon [bridge] in their fright into the City, creating the greatest consternation. Great numbers scattered over the country and many plunged into the river, some of whom were drowned. One hundred and forty prisoners were taken in the charge and a considerable number killed and wounded.
The Federal commander of cavalry was reported in their papers as having received wounds from which he died. We were only prevented from following the fugitives into the City by a strong force of the enemy’s infantry and artillery in the fortifications on a high hill on the south bank of the river, who opened a heavy fire upon us as we approached.
It being now dusk and the balance of the command being 4 miles to the rear, after some warm skirmishing I withdrew to Stock Creek, which was the nearest point at which forage could be obtained. The enemy did not come out of their fortifications to follow us.
As I had some reason to believe the enemy might withdraw their forces to the other bank of the river, I returned at daylight and found instead of withdrawing they had strengthened their position during the night, from which they opened warmly upon us as we advanced.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 541-542.

<16 NOVEMBER 1863 – 14 DECEMBER 1863>
Sanders commands a brigade of the XXIII Corps and then the 1st Division of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Ohio in the Knoxville Campaign—16 November 1863 – 14 December 1863.

<18 NOVEMBER 1863>
Gen. William Price Sanders suffers a gunshot wound in his side as his cavalry fought on Kingston Road, delaying the Confederate forces advancing against Knoxville. The sharpshooter who wounded him is serving under Col. Edward Porter Alexander CSA, his old roommate at West Point, now Gen. James Longstreet’s Chief of Artillery. Another of Sanders’ classmates from West Point, Orlando M. Poe, is Burnside’s Chief Engineer and designer of the Knoxville fortifications.

Lamar House Hotel (1816), where Gen. Sanders died

<19 NOVEMBER 1863>
Gen. William P. Sanders is carried to the Lamar House Hotel in Knoxville, where he dies the following day.

Concerned that the news will affect the morale of his soldiers, Gen. Ambrose Burnside keeps Sanders’ body in the hotel until it can be secretly buried late at night.

<24 NOVEMBER 1863>
In the Field, November 24, 1863.
The commanding general has the sad duty of announcing to this army the death of one of the bravest of their number, Brig. Gen. W. P. Sanders. A life rendered illustrious by a long record of gallantry and devotion to his country, has closed while in the heroic and unflinching performance of duty.
Distinguished always for his self-possession and daring in the field, and in his private eminent for his genial and unselfish nature and the sterling qualities of his character, he has left both as a man and a soldier an untarnished name. In memory of the honored dead, the fort in front of which he received his fatal wound will be known hereafter as Fort Sanders.
By command of Maj. Gen. Burnside.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 241.

Death of General William P. Sanders Marker
U.S. General William P. Sanders died in the bridal suite of this building which was the Lamar House hotel at the time of the Civil War. On the previous afternoon Sanders was mortally wounded as his cavalry fought on Kingston Road, delaying the Confederate forces advancing against Knoxville.
General Sanders was a West Point classmate and personal friend of Captain Orlando Poe who designed and supervised construction of the defenses of Knoxville.
His funeral took place the night of the 19th with his casket being carried to the site of the Second Presbyterian Church on Market Street where Sanders was buried.
In attendance were Commanding General Ambrose Burnside, Captain Poe, staff officers, Sue Boyd, her mother, a minister, and a small number of musicians and soldiers. Five days later, General Burnside announced his death and named Fort Sanders in his honor. Today General Sanders rests in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Marker erected 2013 by Knoxville Civil War Roundtable and Bijou Theatre Board of Directors at the intersection of South Gay Street and Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville TN.

Tazewell in the Civil War

Town of Tazewell
Tazewell is a small Northeast Tennessee town, the seat of Claiborne County. It is located on the northern slope of Walden’s Ridge, which is part of the Ridge and Valley Province of the Appalachian Mountains. During the American Civil War, the people of Claiborne County are divided, often within families and among neighbors and friends. Tazewell changes hands four times during the War. Although no major battles are fought in the county, there are several bloody skirmishes.

Present-day view of the area around Tazewell Tennessee.
With those amazing mountains in the background.

19 MARCH 1862
Defining Confederate pluck
Tuscarawas [OH] Advocate, April 4, 1862
Letter from B. B. Brashear.
March 19, 1862.
Editor, Advocate:
While at Somerset [KY] I visited the Secesh wounded. Among them was an educated and intelligent lieutenant who belonged to the 16th Mississippi … from whom I learned something of the disappointments, the expectations, and the hopes, of the rebels. He bitterly denounced their General, Gen. [George] B. Crittenden [commanding the Department of East Tennessee] – called him a craven and a drunkard. …
I said to him, suppose you are conquered at Bowling Green [KY] as you have been here, what will you then do? He answered:
“That would prolong the conflict between us. We will contest every inch of ground between this and the Rio Grande.”

1 JUNE 1862 – 27 OCTOBER 1862
Operations in East Tennessee

You will find here several different reports of the same events, which gives a well-rounded description of all of the actions involved. I have heavily edited some of these documents for readability; these officers are well-educated and taught to use excess verbiage.

22 JULY 1862
Affair at Tazewell, violation of flag of truce.
Report of Col. James P. T. Carter CSA.
Second Tennessee Infantry.
Camp Cotterell, July 23, 1862.
GENERAL: Yesterday, soon after 6 p. m., with 450 of the Second East Tennessee Regiment and 30 men of the Forty-ninth Indiana … with two days’ rations and sixty rounds of ammunition … left camp to carry out your instructions to endeavor to cut off the rebel cavalry which have been in the daily habit of visiting Tazewell. …
I reached the vicinity of Tazewell; but soon after nightfall, finding the night so dark, I moved slowly and with caution up the old road for some distance. … There I was met with information that from fifty to sixty of the rebel cavalry had passed down toward the river on a scout. … In a short time they were heard approaching, and when up with our position a portion of my command opened fire upon them.
The night was very dark, and it was impossible to distinguish either horse or horseman. Not many shots had been fired when I distinguished the voice of Lieut.-Col. Keigwin, of the Forty-ninth Indiana, calling me by name, and telling me to cease firing, as he was with a flag of truce. This was the first intimation I had that a flag had been sent out.
Of course I ordered the firing to cease, and, hurrying down to the road with my men, rendered every assistance in my power to the wounded. … No one can regret more than I do this most unfortunate occurrence. If I could have had the least idea that a flag of truce was on the road, I need scarcely assure you this would not have happened …
The wounded were taken to a house near at hand and every attention was shown them. It was not until some time after the damage was done that the courier reached me with your order recalling the expedition.
Respectfully, &c.,
JAS. P. T. Carter, Col., Comdg.
Second Regiment East Tennessee Volunteers.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 108-109.

Claiborne County in Northeast Tennessee

22 JULY 1862
New York Times
The Louisville News contains an extract from a private letter from a member of the Fourteenth Kentucky Regiment, dated Camp Baird, Claiborne County, Tennessee. The writer gives the particulars of an affair which occurred near Tazewell on the 22nd. He says that on the night of the 22nd, a flag of truce came in from the rebels, and, through a mistake, some four or five on each side were killed outright or seriously wounded.
The bearers of the flag were allowed inside of the pickets to the camp of Col. [MARCELLUS] MUNDY, who sent them to Gen. [GEORGE] MORGAN. According to the General’s orders they were removed a mile and a half beyond the outposts, to remain till morning.
As there was no camping ground at that point, they all concluded to go to Tazewell, nine miles further along. The party consisted of Lieut.-Col. [JAMES] KEIGWIN, of the Forty-ninth Indiana; Capt. [?] LYONS, Chief of Topographical Engineers of Gen. MORGAN’s Staff and several other officers besides the truce bearers. All went except Col. MUNDY, who said his orders would not permit him to go any further.
In the meantime one of the soldiers out on duty saw the party and informed Gen. [S.P.] CARTER that there was a party of rebel cavalry just beyond our lines. Gen. C. sent a regiment to the point designated, and posted them in different positions. As the truce party returned, on the morning of the 23rd, they were fired upon by CARTER’s men. Lieut.-Col. KEIGWIN was shot through the hips, and so seriously wounded that he may not possibly recover. Capt. LYONS had one arm broken.
A rebel Lieutenant was killed on the spot, and three or four other rebels were so seriously injured that they cannot recover. Every rider was unhorsed, and quite a number of horses were killed. … Later information says that six or eight were killed on the spot.
Published in the New York Times, 4 August 1862

26 JULY 1862
Skirmish at Tazewell.

2 AUGUST 1862
Battle of Tazewell: Key to Cumberland Gap.
A Civil War Experience
The 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as part of Col. John F. De Courcy’s 26th Brigade, march south from their stronghold at Cumberland Gap toward the small town of Tazewell on 2 August 1862. The purpose of their expedition is to find and acquire forage and supplies for the Federal garrison holding Cumberland Gap.
During several days of foraging and extended trips further south of Tazewell, some periodic skirmishes with Rebel cavalry are encountered but the troops are successful in filling their wagons with much needed food and hay for their animals.
Claiborne County Historical & Genealogy Society

3 AUGUST 1862
Reconnaissance from Tazewell to Big Spring.

4 AUGUST 1862
Report of Col. John F. De Courcy USA,
Sixteenth Ohio Infantry, commanding brigade.
TAZEWELL, EAST TENN., August 4, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have to report, for the information of the general commanding, that on my arrival at this point on the evening of the 2nd instant I found the enemy’s pickets posted on the hills in front of the town. They, however, retired on the approach of the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, and this corps took up that ground for the night. I have ever since occupied a very extended line of pickets on that ground.
The foraging has thus far proceeded satisfactorily. Hay, horses, cattle, and sheep were brought in yesterday. No corn has been found as yet.
Yesterday [the 3rd] I made a reconnaissance toward Big Springs. The enemy had there about 100 cavalry, and they held their ground for about an hour and did not leave until I opened fire on them with a 10-pounder.
This day [the 4th] I proceed with the Sixteenth Regiment and two guns to Little Sycamore, via Big Springs, where I shall leave a part of the Forty-second Regiment to protect my line of retreat in case of disaster. From Little Sycamore I shall move toward Big Sycamore, and return to Tazewell from that point without passing through Big Springs.
This expedition is intended to cover a large train which proceeds from here direct to Big Sycamore. I have not sufficient strength to make detachments without at the same time leaving altogether open the position in rear of this town. But by thus calling the enemy’s attention toward Little Sycamore I hope to make them uneasy about their Morristown line of road.
Two of the enemy’s spies have been arrested whilst in the act of giving their cavalry information of the position of our infantry. It would serve as a good example if these men were punished according to the laws. If an order be sent me to that effect, I will have them publicly shot.
I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,
JOHN DE COURCY, Col., Commanding Twenty-sixth Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 42-43.


Col. John F. De Courcy
Colonel De Courcy was a professional British soldier who was drawn to the United States by the Civil War; he was assigned to the Army of the Ohio in late 1861. De Courcy and the 16th Ohio Voluntary Infantry accompanied Gen. George W. Morgan USA in seizing the Cumberland Gap from Rebel forces in June 1862.
Three months later, the Confederates attacked the Gap in great numbers during the Kentucky Campaign. Morgan’s garrison left the Gap just before Rebel troops arrived and conducted an epic march through the roughest country in Kentucky north to the Ohio River.
In December 1862, Gen. George Morgan, the 16th Ohio, and Col. De Courcy traveled west to take part in the disastrous Chickasaw Bluffs assault near Vicksburg MS, which was led by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. De Courcy’s brigade spearheaded that attack and sustained heavy losses.
Dissatisfied with his position, De Courcy gave up command of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and left the regiment at its winter camp at Young’s Point, Louisiana. He took a leave of absence in the spring of 1863, but he was available when Gen. Ambrose Burnside USA began his invasion into East Tennessee.
Burnside appointed De Courcy commander of an independent brigade and ordered him to have his troops at Cumberland Gap by the end of the first week in September. On 7 September 1863, Gen. James M. Shackelford USA—who was marching with the main army—appeared on the south side of the Gap, while De Courcy’s gathered his troops at the north end on the afternoon of 8September. … Both Shackelford and De Courcy sent in demands for Gen. John W. Frazer CSA to surrender the Gap, which were rejected.
Burnside arrived the following morning. Frazier surrendered the Cumberland Gap that afternoon, 9 September 1863. … De Courcy and his men marched into the Rebel lines to accept their surrender. Almost immediately, Burnside placed Col. De Courcy under arrest for insubordination, because he had not deferred to Brig. Gen. Shackelford to receive the surrender. The incident came to nothing, and Burnside let the matter drop.
In March 1864, when the 16th Ohio’s original enlistment expired, De Courcy mustered out and left the country. He returned to British service as a colonial administrator.
In 1875, John Fitzroy De Courcy became the 35th Baron Kingsale, the largest peerage in Ireland; a seat he held until his death in 1890. He apparently left no written account of his three years in the Union Army.

5 AUGUST 1862 – 6 AUGUST 1862
Report of Col. John F. De Courcy
Foraging, operations against and about Cumberland Gap, reconnaissance and skirmishes near Tazewell.
CAPTAIN: In continuation of the daily report which Gen. Morgan directed me to send in of the foraging expedition which I was ordered to make in the vicinity of Tazewell, I have the honor to state as follows:
About 10.45 a. m. yesterday [the 6th] the enemy made a sudden attack in great force on the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteers on the entire length of the line of advanced posts furnished by that corps. The attacking force consisted of at least three infantry regiments, with some artillery, supported by other regiments and more artillery.
The enemy had been secreted during the previous night in the dense woods in front and on the flanks of the advanced posts and their pickets. The manner of the attack showed evidently that the intention was to cut off the advanced gun. In this the enemy would have succeeded but for the courageous coolness of the men serving the gun, and the companies placed there to protect it.
So well did these companies comport themselves that the gun was enabled to fire one round at the enemy at a distance not greater than seventy-five yards. The gun was then limbered up and retired in good order (Major Kershner’s horse was shot during this part of the affair), but the companies protecting the retreat of the gun were themselves surrounded by two regiments and completely cut off.
Here began a most desperate combat betwixt the companies of the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteers and the enemy’s two regiments. Finally more than four-fifths of the officers and privates of the two companies cut their way through and rejoined later in the day their regiment, in rear of Tazewell.
Whilst these brilliant deeds were being performed on the right as severe an engagement was taking place on the left. There Major Kershner (who was in command of the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteers) had taken position with three companies on a high knoll commanding the roads by which the enemy was advancing.
The conduct of these companies and their management by Major Kershner was excellent. For one hour and a half they held two regiments at bay, and compelled one of these regiments to fall back to reform; but the companies having exhausted all their ammunition, were finally ordered to fall back in skirmishing order.
I arrived near the scene of action about 11 o’clock. It was at once apparent that the position in front of Tazewell was not any longer tenable. I immediately ordered the Fourteenth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers to form in line right and left of the road, placing at the same time two guns near the center to cover the retreat of the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteers.
As soon as the latter had reached this line, I ordered the guns to retire, and shortly after the Fourteenth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers followed and took up position on the heights in rear of Tazewell, where the remainder of the brigade, with the artillery, were posted.
Having received information that the enemy had massed troops on the Knoxville road with the design of getting in rear of my right, I gave up all idea of advancing, and determined to hold these heights as long as my line of communication with Cumberland Gap was not endangered.
This was accordingly done, and the First Wisconsin Battery, ably commanded by the gallant Lieut. Anderson, with a well-directed fire, first stopped the enemy’s advance, and finally compelled him to retreat over the hills and out of sight. The enemy’s artillery fire was good, both as to range and direction, and the caliber of their guns was larger than ours.
About the time the enemy began to retire almost all stragglers had rejoined, and all stores and wagons had been sent well to the rear. The artillery ammunition being nearly all expended, and the men much exhausted from want of food, having lost their rations during the action, and their physical powers having been taxed to the utmost during the hottest part of the day, I resolved to retire slowly.
The movement began about 7 p.m.; was effected in excellent order, and in a direction through the woods which completely concealed it from the observation of the enemy’s scouts. Several hours previous I had again received information from loyal citizens and colored people that several regiments of the enemy were in rear of my right flank, which would have rendered this movement imperative had even the above reason not compelled it.
I have called upon officers commanding regiments to make a detailed report of the doings and conduct of their respective commands, and copies of these reports will be forwarded to you without delay. A return of killed, wounded, and missing will be furnished you as soon as possible.
Amongst the missing the name of Capt. Edgar, Sixteenth Regiment, will appear. This able, zealous, and gallant officer was seen to fall when his company was breaking through the enemy’s regiments.
I have the honor to be, sir, yours, respectfully,
Col., Commanding Twenty-sixth Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 43-44.

A period map showing Tazewell and surrounding area.
Dashed blue line indicates the route of De Courcy’s brigade.

6 AUGUST 1862
Battle of Tazewell
As his forage operation continues, Col. De Courcy is aware of a large Confederate force camped south of the Clinch River, not too far from Tazewell; but he does not anticipate any major engagement will take place. On the Wednesday morning of 6 August, however, De Courcy is confronted by a vastly superior Rebel force commanded by Col. Thomas Hart Taylor.

7 AUGUST 1862
Report of Brig. Gen. George W. Morgan, U. S. Army.
CUMBERLAND GAP, August 7, 1862.
COL.: To obtain forage and feed and learn the strength of the enemy, De Courcy was ordered to Tazewell on the 2nd instant. He secured 200 wagon loads of forage, all of which safely arrived on the 5th. Some slight picket skirmishing took place, in which we had 2 men wounded, while the enemy had 1 killed and several wounded.
Early in the morning of the 6th instant, not wishing to bring on a general action, I ordered Col. De Courcy to return to this post, but he was attacked at daybreak on that day. Considering enemy’s forces the attack was feeble. Two of his regiments surrounded two companies of the Sixteenth Ohio, detached to protect a section of artillery.
The enemy’s movement was well executed, and had it not been for the coolness and gallantry of Lieut. Anderson we would have lost two pieces of artillery. Although surrounded by a vastly superior force, the two infantry companies, under command of Capt.’s Edgar and Taneyhill, fought heroically, and three-fourths of them succeeded in cutting their way through to their regiments. But we fear that Capt. Edgar, an officer of great merit, was killed, and Capt. Taneyhill taken prisoner.
There were several instances of distinguished conduct both on the part of officers and soldiers. A soldier of the Twenty-second Kentucky was shot through the neck and fell. His gun dropped from his hands; his foe contrived to advance upon him, when the wounded hero grasped his gun, rose to his feet and shot the rebel soldier dead when within five paces of him, when he again fell weltering in his blood.
Two soldiers of the Sixteenth Ohio had lost their way and were going toward the enemy, when Lieut.-Col. Gordon, of the Eleventh Tennessee, hailed them, demanding their regiment. With coolness and courage they required him to declare his rank and regiment and took him prisoner. Resuming their march by a circuitous route they rejoined their commands. Gordon speaks highly of their courage and courteous treatment.
At 3.30 p. m. a courier arrived from Col. De Courcy and asked for aid. Leaving three regiments to guard the Gap I marched with my remaining force to his assistance, but when within 2 miles of Tazewell I met him on his return. The enemy left the field at 5 o’clock and maintained his position until 7 o’clock p. m. The enemy’s loss is believed to be considerable. I did not pursue, lest with a superior force, he should gain my rear.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 835-836.

Lt. Col. Philip Kershner

6 AUGUST 1862
Battle of Tazewell
On Wednesday morning the whole country was enveloped in a dense fog and perhaps delayed the attack for a short time. About seven o’clock the 16th Ohio under command of Major [Philip] Kershner came up and relieved the 14th, which marched down on the road toward Tazewell perhaps a quarter of a mile, into an old orchard, where guns were stacked and knapsacks unslung to await further orders.
Here it will be necessary to give some idea of the ground in order that a clear understanding may be had of succeeding events. …
Tazewell is a small village situated between two elevated ridges … both ridges sloping toward the town, the summits of which are near two miles apart. On the south side of the village there is a small uneven hill, densely covered with small cedar and pines. The Morristown road crosses the ridge south of Tazewell, through a small … gap where the heavy timber is still standing …
In the gap there were two guns of the battery and a small reserve force, the rest of the regiment being scattered in different positions through the woods, and on various roads and lookout points …
The 16th Ohio had but just taken its post in these various positions, when some of the enemy’s artillery down at Big Spring opened at long range to attract attention in that direction. In a few moments some scattering guns were heard at the outer picket posts, followed almost immediately by rousing cheers and heavy volleys of musketry.
The 14th formed instantly in line of battle and waited for orders to move up the hill to the assistance of the 16th … Not many moments elapsed, before it was clearly to be seen that the enemy in large numbers had completely surrounded the 16th and the two pieces of cannon. …
A rebel column came sweeping down the hill on the right with loud cheers; each discharge of canister left a wide gap in their ranks, which was instantly closed without the slightest wavering; twice the canister tore though their ranks but on they came within twenty or thirty paces of the guns. … the guns were brought off at double quick and the enemy were so near that the line of skirmishers were in a few yards of the road just as the guns were passing.
Major Kershner’s … small reserve force cut his way through the rebel ranks; the artillery drove into the orchard where the 14th was in line, and again opened fire upon them, and so also did the 14th which somewhat checked them, and afforded some protection to the retreat of the 16th.
They were so completely surrounded and cut off from each other that they came down the hill in straggling parties and irregular order, but still maintained a severe and effective fire upon the enemy, who immediately formed in line of battle and came down the hill in excellent order, and with a defiant yell which clearly bespoke their confidence of success.
The guns again moved off in haste and the command was given for the 14th to retreat, which was done in considerable disorder, because the regiment had to cross two fences, and the ground was quite uneven … while the rebel regiment was flanking us on our rear. The boys, however, did some pretty effective shooting in defiance of the orders … to cease firing, and move on to the ridge beyond the town. …
As soon as we were under cover of the town, our cannon opened fire upon the rebel column, and drove them back … The day was exceedingly hot and many were almost entirely exhausted from heat and thirst. Our battery played so effectively upon the rebels, that they did not enter the town, but most of their force returned to the ridge from which they had driven us, and in short time they had two cannons in position, and commenced returning our fire. The [artillery fire] continued during the whole afternoon without damaging us in the least. …
About night the brigade started out to take a walk, and they walked to Cumberland Gap before midnight … Regiment went on picket this morning and was attacked by a greatly superior force. … We got in a good position behind a fence, where we fought until our last cartridge was gone.
Then we retired beyond the town where our batteries were in position. The rebel’s tried to plant a battery, but could not do it. … we returned to camp that night meeting our whole Division near Powell’s River coming to reinforce us. We all returned to the Gap.
William Warner Reid Diary,
16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

12 AUGUST 1862
Colonel J. B. FRY:
Knoxville Register admits that [CSA Col. John C.] Vaughn’s regiments alone lost 109 men at Tazewell on the 6th instant, but claims that they captured four guns. All they got was the shot.

The Graham-Kivett House.
Tazewell’s oldest house, built c. 1810.,_Tennessee#/media/File%3AGraham-Kivett-House-tn1.jpg

15 AUGUST 1862
Cumberland Gap, Tennessee
Messrs. Editors:
Since our arrival here [Cumberland Gap] June 18th, the monotony of camp life has only been broken by work upon the fortifications and an occasional foraging expedition inside the enemy’s lines. One of the most important of these trips was entered upon Saturday morning, Aug. 2nd, by the 26th Brigade, composed of the 16th and 42nd Ohio, and the 22nd  Kentucky regiments under Acting Brigadier General J. F. De Courcy, accompanied by six pieces of artillery under command of Lieut. Anderson of the 1st Wisconsin battery, and Lieut. Webster of the siege battery.
At five o’clock Saturday morning the Brigade left camp, having in charge two hundred wagons, and after driving in the rebel pickets, encamped the same evening on the brow of a hill overlooking Tazewell, the county seat of Claiborne county, Tennessee, and fourteen miles from Cumberland Gap.
Four of the pieces were planted in front of camp, while the 16th Ohio with two pieces of artillery were stationed as pickets on the ground previously occupied by the rebels for the same purpose. The Brigade remained in camp Sunday, while the quartermasters spent their time confiscating rebel horses about town.
On Monday morning the Brigade took up its line of march for Clinch river, seven miles distant, where the rebels were reported encamped, eight thousand strong. There was a slight skirmish near Lycoming, in which one rebel was killed and four or five wounded. Our loss nothing.
Seventy wagons escorted by two companies of the 16th loaded within three-fourths of a mile of the river, and returned without accident. The Brigade re-occupied its camp near Tazewell, Monday evening and during Tuesday. The 14th Kentucky, which had been ordered up as a re-enforcement, acted as picket Tuesday and during the night.
Wednesday morning at 7 o’clock the 14th Kentucky was relieved by the 16th Ohio. Companies B and E were stationed one fourth of a mile in advance as outposts, the remainder, save companies C and G, picketed in different directions about the hill and ravines.
Half an hour after, scattered firing was heard in the direction of the outposts, and the cannon accompanying them was ordered in. No uneasiness was felt for an hour when a simultaneous attack was made on all the pickets, the outposts being entirely surrounded.
The outposts had twice been ordered in but failed to receive the message. They determined not to surrender, but to try to run the gauntlet and escape; but a concealed regiment opening fire on them at ten paces, killing Capt. Edgar of company B, and severely wounding Sergeant Major Beatty Smith, broke their ranks when every man for himself tried to make their own way through the lines, and about half succeeded.
The remainder were taken prisoners. The rear pickets had been attacked by four regiments who had taken position during the previous night, guiding their movements by cow bells. The reputation of the 16th Ohio was at stake, and the pickets fought desperately.
A part of company D supported a rifled Parrot on the brow of the hill, which poured incessant volleys of grape and canister death into the rebel ranks. Then charges were made to capture the piece by a rebel regiment, and once they were so certain of success that their commander ordered them to seize the gun and run it in the bushes; but they had reckoned without their host.
The cannon, double shotted, opened on them at twenty paces, mowing down almost an entire company; and while the gallant little fragment of company D poured a deadly volley into them, Major [Philip] Kershner ordered the piece to retire, and withdrew the pickets to the rear of the ravine.
At this juncture Major K’s horse was shot from under him, and during the remainder of the fight he gave his commands on foot. He was the only field officer engaged in the fight, and maneuvered his regiment (the 16th Ohio) admirably.
For one hour companies C and G held the whole rebel force in check, when the 14th Kentucky came to their assistance, and together they gradually retired, followed by four regiments of rebel infantry.
When our regiments had retired a sufficient distance to be out of danger, our artillery back of Tazewell opened on the rebels, when they gave a fine exhibition of a skedaddle back over the hill. They replied with a twelve pounder, but after having it twice dismounted, drew off.
Major Kershner cannot receive too much credit for the manner in which he conducted the fight, and his success in bringing his men and guns from the field with as little loss. He is a cool, brave man, well versed in tactics, respected and obeyed by his men, and deserving of a higher position in the service.
Dr. Chase, Assistant Surgeon 16th Ohio, was the only medical officer in the fight, and sustained the reputation of his profession, being the last man to leave the field, though the balls created anything but agreeable music about his ears.
General De Courcy was on the field during the latter part of the action.
During the fight, the 42nd Ohio guarded the Virginia road, to prevent the enemy from flanking, and the 22nd Kentucky supported the four guns back of Tazewell.
Two of the 22nd Kentucky were wounded while on picket Tuesday, and succeeded in killing two rebel cavalry, and wounding five or six. Capt. Edgar’s body was brought in by a flag of truce Sunday and interred with appropriate honors. Our regiment lost one killed and fifty-two wounded and missing. Dr. Brashear has today accompanied a flag of truce to Tazewell, to see two of our wounded prisoners.
The Knoxville Register admits one hundred killed on their side, and we are informed on reliable authority that four hundred will not more than account for their killed and wounded. Corporal Paul Wilder, of company B, captured Lieut. Col. Goodwin, of the 11th Tennessee, and brought him into camp.
WILSCOT, unknown soldier

This map shows more detail and place names than the older map.

21 AUGUST 1862
… from what I can learn from the most reliable sources the action commenced about 11 o’clock and continued about two hours and a half. There were no forces engaged on our side but the 16th Ohio, the other forces on our side being necessary to hold in check some 3 or 4 rebel regiments that were awaiting an opportunity to get into our rear and cut off our retreat and communication with the Gap.
The official report shows 54 men missing belonging to several companies… All the 16th engaged in the fight lost their knapsacks, blankets, overcoats and all their contents, including letters and many other little et ceteras that they had from time to time gathered up.
The rebel force, as nearly as we can learn, was 11 regiments of infantry together with artillery and cavalry. Four of our regiments were engaged in the contest with the 16th Ohio, and were several times repulsed, but they outflanked us and we were compelled to retire in consequence of vastly superior numbers …
Yours truly,
Hamilton Richardson
[Captain Hamilton Richardson, 16th OVI]
Wooster Republican.

21 AUGUST 1862
A letter from a member of Capt. McClure’s company … dated on the 10th inst:
“You have no doubt heard of our fight at Tazewell. Our regiment was pretty badly cut up, as all the fighting on our side was done by the 16th. Our company was divided, and attached to other companies, in order to equalize them. I was with Capt. Botsford’s company and had a severe time of it.
When the rebels made the attack, our company was held back as reserve. As soon as they made a charge, we were ordered to support the artillery which we did in handsome style, keeping the enemy in check and our artillery made good their retreat; we then fell back gradually to our main support.
When I came to myself again, I found that I was minus my knapsack and haversack, but with them the secesh received about forty rounds of cartridges, which to some of them I think wasn’t very agreeable. As you will get a better description of the engagement than I can give, I will leave the rest to them.
We buried Capt. Edgar last night. His body was procured by a flag of truce.
Dave, 16th OVI,
Wooster Republican.

Battle of Tazewell
In early August 1862, Gen. E. KIRBY SMITH advanced from Knoxville toward Cumberland Gap, intending to clear the way through the Gap with the 18,000 troops with him. With Gen. CARTER L. STEVENSON’s Division in the lead, Smith camped at the Clinch River, where his pickets sighted one of De Courcy’s foraging parties, 7 miles southeast of Tazewell on 4 August.
After filling their wagons … De Courcy returned to Tazewell, reported the encounter with Smith’s pickets and requested reinforcements. Gen. George Morgan immediately dispatched the 14th KENTUCKY—then doing picket duty on Walden’s Ridge—to reinforce De Courcy.
When the 14th was relieved from picket duty at 7 a.m. on 6 August, Walden’s Ridge was covered in dense fog. Within a half hour, Col. THOMAS H. TAYLOR’s Brigade of Stevenson’s Division, supported by the RHETT ARTILLERY, attacked the 16th OHIO’s pickets in the fog, driving them down the ridge and capturing 52.
When Taylor turned their right flank, the 16th were able to extricate their two guns from the crest of the ridge; but by the time the 14th Kentucky could be formed, the engagement was over and what was left of the 16th had dispersed. With Taylor’s Brigade now in musket range of the 14th KENTUCKY and moving to attack both flanks, the Union regiment fired a volley before retiring to the Union line north of town.
Then, as Taylor’s Brigade advanced toward Tazewell, they passed a lane that ran at right angles to their line of march. Where the lane connected with the main road, the Federals had one of their cannon posted, hidden by some bushes. The sergeant in charge of the piece, double-shotted it with canister and trained it so as to rake the main road and beyond.
As Taylor’s Brigade came down the slope of Walden’s Ridge in line of battle, with colors flying, the cannoneer waited until his line of sight was filled with gray clad troops before firing, sweeping the lane, the road, and the field beyond with a hail of canister.
Confederate casualties from this single discharge are not known, but the slaughter was said to be terrible. In the chaos which ensued, the sergeant limbered up his gun and escaped to the Union lines.
Both the 16th Ohio and 14th Kentucky lost their knapsacks, two day’s rations for 800 men and about 50 small arms that day, but De Courcy managed to save all their wagons and artillery, along with all the horses and provisions they had confiscated.
For the rest of the day there was an exchange of artillery fire between the opposing forces on the two hills until, after dark, with his wagons well on their way to the gap, De Courcy retired.
De Courcy had stripped Claiborne County of provisions for civilians and the Confederate military. One of Taylor’s men, writing home to his parents in Georgia on August 12, complained of the lack of rations over the prior month, saying that sometimes the troops went without food for three days at a time.

Major General E. Kirby Smith

16 AUGUST 1862
Gen. Smith waits for his reinforcements and bypasses Cumberland Gap through Barbourville KY to the west, leaving Stevenson’s Division to watch Morgan’s garrison in the Gap, who Smith believed were too well fortified to capture, but too small a force to challenge him in the field.

11 NOVEMBER 1862
Great Fire of Tazewell
On 11 November 1862, after Confederate troops who have been stationed at Tazewell leave the area, it is discovered that a fire is burning in the town. Some twenty buildings are destroyed, including the courthouse, a large hotel and several brick storehouses. It was watched with dismay by Hugh Graham, whose ‘Castle Rock’ home escaped destruction.

Battle of Bull’s Gap

Bull’s Gap [now Bulls Gap] is a town in the southeastern corner of Hawkins County, Northeast Tennessee, near a gap of the same name in Bays Mountain—part of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. These Appalachians form a broad arc between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau and are made up of long ridges with continuous valleys in between. Bays Mountain runs northeast to southwest, from Kingsport to just south of Knoxville. The northern segment has peaks reaching up to 3,000 feet. It is not a single ridge, but a series of ridges. The tallest peak is Chimneytop Mountain (3,117 feet).

Ridge-and-Valley segment near Bristol, Tennessee

Acts of 1806 Chapter 53
SECTION 1.  That so much of the ordinance aforesaid, as respects the line beginning on Nolichucky river, at the place where the ridge which divides the waters of Bent and Lick creek strikes the same; thence with that ridge to Bull’s Gap of Bays Mountain, at the house of William Cross, leaving the same in the county of Greene; thence eastwardly along the main height of Bays Mountain, to the Chimney Top Mountain, be, and the same is hereby declared to be the line between the counties of Greene and Hawkins, so far as leads from William Cross’s in Bull’s Gap, to the top of Chimney Top Mountain.

In 1792 John Bull received a grant for 55 acres near the east-west passage over Bays Mountain. Capitalizing on his location, Bull operated a stage line through the passage that quickly became known as Bull’s Gap.

Because of the vital East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad line through Bays Mountain, Bull’s Gap becomes a strategically important location for both armies during the American Civil War. The Gap is the scene of many small battles as the armies fight for control of this vital artery between Northeast Tennessee and Knoxville. The efforts by the Confederates to capture Bull’s Gap and the Federal efforts to hold it accounts for many of the battles and skirmishes which occurred here from October 1863 until the end of the war in the spring of 1865.

USA Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupies Knoxville and works diligently to rid Northeast Tennessee of Confederate troops.

17 OCTOBER 1863*
A Brilliant Action at Bull’s Gap
New York Times, October 17, 1863.
Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck. General-in-Chief, Washington:
On the 8th inst. the enemy held down as far as Blue Springs, and a cavalry brigade of ours held Bull’s Blue Springs, and a cavalry brigade of ours held Bull’s Gap, supported by a small body of infantry at Morristown. I, accordingly, dispatched a brigade of cavalry around by Rogersville to intercept the enemy’s retreat, and, with a considerable body of infantry and artillery, moved to Bull’s Gap.
On Saturday, the 10th, I advanced a cavalry brigade to Blue Springs, where they found the enemy strongly posted and offering a stubborn resistance. Skirmishing continued until about 5 o’clock in the morning, when I sent in a division of infantry, who charged and cleared the woods, gallantly driving the enemy in confusion until dark.
During the night the enemy retreated precipitately, leaving their dead on the field and most of their wounded in our hands. We pursued in the morning with infantry and cavalry. The intercepting force met them at Henderson’s but owing to some misunderstanding, withdrew and allowed them to pass with only a slight check.
The pursuit was continued until evening, when I withdrew most of my infantry and returned to this place. Gen. Shackelford with his cavalry and a brigade of infantry continued the pursuit, the enemy making a stand at every important position; but he had driven them completely from the State, captured the fort at Zollicoffer, and burned the long railroad bridge at that place and five other bridges, and destroyed the locomotives and about thirty-five cars. His advance is now ten miles beyond Bristol. Our loss at Blue Springs and in the pursuit was about 100 killed and wounded. The enemy’s loss was considerably greater. About 100 prisoners were taken.
A. E. Burnside, Major-General
~ New York Times.

12 NOVEMBER 1863
KNOXVILLE. Federal situation report
We now hold as far east as Bull’s Gap, scouting to Greeneville and to the south of that place. We picket the Tennessee River from Washington to Kingston. The main force is stationed from Kingston to Knoxville. We occupy all the country south of the Holston, scouting the line of the Little Tennessee. The command is in good health and spirits; very short of clothing and on quarter rations of everything but meat and bread. …
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 128.

24 DECEMBER 1863
Skirmish at Bull’s Gap.

Bull’s Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad


16 JANUARY 1864 – 17 JANUARY 1864
Actions at Bull’s Gap.
~ Dyer’s Battle Index for Tennessee

8 MARCH 1864
Reconnaissance from Morristown to Bull’s Gap.

9 MARCH 1864
Federal situation report, New Market, Strawberry Plains, Mossy Creek, Morristown, Bulls’ Gap …
NEW MARKET, March 9, 1864.
Maj.-Gen. SCHOFIELD, Knoxville:
Have just returned from Mossy Creek. Deserters and citizens continue to come in, but their news does not reach beyond Bull’s Gap, where [CSA Gen. Simon Bolivar] Buckner is said to be. Vaughn’s brigade is still at Browerville and does not number over 400 or 500 in all, partly mounted and partly foot. A cavalry outpost at Chucky Bend. One man who came through from Greeneville, on Friday last, reports some troops scattered between Greeneville and Bull’s Gap, but cannot say how many. …
A rebel cavalry party, 30 or 40 strong, is reported at Massengill’s Mill, on north side of Holston, about 8 miles above Strawberry Plains, yesterday. Col. Garrard sends a party across to-day to look after them. A regiment goes to Morristown to support a cavalry reconnaissance toward Bull’s Gap … I have directed every possible means to be used to get immediately some definite information of the condition of affairs beyond Bay’s Mountain.
My own belief is that Longstreet is gone, and that Buckner is left in command of whatever force remains. Upon examination it is found that the small trestle bridge at Mossy Creek was partially cut by the rebels with the intent doubtless to make a trap for our first train. …
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32 pt. III, pp. 43-44.

15 MARCH 1864
Skirmish at Bull’s Gap

28 MARCH 1864
Federal scouts from Mossy Creek to Bull’s Gap
MOSSY CREEK, March 28, 1864.
Gen. SCHOFIELD: I have scouts just from Bull’s Gap; they report rebel infantry nearly all gone, and are daily leaving the country. Cavalry at the gap not thought to be many; also squads of cavalry in all the gaps and roads between Bull’s Gap and the bend of the Nola Chucky [Nolichucky River], 1 mile below the mouth of Lick Creek. They say the citizens told them the infantry are moving to Virginia, and in few days the cavalry will go to Kentucky. CSA Gen. [East Tennessean John C.] Vaughn* had pickets stationed 7 miles below Rogersville on Saturday and Sunday; the cars came to Bull’s Gap Friday. The men are said to be deserting by hundreds and going to North Carolina, the roads being so closely guarded they cannot come this way.
R. A. CRAWFORD, Chief of Scouts.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 174.

*Not to be confused with CSA Brigadier General Alfred Jefferson Vaughan, Army of Tennessee

31 MARCH 1864
Confederate destruction of railroad trackage and bridges in Lick Creek and Bull’s Gap environs.
KNOXVILLE, March 31, 1864.
Maj.-Gen. SHERMAN: The rebels have all gone from Bull’s Gap, and are now beyond Greeneville. They have destroyed the railroad bridge across Lick Creek and the trestle-work near the gap; they have also broken up the railroad to some extent and carried off the telegraph wire. This is all positive and I take it is conclusive as to [CSA Gen. James] Longstreet’s designs.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 199.

Major General J. M. Schofield USA

1 APRIL – 2 APRIL 1864
Federal Reconnaissance and scouts about Bull’s Gap, Strawberry Plains and Morristown.
Gen. Stoneman reached Bull’s Gap, and his cavalry is scouting beyond that place. The enemy have all gone beyond Jonesborough and probably beyond the Watauga. Scouts report that Longstreet’s main force is moving to East Virginia, only about 3,500 men, mostly cavalry, being left to protect the saltworks. I will know the facts in a few days.
Longstreet was with his troops at Bull’s Gap while I was at Morristown last week, he having returned from Virginia. Upon learning we were advancing he also brought back a division of infantry, which was then en route for Virginia. The rebels have destroyed the bridge beyond Bull’s Gap and Greeneville, and have carried off the telegraph wire, but have not injured the track as far as learned.
I will occupy Bull’s Gap with infantry, and scout the country above with cavalry, but will not injure the railroad until I get further instructions from you. I will have all preparations made to carry out your plans.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.

2 APRIL 1864
Brig. Gen. T. J. Wood, Commanding Third Division, Fourth Army Corps.
GENERAL: Gen. Stoneman went yesterday with a division on a reconnaissance to Morristown. To-day he is at Bull’s Gap, and possibly beyond. The result of his movement will determine whether any other force may be required to complete what is to be done on that line. No news from below.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. COX, Brigadier-Gen., Chief of Staff.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 225-226.

Brigadier General J. D. Cox USA

24 APRIL 1864
Scouts in Bull’s Gap environs.
Maj.-Gen. SCHOFIELD, Knoxville:
[Gen. Mahlon Dickerson] Manson got off promptly at daybreak this morning. The cavalry are ordered to make 30 miles a day, and the infantry 20. All have five days’ rations and forage. The instructions for their guidance in different contingencies I made out fully as you directed. The news brought in by scouts makes me confident of success for the expedition, there being no rebel force sufficient to meet them this side of Holston.
J. D. COX, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, p. 476.

25 APRIL – 27 APRIL 1864
Expedition from Bull’s Gap to Watauga River and skirmish.
Report of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, U. S. Army,
Commanding Department of the Ohio.
KNOXVILLE, April 27, 1864.
I have intelligence from the Watauga expedition. As was anticipated the rebels destroyed the bridge after being driven across it by our cavalry. The river was too high to be forded. Our loss in the fight was 3 killed and 18 wounded; that of the enemy not yet reported. The troops will reach Lick Creek to-night. They have destroyed all the bridges from Bull’s Gap to the Watauga and about 20 miles of track. Considering the time allowed them think they have done remarkably well and all that could be desired.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 686.

25 APRIL – 27 APRIL 1864
Account of CSA Surgeon John W. Lawing
Thomas’ (North Carolina) Legion, C. S. Army, on the expedition from Bull’s Gap to Watauga River.
Carter’s DEPOT, EAST TENNESSEE, April 28, 1864.
I desire through your paper to give a brief account of the engagement recently fought at this place. The enemy, about 2,000 strong, consisting of the Third Indiana, the Tenth Michigan Mounted Infantry, and a battalion with two pieces of artillery under General [Mahlon Dickerson] Manson, United States Army, attacked this place on Monday, April 25. The fight began at 2 o’clock p. m., and with only occasional intervals continued until dark.
The resisting force, which consisted of only a portion of Colonel [William Holland] Thomas’ Legion, North Carolina Troops, and without artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel James [Robert] Love of North Carolina, met them heroically and repulsed them in a crippled condition. …
Under cover of the night the enemy removed their wounded and dead and resumed the firing early next morning, but after a short skirmish they retired. A few of our cavalry pursued and on their return reported that the enemy had burned a small bridge, torn up a portion of the railroad track, and were still retreating, evidently not intending to renew the attack.
During this engagement our men displayed a heroism worthy of veterans and of the noble cause in which they are engaged. This victory, though comparatively small, is in keeping with the progress of events which makes our Confederate cause ever plainer to our minds and dearer to our hearts.

Bulls Gap Railroad Depot, date unknown

28 JUNE 1864
A Confederate Martial Marriage at Bull’s Gap.
An Alabama soldier … who is uglier than the renowned Suggs—in fact so far diseased with the chronic big ugly as to have failed procuring a furlough from Brig. Gen. [Evander] Law—wooed and won a buxom Tennessee maid of doubtful age. …
The bridegroom stood largely over six honest feet in his socks, was as hairy as Esau, and pale, slim and lank. His jacket and pants represented both of the contending parties at war. His socks were much the worse for wear, and his toes sticking out of the gaping rents thereof, reminded one of the many little heads of pelicans you observe protruding from the nest which forms the coat of arms of Louisiana.
The exact color of his suit could not be given. Where the buttons had been lost off in the wear and tear of war, a unique substitute, in the shape of persimmon seed, was used. The bride had essayed to wash “Alabama’s” clothes, while he modestly concealed his nudity behind a brush heap, awaiting there until they were dried.
The bride was enrobed in a clean but faded dress. Her necklace was composed of a string of chinquapins, her brow was environed by a wreath of faded bonnet flowers, and her wavy hair was tucked up behind in the old-fashioned way. She wore a stout pair of No. 9 brogans, and her stockings and gloves were made of rabbit skins—fur side next to the flesh. … She wore no hoops, for nature had given her such a form as to make crinoline of no use to her.
All being ready, the “Texas Parson” proceeded to his duty with becoming gravity. … Then the following was read aloud:
“By order of our directive General Braxton Bragg, I hereby solemnly pronounce you man and wife, for and during the war, and you shall cleave unto each other until the war is over, and then apply to Governor Watts for a family right of public land in Pike, the former residence of the bridegroom, and you, and each of you, will assist to multiply and replenish the earth.”
The ceremony wound up with a regular bear hug between the happy mortals, and we resumed our hog hunt, all the time “guffawing” at the stoic indifference manifested by the married parties on the picket line at Bull’s Gap. On our falling back from the gap we observed the happy couple perambulating with the column through the mud and snow, wearing an air of perfect indifference to observation or remark from the soldiery. …
Richmond [VA] Whig, 28 June 1864.

Brigadier General Jacob Ammen USA

Report of Brig. Gen. Jacob Ammen, U. S. Army,
Of skirmishes at Rheatown, Jonesborough, the Watauga River, and Carter’s Station.
Knoxville, Tenn., November 6, 1864. CAPT.; September 19, 1864, I received the following telegram:
LOUISVILLE, KY., 19 September 1864.
Brig.-Gen. AMMEN, Knoxville, Maj.-Gen. [Stephen] Burbridge will start to-morrow on his expedition into Southwest Virginia. Gen. [Alvan] Gillem is to co-operate with him. Support them by such force as you can make available, according to understanding we had at Chattanooga.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
The understanding was, that Maj.-Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge would attack the enemy at Abingdon and the salt-works 27 September; that Gen. Gillem, with his force, was to attack the enemy at Jonesborough the same day, and that the troops under my command would hold Bull’s Gap.
Subsequently Gen. Burbridge telegraphed to Gen. Gillem to attack at Jonesborough 29 September, and follow up the enemy the 30th, as Gen. Burbridge could not be at Abingdon before that time. In pursuance of these instructions I went to Bull’s Gap by railroad with 300 of the First Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Col. Hawley in command 21 September.
Next day 200 more of the same regiment came on the train, and 25 September, 200 of the Tenth Michigan Cavalry mounted and 100 of the same regiment dismounted reached Bull’s Gap. Gen. Williams having united with the force commanded by CSA Gen. Vaughn in East Tennessee, Gen. Gillem requested me to accompany him, as he had not troops enough to meet the enemy in our front.
Gen. Gillem’s command, consisted of the Ninth and Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, and six pieces of artillery; total, 1,650; my command, First Ohio Heavy Artillery, 500, and 300 of the Tenth Michigan; total, 800. Capt. Kirk with his command and two companies of 100-days’ men were left at Bull’s Gap.
27 September, we left Bull’s Gap with the two commands (2,450); marched to Greeneville without seeing the enemy. 28 September, near Rheatown, the advance met a small party of the enemy, wounded 3, and drove the rest back. September 29, the advance met a small force at Jonesborough drove it from the town; met more, and the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry drove them on the Duvall’s Ferry road and across the Watauga River.
A part of the enemy went on the Carter’s Station road and were pursued by the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry. 30 September, marched to Carter’s Station, attacked the enemy, and drove most of his force across the river to a strong position …
1 October, the artillery was placed advantageously, did good work, and soon after 12 m. the enemy left his works and retreated … At 12 m. started back with the First Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery and Tenth Michigan Cavalry and reached Knoxville 5 October 1864. …
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. AMMEN, Brig.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers, Cmdg. Division.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 558-559.

Confederate attack repulsed at Bull’s Gap
BULL’S GAP, TENN., September 22, 1864—3.50 p. m.
Gen. BURBRIDGE: The enemy attacked the forces at this place this morning, and were repulsed. They are now visible on our flank. It is Gen. Ammen’s and my opinion that all their available force is here.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 440.

Major General Stephen G. Burbridge USA

27 SEPTEMBER  1864
Report of Col. John B. Palmer, Fifty-eighth North Carolina Infantry (C.S.).
Asheville, November 3, 1864.
MAJ.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the recent operations of the force under my command: On 27 September last I notified you that Gen. Vaughn had been ordered back to Saltville, and that I had fallen back to Warm Springs, and that I intended moving to Cocke County, Tenn., in the rear of the enemy, who had followed Gen. Vaughn’s forces to Carter’s Depot.
This movement of mine … seriously alarmed the enemy and caused their precipitate retreat to Bull’s Gap. In according with directions received from Gen. R. E. Lee to co-operate with Gen. Breckinridge when notified by him, I moved from this place on 17 October, and, concentrating my forces at Warm Springs, moved over the Paint Mountain on the 19th with 800 men and three pieces of artillery.
… a small force of cavalry I had stationed in Cocke County, Tenn. … struck the railroad at Mossy Creek and burned the railroad bridge. This caused the enemy to evacuate Bull’s Gap and retire in the direction of Bean’s Station. On 21 October I formed a junction with Gen. Vaughn at Bull’s Gap. During the night of that day I moved to Russellville, and having effectually destroyed the railroad in that vicinity and collected and secured the telegraph wire, I, by Gen. Vaughn’s directions, returned to Bull’s Gap.
On the 27 October I proceeded, by directions of Gen. Breckinridge, to Morristown for the purpose of conferring with Gen. Vaughn, whose forces I found skirmishing with the enemy. That night my mountain howitzer was ordered forward. … Gen. Vaughn requested me to send back to Bull’s Gap and have my command in readiness to move the next morning at 6 a. m. to Russellville, should he so order. This I did.
Early on the morning of the 28th I addressed a note to Gen. Vaughn to know if my command had been ordered up during the night, in order that if it had I might go back and place it in position at Russellville; or if it had not, that I might go to his headquarters and hold a conference with him as directed by Gen. Breckinridge.
I received the following reply from Gen. Vaughn’s assistant adjutant-general:
HDQRS. CAVALRY, &c., Morristown, 28 October 1864.
Col. PALMER, Cmdg.:
The general directs me to say … that your command was ordered to Russellville last night. Enemy are still in our front. Some skirmishing this morning.
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
I notified Gen. Vaughn that I would place my command in position at Russellville, and immediately returned to that place … I selected a line about one mile in advance of Russellville, on the Morristown road, and was moving my command into position when Gen. Vaughn’s staff officer arrived from the front and requested me to form my line in rear of Russellville, on the Bull’s Gap road.
I faced the column about and was marching it to the new position when Gen. Vaughn’s retreating cavalry swept by my men in the wildest disorder. My men were hastily thrown across the road and an ineffectual attempt made to stop the fleeing cavalry and induce them to form a line. The rear of Gen. Vaughn’s baggage and supply train had just reached my line when the pursuing enemy entered the town on its opposite side.
Skirmishers were immediately thrown out from my command on the left and engaged the enemy, while my artillery opened from a slight elevation in rear of my right, effectually checking the enemy’s advance and enabling Gen. Vaughn to rally from 150 to 200 men in rear of my line. The enemy made no farther advance, but fell back to Morristown, stating that they had encountered at Russellville the whole of Breckinridge’s corps.
I had with me not more than 600 men, the balance having been left at Bull’s Gap by direction of Gen. Vaughn. From this position I was ordered back to Bull’s Gap, and from thence to Greeneville, I protesting against both movements. From Greeneville Gen. Vaughan fell back to Rheatown, and by his directions my command returned to this district. …
It is evident that this district, as I have always urged, affords an admirable base from which to operate against and threaten the enemy in East Tennessee. …
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. PALMER, Col., Cmdg. District. CSA
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 844-857

16 OCTOBER 1864
Skirmish near Bull’s Gap.

18 OCTOBER 1864
The enemy evacuated Bull’s Gap …
HDQRS., In the Field.
MAJ.: Mossy Creek bridge was burned by one of my scouts on night of 16th instant. The enemy evacuated Bull’s Gap very hurriedly about 2 o’clock this morning, retreating in the direction of Knoxville. I am pursuing. Commissaries should look well to the supplies in this department.
Very respectfully,
J. [John] C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen.

20 OCTOBER 1864
HDQRS. CAVALRY, Near Bull’s Gap, October 20, 1864.
MAJ.: The enemy moved hurriedly from Bull’s Gap on the night of the 17th instant. They are now encamped at Bean’s Station. The cause of the evacuation was occasioned by a detachment of twenty men, under Capt. Mims, burning the fort used by the enemy at Mossy Creek, and the destruction of the railroad bridge. He also destroyed effectually some two miles of the railroad. He reports great consternation among the citizens at Knoxville and surrounding country. …
Two companies of cavalry at Strawberry Plains. Small force represented to be at Knoxville. I am of the opinion that the enemy will return and give me battle in a day or two. Col. Palmer will probably reach me to-morrow. I shall endeavor to hold as much of the country as possible, but if pressed shall resume my old lines at Rheatown.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

Gen. John Vaughn’s Tennessee Brigade during the Vicksburg Campaign.

23 OCTOBER 1864
MAJ.: My forces pursued the enemy to their fortifications at Strawberry Plains, where they met some re-enforcements; and from the condition of my stock, for want of shoeing and other causes, I think it prudent to fall back to the line at Bull’s Gap. The strength of the enemy that left Bull’s Gap was between 3,000 and 4,000, consisting of cavalry, artillery, and infantry. …
I would suggest … that Gen.’s Cosby’s and Duke’s commands be sent here, and I think we could draw the enemy out of his works, and if so, could very easily defeat him. I hope the general will favor the suggestion. My command is increasing every day and getting some recruits.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

John C. Breckinridge CSA advances from Virginia into Northeast Tennessee.
When Federal cavalry begin roaming up East Tennessee’s Watauga Valley in late 1864, Gen. John C. Breckinridge CSA in southwestern Virginia decides they are too close to Bristol and resolves to push them back. … he moves down the railroad line to Greeneville.
Union troops under Gen. Alvan C. Gillem advance beyond Greeneville, but retire in front of larger Confederate forces moving out of Jonesborough. To protect the rail lines to Knoxville, the Federals fall back to Bulls Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad.

Major General John C. Breckinridge CSA
Painting by Eliphalet Frazer Andrews

Battle of Bull’s Gap Summary
11 NOVEMBER 1864
Confederate forces attack in the morning, but are repulsed by 11:00 a.m.
Confederates are pushed back within hours of the initial attack.
Artillery fire continues throughout the day.
12 NOVEMBER 1864
Both sides launch morning attacks.
Confederates hit Union forces in a variety of locations but gain little ground.
13 NOVEMBER 1864
Firing occurs throughout most of the day.
Confederates do not assault Union lines.
Union forces are short on everything from ammunition to rations.
They withdraw from Bull’s Gap toward Russellville late in the evening.
The battle of Bull’s Gap ends on the third day.
A minor victory for the Confederate Army.
14 NOVEMBER 1864
Breckinridge attacks the Federals on 14 November and engages them near Russellville, causing a rout.
The Federals fall back to Strawberry Plains (northeast of Knoxville) where Breckinridge again engages his forces.
Federal reinforcements soon arrive and foul weather begins to play havoc with the roads and streams.
Breckinridge, with most of his force, retires back to Virginia.
The Confederate victory at the Battle of Bulls Gap is a setback in the Federal plans to rid East Tennessee of Confederate military presence, though temporary as Breckinridge withdraws to Virginia.

Battle of Bull’s Gap > As the Confederates saw it.
On 11 November 1864, Gen. Basil Duke CSA is in the process of pushing the Federal rear guard out of Lick Creek and chasing them to Bull’s Gap. Union commander Gen. Alvan C. Gillem USA … sorties several times from Bull’s Gap, but Duke keeps pushing him back. When Breckinridge arrives, he decides to attack up the mountain the next morning.
Although Duke thinks the movement is reckless, both he and Breckinridge are in the thick of the fighting on the morning of 12 November. Breckinridge devises a coordinated assault on the Union front, flank, and rear …
The flanking force on the Union left, consisting of dismounted cavalry led by Breckinridge in person, carries a line of trenches in hand-to-hand fighting. …
Exhausted Confederate troops stumble back down the steep mountainside … victims of steep terrain well-defended.

Brigadier General Basil Duke CSA

Henrietta Hunt Morgan Duke
Wife of Gen. Basil Duke
Sister of Gen. John Hunt Morgan

Battle of Bull’s Gap > The Union viewpoint
Report of the Battle of Bull’s Gap by Gen. Alvan Gillem USA
‘Regret to inform you my command has met a terrible reverse.’
On the night of the 9th moved from Greeneville to Bull’s Gap; 11th, the enemy attacked me and was repulsed; 12th, at daylight assault was renewed, Breckinridge leading storming party … On the 13th the enemy renewed attack, but not with such vigor. From our position we could see their infantry arriving … as my command had been living four days without bread, horses starving, and ammunition exhausted …  
I determined to evacuate the gap on the night of the 13th, and was not interfered with until the greater part of my command, artillery, and trains had passed Russellville, when the rear was attacked and men became panic-stricken.
All efforts of myself and their officers to rally them was fruitless. They ran over everything. The enemy, who had not attacked vigorously at first, then charged and broke through our lines, capturing artillery and trains. … I passed over the grounds in the enemy’s rear. Did not see a dead Federal soldier; but, in horses, arms, and equipments, have lost heavily. …
This command has heretofore fought gallantly. Had it not become panic stricken could have easily repulsed the enemy and kept them back. … Will reorganize command and await your orders; and, if you are willing to trust me, try them again.
Had assistance been extended when asked for from the commander at Knoxville this disaster would not have occurred. But my men were allowed to starve while storehouses were full and a railroad running to Russellville.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 885-886.

Major General Alvan C. Gillem USA

New York Times.
Defeat of Gen. Gillem near Bull’s Gap.
Capture of Four Hundred Prisoners by Gen. Breckinridge.
Fighting at Strawberry Plains.
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 19.
Intelligence deemed reliable, the accuracy of which cannot be determined to-night, says:
Very recently the rebel Gen. BRECKINRIDGE, with 10,000 men, attacked Gen. GILLEM near Bull’s Gap, and after a desperate fight, defeated GILLEM, who lost four hundred prisoners. …
From The Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 16.
The following official dispatch was received at the War Department last night:
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War:
Gen. BRECKINRIDGE reports that on the night of the 13th inst. he turned Bull’s Gap, when the enemy attempted to retreat.
About 1 o’clock on the 14th inst., with VAUGHN’s and DUKE’s commands, he struck their column and routed it. Several hundred prisoners, ten stands of colors, six pieces of artillery, with caissons and horses complete, fifty loaded wagons with teams, and ambulances with medical supplies, &c., captured.
CHATTANOOGA, Saturday, 19 November 1864.
The rebels attacked our forces at Strawberry Plains, eighteen miles above Knoxville, in force yesterday morning, at daylight. The fighting continued at intervals all day. Our forces held their own. The rebels were repulsed in every attack.

Granny Feathers House, Bull’s Gap, Northeast Tennessee
This building, once a hotel, has survived since 1856.

After the American Civil War, Bull’s Gap and the damaged railroad begin to rebuild. The earlier planned Rogersville connection to the ET&VA is completed in 1870 by the Rogersville and Jefferson Railroad, and the town of Bull’s Gap grows and prospers at the junction of the two lines.

The Battles for Cumberland Gap 1861 – 1862

The Geography of Cumberland Gap
The Cumberland Gap is a natural passageway through the Cumberland Plateau of the Cumberland Mountains, which are part of the southeastern Appalachians. The Gap is located near the point where the states of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee meet—between Middlesboro, Kentucky and the town of Cumberland Gap, which is located below the Gap at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains on the northern boundary of Northeast Tennessee.
The Cumberland Gap region includes one county in Virginia, four counties in Kentucky, and five counties in Tennessee—Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, and Union—all within a 25-mile radius of the Cumberland Gap. This area spans across mountains, rivers, and lakes.
Several American Civil War engagements occur in and around the Cumberland Gap; they are known collectively as the Battle of Cumberland Gap.

A Foggy morning at Cumberland Gap

Kentucky declared herself neutral on 16 May 1861. The state’s neutrality is broken on 4 September 1861, exposing the entire northern boundary of Tennessee to possible invasion.

First Occupation of Cumberland Gap
CSA Gen. Felix Zollicoffer, commander of the Department of East Tennessee at Knoxville, takes the initiative and marches his forces to Cumberland Gap. He easily overcomes the local Home Guard and occupies the Gap, and builds earthwork fortifications to stave of any Union invasion of Northeast Tennessee. They erect seven forts on the north facing slope, and cleared the mountains of all trees within one mile of each fort.
A soldier wrote, “It is the roughest place in the world, but we are going to stick the mountain full of cannon to prevent the Lincolnites from crossing.”

MINI BIO: CSA Gen. Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
In 1860 newspaperman Felix Zollicoffer urged Tennesseans to remain loyal to the Union. When the state seceded in June 1861, however, he fully supported the decision. Tennessee Governor Isham Harris rewarded Zollicoffer with a commission of brigadier general on 9 July 1861.
On 26 July 1861 Harris sent the new general to Knoxville to command the new Department of East Tennessee. A large majority of that region’s population has continued to support the United States.
Zollicoffer’s orders were to enforce secession in the eastern counties and to control the Unionists, in case they might have any ideas of rebelling against the new Confederate government.
Gen. Felix Zollicoffer attempted to pacify East Tennessee’s pro-Union population with a lenient policy and the stationing of only fifteen companies of troops in the region.
On 8 August 1861 Isham Harris was re-elected governor of Tennessee; on 18 August, he ordered Zollicoffer to arrest and, if necessary, banish Unionist leaders from the state, changing Zollicoffer’s policy from leniency to force.

8 OCTOBER 1861
Excerpt from a letter from Dr. U. G. Owen to his wife
Cumberland Gap Tenn. Oct. 8th 1861.
Mrs. U. G. Owen
We are camped on the mountain at the Gap. It is so cold that I can scarcely write this evening. … We are building forts, breastworks, &c of every sort, going to stick the mountain full of cannons to prevent the Lincolnites from crossing. We have one hundred at work every day, building fortifications.
I have my tent up on the side of the mountain, plenty of straw on the floor, plenty of cover to keep me warm at night. I also have a cot to sleep on – brought from Knoxville – did not cost me anything. It Rained hard all day yesterday and part of Sunday. I have not been here long enough yet to find out anything about the people.
I will have to get me a horse – to [would love to have] our little horse from home but I hardly know how to get him here but I must have horse certain. Your Pa may know of some body coming to Knoxville and to Cumberland Gap who would bring him. They could ride him from Knoxville here.
I hope you are well satisfied at your Aunt’s … Don’t be uneasy about me because I will keep well & do well here or wherever I may go or be sent.
Our Regiment is nearly all well & about, very few sick. We are all camped here around the corner of three States, Tenn, Kentucky & Virginia. My tent is in Virginia, Dr. Compton’s in Ky, several are in Tenn. Battle’s Regiment is 13 miles from here … in Kentucky.
I see some of them [civilians] every day almost bringing salt that they captured from the Lincolnites at the Salt Works in Ky.
I want you to write me everything, tell me if you are satisfied there.
Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura, October 8, 1861.

October 24, 1861
Excerpt from another letter to Mrs. U. G. Owen
Cumberland Gap the 24th 1861
Mrs. U. G. Owen, My beloved Wife
We expect a fight here soon. General Zollicoffer is retreating back this way. They had a little fight at Rock Castle [River] Ky. He sent an order here last night to place our cannon & have them in Readiness. We worked all night at that & building breastworks. Col. Churchwell issued an order last evening for all the women to leave the Regiment, the kind of women you saw there at Camp Sneed – bad kind.
Laura, you want to come here but if you were here a while you would want to get away. Cold & wet, no house to get in, no fire but a little smoky one out of doors. I would not like for you to be here in that condition, and I will tell you that we are alarmed here and may have to retreat in a hurry.
I don’t want you to come here now while there is danger. I can’t tell one day where we will be next. Write me often. At Present I am in a great hurry. I will write again in a few days.
Your devoted husband
Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura, October 24, 1861.

Zollicoffer determines to establish defensive line at Jacksborough to thwart expected Federal invasion of Tennessee from Kentucky.
Twenty-three miles from Montgomery.
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen., Richmond:
… I left the regiments of Cols. Churchwell and Rains at Cumberland Gap, busily engaged in completing the works there. Within a week or ten days I think the defenses there will be very strong. I think the Jacksborough routes can soon be made effectively impassable, and then I hope to move by the Jamestown route and advance.
If you will examine the topography of the country, you will perceive I have passed to this point along a valley at the foot of the mountain. The road is good. To pass from Jacksborough direct to Huntsville or Montgomery or Jamestown direct, I would have to pursue a mountain road, poor and broken, and the mountain is generally 30 or 40 miles wide.
Very respectfully,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 4, pp. 530-531.


19 JANUARY 1862
Gen. Felix Zollicoffer is killed at the Battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky, but the Gap remains in Confederate control. The defenses are now manned by Col. James Edward Rains and his troops. 

CSA Col. James Edwards Rains.

MINI BIO: Col. James Edwards Rains
James Edwards Rains, a Nashville native, graduates second in the Yale Law School Class of 1854. Before the American Civil War, he works as city attorney and associate editor of the Daily Republican Banner under Felix Zollicoffer. In April 1861 Rains enlists as a private in the Confederate army and spends most of his military service in Northeast Tennessee under his old boss, now Confederate general, Felix Zollicoffer.
After Gen. Zollicoffer is killed at Mill Springs [19 January 1862], Col. James Edwards Rains and his troops man the defenses at the Cumberland Gap, repulsing numerous attempts by Union forces to seize the vital passageway. For his excellent service at the Gap, Col. James Edwards Rains is nominated as a brigadier general on 4 November 1862. The Confederate Senate has not confirmed his nomination when he is killed while leading his brigade at the Battle of Stones River on 31 December 1862. He was 29 years old.

14 FEBRUARY 1862.
Reports of Skirmish near Cumberland Gap.
Report of USA Gen. Samuel. P. Carter, Twelfth Brigade.
Capt. J. B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., and Chief of Staff.
CAPT.: A reconnaissance was made to-day by a company of First Battalion Kentucky Cavalry, under the immediate command of Lieut.-Col. Munday [who] reports that he advanced quite close to the Gap; attacked the enemy’s cavalry picket; killed 5, wounded 2, and took 2 prisoners, 8 horses, 7 sabers, and 5 double-barrel shot-guns. No one was injured in the colonel’s command. Our party advanced so near the enemy’s defenses that they got within range of their batteries, which opened on them, when they returned to camp.

Report of CSA Col. James E. Rains.
SIR: I am convinced that the enemy will attack us at this place within a week. An attack to-morrow is probable. Their cavalry drove in our pickets to-day about 3 miles in advance of us. The force, seven regiments, are reported to be at Cumberland Ford, 15 miles in front. The force we have cannot hold the place, being insufficient to man the works.
The strength of the position has been greatly exaggerated. On the Kentucky side it is naturally very weak and difficult to defend. … It will require two regiments, in addition to the two now here, to resist the force menacing us. The position should never be abandoned. Its strategic importance cannot be exaggerated. … If abandoned, it cannot be easily retaken. Can re-enforcements be sent us?
JAMES E. RAINS, Col., Cmdg. Post.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 417

18 FEBRUARY 1862
the whole East Tennessee border is much exposed …
SIR: In a dispatch of the 14th instant I acquainted you with the fact that our cavalry pickets had been attacked by the cavalry of the enemy and that an attack on this place was probable.
During the night following the engagement between the pickets there fell a deep snow, which, followed by constant rains up to this time, has placed the roads and streams between us and the enemy in such condition that an immediate attack is improbable.
Several days of fair weather much elapse before the enemy, distant about a day’s march, would attempt to reach us. By a dispatch from Colonel Vance, commanding at Knoxville, I learn that three regiments are on their way to re-enforce us. If these regiments reach us in time the place is safe against any force that can be brought over the roads in our front.
Indeed, it is not probable that thus re-enforced we will be attacked at all. If not re-enforced, an attack is highly probable. I would respectfully suggest that the whole East Tennessee border is much exposed and several important gaps wholly undefended, through any one of which it would not be difficult for the enemy to throw a force.
JAMES E. RAINS, Colonel, Commanding Post.

25 FEBRUARY 1862
CSA Gen. E. Kirby Smith assigned to command the Department of East Tennessee, headquarters at Knoxville.

21 MARCH 1862 – 23 MARCH 1862
Reconnaissance to and skirmish at Cumberland Gap.
Report of Col. Samuel P. Carter, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. TWELFTH BRIGADE, Camp Cumberland Ford.
CAPT.: Late in the afternoon of the 20th instant I was informed by a messenger from Claiborne County, East Tennessee, that four rebel regiments, with six pieces of artillery, under command of Gen. [E. Kirby] Smith left Cumberland Gap on the 19th instant to attack the Second East Tennessee Regt., which was then stationed at Woodson’s Gap, some 3 miles from Fincastle, Campbell County, East Tennessee.

On the morning of the 21st we marched toward Cumberland Gap, with the hope of arriving there before the return of the rebel troops. But when we arrived within 2 miles of the Gap I was overtaken by a messenger (who had been sent to Claiborne County) with information that the rebels had made a forced march, and were by that time within their encampment. As my force was much too small to make an attack on their strong entrenchments, protected by heavy redoubts, I determined to remain in front of their works for a day or two, and make as complete an examination of their works as practicable. We advanced on the enemy’s right and drove in their pickets; moved close to their right line of defense, and bivouacked for the night.

On the morning of the 22nd threw out skirmishers and drove the enemy from the woods to the abatis, which covers the whole mountainside, inside the line of fallen timber. The rebel sharpshooters were well protected by rifle pits. … The rebels opened on our skirmishers with shrapnel from two 12-pounders, but without doing any damage. I moved the two Parrott guns and their regiments to a ridge in the front of the Gap, where the former were placed in position and soon opened on the rebel works, and continued cannonading them until the afternoon.

Our fire was returned warmly from seven different works … They threw 24-pounder solid shot, 12-pounder shell (spherical), 6-pounder solid, and 8-inch shell. … They were several times driven from their guns, but as they had hill and deep trenches close at hand where they seemed to be securely covered, I doubt if they suffered much. … Although the rebel force was more than double ours, all of our efforts to draw them from their works were unsuccessful.

This command bivouacked again just in front of the Gap, and as I had completed successfully the reconnaissance, I left in the forenoon of yesterday, and arrived in this place last evening. Some of the officers and men had narrow escapes, but not one was injured or lost. …

Although we had snow-storms and sleet during both the nights we bivouacked in the mountains, as well as yesterday, I heard no word of complaint from either officer or man. The ammunition of Parrott guns, both fused and percussion, seemed to be defective, as very many of our shells were not seen to explode. I have ordered it to be carefully examined.

This examination of Cumberland Gap confirms the opinion given in a former letter that the place is very strong if attacked from the north side, and can only be carried by a large force with a heavy loss of life, but it can be readily reduced by having a good force attack simultaneously on the south side, or, better still, by an investment, which would soon starve them out. …
Respectfully, &c., S. P. CARTER,
Acting Brig.-Gen., Twelfth Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 42-45.

22 MARCH 1862
Report of Col. James E. Rains, C. S. Army.
HDQRS., Cumberland Gap, March 22, 1862.
SIR: On yesterday evening, about dark, a party of infantry scouts which I sent out drove in the enemy’s pickets 3 miles out on Harlan road. At daylight skirmishing parties of the enemy opened fire upon our right from the adjacent hills. The firing is now going on and the Minie balls are falling within our works. I have seen no artillery. The snow is falling thickly and the morning is dark. Our men are in the trenches. The fire is a very thin one, and we have not returned it. One man is wounded.
JAMES E. RAINS, Col., Cmdg. Post.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 42-45.

28 MARCH 1862
USA General George W. Morgan is assigned to command of Seventh Division, Army of the Ohio, and is ordered to operate against Cumberland Gap. By April 1862, Morgan is moving against the Gap with the remaining three brigades of his division.

30 MARCH 1862
Knoxville, Tenn., March 30, 1862.
GENERAL: Colonel J. E. Rains, commanding the post at Cumberland Gap, reports that on the evening of the 21st instant the enemy drove in the pickets and on the morning following appeared in his front. Having succeeded in placing two pieces of artillery in position on a neighboring ridge, they opened fire, which was kept up during the day (the 22nd) with considerable vigor, as well as from small-arms at long range, but with little effect. The loss of the enemy is not known, but during the night they withdrew, apparently in great consternation. A body of cavalry to protect their rear were the only troops of the Federal forces seen the next morning, and which it was impossible to cut off.
Information which had reached the enemy of an expedition toward Jacksborough led them to believe that the garrison had been weakened to a great extent, and induced this demonstration. After feeling and ascertaining that it was in force, they retired. Their force was no other than Carter’s brigade, estimated at about 4,000 to 6,000.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Major-General, Commanding.

USA Gen. Samuel P. Carter

11 APRIL 1862
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War
ON the 11th of April 1862, with the Seventh Division of the Army of the Ohio under my command, I arrived at Cumberland Ford with orders from General Buell to take Cumberland Gap, fourteen miles to the southward, and occupy East Tennessee, if possible; if not, then to prevent the Confederates from advancing from that direction. … The division under my command consisted of four brigades, commanded by Genls. Samuel P. Carter and James G. Spears, Colonel John F. De Courcy, 16th Ohio regiment, and Colonel John Coburn, 33rd Indiana regiment.
During the preceding winter [1861—1862], Carter had occupied a position near the ford and threatening the Gap. The condition of Carter’s brigade was deplorable. The winter’s storms … had practically cut him off from his base of supplies, and … his troops were half-famished and were suffering from scurvy. Of the 900 men of the 49th Indiana regiment, only 200 were fit for duty.
Reconnaissances at once satisfied me that the … Gap could not be taken by a direct attack, nor without immense loss. I determined to try to force the enemy to abandon his stronghold by strategy.
The position of the Confederate commander in East Tennessee, Major-General E. Kirby Smith, was a difficult one. A large majority of the people of East Tennessee were devoted to the Union, and the war there had become a vendetta. The Union men regarded the Confederates as criminals and were in turn denounced by the Confederates as insurgents. Kirby Smith recommended the arrest and incarceration in Southern prisons of leading citizens … as a means of converting the majority to the Southern cause.
On our side, acts not less vigorous were resorted to. A few days after our occupation of Cumberland Gap, June 18th, General Spears, without authority, sent out in the night, captured and wanted to hang a number of Confederate citizens, whose offense was that they had arrested T. A. R. Nelson, while on his way to take his seat in the United States Congress, and had sent him to Richmond. Their lives were saved by my interposition, and they were sent as prisoners to Indianapolis.
For a distance of eighteen miles north of Big Creek Gap, a pass south-west of Cumberland Gap, the Confederates had heavily blockaded the narrow and abrupt defiles [passes] along that route. The work of clearing the blockades was thoroughly done. But while Spears was thus engaged Kirby Smith advanced with a large force of infantry through a bridle-path called Woodson’s Gap, to cut him off.
The attempt might not have succeeded but for the heroic act of Mrs. Edwards, a noble woman, whose heart was wholly in the Union cause, although she had a son in each of the opposing armies. Well mounted, she passed the mountains by another path, and, by incredible efforts, reached my headquarters in time to enable me to send couriers at full speed with orders for Spears to fall back toward Barboursville [KY], until his scouts should report that Smith had recrossed the mountains.
In order to succeed in the task committed to me it was necessary to compel Kirby Smith, who was at this time concentrating his whole army in my immediate front, to divide his forces. To this end I urged General [Don Carlos] Buell to direct General O. M. Mitchel to threaten Chattanooga and thus draw the main force of the Confederates in that direction.
About four miles south of Cumberland Ford is a narrow defile [pass] formed by an abrupt mountain on one side, and the Cumberland River on the other, through which passes the State Road to Cumberland Gap, and on the edge of the defile was an abandoned cabin, known as “The Moss House” … at the junction of the State Road and a pathway leading to Lambdin’s [?] on the main road to Big Creek Gap.
On the morning of May 22nd I sent forward the brigade of De Courcy, with a battery, with orders to occupy the defile, and, as a stratagem intended to puzzle Smith, to construct a fort at the junction of the pathway and road. I threw forward a strong party of pioneers to widen the path leading to Lambdin’s, so as to enable my artillery and train to move forward.
The mountain was steep and rugged, and skill and toil were necessary to the accomplishment of the work. Twenty-two guns—two of them 30-pounder and two 20-pounder Parrott’s—had to be dragged over the Pine and Cumberland mountains, at times by means of block and tackle, at others by putting in as many horses as could be used, and again by men—200 at a single piece—hauling with drag-ropes.
On the 6th and 7th of June Buell caused diversions to be made by an advance of part of Mitchel’s command to the river opposite Chattanooga, and Smith, with two brigades, hastened to its rescue. The brigade of De Courcy had gone forward; Baird occupied the defile at the Moss House, and Carter was assigned to hold the defile till the last moment, and then bring up the rear of the column.
On the 9th of June General Buell telegraphed me from Booneville, Mississippi: “The force now in Tennessee is so small that no offensive operation against East Tennessee can be attempted, and you must therefore depend mainly on your own resources.”
And on the 10th: “Considering your force and that opposed to you, it will probably not be safe for you to undertake any offensive operations. Other operations will soon have an influence on your designs, and it is better for you to run no risk at present.”
It was, however, next to impossible to change my plans at this moment, and move back on a road such as described. We therefore continued to toil forward over the almost impassable mountains.
Thinking that the series of feints against Chattanooga that were being made at my request indicated an advance in force. Kirby Smith now concentrated for defense at that point, after evacuating Cumberland Gap and removing the stores.
This was just what I wanted. On the evening of the 17th of June, General Carter L. Stevenson of the Confederate forces sent Colonel J. E. Rains to cover the evacuation of Cumberland Gap, which had been commenced on the afternoon of that day; Rains withdrew in the night and marched toward Morristown.
Unaware of that fact, at 1 o’clock on the morning of June 18th we advanced in two parallel columns, of two brigades each, to attack the enemy; but while the troops were at breakfast, I learned from a Union man who had come along the valley road that Rains had withdrawn and that the gap was being evacuated.
The advance was at once sounded, and four hours after the evacuation by the Confederates the flag of the Union floated from the loftiest pinnacle of the Cumberland Range. The enemy had carried away his field-guns, but had left seven of his heavy cannon in position, dismantling the rest.
At the request of Carter, his brigade was sent forward in pursuit of the enemy as far as Tazewell, but the enemy had fallen back south-eastward to the Clinch Mountains. Cumberland Gap was ours without the loss of a single life. Secretary Stanton telegraphed the thanks of the President, and General Buell published a general order in honor of this achievement of the Seventh Division.
Lieutenant (now Colonel) William P. Craighill, of the Corps of Engineers, a soldier of distinguished merit and ability, was sent by Secretary Stanton to strengthen the fortifications at the Gap, and he soon rendered them impregnable against attack.
My hope and ambition now was to advance against Knoxville and arouse the Union men of East Tennessee to arms. I urgently asked for two additional brigades of infantry, a battery, and two regiments of cavalry, and, thus reinforced, pledged myself to sweep East Tennessee of the Confederates.
My guns were increased from 22 to 28, and a battery of East Tennessee artillery was organized, commanded by Lieutenant Daniel Webster, of Forster’s 1st Wisconsin battery.
Four thousand stand of arms, destined for East Tennessee, but left at Nicholasville and Crab Orchard during the winter on account of the impassable state of the roads, were now sent forward to Cumberland Gap with a large supply of ammunition, and magazines and an arsenal were got ready for them.
A vast store-house, capable of containing supplies for 20,000 men for 6 months, was also built by Captain W. F. Patterson. The nerves and muscles of every man were stretched to the utmost tension, and the Gap became a vast workshop. Captain S. B. Brown, assistant quartermaster and acting commissary of subsistence, a man of fine intelligence and great energy, put on the road in small trains over four hundred wagons, and by this means the various munitions of war were dragged from the bluegrass region through the wilderness to Cumberland Gap.
*The Confederate forces covering the mountain and river passes north of Knoxville at this time were under General C. L. Stevenson, First Division, Department of East Tennessee. – EDITORS.
Colonel De Courcy and Captain Joseph Edgar … were detailed as instructors of tactics for the officers of the new regiments of East Tennessee troops, who were brave, ambitions men and anxious to learn. Forage was collected with difficulty by armed parties.
About the middle of August Stevenson went into position in my immediate front.
On the morning of the 17th I received intelligence … that Stevenson would attempt to carry the Gap that night.
At 2:30 A. M. on the 18th reveille was sounded, and the lines were manned, but the enemy did not attack. It was evident that he intended a siege.


26 APRIL 1862
E. Kirby Smith’s situation report for East Tennessee
Maj. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., C. S. Army
MAJ.: … The line of the Cumberland is best defended by a force mobilized at some central point. The enemy with superior forces threatening Chattanooga and Cumberland Gap from without and a disloyal people within requiring large detachments to guard the line of the railroad, leaves a very inadequate command for defending the department. …
My reports from Cumberland Gap, and through other sources, indicate a large force on the Cumberland River, opposite the Gap. Their number is greatly exaggerated; but have a formidable column has been collected and that a forward movement may soon be expected from Kentucky is undoubted.
The force originally under Gen. [S.P.] Carter has been re-enforced by three regiments and a battery of artillery from Louisville, Ky. At least 7,000 Unionists from East Tennessee have joined his command within the last three weeks, and the Federal troops which were operating against Pound Gap are reported to have been ordered to the same point.
By information received from Lexington, Ky., a large amount of transportation destined for Cumberland Gap had arrived there on the 11th instant, and the belief was prevalent among our friends that East Tennessee would be invaded from that point by a large force. Re-enforcements should be sent to the department and arms for the unarmed regiments forwarded without delay. …
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. II, pp. 453-454.

29 APRIL 1862
Repulse of Federals at Cumberland Gap
Reports of Maj.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, including orders for movement of troops.
Knoxville, Tenn., April 30, 1862.
The enemy attacked Cumberland Gap yesterday in force. I go to-day to re-enforce Gen. [Carter] Stevenson with all my available troops. Yesterday the enemy attacked Gen. Leadbetter’s command at Bridgeport. It was necessary to retreat, and the bridge there was burned by Gen. Leadbetter.
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

30 APRIL 1862
Gen. S. COOPER, Adjt. and Insp. Gen., Richmond, Va.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., April 30, 1862.
GEN.: The enemy has attacked at Cumberland Gap. Move with all your disposable force toward Jacksborough. I will overtake you to-night or tomorrow morning. You will withdraw all the cavalry, except one company at Clinton and Cobb’s Ferry, respectively. Those remaining will be directed to keep up communication with this point, and also to communicate to you across the country any important intelligence. You will take with you, if practicable, six- or seven-days’ rations, but be careful to have the wagons in condition to travel lightly. The troops should be without impediments and in fighting order. If the steamboat is at Clinton, you will keep it there.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

3 MAY 1862
HDQRS., Fincastle, Tenn.
MAJ.: Since their repulse at Cumberland Gap, on the 29th ultimo, the enemy have made no demonstration at that point. My intelligence is that they are removing the obstructions in the Big Creek Gap road west of Fincastle. With my effective force here (1,500) I shall operate through the mountain on their rear, which is beyond support from the main body at Cumberland Ford.
Small as my command at this point is, it is all the disposable force in the department, and was collected from every direction … The Georgia regiments ordered to this department … have since been so reduced by measles, mumps, and typhoid fever that they do not average an effective strength of 300. … The troops lately raised in Tennessee are in the same condition. … Whilst the people of East Tennessee believe my force to be large and effective, to the department alone have I exposed its weakness and inefficiency.
I shall resist the enemy’s entrance into East Tennessee with all the means at my disposal, but with the people in my midst enlisted against me, and with a force of at least four to one, more efficient and better equipped, it will be alone assistance from on High that enables us to maintain possession of the department. …
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg. OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. 1, pp. 75-77.

26 MAY 1862
Operations about Cumberland Gap.
Part of the March 28-June 18, 1862 Cumberland Gap Campaign.
Report of Brig. Gen. James G. Spears, U. S. Army,
Camp Pine Knot, May 26, 1862.
… Reliable information shows the enemy’s strength now on Big Creek Gap to be 8,000 strong, with at least four pieces of artillery, and they positively declare their intention to invade Kentucky at this point. They are greatly exasperated; our pickets having killed one of theirs on yesterday. They are said to have 1,500 cavalry coming from toward Knoxville and down from Cumberland Gap.
I have waited patiently here a good while, with an enemy threatening me in front of three times at least of those under my command. They have artillery; I have none. I do think the time has come that some action must be taken, and now is the time to move. You have the artillery and men, and at this point there is no mistake. If reliable information can be relied on, they (the enemy) intend to make the fight. I trust something will be done speedily. The enemy is now in the exact position he was when the former contemplated move was put on foot. Why not now advance?
Such move would prevent them from re-enforcing the gap, and we could attack them in detail successfully; after which being done, if deemed advisable, we could move our whole force on Cumberland Gap and fortify out of reach of their cannon, and compel them to fight us from under their cover, or starve them out and compel them to surrender. I have been directed by you to be ready to advance or retreat at a moment’s warning.
I am sorry to have to say it is an impossibility to comply with the instructions, as we have to subsist and forage ourselves. The transportation is very weak indeed. Much of our forage and subsistence we have to haul twenty miles, and the transportation is frequently gone for two days at a time on foraging and subsistence purposes, so that often if called on to advance or retreat we would have no means of transportation, and the result would be our ammunition, tents, and camp equipage and all would be left, and perhaps lost and fall into the hands of the enemy.
I earnestly call your attention to my condition in this respect that such action may be taken as will prevent any great injury resulting on any move that may be made under instructions yet in force relative to my command.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS, Brig.-Gen. OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 14-15.

USA Gen. James Spears

JUNE 1862
The Confederate commander of the Department of East Tennessee at Knoxville, Gen. E. Kirby Smith, faces a difficult choice when the U.S. Army threatens both ends of his department—Chattanooga and Cumberland Gap. He chooses Chattanooga and rushes all available troops to Chattanooga to protect his Georgia supply lines. Confederate units hurry south, burning bridges over the Clinch River as they march to the railroad depot at Morristown to catch a ride to Chattanooga.

10 JUNE 1862 – 15 JUNE 1862
Operations in East Tennessee
Report of Brig. Gen. James G. Spears, U. S. Army.
ARMY OF THE OHIO, Cumberland Gap.
CAPT.: In obedience to instructions of June 10, 1862, I proceeded with my command … by way of Big Creek Gap, in order to join Brig. Gen. [George] Morgan at Speedwell. The advance of my command, after having opened and removed a heavy blockade through Pine and Cumberland Mountains, entered the Gap on the evening of the 11th, at which point my pickets were fired on by the pickets of the enemy, which resulted in a pretty heavy skirmish. As we advanced through the Gap the enemy’s pickets, lying in ambush, contested our advance, and fired upon us from rocks and other places of concealment. … we advanced through the Gap, and it being dusk, my men lay upon their arms and rested until next morning.
On the next morning the opening of the blockade was resumed, and the work continued until 12 o’clock that day, during which time the enemy’s cavalry pickets and my advance pickets kept up a heavy skirmish … the whole command and transportation were ordered to renew the march to join Gen. Morgan at Speedwell.
After having passed through the Gap and turned up the valley the advance train was ordered to halt and the rear ordered to close up. While said order was being executed the advance of the trains was charged upon by a considerable force of the enemy’s cavalry, but they were gallantly repulsed … and made to retreat in confusion.
On the morning of the 15th my pickets were attacked, but they were unable to draw the enemy after them. … I ordered Col. Houk, Col. Cooper, and Col. Shelley to proceed into the valley and advance across the same and attack the enemy on the ridge, at which place they seemed to be assembled in force.
They did so, and succeeded in routing them, driving them across Clinch River and alarming them so much they filled boats with rails, set them on fire, and turned them loose down the river, and retreated toward Knoxville. … in the evening, on our return to the valley, I received a dispatch informing me … that I was ordered to join Gen. Morgan at Speedwell at the earliest practicable moment, in order that our forces on this side might be concentrated for the purpose of attacking Cumberland Gap. It then being dark, or about it, I threw out picket-guards and remained at the Gap during that night.
On the following morning, having been joined by the Twenty-fourth Brigade, commanded by Gen. [S. P.] Carter, in obedience to said order, at 4 o’clock I took up the line of march, and on same evening arrived at Rogers’ Gap. …
As we passed along we were frequently greeted by groups of citizens along the road, both ladies and gentleman, who had heretofore acted with the secession party, who expressed their great joy and satisfaction on the arrival of our army, and who stated that they had been deceived, but that they were glad our army had come to relieve them from the oppression and thralldom which had borne them down, and invited the officers to visit their houses and families and partake of such refreshments as they had, which … was generously given and thankfully received.
… on the 15th, after resting one day … I, with my command, together with commands of Gen.’s De Courcy, Baird, and Carter, took up the line of march at 1 o’clock for the purpose of attacking the enemy … The place assigned me in the order of march was forty-five minutes in rear of Gen. Carter’s brigade… But before arriving at said place it was ascertained that the enemy had abandoned it under great confusion, and made their way, some said, toward Cumberland Gap, some toward Knoxville, and others toward Morristown.
After resting a while … we were ordered to take up the line of march toward Cumberland Gap, in order to attack the enemy there, but before arriving at that point it was ascertained that the enemy had abandoned it and fled toward the railroad in utter confusion …
Gen. De Courcy having first arrived with his brigade on that evening, after having marched some twenty miles, proceeded to the top of the mountain, raised the glorious old flag of our country, and fired a salute from Capt. Foster’s battery in honor of the brilliant success achieved by the valor, energy, and patriotism of our officers and soldiers. … The officers and men and all under my command with promptness, energy, and zeal executed at all times every order and command given to them by me, and my warmest thanks are accorded to them, one and all.
I am, captain, very respectfully,
your obedient servant,
JAMES G. SPEARS, Brig. Gen., Comdg.
Twenty-fifth Brigade, Army of the Ohio.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 69-72.


13 JUNE 1862
Bowman, East Tennessee.
Colonel J. B. FRY:
On yesterday I received your telegram giving me authority to operate offensively … At the same moment I received a dispatch from Colonel De Courcy, still at Rogers’ Gap, saying that the enemy evacuated Cumberland Gap … Soon after Mr. Kellinn, who resides within 8 miles of Cumberland Gap, arrived with information that the huts were burned and the tents taken down on the Kentucky front of the Gap.
I have just received a dispatch from Colonel De Courcy saying that the enemy was reported to be in position at Cedar Creek, near Fincastle. General Carter is now en route to Big Creek Gap, and I feel it to be my duty to concentrate my division at the earliest moment practicable. The enemy may not have evacuated Cumberland Gap, but simply resorted to a ruse. …

18 JUNE 1862 – 17 SEPTEMBER 1862
Second Occupation of Cumberland Gap
18 JUNE 1862
Occupation of Cumberland Gap by Union forces.
Excerpt from the Report of Gen. George W. Morgan relative to the Federal occupation of Cumberland Gap.
Well, the Gap is ours, and without the loss of a single life. I have since carefully examined the works, and I believe that the place could have been taken in a ten days’ struggle from the front, but to have done so I should have left the bones of two-thirds of my gallant comrades to bleach upon the mountain-side, and, after all, this fastness, all stained with heroic blood, would only have been what it now is, a fortress of the Union, from whose highest peak floats the Stars and Stripes. The result secured by strategy is less brilliant than a victory obtained amid the storm and hurricane of battle, but humanity has gained all that glory has lost, and I am satisfied.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. p. 61.

18 JUNE 1862
Excerpt from the Report of John F. De Courcy
Col., Cmdg. Twenty-sixth Brigade relative to the occupation of Cumberland Gap, June 18, 1862
On the 18th instant I resumed the march … The enemy being supposed to have taken up a strong position at Thomas’ farm, and my orders being to attack him before Gen. Carter, who was marching on a parallel but longer line than the one I was operating on, could debouch, I moved with the amount of celerity which I deemed would enable me to attain the object in view.
I reached the point indicated, but found the enemy had retreated early in the morning. After reposing the troops I moved on slowly, to enable the cavalry advance guard to examine the woods, which were constantly presenting themselves on my flanks, and from under whose cover I had been informed I might at any moment except an attack from the enemy posted in ambush.
Finally, after a march of nearly 20 miles, I reached Cumberland Gap, which I found the enemy had evacuated during the previous night, its rear guard having left only three hours before the arrival of my advance guard. Before sunset the flags of the Twenty-sixth Brigade flaunted over the fortifications, and Foster’s battery, firing a salute of thirty-four guns, told in loud tones to the persecuted people of East Tennessee that they were free, for once more the Stars and Stripes were near to protect and encourage them in their loyalty. …
In concluding this report it becomes my most pleasing duty to request you to mention to the general commanding that the many difficulties and fatigues of this march were met, endured, and overcome by the officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates under my command with a cheerful spirit and an energy of action which speaks well for their patriotism and soldier-like qualities. The officers of my personal staff displayed great activity, perseverance, and intelligence in seeing my orders carried out …
John F. De Courcy, Col., Cmdg. Twenty-sixth Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. pp. 72-74.

17-18 JUNE 1862

Brig. Gen. George W. Morgan.

Twenty-fourth Brigade, Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter:
49th Ind., Lieut.-Col. James Keigwin;
3rd Ky., Col. T. T. Garrard;
1st Tenn., Col. Robert K. Byrd;
2nd Tenn., Col. James P. T. Carter.

Twenty-fifth Brigade, Brig.-Gen. James G. Spears;
3rd Tenn., Col. Leonidas C. Houk;
4th Tenn., Col. Robert Johnson;
5th Tenn., Col. James T. Shelley;
6th Tenn., Col. Joseph A Cooper.

Twenty-sixth Brigade, Col. John F. De Courcy:
22nd Ky., Col. Daniel W. Lindsey;
16th Ohio, Lieut.-Col. George W. Bailey;
42nd Ohio, Col. Lionel A. Sheldon.

Twenty-seventh Brigade, Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird:
33rd Ind., Col. John Coburn;
14th Ky., Col. John C. Cochran;
19th Ky., Col. William J. Landram.

Artillery, Capt. Jacob T. Foster:
7th Mich., Capt. Charles H. Lanphere;
9th Ohio, Lieut. Leonard P. Barrows;
1st Wis., Lieut. John D. Anderson;
Siege Battery, Lieut. Daniel Webster. Cavalry
Ky. Battalion, Lieut.-Col. Reuben Munday. Ky.
Engineers, Capt. William F. Patterson.

Twenty-seventh Brigade at Cumberland Gap

Their composition is not stated in the “Official Records.”
During the month of July.
Brig. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson, First Division, Department of East Tennessee, was in position confronting Morgan at Cumberland Gap.
The strength of this division was stated by General Kirby Smith on the 24th of the month to be 9000 effectives, “well organized and mobilized, and in good condition for active service.”
The organization on the 3rd of July was as follows:
Second Brigade, Col. James E. Rains:
 4th Tenn., Col. J. A. McMurry;
11th Tenn., Col. J. E. Rains;
42nd Ga., Col. R. J. Henderson;
3rd Ga. Battalion, Lieut.-Col. M. A. Stovall;
29th N. C., Col. R. B. Vance;
Ga. Battery, Capt. J. G. Yeiser.

Third Brigade, Brig. Gen. S. M. Barton;
30th Ala., Col. C. M. Shelley;
31st Ala., Col. D. R. Hundley;
40th Ga., Col. A. Johnson;
52nd Ga., Col. W. Boyd;
9th Ga. Battalion, Maj. J. T. Smith;
Va. Battery, Capt. Joseph W. Anderson.

Fourth Brigade, Col. A. W. Reynolds:
20th Ala., Col. I. W. Garrott;
36th Ga., Col. J. A. Glenn;
39th Ga., Col. J. T. McConnell;
43rd Ga., Col. S. Harris;
39th N. C., Col. D. Coleman;
3rd Md. Battery, Capt. H. B. Latrobe.

Fifth Brigade, Col. T. H. Taylor:
23rd Ala., Col. F. K. Beck;
46th Ala., Col. M. L. Woods;
3rd Tenn., Col. J. C. Vaughn;
31st Tenn., Col. W. M. Bradford;
59th Tenn., Col. J. B. Cooke;
Tenn. (Rhett) Battery, Capt. W. H. Burroughs.


19 JUNE 1862
The enemy evacuated this American Gibraltar …
Cumberland Gap, June 19, 1862.
The enemy evacuated this American Gibraltar this morning at 10 o’clock, and De Courcy’s brigade took possession at 3 this afternoon. The enemy destroyed a considerable amount of his stores, and precipitated several cannon over the cliffs, spiking others, and carried a few away. I believe, however, that seven have been found in position. The tents were left standing, but cut into slits. He had not time to destroy or take a portion of his stores, and they have been taken possession of by the proper officers.
The Stars and Stripes were raised by De Courcy, and a national salute was fired in honor of the capture of this stronghold of treason. Each brigade, in the order of its arrival, will on successive days plant its flag at sunset upon the pinnacle of the mountain, accompanied by a national salute.
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

20 JUNE 1862
Cumberland Gap.
It has been with mortification and regret that the general commanding has learned that outrages have been committed upon private property of citizens, some of whom are loyal to the Union, by a few bad men, who have disgraced their uniforms by their unsoldier-like conduct.
Private citizens and private property must be respected, and the honor of our flag and of the brave men who are ready to die beneath its folds shall not be sullied by a handful of desperadoes who have crept into the ranks of the army, and if any such act is committed after this order has become promulgated and known the perpetrator of the outrage shall suffer the penalty of death, as prescribed by the Rules and Articles of War.
It is directed that this order be at once published at the head of every company in the command and that commanding officers will look to its enforcement.
By command of General Morgan:
Assistant Adjutant-General.

20 JUNE 1862
Confederate depredations in Cumberland Gap environs.
Col. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:
I have great need of two regiments of cavalry, and hope that they will be sent me immediately. The rebel cavalry are committing atrocious outrages, and I have not the means to protect the people. With one regiment much could be done, and with two I could give immediate security to the people of this portion of the State.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 43.

21 JUNE 1862
President Lincoln notified about the Confederate evacuation of Cumberland Gap.
The enemy has evacuated Cumberland Gap. Must very soon leave all East Tennessee.
H. W. HALLECK, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 44.

22 JUNE 1862
Telegram from the Secretary of War.
WASHINGTON, June 22, 1862.
Brigadier-General MORGAN:
This Department has been highly gratified with your successful occupation of Cumberland Gap, and commends the gallant conduct and labors of your officers and troops, to whom you will express the thanks of the President and this Department. Cumberland Gap is regarded as a strategic point of great importance, which, unless you have orders from your commanding officer, this Department will consider you well employed in holding and strengthening that position so that the enemy can by no chance recover his position.
I have been striving ever since receiving the intelligence of your success to aid and send you a skillful officer of the Engineer Department to place and construct the necessary works. That has delayed my communication to you. The great demand in this quarter has absorbed the whole engineer force, but tomorrow I hope to send you an officer highly recommended by General Totten for his professional skill. It is out of the power of this Department to supply you at present with any cavalry for offensive operations, and as your force for some time can be advantageously employed defensively in its present position, I trust you will not need it.
With thanks for your diligence and activity,
I remain, yours, truly,
Secretary of War.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, p. 1008.

24 JUNE 1862
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Washington, D. C.
Citizens of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee come in by the dozen to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. A moment ago, 13 Virginians came in, and when I welcomed them back to the old flag every eye was dimmed with tears.
Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding.

25 JUNE 1862
Confederate civilians in Cumberland Gap environs take the oath of allegiance.
Cumberland Gap.
Gen. [DON CARLOS] BUELL, and Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War: Secession citizens of Tennessee continue to come in to take the oath of allegiance and ask the protection of the brave old flag.
Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 66.

31 JULY 1862
CSA Gens. E. Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg develop a plan to drive Union forces out of Tennessee.

2 AUGUST – 4 AUGUST 1862
Operations at Cumberland Gap.
Report of Col. John F. De Courcy, Sixteenth Ohio Infantry, commanding brigade. TAZEWELL, EAST TENN.
CAPTAIN: The foraging has thus far proceeded satisfactorily. Hay, horses, cattle, and sheep were brought in yesterday. No corn has been found as yet. Yesterday [3rd] I made a reconnaissance toward Big Springs. The enemy had there about 100 cavalry, and they held their ground for about an hour and did not leave until I opened fire on them with a 10-pounder.
This day [4th] I proceed with the Sixteenth Regiment and two guns to Little Sycamore … where I shall leave a part of the Forty-second Regiment to protect my line of retreat in case of disaster. From Little Sycamore I shall move toward Big Sycamore, and return to Tazewell from that point …
This expedition is intended to cover a large train which proceeds from here direct to Big Sycamore. I have not sufficient strength to make detachments without at the same time leaving altogether open the position in rear of this town. But by thus calling the enemy’s attention toward Little Sycamore I hope to make them uneasy about their Morristown line of [rail]road.
Two of the enemy’s spies have been arrested whilst in the act of giving their cavalry information of the position of our infantry. It would serve as a good example if these men were punished according to the laws. If an order be sent me to that effect, I will have them publicly shot.
I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,
Col., Commanding Twenty-sixth Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 42-43.


2 AUGUST – 6 AUGUST 1862
Operations against and about Cumberland Gap
Report of Brig. Gen. George W. Morgan, U. S. Army.
CUMBERLAND GAP, August 7, 1862.
COL.: To obtain forage and feed and learn the strength of the enemy, De Courcy was ordered to Tazewell on the 2nd instant. He secured 200 wagon loads of forage, all of which safely arrived on the 5th. Some slight picket skirmishing took place, in which we had 2 men wounded, while the enemy had 1 killed and several wounded.
Early in the morning of the 6th instant, not wishing to bring on a general action, I ordered Col. De Courcy to return to this post, but he was attacked at daybreak on that day. Considering enemy’s forces the attack was feeble. Two of his regiments surrounded two companies of the Sixteenth Ohio, detached to protect a section of artillery. The enemy’s movement was well executed …
Although surrounded by a vastly superior force, the two infantry companies … fought heroically, and three-fourths of them succeeded in cutting their way through to their regiments. But we fear that Capt. Edgar, an officer of great merit, was killed and Capt. Taneyhill taken prisoner.
A soldier of the Twenty-second Kentucky was shot through the neck and fell. His gun dropped from his hands; his foe contrived to advance upon him, when the wounded hero grasped his gun, rose to his feet and shot the rebel soldier dead when within five paces of him, when he again fell. …
At 3.30 p. m. a courier arrived from Col. De Courcy and asked for aid. Leaving three regiments to guard the Gap I marched with my remaining force to his assistance, but when within 2 miles of Tazewell I met him on his return. The enemy left the field at 5 o’clock and maintained his position until 7 o’clock p.m. The enemy’s loss is believed to be considerable. I did not pursue, lest with a superior force, he should gain my rear.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 835-836.

5 AUGUST 1862 – 6 AUGUST 1862*
Foraging, operations against and about Cumberland Gap.
Reconnaissance and skirmishes near Tazewell.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 43-44.

16 AUGUST 1862
Recent operations around Cumberland Gap
We have had the pleasure of an interview with Capt. J. H. Ferry, Quartermaster of General Morgan’s division, who left the Gap at noon on Tuesday last, the twelfth instant, and he gives a full and explicit denial to the rebel reports of our reverses in that vicinity.
Since … the middle of July, there has been no regular engagement near the Gap until last Saturday, when Col. De Courcy went out on a foraging party with his whole brigade, consisting of the Sixteenth and Forth-second Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky, Col. Lindsey, and the Fourteenth Kentucky, Col. Cochran, of Gen. Baird’s divisions. Col. Cochran was in advance with his regiment, about a mile and a half beyond Tazewell, on picket-duty, when he was attacked by four rebel regiments under Col. Rains, comprising the Eleventh and Forty-second Tennessee, Thirtieth Alabama and Twenty-first Georgia.
Col. Cochran immediately formed his command on each side of the road, each flank supported by a piece of artillery from Foster’s Wisconsin battery … The rebels advanced upon the Fourteenth Kentucky in extended line and their flanking regiments thrown forward, with the evident intention of surrounding and cutting off the whole regiment and artillery.
Col. Cochran, seeing this, retired his regiment in perfect order, as soon as the artillery had placed itself in his rear, and took position where the movement could not be repeated against him. The rebels, then changed their plan of attack, and charged … until when within two hundred and fifty yards, Col. Cochran, who had stood without discharging a gun, poured a terrible fire upon them, which checked their advance and threw them into disorder.
In the mean time, Foster’s entire battery of six guns had been place in position on an eminence in the rear, and opened fire, which turned the rebel disorder into a rout, and no more was seen of them. Rebel officers who came in under a flag of truce, acknowledged a loss of from two hundred to two hundred and fifty, and the Knoxville Register … published the names of one hundred and nine killed. We lost but three killed.
Lieut. Col. Gordon, of the Eleventh rebel Tennessee regiment, was taken prisoner by two men of the Sixteenth Ohio, and though their company was completely surrounded, they undexterously managed to bring him in to Colonel De Courcy.
The rebels offered to exchange all prisoners taken by them for their lieutenant-colonel, but the arrangements had not been completed when Captain Ferry left the Gap. Gen. Morgan issued orders complimenting Cols. Cochran and De Courcy and their men for their bravery, but it is universally conceded that to Col. Cochran belongs all the credit and the splendid repulse of the four rebel regiments.
~ Louisville Journal

The method of determining if a fight was a ‘battle’ or a ‘skirmish,’ an ‘engagement,’ an ‘affair’ or a ‘heavy skirmish’ is very subjective. Thus one man’s ‘skirmish’ could be another man’s ‘battle.’

16 AUGUST – 22 AUGUST 1862
Operations about Cumberland Gap.

16 AUGUST 1862
Confederate Army of Kentucky, under Gen. E. Kirby Smith, crosses the Tennessee Cumberland Mountains into Kentucky.
HUNTSVILLE, ALA., August 16, 1862—10.10 p.m.
Maj.-Gen. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief: Kirby Smith is advancing into Kentucky by the gaps west of Cumberland Gap with some 12,000 or 15,000 men, doubtless with the immediate object of getting into Morgan’s rear. Morgan says he can with his present supplies hold his position for five weeks. …
The movements of the enemy and information from various sources leave no room to doubt their intention to make a desperate effort to repossess themselves of this State.
D. C. BUELL, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 344.

16 AUGUST 1862
Morgan to Buell
CUMBERLAND GAP, August 16, 1862—12 m.
Gen. [DON CARLOS] BUELL, Huntsville: I have good reasons to believe that Smith intends to advance through Big Creek and possibly through Rogers Gap … Both gaps are observed. His force will be from five to eight brigades of infantry, with a corresponding force of artillery and cavalry, in all 12,000 or 15,000 men.
I have ordered a small cavalry force to Boston [KY] with directions that upon the first approach of the enemy at Big Creek or Rogers Gap to fall back upon Barboursville [KY] and to destroy all forage and drive before him all cattle along the route. …
I respectfully suggest that I have left one of two plans: to await quietly here until Smith is starved out and forced to fall back or to concentrate eight regiments at London [KY]. … Smith cannot possibly remain three weeks in my rear. I can hold this place five weeks with my present command.
MORGAN, Brig.-Gen. Volunteers, Cmdg.

16 AUGUST 1862
CSA Gen. E. Kirby Smith crosses the Tennessee Cumberland Mountains and invades Kentucky.
As planned, Smith will advance against the Federals at Cumberland Gap. After disposing of this force, Smith is to reunite with [Gen. Braxton] Bragg for the advance into Middle Tennessee …
Unfortunately, Smith has an obsession with Kentucky which will end his agreement to mutually support and cooperate with Bragg. Smith plans to deal with Union Major General George Morgan at Cumberland Gap by striking deep into Kentucky. If he destroys the bridge over the Kentucky River near Lexington, Morgan will be forced to evacuate Cumberland Gap.

16 AUGUST 1862 – 22 AUGUST 1862
Operations about Cumberland Gap Report of Brig. Gen. George W. Morgan,
U. S. Army, commanding Seventh Division, Army of the Ohio.
CUMBERLAND GAP, TENN., August 22, 1862.
GEN.: On the night of the 16th the enemy, said to be 20,000 strong, arrived in our front and drove in our pickets. … During the … [following] morning the enemy’s … artillery opened upon our cavalry. We returned the fire from the pinnacle forts … and compelled the enemy to withdraw his guns. … He now envelops our entire front. … The column which passed Big Creek Gap is said to be 20,000 strong. …
I ordered Col. [Leonidas] Houk to concentrate his regiment and fall back upon Cumberland Gap. It is rumored that Houk was attacked on the 16th instant and his command captured. On the morning of the 16th I sent Capt. Martin via Cumberland Ford to observe Big Creek and Rogers’ Gap. On the 17th instant [at Pine Mountain TN] he [Houk] was attacked by [Henry Marshall] Ashby’s cavalry, 600 strong, and 60 of his men are missing.
This telegram is sent to Gen.’s Halleck and Buell by courier to Lexington.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, p. 860.

Col. Leonidas Campbell Houk, First Tennessee Infantry USA

MINI BIO: Col. Leonidas Campbell Houk
Leonidas C. Houk, congressman and judge, was born near Boyd’s Creek, Sevier County. The death of his father in 1839 left him and his mother impoverished. His formal education consisted of only a few months at a country school; thereafter, he educated himself through diligent reading.
As a youth he earned a living as a cabinetmaker and Methodist preacher while studying law at night. In 1859 he was admitted to the Tennessee bar and opened an office in Clinton.
A Union loyalist at the outbreak of the Civil War and member of the Union convention in East Tennessee in 1861, Houk organized the First Tennessee Infantry USA … He served as a private, lieutenant, and quartermaster; in 1862 he was colonel of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. Poor health forced him to leave military service in 1863, and he spent the next two years following military activities and writing pro-Union articles for the press.

16 AUGUST 1862
Letter from Confederate soldier John Wesley Pitts to his wife in Alabama.
From Confederate camp at Tazewell TN near Cumberland Gap.
My Darling Vin
As it is thought we will commence an advance movement to-day, I have seated myself at the foot of an old oak tree to write you a few lines. We are now cooking up four days rations to go somewhere. It is thought we will go to the gap and from there to Kentucky as it is reported that the Yanks are evacuating the gap to prevent our troops from flanking them.
The whole of East-Tenn is in commotion preparing for a forward movement into Kentucky. The western army has been swarming into this country for the last 10 days. We have 10 or 12,000 men at this place. It is thought that we will attack the gap in front and Gen [E. Kirby] Smith with 20 or 25,000 will cross the Cumberland Mountains at Big Creek Gap – 20 miles below here and attack them in their rear, while Bragg will advance from Chattanooga and Price from the West.
If their plans can be carried out, we will be in possession of the whole of Tenn and a part or the whole of Kentucky in a short time. If we start on that trip, it may be some time before you will hear from me again. … if we get possession of the gap, it might fall to the lot of our Regiment to stay there and guard it.
The health of my company is improving some. I will start 12 more discharged men home in a few days. It looks like I will have to discharge half of my Company. I will try and send you some money by some of them. Say to old man Wallace that it is impossible to get any flour shipped from this country as Gen. Smith has issued an order preventing the shipment of any flour from the state. I will send his money back by the first one passing.
How does the little President [infant son] behave? Have you named him yet? I guess I will have to send him a Pony so that he can attend to the farm when Pa is absent. Did Gus Caldwell hand you the $40.00 I sent? There has nothing new or interesting occurred since my last. Kiss Lula for me.
My Kindest regards to all.
Write to me often. 
Yours as ever,

18 AUGUST 1862
Initiation of Confederate siege of Cumberland Gap; An entry in the diary of Private William E. Sloan
We are now within three miles of Cumberland Gap. We arrived here yesterday morning [17th] and commenced a siege, and we have the Gap invested from mountain to mountain, our line forming a semi-circle around the gap. The enemy has heavy batteries on the mountain with which they shell us continually, but with very little harm to us. Our line is very scattering, owing to our limited numbers, but things are so arranged that should the enemy attack pickets and skirmishers are well advanced. It is reported that Gen. Kirby Smith (whom we have lost sight of for some time) is advancing through Big Creek Gap, with the rest of our division and such other troops as he can collect together, and that his aim is to attack Cumberland Gap in the rear. If this be true, and they invest the rear properly we will compel the enemy to surrender. The Yankees seem to know nothing about the flank movement, and are turning their fire entirely on us. They are said to be commanded by one Gen. Morgan. We are all in fine spirits.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.
~ William E. Sloan’s diary of the Great War for Southern Independence
An account of the daily occurrences of Company C, Third Tennessee Volunteer Infantry from the beginning of the war to August 19, 1862, after [that] of Company D, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry from that date to the end of the war, and of Company D, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, from that date to the end of the War. Cleveland, Tenn.: E. Wiefering, 1996.

21 AUGUST 1862
Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi crosses the Tennessee River in preparation for its movement north to Kentucky.

22 AUGUST 1862
Confederate soldier William E. Sloan keeps a diary while in camp at Cumberland Gap.
A skirmish at Cumberland Gap
I have been with a detail on picket duty all night. We were fired on to-day by two regiments of Yankee infantry and driven in. One of our men was killed and one wounded. We fell back in good order to our base and formed line of battle, but the enemy did not advance. They brought with them a battery with which they gave us a few charges of grape, also the heavy batteries on the mountain opened on us with shell, but without damage. They soon retired, and we are now occupying our former picket ground.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

24 AUGUST 1862
Truce and defection at Cumberland Gap
We are still holding our position. Our boys made a truce with the Yankee pickets to-day, and they met and had a conversation between the lines. The result was that one of the Yankees deserted and came over to us.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

25 AUGUST 1862
One Confederate soldier’s prognosis on the siege of Cumberland Gap.
The siege of Cumberland Gap is likely to last much longer than we at first expected. The prisoners that we have captured report that they have several months supply of provisions on hand. We learn that Gen. E. Kirby Smith, who was thought to be in [the] rear of the enemy at Cumberland Ford, has left and gone on further into Kentucky, and that the Yankees in the Gap have received large trains of supplies. This is the report, but whether true or not we do not know. A long train of wagons was seen coming down the mountain this evening, and we suppose they are coming out after forage.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

25 AUGUST 1862
Activities during the Confederate siege of Cumberland Gap
The enemy approached us this morning. They had two regiments of infantry and some artillery with their wagon train. They did not drive our pickets in, but proceeded to load their wagons with oats and green corn which grew just on their picket line, and the infantry and artillery stood in line of battle to protect the men who gathered the corn.
They then planted their battery a little nearer to us and shelled our pickets with great fury for a short time, but as we were under cover of thick woods they did not know where to direct their fire, and therefore did us no harm. They were in good range for sharp-shooters, had our men been provided with suitable guns, but I had the only long-range gun in the company, it being a Sharpe rifle.
I had the pleasure of annoying their gunners very much with my rifle, as I had a splendid position behind a great oak tree, and felt perfectly safe from the shells; in fact I think that I would have been safe without the tree, for the reason that while many shots were evidently aimed at it, no one struck it, but I certainly would not have felt safe without that great friendly tree standing in front of me.
The enemy soon retired. Our men are mostly armed with shot-guns and other muzzle loading arms of old pattern, some of them being flint-locks; all of which are good enough at close range, but are very unsatisfactory in the present service. We also carry sabres, but they are only good in a cavalry charge. A few of us have revolvers.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

25 AUGUST 1862
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT NO. 2, Chattanooga, Tenn.
The troops of this command will be in readiness to move at an hour’s notice. Ample time for the preparation having been allowed and everything necessary having been promptly supplied, the general trusts the movement will be made with that alacrity and regularity which can alone inspire confidence. The enemy is before us, devastating our fair country, imprisoning our old and venerated men, even the ministers of God, insulting our women, and desecrating our altars. It is our proud lot to be assigned the duty of punishing and driving these deluded men, led by desperate adventurers and goaded on by Abolition demagogues and demons. Let us but deserve success and an offended Deity will certainly secure it. Should we be opposed, we must fight at any odds and conquer at any sacrifice. Should the foe retire, we must follow him rapidly to his town territory and make him taste the bitters of invasion. Soldiers! The enemy are before you and your banners are free. It is for you to decide whether our brothers and sisters of Tennessee and Kentucky shall remain bondmen and bondwomen of the Abolition tyrant or be restored to the freedom inherited from our fathers.
By command of Gen. Bragg
Humphreys Marshall marching from Pound Gap by way of Mount Sterling to join Kirby Smith. His force estimated at from 8,000 to 15,000. About 300 rebel troops at Mount Sterling and 100 at Winchester. Kirby Smith’s forces, which were at Lexington and Frankfort, have moved on toward Cynthiana and Covington. Rumored that a portion of his forces are moving toward Louisville. Col. De Courcy, of Gen. Morgan’s command, is at Manchester with his brigade, and is collecting supplies for the army at Cumberland Gap. Gen. Morgan’s entire force numbers about 7,000 effective men. He has thirty pieces of cannon, with a moderate supply of ammunition for them; has plenty of ammunition for small-arms. Provisions will hold out eighty days yet.
Gen. Bragg crossed the Tennessee River on the 25th of August. Gen. Stevenson has from 10,000 to 15,000 men immediately in front of Cumberland Gap. Kirby Smith’s force altogether in Kentucky number from 30,000 to 40,000. Recruits for the rebel army are being raised very rapidly in Kentucky.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 957-959.

27 AUGUST 1862
Skirmish near Cumberland Gap
Report of Brig. Gen. George W. Morgan, U. S. Army.
CUMBERLAND GAP, August 29, 1862.
GEN.: Nothing of interest on the 28th instant. On the 27th a small detachment from the First and Second Tennessee, commanded by Capt.’s Meyers and Robbins, attacked and surprised a party of the enemy’s cavalry, commanded by Acting Brig.-Gen. Allston, of South Carolina. Allston, his colors, and 3 privates were captured. The enemy left 4 dead men upon the field and had a considerable number wounded. The affair was a complete surprise, and we did not sustain any loss.
Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, p. 892.

28 AUGUST 1862
Letter from John Wesley Pitts to his wife ‘Darling Vin’ 
Camp Near Cumberland Gap 
My Darling Vin
I wrote you day before yesterday, but as Lt Wilder leaves this morning for home, I thought I would drop you a few lines. Lt Wilder has resigned on account of sickness. I am very fearful I will have to do the same as I am reduced to the necessity of wearing a truss and I am afraid if I stay here, I will injure myself for life.
Many a man has gone home from here not half as bad off as I am, but the idea of going home and leaving my company has something about it I don’t like. Besides my health is so good, or rather I look so healthy, if I was to come home the people would say there was nothing the matter with me. So I shall stay as long as I am able to walk.
We are still here in front of the Gap and as I write I can hear the boom of the enemy’s cannon throwing shell at our forces on the other side of the mountain. They have not shelled us but very little today. Their attention seems to be takin up on the other side. I am in hopes they will do something soon as I am getting very tired of laying here in the woods. We may have to stay here in our present position for a month yet.
We cannot find out how much provisions the enemy have left and of course they will not surrender until that is exhausted. They have been coming down after corn, but I understand from a deserter that they have a good deal to go on yet and corn was to make it hold out as long as possible – deserters are coming in all the time. All of the boys that are here are well. Though I have only 18. No other news of interest.
Kiss the babies good bye. 

28 AUGUST 1862
A Confederate cavalryman’s observations on the fortifications at Cumberland Gap.
Cumberland Gap is a very strong hold, being a natural fortification of itself, and the big forts with heavy siege guns mounted in them, and other formidable earth-works makes the place almost impregnable. Our force is about equal in numbers with that of the enemy, with the difference that they have more field artillery than we have, to say nothing of the heavy fort guns that they are using against us; therefore the idea of storming the gap has not been suggested, and would be perfectly insane.
Those forts were built by the Confederates, and they are equally effective on either side of the mountain. We would require a force of 5 to 1 to take the Gap by storm, therefore we must starve them out if we get them. Heavy firing was heard beyond the Gap this morning, but we suppose it was only the Yankees firing of their loaded guns.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

31 AUGUST 1862
Federal artillery bombardment of C. S. A. camps at Cumberland Gap.
The enemy has been shelling at us continuously all day with their big guns, but they do us no harm. The buzzing of shells has become an old song to us; our boys pay no attention to them. Most of the shells pass over our heads, though some fall short of us. It is worthy of note that there has not been a rifle pit, or any sort of breastworks erected over our entire line since this siege began, though most of our regiments have thick woods to camp in. If our enemies had our position they would have the whole country round about dug up into powerful earth-works.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.


Major General J. P. McCown, C. S. Army assumes command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Knoxville, Tenn., September 3, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.
SIR: Col. Scott and others in Kentucky have paroled East Tennesseeans in the Federal Army to return to their homes. … Cumberland Gap, on this side, is closely invested, and Gen. Morgan is short of provisions. The north side of the Gap is open, and he can escape in the direction of Manchester or Columbia.
The force at my disposal is only sufficient to invest this side, protect the railroad bridges, and keep the country quiet. Gen. Smith is calling on me for re-enforcements. My position as temporary commander of the department is embarrassing, to say the least. I shall carry out Gen. Smith’s views. The conscript law should be enforced at once. I would prefer having the disaffected element in my front than my rear. I would recommend that [a] warning be given that all those who left would be considered as aliens and their property sequestrated. …
Those who left for the north would only embarrass Gen. Morgan in his critical position. If I had forces sufficient to invest the north of the Gap, I believe that Morgan and his whole force would soon be captured or give battle. A definite policy should be adopted at once, and I ask early instructions. The position and importance of East Tennessee requires prompt action.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. McCOWN, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 794-795.

6 SEPTEMBER 1862 – 10 SEPTEMBER 1862
Expedition from Cumberland Gap to Pine Mountain and skirmishes
Report of Col. Joseph A. Cooper, Sixth Tennessee Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE OHIO, Cumberland Gap, September 12, 1862. Brig.-Gen. MORGAN:
DEAR GENERAL: Having received, I herewith transmit to you the report of Col. Cooper of the expedition made in obedience to an order received from your headquarters. It is with no small degree of gratitude and pleasure that I do the same, and take pleasure in stating, in addition to what he reports, that a comment from me upon the facts as stated in his report would nor could not present the gallant commander who planned, and the brave and energetic officers and men who executed, it in any more favorable light before the country than their gallant conduct on the occasion as stated in Col. Cooper’s report. For all which gallantry, patriotism, and energy it is my first duty, as well as my greatest pleasure, to forward, together with this report, to your headquarters for your further consideration, and then to receive from you and the nation such other and further comment as in your judgment said little band of patriots are entitled to. I am, general, your friend and obedient servant, JAMES G. SPEARS, Brig. Gen. Comdg.
Twenty-fifth Brigade, Army of the Ohio.

John Wesley Pitts writes his wife from Cumberland Gap.
Cumberland Gap, 4 o’clock P.M.
My Darling Vin
Since mailing the letter I wrote you this morning our Regiment has received orders to go into camp until tomorrow morning. About dinner time I received yours written at Columbiana on the 13th inst, and I assure its perusal afforded me a great deal of pleasure to know that you were well and everything moving on so smoothly. Separated as we are it is always a great pleasure to hear from you and if I sometimes complain of your not writing as often as I could wish, you must overlook and attribute it to an over anxiety to hear from you & the little ones.
You ask me to come home. I would like very well to do so but for a healthy man like myself to resign and go home it would furnish gossip for years to come, besides my company is so anxious for me to stay that it would look wrong in me to leave them as long as can possibly get along. They say that I will have to give it up and go home but as long as I can without serious injury to myself, they want me to stay.
It makes me proud and mad at the same time to think they should object so strong to my leaving them. If I were a lieutenant or a private, I should not hesitate one minute but apply for a discharge and go home, even if I were forced by the conscript to hire a substitute.
Since I got me a truss I have done pretty well while I was lying around here and not walking much, but as soon as I commenced marching this week, I began to get worse & have [been] getting worse all the time, and yesterday in the march from Baptist Gap 10 miles below this, I gave completely out and had to fall back behind the Regt. If I continue to get worse, I will have to give it up, as I do not care to be left behind the Regt. in such a country as Kentucky.
I am only affected on one side at present but the Dr. says I may get so on the other any day. Dr. Reeves says if I were at home and would take the proper care of myself, I would get over it directly, but that he is afraid I will [not] get over it in the service. I would like exceedingly if some arrangement could be made by which I could get a Company in place of the one at the Bridge, as I would then be stationery – But enough of myself.
I have looking around all day at the sights in this Gap & vicinity and have not yet seen half. If I had time, I could write you ten or fifteen pages. I have stood to-day in three different states at the same time – Kentucky, Tennessee & Virginia. They corner right in the Gap. It is the most magnificent view from the mountain I have ever beheld, but I have not the space to go into detail.
Such destruction of property I never expected to see as we witnessed here – arms, ammunition, Camp & garrison equipage or a large amount of coffee and salt were burnt. Our troops saved a good deal but an immense amount was lost. They destroyed all their tents, baggage, tools, ammunition & everything they had brought here for the purpose of arming the East Tennessee Tory’s [Unionists]. We captured 430 of them before they could get away. They all appear very anxious to get out of the army.
I will write again as soon as I get a chance. Write soon. Continue to direct your letters to Knoxville as we will have a regular mail to follow us as we advance. Good Bye, 

Confederate concern about Federal position at Cumberland Gap
Gen. BRAXTON BRAGG, Chattanooga, Tenn.
GEN: I have just returned from Gen. Carter Stevenson’s headquarters. With Gen. Stevenson I made a careful reconnaissance of the enemy’s position at Cumberland Gap. We cannot storm the place. They are strengthening their works, and can subsist for a considerable time from the country north of the mountain unless the Gap is invested on the north side.
Independent of the command of Gen. Stevenson I have only troops sufficient to guard our depot and the railroad bridges and a few Partisan Rangers, Col. Smith’s Legion. The Legion is now moving to Big Creek Gap to co-operate with Gen. Stevenson to cut off a force blockading Big Creek and Rogers Gaps. I believe the [Cumberland] Gap would soon fall if I had men to invest the north side. I should have done so if I could have collected 3,000 men.
Your calling on me for Smith’s Legion leaves me hardly able to guard the different gaps. I have organized some 1,500 old soldiers (joining their regiments) that I shall forward as soon as armed and Big Creek Gap opened or that I can safely send them by the Jamestown route. Rest assured, general, that I shall do all I can to forward your wishes. The situation of East Tennessee is not satisfactory. I fear trouble.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. S. BRADFORD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 810.

“The recovery of Cumberland Gap is a necessity …”
Gen. S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.:
GEN.: The Federal forces at Cumberland Gap have taken advantage of the advance of Gen. Smith’s command into Kentucky to blockade the passes through mountains which Gen. Smith entered Kentucky. A detachment of Kentucky cavalry left a few days since without orders to join Gen. Smith and were captured near Pine Mountain.
Gen. Smith is calling on me for re-enforcements. Gen. Bragg has ordered a portion of my small command to join Gen. Smith. I shall obey the order. With the force at my command at present I can only invest the Gap on this side, guard the various mountain passes and the railroad bridges.
I am unpleasantly situated, taking in view the necessity of recovering Cumberland Gap, the key to East Tennessee and the requisitions for re-enforcements for Kentucky. The recovery of Cumberland Gap is a necessity to the peace and quiet of this deluded region. It cannot be recovered unless it can be reinvested on the north side.
I cannot do this and send off the forces to Kentucky called for unless in his confusion Gen. Morgan may abandon it. I am now organizing a force to re-enforce Gen. Smith and escort funds. I shall push it forward as soon as it is of sufficient strength to certainly protect these funds.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. McCOWN, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 814.

17 SEPTEMBER 1862 – 3 OCTOBER 1862
Union Army Evacuates Cumberland Gap
March of its garrison to Greenupburg [now Greensburg] KY
Report of Brig. Gen. W. Morgan, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. UNITED STATES FORCES, Greenupburg, Ky., October 3, 1862.
GEN.: On the night of the 17th of September, with the army of Stevenson 3 miles in my front, with Bragg and Marshall on my flanks, and Kirby Smith in my rear, my command marched from Cumberland Gap mid the explosion of mines and magazines and lighted by the blaze of the store-houses of the commissary and quartermaster. The sight was grand.
Stevenson was taken completely by surprise. At 5 o’clock p. m. on the 17th instant I sent him three official letters. The officers of our respective flags remained together in friendly chat for an hour. I have brought away all the guns but four 30- pounders, which were destroyed by knocking off the trunnions. During our march we were constantly enveloped by the enemy’s cavalry, first by the Stevenson and since by the [Gen. John Hunt] Morgan brigade.
Throughout I maintained the offensive, and on one day marched twenty hours and on three successive nights drove Morgan’s men from their supper. Morgan first assailed us in the rear and then passed to our front, blockading the road and destroying subsistence. For three successive days we were limited to the water of stagnant pools and that in small quantities. We expected to meet Humphrey Marshall at this place, but have been disappointed. Unless otherwise ordered I will proceed with my column to Camp Dennison to rest and refit.
With high respect,
Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, p. 990.

The Federals commenced burning their army stores last night at 8 o’clock. They blew up their magazines after midnight, and marched out before day. We advanced this morning and occupied the Gap, and found a great quantity of property destroyed and some not destroyed. The enemy had spiked the guns in the forts on the mountain peaks, and they left a great number of sick in the Gap. We will move on in pursuit of them.
~ Diary of William E. Sloan.

USA George W. Morgan saves his men from starvation by leading them
north out of Tennessee, through Kentucky to safety on the Ohio River.

The Great March from Cumberland Gap
3 October 1862 ended one of the epic marches in American military history, the evacuation of the Union garrison at Cumberland Gap to the Ohio River. The men, 7,000 under Brigadier General George W. Morgan, endured a test not often found in the annals of the United States Army. What they achieved is on a par with other great movements like Benedict Arnold’s march to Quebec in 1775, Stephen Kearny’s march to California in 1846, and Joseph Stilwell’s walkout from Burma in 1942. Yet it is largely forgotten outside of Kentucky.
Here is that story.
When the Confederates invaded Kentucky in August 1862, a 9,000-strong division under Carter Stevenson diverted to besiege George Morgan’s garrison at Cumberland Gap. Cut off from the outside, the men (many from East Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky) could only watch their rations diminish and wonder at what was happening elsewhere. No word came as August turned into September.
On September 6 the garrison’s bread ran out. Six days later, later the post quartermaster reported that feed for the horses and mules was almost exhausted. If these animals starved to death, the garrison would lose its mobility and would never be able to leave the Gap.
George Morgan now faced a critical decision. On September 14 he met with his staff and senior commanders. After considering the situation carefully, all present agreed that the Gap needed to be evacuated. Having thus decided to leave Cumberland Gap, the next question was where to go. A march on the Old Wilderness Road toward Lexington or Central Kentucky would mean a likely encounter with Confederates, not something George Morgan was willing to risk with his half-starved men. Win or lose, his force might be so crippled by a major fight that it would be unable to get to Union lines.
The only other alternative was to go through the mountains to the Ohio River, 200 miles to the north. But this option meant a major movement into a wild region using narrow roads and defiles that could easily be blocked by an intrepid opponent. George Morgan marked a possible route on a map, and he showed it to some officers who were familiar with Eastern Kentucky’s mountains. Almost to a man they agreed it would be a tough road, with little forage or water to be found. One officer, the former Kentucky State Geologist, said that the Federals could “possibly” get through, but only “by abandoning the artillery and wagons.” Despite the risks, George Morgan decided to try and bring out his whole force through the mountains.
After several days of preparations, George Morgan’s men left Cumberland Gap at 8 P.M. on September 17. They burned everything not movable and blocked the road to delay pursuit. Turning northeast past Manchester, the Federals moved into the mountains while Confederates under John Hunt Morgan and Humphrey Marshall exerted every effort to block their progress, While the wagons moved through defiles, East Tennessee infantry covered from the ridges above.
George Morgan later summarized the hunt in the Eastern Kentucky mountains: “Frequent skirmishes took place, and it several times happened that while the one Morgan was clearing out the obstructions at the entrance to a defile, the other Morgan was blocking the exit from the same defile with enormous rocks and felled trees.
In the work of clearing away these obstructions, one thousand men, wielding axes, saws, picks, spades, and block and tackle, under the general direction of Captain William F. Patterson, commanding his company of engineer-mechanics, and of Captain Sidney S. Lyon, labored with skill and courage. In one instance they were forced to cut a new road through the forest for a distance of four miles in order to turn a blockade of one mile.” 
The Confederates finally broke off pursuit October 1.
On October 3, 1862, George Morgan’s command crossed the Ohio River at Greensburg. After 219 miles and 16 days on the road, they had made it despite limited water, dwindling rations, and Confederate efforts. Federal losses totaled 80 men killed, wounded, and missing/deserted. Despite all odds, George Morgan had brought his men, wagons, and artillery to safety in the Buckeye State.

The Rev. E. K. Pitts and Hon. A. O. P. Nicholson had a series of appointments to address the people of East Tennessee on the subject of the war, extending from Loudon to Bristol, and closing on the 10th inst. The former was authorized by the rebel government to raise a regiment of volunteers. Maj. Gen. John P. McCown succeeded Gen. Kirby Smith in command of the Department of East Tennessee.
Gen. McCown publishes an order in the Knoxville Register of the 7th, revoking authority previously granted to impress or seize property, and thereafter impressments would only be made by a commanding officer or by a special order of the Major General Commanding the Department, the property to be receipted for at proper value in all cases.
The Knoxville Register of the 7th says: “Our latest advices from Cumberland Gap represents matters in status quo and every thing quiet.” What the programme of the rebel troops in relation to the besieged place, the Register says had not yet been developed. …
Nashville Dispatch

21 OCTOBER 1862
Stopping Confederate stragglers from reaching Knoxville.
Special Order No. 49
Headquarters Breckinridge’s Division, Knoxville.
Brig-Genl. Maxey will send a Regiment under one of his most competent officers out on the Tazewell road to Cumberland Gap to stop the stragglers from Gen’l Bragg’s army. He will order the officers in command to use such vigilance as will prevent their getting to the Rail Road Depot or into the town of Knoxville.
By Command of Maj. Gen. [John] Breckinridge.
Military daily log, 1862-1865,
William B. Bate collection.

21 OCTOBER 1862
Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi successfully completes its passage through Cumberland Gap and returns to Tennessee.

The Battles for Cumberland Gap 1863 coming in the near future.

Union Women of Northeast Tennessee Exiled in the Civil War

Confederate authorities provide escort for Mrs. William B. [Elizabeth] Carter to be exiled from Tennessee via Cumberland Gap. Her husband is the mastermind of the bridge burnings.

26 APRIL 1862
MADAM: I am directed by Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith respectfully to require that you and your family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours from the delivery of this note by way of Cumberland Gap. Passports and an escort will be furnished you for your protection to the enemy’s line.
Very respectfully,
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, pp. 885-886.

Tennessee Women in the Civil War, Tennessee State Museum

28 APRIL 1862
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
Mrs. Carter will go unhesitatingly but has a sick child just now but can go in a few days. She says she has not the funds. She is in bad health and must take a nurse with her, a slave. You will answer by 12 o’clock.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

30 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Carter and her two children will leave to-morrow night for Norfolk. You will send passports, transportation for myself and everything else that is necessary. Send them by the conductor of the next train; if otherwise I will not get them in time. Also send me $50.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

19 MAY 1862
Elizabethton, Tenn.
Colonel W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
DEAR SIR: A few days since I communicated with Mrs. Carter in reference to her departure for the Federal lines. I called on Mrs. Carter a few moments since. Two of her children are a little sick now but will be well in a few days. She is anxious to go to her husband and if allowed to take a nurse she will go much more cheerfully. She says she won’t go a step till her children get well enough to travel and till she is allowed to carry a nurse to assist her with the children. She prefers going by Cumberland Gap.
Very respectfully,
Deputy Provost-Marshal.

21 APRIL 1862 – 23 APRIL 1862:
Confederate authorities order Mrs. Horace Maynard to leave Northeast Tennessee.

21 APRIL 1862
Wife of U.S. Congressman Horace Maynard expelled from Northeast Tennessee.
Mrs. MAYNARD, Knoxville.
MADAM: By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed respectfully to require that yourself and family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

22 APRIL 1862
Gen. S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.:
I have directed Maynard’s family to leave East Tennessee. I wish them to go via Norfolk. Can they pass that way?
Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

23 APRIL 1862
Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
SIR: This office has had no communicate with Mrs. Maynard since notifying her but understand she leaves this morning. No application has been made for passport. No officer has yet reported to go to Norfolk. Will be sent to Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s headquarters for instructions as soon as he reports here.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

23 APRIL 1862
Dr. F. A. RAMSEY, Surgeon.
DOCTOR: I am directed by the major-general commanding to inform you in response to your communication of this date that Mrs. Maynard will not be required to leave before the expiration of the time at which you state she will be able to bear the fatigue of travel.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

24 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Horace Maynard seeks Confederate passports for slaves
SIR: Mrs. Maynard applies for passports for two servants understood to be slaves. I am directed to ask your decision as to whether they are her property or not.

25 APRIL 1862
Confederate escort to lead Mrs. Horace Maynard out of East Tennessee
The following-named persons are allowed in charge of Lieut. Joseph H. Speed to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Horace Maynard and three children.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

25 APRIL 1862
Confederate escort to lead Mrs. Horace Maynard out of East Tennessee
The following-named persons are allowed in charge of Lieut. Joseph H. Speed to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Horace Maynard and three children.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

14 MAY 1862
Confederate escort for the exile of Mrs. Robert K. Byrd, East Tennessee loyalist
MADAM: Will it suit your convenience to visit Kentucky next week as formerly proposed by private conveyance to Cumberland Gap with proper escort? It is important to you as well as others. The colonel [her husband] has been quite sick, but I learn has recovered and joined his regiment now at Cumberland Ford.
Very respectfully,
W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 888.

MINI BIO: Robert King Byrd
Robert K. Byrd was a Union soldier and politician from Roane County, East Tennessee. He married Mary Lucinda Lea in 1861. Although he owned slaves, Byrd remained loyal to the Union. He was a delegate to the East Tennessee Convention in May and June 1861. At the June session in Greeneville, Byrd made a secret pact with several other delegates to begin raising and drilling military units to defend their homeland.
In August 1861, Byrd fled to Kentucky where he joined the Union Army as a colonel and was assigned to command the First Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, the first Union regiment composed primarily of refugees from East Tennessee. They took part in numerous skirmishes in and around Cumberland Gap and at the Battle of Mill Springs in January 1862.
Col. Byrd was not at home in May 1862 when Confederate authorities exiled his wife from Tennessee.
On 31 December 1862, Byrd led an attack that cleared the Confederates out of the woods near the front lines at the Battle of Stones River and received high praise from his brigade commander, Gen. James G. Spears. Col. Byrd’s unit was mounted in May 1863, and renamed the First Tennessee Mounted Infantry. A month later they joined in Col. William P. Sanders’ East Tennessee raid that destroyed railroad lines and bridges in the Knoxville area. Byrd’s knowledge of the area contributed to the raid’s success.
During the Knoxville Campaign in late 1863, Byrd and his unit were posted in his home town of Kingston. They took part in several skirmishes during the campaign, including one at Mossy Creek in Jefferson County in December 1863. In May 1864, Byrd’s troops were dismounted and sent to Georgia where they fought in various locations. In August 1864, the unit completed its three-year period of service. The First Tennessee Infantry Regiment were mustered out of the Union Army in Knoxville. They received high praise as the “first among the patriotic men from East Tennessee to take up arms in defense of the Union.”

Eliza O’Brien Brownlow, left

21 APRIL 1862
Mrs. Eliza Brownlow, Knoxville.
MADAM: By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed respectfully to require that yourself and family pass beyond the C. S. line in thirty-six hours.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

21 APRIL 1862
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: Your official note as provost-marshal for East Tennessee ordering myself and family to remove beyond the limits of the Confederate States within the next thirty-six hours is just received and I hasten to reply to it. My husband as you are aware is not here to afford me his protection and counsel; and being well nigh in the evening of life with a family of dependent children I have to request as a matter of indulgence that you extend the time for my exile a few days longer as to leave within the time prescribed by your mandate would result in the total sacrifice of my private interests. I have to request further information [as to] what guarantee of safety your passport will afford myself and family.
Yours, &c.,

21 APRIL 1862
Mrs. W. G. BROWNLOW, Knoxville.
MADAM: By Major General E. Kirby Smith
I am directed most respectfully to inform you that you and your children are not held as hostages for the good behavior of your husband as represented by him in a speech at Cincinnati recently, and that yourself and family will be required to pass beyond the C. S. line on thirty-six hours from this date. Passports will be granted you from this office.
Very respectfully,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

22 APRIL 1862
MADAM: At your request the time for your leaving to join your husband is extended until Thursday morning next. The route will be via Kingston and Sparta. Your safety will be the soldiers sent along for your protection to the lines of the enemy.
Very respectfully,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

23 APRIL 1862
Maj. H. L. CLAY, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
SIR: Names of the following persons to go to Norfolk: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow.
Col. and Provost-Marshal.

24 APRIL 1862
Lieut. JOSEPH H. SPEED, Twentieth Regt. Alabama Volunteers.
SIR: The major-general commanding directs that you proceed from this place to-morrow morning in charge of the following-named persons: Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow, Mrs. Maynard and three children, whom you will take to Norfolk, Va., to be transported thence to the enemy’s lines. You will show them all proper attention on the way thither and protect them against offensive intrusion.
After arriving at Norfolk you will report to the commanding officer and request that just prior to their embarkation a careful examination be made of their luggage and persons for letters or papers of a treasonable character. If any such should be discovered you will detain Mr. [Parson] Brownlow and bring him with you upon return to Knoxville when you will report to these headquarters.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

25 APRIL 1862
The following-named persons are allowed (in charge of Lieutenant Joseph H. Speed) to pass out of the Confederate States Government by way of Norfolk, Va.:
Mrs. Eliza Brownlow and three children, Miss Mary Brownlow, Mrs. Sue C. Sawyers and child, John B. Brownlow.
Colonel and Provost-Marshal.

28 APRIL 1862
Just received. The persons are here. Lieutenant Speed reports this order is from General Kirby Smith. I will detain the party here. Please telegraph me if I shall send them to Fort Monroe.

28 APRIL 1862
Major General BENJAMIN HUGER, Norfolk, Va.:
The Brownlow family which has been sent to Norfolk by the commanding general of the Department of East Tennessee for the purpose of being transported to the enemy’s line will be sent by you to Fortress Monroe.
By order of the Secretary of War:
A. T. BLEDSOE, Assistant Secretary of War.

Eliza McCardle Johnson, Wife of Military Governor Andrew Johnson

21 APRIL 1862.
MADAM: By Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith I am directed to respectfully require that you and your family pass beyond the C. S. line through Nashville if you please in thirty-six hours. Passports will be granted you at this office.
Very respectfully,
W. M. CHURCHWELL, Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 884.

26 APRIL 1862 – Confederate authorities give Mrs. Andrew Johnson more time to prepare for exile
MADAM: Your note to Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith has been referred to this office and I am directed respectfully to reply in order to give you more time to make your arrangements for leaving. The time is extended thirty-six hours from the delivery of this second note when the major-general hopes you will be ready to comply with his request. You can go by way of Norfolk, Va., north, or by Kingston to Nashville. Passports and an escort will be furnished for your protection.
Very respectfully,
Col. and Provost-Marshal.
OR, Ser. II, Vol. I, p. 885.

28 APRIL 1862
A. J. Campbell’s failed mission to force Mrs. Andrew Johnson into exile
JONESBOROUGH, TENN., April 28, 1862. Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
SIR: My mission to Mrs. Johnson was unsatisfactory. She said she would not go North but Judge Patterson and her son Charles have assured me that she would go. You will please state what goods and chattels she will be allowed to take with her; also how much money and if you are willing that her son Charles shall accompany her. He is a young unmarried gentleman and I think should go with his mamma.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 1, p. 887.

19 MAY 1862
Mrs. Andrew Johnson delays her exile from East Tennessee
OFFICE DEPUTY PROVOST-MARSHAL, Elizabethton, Tenn., May 19, 1862.
Col. W. M. CHURCHWELL, Provost-Marshal.
DEAR SIR: A few days since I communicated with Mrs. Johnson in reference to her departure for the Federal lines. Col. Dan. Stover called on me yesterday and stated that Mrs. Johnson’s health was still very poor with no prospect of improvement shortly if ever. I have consulted with several physicians who state that Mrs. Johnson is consumptive and to remove her will probably cause her death. She is very anxious to remain here with her children and is not at all desirous to go the bosom of “Andy.”
I think Mrs. Johnson’s health is not likely to improve; so if she has to go, now is as good a time as any. These people are very quiet now. A great many gladly circulate false rumors in relation to Federal victories but I can’t find out the originators of such stories.
Very respectfully,
Deputy Provost-Marshal. OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 888-889.

12 OCTOBER – 13 OCTOBER 1862
Charles Johnson to his father Military Governor Andrew Johnson concerning reception given to family in Confederate Murfreesborough
We reached this place Friday evening at nine o’clock in a cold rain—got out of the cars-found no hotel in the place-and nearly all the private houses full-no place to put baggage, no hacks, no servants. . . We wandered about the town for an hour or two and finally succeeded after pleading, entreating, begging in getting a house to sleep on the floor without any fire.
At six o’clock Saturday morning [October 13] General [Nathan Bedford] Forrest sent a deputation of soldiers for us to appear before him immediately. We appeared before him. He. . . informed us that Jesus Christ could not cross his lines and that we should immediately return [to East Tennessee] by the seven o’clock train-that the War Department had no control of his lines. . .
We were now known in the town and not a soul would let us in his house. We were annoyed by taunts and jeers of a rabble soldiery. . . Finally we got a room in a vacant house. . . We put the women and children in this room where they stayed all night, we men laying in the cars by courtesy of the baggage master …
~ Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 23.

First home of Andrew and Eliza Johnson in Greeneville, Tennessee

Eliza Johnson’s Health Issues
In 1852, at age 43, Eliza gave birth to their last child – a son, Andrew Jr. (called Frank). About this time she contracted ‘consumption’ (tuberculosis). Within a year, the disease was limiting her physical activity and prevented her from traveling with Andrew to Nashville when he was sworn in as the new Governor of Tennessee (1853–1857). Trapped in Greeneville, Tennessee, Eliza engaged in social welfare work for the Methodist Church. Four of her five children soon left home, and Eliza was content to manage the family businesses, raise Frank, coordinate the family’s nine slaves, and maintain the household.

Life as Civil War Refugees
In fear for his life, Andrew Johnson escaped to Union lines and traveled to Washington DC where he remained, cut-off from his family. Confederate troops occupied East Tennessee on 26 July 1861, and Eliza and her family were singled out as “Unionists,” and placed on the watch list.
In April 1862, Confederate authorities ordered Eliza Johnson and her family to leave Northeast Tennessee. Eliza’s fragile health prevented her from doing so, and they were granted her a temporary reprieve. Five months later, after their property was confiscated, Eliza was given papers to travel through Confederate lines to Nashville, where her husband was serving as military governor of Tennessee (1862-1865) in Union-held Middle Tennessee. Eliza and her family then became refugees. In September 1862, the family were detained in Confederate-occupied Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they had to go door-to-door asking for shelter and food. Confederate sympathizers harassed and threatened them, but they eventually made their way to Nashville.
A Nashville diarist wrote: “The great joy at the reunion of this long and sorrowfully separated family may be imagined. … Even the Governor’s Roman firmness was overcome, and he wept tears of thankfulness at this merciful deliverance of his beloved ones from the hands of their unpitying persecutors.”

Johnson Family Civil War Tragedies
There would be little time to enjoy her new home and family. She soon received news that her son Robert—an officer in the Union Army was severely ill in Cincinnati due to his alcoholism. Eliza traveled there to assist and comfort him.

Robert Johnson

21 NOVEMBER 1863
Andrew Johnson letter to son Robert
Nashville, Nov 21st 1863
My dear Son,
Your note of the 17th is now before me. My sources of grief and care have been enough without your adding to them at this time. I have been determined that no act of mine should be an excuse for your recent course of Conduct and do not now intend to depart from it. You tender your resignation, predicated upon my wish for you to do so, and as I obtained the Commission … to require you to resign and therefore you do resign.

I have not indicated to you by work or deed any desire or wish on my part, that you Should resign your Commission as Col of the regiment; but on the contrary have expressed myself in the most emphatic terms, that I would rather See you once more yourself again and at the head of your Regiment, going to your own native home, than be possessed by the highest honors which Could be conferred upon me. In this so far, I have been doomed to deep disappointment.

I have said and now repeat that I feared you would be dismissed from the Army unless you reformed and took Command of your Regiment and give Some evidence of determination to Serve the country as a sober, upright, and honorable man. I have also said further, that your own reputation and that of an exiled family, required one of two things, reformation in your habits and attention to business, or to withdraw from the Army. One or the other is due yourself, the Regiment, and the Government.

This is what I have Said, it is what I now feel and think. Though, my son, I feel that I am but discharging the duty of a father who has devoted his whole life to the elevation of those he expects to leave behind him. In your letter you Say my will is the law with you, in reference to the resignation. I do most sincerely wish that my will was the law in regard to your future Course. I would be willing this night [to] resign my existence into the hands of him who gave it.
Your devoted father,
Andrew Johnson
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 485.

After his resignation from the First Tennessee Union Cavalry, Robert Johnson served as his father’s private secretary. Unable to overcome a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Robert would commit suicide on 22 April 1869 at age 35.

Martha Johnson Patterson
Martha’s husband, Judge  David Patterson, was arrested in November 1861, and was to be sent to jail at Tuscaloosa, AL, as a prisoner of war. The next news I find of him mentions that he has been elected president of the Nashville Refugee Aid Society.
18 March 1864.
Nashville Dispatch:
“… Assembled at the office of the Secretary of State at ten o’clock yesterday morning, and organized by the election of Hon. David T. Patterson, President, [who] announced the object of the meeting to be, to devise some means for the relief of those families who have been driven from their homes by the devastations of the war, and are temporarily residing in this division of the State.”
Apparently, Patterson has been released from his arrest and has joined his wife and family at Nashville.
19 May 1864
Relief for East Tennessee
Nashville Dispatch:
“This noble work is still progressing [relief work]. There has been received in this city about 400 tons of supplies, consisting principally of flour, corn, and bacon. Another cargo of 150 tons is expected this week. They are being forwarded at the rate of one car load per day. It is to be regretted that the agencies of the army for the past two months have prevented their speedier shipment, but even at this rate, all has been forwarded except about 70 tons. Accounts from all parts of East Tennessee represent the people in great destitution, and agents sent from particular localities for provisions bring with them most undoubted evidence that unless relief can be procured within ten days, the people of those localities will be compelled to leave the country to save themselves from starvation. Every effort will be made to supply these districts first.”

Charles Johnson
In April 1863, Eliza’s oldest son Charles—an assistant surgeon in the Union Army—was thrown from a horse and killed instantly. Eliza never fully recovered from his sudden death. He was 33 years old.

Andrew Johnson Jr. – “Frank”
The youngest Johnson son, Andrew Jr., [called Frank] was the only son to marry, but had no children. Like his mother, he suffered from tuberculosis; he also drank to excess. Frank liked to write. He tried his hand at journalism after the war, founding the Greeneville Intelligencer; the paper failed after two years. Andrew Johnson, Jr. died on March 12, 1879 at age 26.

Mary Johnson Stover, widow of Daniel Stover
Eliza’s son-in-law, Daniel Stover—husband of her daughter Mary—had been in charge of burning the bridge at the town of Zollicoffer on 8 November 1861. During the Unionist uprising that followed the ET&VA bridge burnings, he and his men were routed from their camp at Doe River Cove in Carter County, Northeast Tennessee.
Daniel hid out in the cold and damp winter in the mountains, which ruined his health. Due to his weakened condition, he also contracted ‘consumption’ [tuberculosis]. Daniel joined the Union Army and tried bravely to serve in his regiment, but his disease would not allow it. Col. Daniel Stover died on 18 December 1864 at age 38.

Eliza Johnson’s health remained poor for the remainder of her life. She passed on 15 January 1876 at age 65.