Anderson County Tennessee in the Civil War

Anderson County was originally a part of Knox County, which once extended all the way to the Kentucky border. By 1801 there were enough people in the region to establish a new county, which they named Anderson for Judge Joseph Anderson. A county seat was also created that year near a popular spring on the Clinch River. It was named Clinton for Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, George Clinton. The county grew slowly for the next sixty years. As in most of East Tennessee, the mountainous terrain was not conducive to the large farms and sprawling plantations that developed in the other two divisions of the state—Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee.
On the eve of Civil War in 1860, Anderson Countians loyalties were deeply divided. On 8 June 1861, they voted against seceding from the Union, 1,278 to 97. No major Civil War battles were fought in Anderson County, but, as in most Northeast Tennessee counties, there were Union and Confederate sympathizers. Divided loyalties often erupted into violence. Guerillas on both sides raided farms and tormented their enemies. Bushwhackers attacked by surprise from hidden locations. The County suffered greatly during the Civil War years, but change came rapidly in the decades following the War. Farming resumed and the county prospered.


Violent Clashes: “Flying … in the wildest disorder”
With the threat of war looming, Anderson County residents voted overwhelmingly against secession in 1861. When Confederate forces occupied East Tennessee and established a conscription center at nearby Clinton, Unionists slipped into Kentucky to evade the draft and join the Union army. Many used nearby “Eli’s Cabin”, built by county resident Eli Ward, as a safe house.
Although fortunate to escape the state’s most devastating battles, soldiers clashed at nearby Wallace’s Crossroads on 15 July 1862. Union Gen. George W. Morgan wrote of the fight, “On Tuesday noon [Union] Gen. [James G.] Spears, with a party of infantry, attacked 500 of the enemy’s cavalry at Wallace’s Cross Roads, near Clinton. A citizen reports that at 2 p.m. of that day he net about 300 of the enemy flying toward Knoxville in the wildest disorder; some were on horses, but without coats or arms; others were bare-headed and no arms. It was a complete panic, and they had gone at full run for the distance of 9 miles and were still flying.”
As the war progressed, loyalties remained divided. Guerilla violence increased as unionists and Confederate sympathizers clashed. Years of deprivation and violence took a toll on local residents. After the war, the county gradually recovered, aided by the construction of the Knoxville and Ohio Railroad in 1867.
Bottom box
In 1942, the Army Corps of Engineers began acquiring land around Oak Ridge for the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. Many communities that had survived the Civil War, such as Wheat, Scarboro, and Robertsville, were moved or demolished. A small slave cemetery in the Wheat community, (believed to be part of the Gallaher-Stone Plantation) remains nearby and contains 90 marked graves with no inscriptions.
Location. 36° 0.746′ N, 84° 15.461′ W. Marker is in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in Anderson County. Marker is on South Tulane Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located in front of the Oak Ridge Public Safety building.
Images on marker.
Left image
Gen. George W. Morgan USA
Center image
Gen. James G. Spears USA
Upper right image
Map of Kentucky and Tennessee 1862
Bottom right image
Formation of guerrilla bands
Marker erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.

Sarah Taylor: Daughter of the Regiment
Sarah Taylor (1841–1886) was a schoolteacher before the Civil War, a reasonably peaceful lifestyle for a young lady of the period. However, she must have had a strong sense of adventure as well. In September 1861, twenty-year-old Sarah left her home in Anderson County, Tennessee and traveled to Camp Dick Robinson, Kentucky—some 150 miles away.
Sarah’s stepfather, James A. Doughty, a Knoxville native, had recently been appointed captain of Company K of the 1st Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Infantry in the Union army at Camp Dick Robinson. It was the habit of some regiments on both sides of the war to select one of the men’s daughters to be the daughter of the regiment. In this case, the soldiers of Company K chose the stepdaughter of their captain. The title of the daughter of the regiment was pretty much symbolic and a morale-booster for the soldiers, but these daughters also worked as nurses and served food and drink to soldiers in the field.

Young lady wearing a knee length dress over long pants, similar to the outfit Sarah Taylor would have worn.

These young women often created their own uniforms, which was some form of short skirt over long pants. Long, flowing dresses with crinolines would not have worked on the battlefield. When the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment marched away from Camp Dick Robinson toward a battle at Camp Wildcat in southeastern Kentucky, Sarah went with them. A reporter from the Cincinnati Times described Sarah’s uniform as:
She has donned a neat blue chapeau, beneath which her long hair is fantastically arranged; bearing at her side a highly-finished regulation sword and silver-mounted pistols in her belt, all of which gives her a very neat appearance. … She wore a blue blouse and was armed with pistols, sword, and rifle.
Although she was well-armed to defend herself, young Sarah was captured by the Confederates but was later paroled, probably after she promised to go home. The tale of her troubles appeared in an article in the Memphis Daily Appeal on 18 July 1863:
Sallie [nickname for girls named Sarah] Taylor, “La Fille du Regiment” (French for daughter of the regiment). This notorious (beautiful, though she was) woman was arrested, as our readers will remember, some months ago and discharged upon her parole, has kept herself quiet recently, when, as we are informed, she so far captivated, if not captured, a private in Cobb’s battery stationed at Clinton, as to induce him to steal the horse of one of the lieutenants of his company and to escape with her into Kentucky, where she may resume in propria persona her nom de plume of “Daughter of the 1st (Bird’s) Tennessee regiment.


Civil War in Anderson County: Skulking bushwhackers
Divided loyalties in Anderson County, as elsewhere in East Tennessee, often erupted in violence. It was commonplace for guerillas on both sides to raid farms and capture opposing sympathizers. In the county seat of Clinton, Confederates established a conscription center to draft men into military service. Many Unionists, trying to avoid conscription, stole across the border into Kentucky to join the Federal army. They used ‘Eli’s Cabin,’ built by county resident Eli Lovejoy Ward, as a safe house to rest and eat before heading over the mountains.
A small engagement occurred in the county on July 25, 1862, when a Federal foraging party fired on Confederate cavalry pickets at Clinton Ferry. Confederate forces moved quickly to establish control of the area. An East Tennessee correspondent for the Atlanta Intelligencer reported, “The number of [Confederate] troops gathering here renders this a place of some interest … situated on the Clinch river, twenty miles north of Knoxville. … Cooking utensils, baggage and tents, have been given up, and large supplies of ammunition are being collected. There are no armed enemies near us, except the skulking bushwhackers, and they are getting extremely cautious in their movements.” Even after the war ended, resentments lingered.
Lower right box.
Norris Dam State Park, built in 1933 as the first Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project, features 4,000 acres along the Norris Reservoir, which furnished electricity and controlled flooding in the Tennessee Valley. A corn and wheat mill, constructed in Union County by James Rice in 1798, was dismantled in 1935 and reassembled on Clear Creek. The building has served as a sawmill, cotton gin, and source of power for the Rice homestead. The nearby Old Emery Road, “cut and cleared” in 1787, was the first authorized road connecting Kingston to Knoxville and Nashville. Travelers stayed in the David Hall Cabin, a tavern built in 1799. Confederate soldiers occupied it during the war.
Images on Marker.
Left image
Union refugees
Courtesy Library of Congress
Middle image
Mountain Region of North Carolina and Tennessee, 1864
Courtesy Library of Congress
Upper right image
Guerillas meeting with scouts
Tennessee State Library & Archives
Lower right image
Old Rice Mill, Norris Dam
Tennessee State Library & Archives
Marker erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Location. 36° 12.728′ N, 84° 4.378′ W. Marker is in Norris, Tennessee, in Anderson County. Marker is on Norris Freeway (U.S. 441) 0.1 miles south of Clear Creek Road, on the left when traveling south. Marker is in the parking lot of the Lenoir Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2121 Norris Freeway, Norris TN 37828.

Samuel Black
Samuel was born 29 March 1840, was raised on a farm, and was educated near Clinton [Anderson County seat] and in its own schools. He worked on the farm until August 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, of the First (Federal) Tennessee Infantry, in which he served until the organization of the Third Infantry, when he was promoted lieutenant of Company C and served as such for three years. Black was discharged 28 February 1865, at Nashville, and began farming again, and has continued with decided success up to the present. He now owns 300 acres on Clinch River and is one of the prosperous and well-to-do farmers of his district.

Henry Clear, Jr.
Henry was born in Anderson County, 8 January 1846 and educated in its schools. In October 1863 he left home and went to Knoxville where he enlisted in the Ninth (Federal) Tennessee Cavalry, serving throughout the war. He was twice wounded, the first time in the right arm at Greeneville, Tenn., and next in the left side at Bull’s Gap, Tenn. He was mustered out 11 September 1865 at Knoxville and returned home. On 31 December 1865, Henry married Martha E. Wallace, with whom he had eight children.

H. C. Coward
H. C. was born 13 March 1846. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in June 1863 joining first the Seventeenth regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Bushrod Johnson’s brigade and in August joining the Fourth Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate) commanded by Paul Anderson. He was captured on 8 March 1864 near Ringgold, Ga., and on being taken before the provost-marshal and given his choice of imprisonment or taking the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government, he wisely chose the latter and went to Nashville where on 9 March 1864 he joined the Federal Army under the assurance that the war was about over and he would have little or no fighting to do. Contrary to his expectations he was at once sent to the front with the Fourth Regiment, Tennessee Federal Cavalry and in Heard County, Ga. was captured by the Confederates, 3 August 1864 and sent to Andersonville prison, remaining about thirty-two days and was then removed to Charleston and finally to Florence, S. C., and in 1865 was paroled after seven month’s imprisonment. He remained at home a year after the war, and then traveled from State to State until 1872, and in 1882 purchased the McBath Mills on Bull Run Creek which he has operated up to the present. On 4 June 1871, he married M. F. Vaughn. They had seven children.

Henry P. Farmer
Henry was born in Anderson County, Tenn., 20 July 1844 and is the son of Nathan A. and Filena J. (Hoskins) Farmer. The father was born in Anderson County, in Dutch Valley, 11 April 1803 and was the son of Henry Farmer a native of Halifax County, Va.  He was one of the first settlers of Anderson County he clearing a farm in Dutch Valley at a time when there were but few white men in the county and Indians were numerous. Henry was reared on the farm and acquired his education in the neighboring schools and Clinton.
He worked on the farm until 28 May 1863 when he enlisted in Company C of the Eleventh (Federal) Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry and in Company I of the Ninth Regiment after the consolidation of the Eleventh and Ninth Regiments. He was captured at Wyman Mill, Lee County, Va., 22 February 1864 and was imprisoned at Belle Isle [Virginia]. After a month’s confinement he was paroled 22 March 1864 and sent to City Point and thence to Annapolis, Md., then to Camp Chase, Ohio, then to Nashville, and in June of the same year rejoined his command at Cumberland Gap. He was mustered out of service at Knoxville 11 September 1865 and returned to the farm and has since followed farming.

William R. Hicks
William was born in Knox County, Tenn., 16 December 1842, the son of Richard N. Hicks, who settled in the Sequatchie Valley at an early date. William was reared on the farm and attended the neighborhood schools.
On 7 August 1861, he enlisted in the Second (Federal) Regiment Tennessee Infantry. He was captured at Rogersville, Tenn., 6 November 1863 and confined in Confederate prisons at Belle Isle, Libby and Andersonville and 9 September 1864 was removed to Charleston, SC, and finally discharged in the following December. While en route to Charleston he escaped from the [railroad] cars at Augusta, Ga., but after walking sixty miles was picked up by Confederate patrols and carried to prison again. He was mustered out of service at Knoxville in February 1865 and returned to his home in Anderson County.
For a year following the war he farmed and then decided to improve his education and entered school at Bushy Fork. For a year he attended school at different places and then began teaching. On 19 March 1868 (his wedding day) he borrowed a copy of Blackstone and began to read law. He was admitted to the bar in 1872 and at once began practicing in Clinton [the county seat] and continued until August 1886 when he was elected judge of the Second Judicial Circuit. He is also one of the leading lawyers of Anderson County.

Elijah Jennings
Elijah was born in Anderson County 18 November 1825. He was the son of Daniel Jennings, a native of England who immigrated to Virginia and came to Tennessee, one of the pioneers of Anderson County. Elijah was reared on the farm and attended the schools of the neighborhood. He has followed farming as a vocation, making a success of the same and now owns a good farm of over 300 acres. In the fall of 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Army, joining the body-guard of Maj. Gen. McCown [McCowan]. Elijah served until the spring of 1863 when he was discharged for disabilities and sent to the hospital. After the war he returned home and has been engaged in farming up to the present time.

Clinton, Tennessee
County Seat of Anderson County
This 1938 view of Clinton shows the topography of the area.
By Tennessee Valley Authority, The National Archives, Archival Research Catalog, ARC identifier: 280439, Public Domain,

“Anderson County: Proud History, Bright Future,” Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, accessed 21 August 2021,
“Violent Clashes: Flying … in the wildest disorder,” The Historical Marker Database, accessed 21 August 2021,
“Civil War in Anderson County: Skulking bushwhackers,” The Historical Marker Database, accessed 21 August 2021,
Tennessee Civil War Trails, “Sarah Taylor,” Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, accessed October 16, 2020,
Susan Lyons Hughes, “The Daughters of the Regiment: A Brief History of Vivandieres and Cantinieres in the American Civil War,” Soldier-Women of the American Civil War, January 8, 2011, accessed October 20, 2020,

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