War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860-1869

Synopsis

One of the most divided regions of the Confederacy, East Tennessee was the site of fierce Unionist resistance to secession, Confederate rule, and the Southern war effort. It was also the scene of unrelenting 'irregular, ' or guerrilla, warfare between Union and Confederate supporters, a conflict that permanently altered the region's political, economic, and social landscape. In this study, Noel Fisher examines the military and political struggle for control of East Tennessee from the secession crisis through the early years of Reconstruction, focusing particularly on the military and political significance of the region's irregular activity.

Fisher portrays in grim detail the brutality and ruthlessness employed not only by partisan bands but also by Confederate and Union troops under constant threat of guerrilla attack and government officials frustrated by unstinting dissent. He demonstrates that, generally, guerrillas were neither the romantic, daring figures of Civil War legend nor mere thieves and murderers, but rather were ordinary men and women who fought to live under a government of their choice and to drive out those who did not share their views.