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

By Noel C. Fisher | Go to book overview

7
Separation Is Best

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee, his army weakened by lack of supplies, disease, desertion, and months of constant fighting, surrendered to Grant and ordered the Army of Northern Virginia to disband. General Joe Johnston continued for a few more days to oppose Sherman's advance through North Carolina, but in late April, after some confusion about the surrender terms, his forces laid down their arms. On May 10 Union cavalry captured President Jefferson Davis in Georgia, and shortly thereafter the remaining Confederate forces, including those in the Trans-Mississippi, went home. By late spring, therefore, the conventional war was over, though Union troops continued to occupy the South and Confederate and Union partisans in Missouri, Kentucky, and other states fought on.

Despite the formal peace, the war in East Tennessee went on unabated. The Unionist-secessionist conflict for control of this region was not yet fully resolved, and for more than two years life in East Tennessee continued to be characterized by beatings, killings, theft, and legal and political battles. By 1868 Unionists had achieved many of their aims, but their victory was not so complete as they had hoped, and the costs of their triumph were high.

The skirmishing between secessionist guerrillas and Union troops continued into the summer. On April 13 Major General David S. Stanley reported that only a few Confederate bushwhackers had been seen recently near Greeneville and claimed that Unionist bands were killing or chasing away those who remained. On May 5 Brigadier General Davis Tillson stated that guerrilla bands in the mountains of northern East Tennessee were disbanding, and on May 16 Colonel James Parsons asserted that the area north of the Clinch Mountains was quiet except for a few robber

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables, Maps, and Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Switzerland of America 6
  • 2 - Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water 22
  • 3 - A State of Rebellion 41
  • 4 - Hanging, Shooting, and Robbing 62
  • 5 - An Enemy's Country 102
  • 6 - Real or Supposed Danger 122
  • 7 - Separation is Best 154
  • Conclusion 172
  • Appendix a Interpretations of East Tennessee Unionism 179
  • Appendix B Unionist Informants and the Death of John Hunt Morgan 186
  • Appendix C Vote on Secession in Tennessee, June 1861 188
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 225
  • Index 241
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