Sunday, January 26, 2014

Civil War Sunday-Fair Garden and Sevierville


On January 27, 1864, a battle was fought in beautiful Sevier County, in Eastern Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountains.  Names in that area are so peaceful sounding. The French Broad River (which I've met in Asheville, North Carolina.)  The Little Pigeon River.  The small community near Sevierville where the battle would be fought:  Fair Garden. 

It wasn't a major battle as battles go.  It was a battle for control of fords and resources along the French Broad river, and "only" about 265 casualties resulted.  The Union won, but had to retreat as they were low on supplies. Both sides, in fact, were hungry.

Anarchy resulted.

The country superstar Dolly Parton, many years later, grew up in Sevierville.

We were supposed to travel through the area in September of last year, but my spouse's rapidly growing cataract (since operated on) took care of that.  There is lots to see in  Sevierville.

People from all over our country travel to that area of Tennessee to enjoy the natural beauty, the shopping, and other attractions. But, 150 years ago. things were way different, as our country was at war with each other.

When many people think about the United States Civil War, they think of Virginia.  Or perhaps, Georgia (as in "Sherman's March to the Sea").  Or, they might think of the Battle of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, or Antietam, in Maryland.


But, as I have blogged before, the areas beyond the East Coast aren't thought of as much by many people.

These Western states suffered greatly.  Tennessee was one of several border states (states along the United States/Confederate States border). Those states especially suffered, with their populations split in loyalties between the Confederacy and the Union.   Tennessee, in fact, was the last state to secede from the Union.  There were many Union supporters in the Eastern portion of the state.  Sevierville was no exception.

Virginia was #1 in total battles. Tennessee was #2.  Tennessee was also the second most populous state in the Confederate States of America, and contributed the most soldiers to the Confederate cause except for Virginia.  Meanwhile, this border state also contributed many soldiers to the Union Army.Several Confederate generals, including Nathan Bedford Forrest, came from Tennessee, as did United States' President Lincoln's second Vice President, Andrew Johnson.

"Brother against brother" can be a cliche, but, in Tennessee, it was a reality.  Sevierville was one of those "crossroads" communities that suffered, as the tides of war twisted and turned, and the city was harassed by both Confederate and Union troops. 

From Civil War to major tourist attraction 150 years later in a reunited United States, I intend to check out this area one day.

And the battlefield itself?  From what I can discover, it is apparently on the campus of a community college.  Last year, a marker was erected to mark the spot.  (Preservation of Civil War battlefields is still another subject I've blogged about - not often enough.)

Meanwhile, in a couple of weeks, I will return to the West - this time, to the remains of a town in Northwest Arkansas that no longer exists, thanks to the Civil War.

10 comments:

  1. Wow what an interesting blog thanks so much for sharing.

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  2. I have always wanted to go to Tennessee myself. It sounds like you had a great visit.

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    1. Our last visit to Tennessee was too short - the next time I want to finally see what we weren't able to see last year, due to circumstances.

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  3. Alana,
    I think I told you that the kids and I are studying the Civil War this school year. We're thinking about taking our vacation this summer, seeing the Civil War sights again. We did it once when our older kids were little, but our younger kids weren't around yet at that time, so they've never seen any of them. Such a rich area you live in, so rich in history!

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    1. Thank you. And, there is the Mine Creek battlefield in Kansas, and their 150th anniversary is coming up in October. Meanwhile, you are so much closer to the history of the West than I am - it all evens out somehow, I think.

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  4. This was really interesting! I'd love to go to America!

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    1. Just as I'd like to go to Great Britain one day! I hope you do make it to the United States one day. We have a big country, and there is something, I think, for everyone.

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  5. Nice job. The War was certainly very divisive and Tennessee was no exception! Sevierville is indeed very pretty. Getting a little too touristy tho (in my op)

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    1. Well....I hope we do manage to get out there this year. Thanks for the heads up.

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