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State of Tennessee,

Was originally a part of North Carolina, and was claimed as a hunting-ground by the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Shawnees, and even by the Six Nations. No tribe made it a fixed habitation excepting the Cherokees, who dwelt in the extreme southeast part. Earl London, governor of Virginia, sent Andrew Lewis thither in 1756 to plant a settlement, and he built Fort Loudon, on the Tennessee River, about 30 miles from the site of Knoxville. It was besieged by Indians in 1760 and captured, the inmates being murdered or reduced to captivity. Armed men from Virginia and North Carolina retook the fort in 1761, and compelled the Indians to sue for peace.

Immigrants from North Carolina, led by James Robinson, settled on the Watauga River, one of the head streams of the Tennessee, in 1768. It was on lands of the Cherokees, from whom the settlers obtained an eight-year lease in 1771. They there organized themselves into a body politic, and adopted a code of laws signed by each adult individual of the colony. Others soon joined them and extended settlements down the valley of the Holston, and over intervening ridges to the Clinch and one or two other streams, while others penetrated Powell Valley and began a settlement in the southwest corner of

State seal of Tennessee.

Virginia. These early settlers were known as the Watauga Association from 1769 to 1777.

The territory was represented in the North Carolina legislature as the District [41] of Washington. In 1785 the State of Frankland (q. v.) was organized, but was reunited with North Carolina in 1788, and the next year that State ceded the territory to the national government.

John Sevier (q. v.), first governor of Frankland, stands out as one of the most prominent and picturesque figures in the early and formative history of Tennessee. He was called “the greatest of Indian fighters,” having fought against the savage Creeks, Choctaws, and Cherokees— the bravest, most warlike, and most blood-thirsty of all the native tribes east of the Mississippi. The settlers were constantly menaced by them, and nothing had saved the stouthearted pioneers from total extermination except their rude log forts and the sleepless and untiring vigilance of such men as Sevier, whose sterling honesty, captivating manners, and generous public spirit, great personal bravery, and high soldierly qualities had won for him the admiration and affection of every man, woman, and child throughout the wide expanse of the territory.

An incident which well serves to illustrate their devotion to him, as well as a typical phase of the arduous life of those times, is recorded in the story of the trial of Sevier by the State authorities of North Carolina, for high treason and outlawry, and his ingenious and dramatic rescue by a party headed by one of his lieutenants, James Cosby. The trial was in progress at Morganton, and many thousands had come together to witness what was deemed by them the most important political event that had occurred since the proclamation of peace with Great Britain. With three others—Major Evans, and James and John Sevier, the two sons of the general—Cosby proposed to go to the rescue, to effect by stratagem what it would have been impolitic and hazardous to undertake by open force. They went mounted, and leading a mare of Sevier's

John Sevier

which was known as the swiftest-footed animal in the territory. The rescuers halted on the outskirts of Morganton, and, concealing their horses in a clump of underbrush, left them there in charge of the young Seviers. Then Cosby and Evans, disguised as countrymen, entered the town. When they arrived at the court-house, Evans dismounted, and, throwing the bridle loosely over the neck of the animal, stood with her directly before the open door and in plain view of the interior of the building. Then Cosby entered the courtroom, and, elbowing his way up the crowded aisle, halted directly in front of the judge's bench, and only a few feet from where his beloved leader stood encompassed by the court officials. Catching his eye, Cosby, by a significant gesture, directed Sevier's attention to his horse, that [42]

Warning settlers of the approach of Indians.

stood impatiently pawing the ground at the door. At one glance, the quick eye of Sevier took in the situation. Seeing that he was understood, Cosby pressed closer to the bench, and in quick, energetic tones said to the judge: “Are you not about done with that man?” The question, and the tone and manner of the speaker, drew all eyes upon him in amazement. For a few moments—as Cosby had intended—all was confusion. Taking instant advantage of this, Sevier sprang from among the officers, and, the crowd parting to the right and left, with two bounds he was upon the back of his horse and in two hours far away in the mountains. He was, followed [43] by the cheers of the crowd, and by a posse of State officials, but the mare outstripped them and bore her brave rider in safety to his home on the Nolichucky. As the news of Sevier's escape flew from hamlet to hamlet, the whole territory broke out into a blaze of bonfires and illuminations, and soon the people elected him—branded rebel and outlaw as he was—to the Senate of North Carolina, and within twelve months Washington gave him the rank of general, with the supreme military command of the district now comprised in east Tennessee.

In 1790 it was organized, together with Kentucky, as “The Territory South of the Ohio.” A distinct territorial government was granted to Tennessee in 1794, and in 1796 (June 1) it entered the Union as a State. The constitution then framed was amended in 1835, and again in 1853. The seat of government was migratory, having been at Knoxville, Kingston, Nashville, and Murfreesboro until 1826, when it was permanently fixed at Nashville. Tennessee took an active part in the War of 1812-15, especially in the operations in the Gulf region.

Tidings of the declaration of war reached Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage, near Nashville, a week after that event, and on the same day (June 26) he authorized Governor Blount to tender to the President of the United States the services of himself and 2,500 men of his division (he was a major-general of Tennessee militia) as volunteers for the war. Madison received Jackson's generous offer with gratitude, and accepted it “with peculiar satisfaction.” The Secretary of

The rescue of Sevier.

[44] War wrote (July 11) a cordial letter of acceptance to Governor Blount, and that official publicly thanked Jackson and his volunteers for the honor they had done the State of Tennessee by their patriotic movement. Everything seemed so quiet below the Tennessee River that it was past midautumn before the Tennessee volunteers were called upon. On Oct. 21 Governor Blount was asked for 1,500 volunteers to be sent to New Orleans to reinforce Wilkinson, and he made a requisition upon Jackson for that number. The latter immediately entered upon that military career which rendered his name famous. On Dec. 10, when the weather in Tennessee was intensely cold and deep snow lay upon the ground, about 2,000 troops assembled at Nashville, bearing clothes for both cold and warm weather. When organized, these consisted of two regiments of infantry of 700 men each, commanded respectively by Cols. William Hall and Thomas H. Benton, and a corps of cavalry, 670 in number, under the command of Col. John Coffee. These troops were composed of the best physical and social materials of the State.

On Jan. 7, 1813, the little army went down the Cumberland River in boats, excepting the mounted men, whom Coffee led across the country to join the others at Natchez, on the Mississippi. In a letter to the Secretary of War, General Jackson, alluding to the conduct of some Pennsylvania and New York troops on the Niagara frontier who had constitutional objections to going into a foreign country by invading Canada, said: “I am now at the head of 2,070 volunteers—the choicest of our citizens—who go at the call of their country to execute the will of the government, ‘who have no constitutional scruples,’ and, if the government orders, will rejoice at the opportunity of placing the American eagle on the ramparts of Mobile, Pensacola, and Fort Augustine, effectually banishing from the Southern coasts all British influence.” Jackson was then forty-six years of age. The troops, after many hardships, reached Natchez and disembarked, when they met an order from Wilkinson to halt there and await further orders, as he had no instructions concerning their employment; nor had he quarters for their accommodation. There Jackson and his men waited until March 1, when he wrote to the Secretary of War, saying he saw little chance for the employment of his small army in the South, and suggested that they might be used in the North.

Day after day he waited anxiously for an answer. At length one came from John Armstrong, the new Secretary of War, who wrote simply that the causes of calling out the Tennessee volunteers to march to New Orleans had ceased to exist, and that on the receipt of that letter they would be dismissed from public service. He was directed to turn over to General Wilkinson all public property that may have been put into his hands. The letter concluded with the tender of cold and formal thanks of the President to Jackson and his troops. The hero's anger was fiercely kindled because of this cruel letter, which dismissed his army 500 miles from their homes, without pay, without sufficient clothing, without provisions, or means of transportation through a wilderness in which Indians only roamed. He wrote fiery letters to the President, Secretary of War, and Governor Blount, and took the responsibility of disobeying his orders and taking the troops back to Nashville before he would dismiss them. The Secretary apologized, saying he did not know that Jackson had moved far from Nashville when he wrote the letter. Late in March he began his homeward movement. It was full of peril and fatigue, and it took a month to accomplish it, moving 18 miles a day. The general shared the privations of his soldiers, who admired his wonderful endurance. They said he was as “tough as hickory,” and he received the nickname, which he bore through life, of “Old Hickory.” Drawn up in the public square at Nashville, the Tennessee volunteers were presented with an elegant stand of colors from the ladies of Knoxville, and were there disbanded, May 22, 1813.

The people of Tennessee—the daughter of North Carolina—like those of the parent State, loved the Union supremely; but their governor, Isham G. Harris (q. v.), had been for months in confidential correspondence with the Confederates in the Gulf States and in South Carolina and Virginia. To further this cause he labored incessantly to bring about the secession of Tennessee. He [45] called a special session of the legislature at Nashville, Jan. 7, 1861, and in his message he recited a long list of so-called grievances which the people of the State had suffered under the rule of the national government. He appealed to their passions and prejudices, and recommended amendments to the national Constitution favorable to the perpetuation and protection of the slave system. The legislature provided for a convention, but decreed that when the people should elect the delegates they should vote for “Convention”

Interior of a Mountaineer's home in Tennessee.

or “No convention” ; also, that any ordinance adopted by the convention concerning “Federal relations” should not be valid until submitted to the people for ratification or rejection. The election was held Feb. 9, 1861, and the Union candidates were elected by an aggregate majority of about 65,000; and, by a majority of nearly 12,000, decided not to have a convention. The loyal people were gratified, and believed the secession movements in the State would cease.

Governor Harris called the legislature to meet on April 25, 1861, and in a message to them he strongly urged the immediate secession of the State. He urged that there was no propriety in wasting time in submitting the question to the people, for a revolution was imminent. A few days afterwards Henry W. Hilliard, a commissioner of the Confederate States of America, clothed with authority to negotiate a treaty of alliance with Tennessee, appeared (April 30) and was allowed to address the legislature. He expressed his belief that there was not a true-hearted man in the South who would not spurn submission to the “Abolition North,” and considered the system of government founded on slavery which had just been established as the only form of government that could be maintained in America. The legislature, in which was a majority of Confederate sympathizers, authorized (May 1) the governor to enter into a military league with the Confederate States, by which the whole military rule of the commonwealth was to be subjected to the will of Jefferson Davis. It [46]

A corn-mill in East Tennessee.

was done on May 7. The eighteen members from East Tennessee (which section remained loyal) did not vote.

The legislature passed an act to submit to a vote of the people of Tennessee a declaration of independence and an ordinance of secession; also an ordinance for the adoption of the constitution of the Confederate States of America. The governor was empowered to raise 50,000 volunteers “for the defence of the State,” and, if necessary, to call out the whole available military strength of the commonweath, to be under the absolute immediate control of the governor. He was also authorized to issue bonds of the State for $5,000,000, to bear an annual interest of 8 per cent.

Pursuant to the act of the legislature authorizing the governor to take measures to annex that State to the Confederacy, the governor appointed Gustavus A. Henry, Archibald O. W. Totten, and Washington Barrow, commissioners for the purpose. They negotiated a treaty with the agent of the Confederate States, Henry W. Hilliard, and on the 7th a copy of the treaty was submitted to the legislature. By the treaty the authorities of Tennessee were to “turn over” to the Confederate States “all the public property, naval stores, and munitions of war of which she might then be in possession, acquired from the United States, on the same terms and in the same manner as the other States of the Confederacy.” Already Governor Harris had ordered (April 29, 1861) the seizure of Tennessee bonds to the amount of $66,000 and $5,000 in cash belonging to the United States in the hands of the collector at Nashville. At about that time Jefferson Davis, disgusted with the timidity of Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, recommended the Kentuckians “true to the South” to go into Tennessee and there “rally and organize.”

East Tennessee, where loyalty to the Union was strongly predominant, was kept in submission to the Confederacy by the strong arm of military power. The people longed for deliverance, which seemed near at hand when, in January, 1862, the energetic General Mitchel made an effort to seize Chattanooga. His force was too small to effect it, for E. Kirby Smith was watching that region with a strong Confederate force. Mitchel asked Buell for reinforcements, but was denied. Finally General Negley, after a successful attack upon Confederates near Jasper, having made his way over the rugged ranges of the Cumberland Mountains, suddenly appeared opposite Chattanooga (June 7). [47] Towards evening he had heavy guns in position, and for two hours he cannonaded the town and the Confederate works near. The inhabitants and Confederates fled from the town. With a few more regiments Negley might have captured and held the place, and Mitchel could have marched into east Tennessee. But Buell would not allow it. The Confederates had already evacuated Cumberland Gap voluntarily, and the inhabitants of east Tennessee were jubilant with hope of deliverance. But they were again disappointed and compelled to wait. The cautious Buell and the fiery Mitchel did not work well together, and the latter was soon assigned to the command of the Department of the South.

In August, 1863, General Burnside was assigned to the command of the Army of the Ohio, and was ordered to take active co-operation with the Army of the Cumberland. He had gathered 20,000 men near Richmond, Ky., well disciplined and equipped. They left camp Aug. 21, climbed over the Cumberland Mountains, and entered the magnificent valley of east Tennessee, their baggage and stores carried, in many places, by pack-mules. On his entering the valley 20,000 Confederates, commanded by Gen. Simon B. Buckner (q. v.), fled to Georgia and joined Bragg. General Burnside had been joined by General Hartsuff and his command. Their numbers were swelled by junction with other troops. At the mouth of the Clinch River they first had communication with Colonel Minty's cavalry, on Rosecrans's extreme left. At Loudon bridge General Shackelford had a skirmish with Confederates, and drove them across the stream, they burning the magnificent structure, 2,000 feet long. Early in September a force of Confederates, under General Frazer, holding Cumberland Gap, surrendered to the Nationals, and the great valley between the Cumberland and Alleghany Mountains (of which Knoxville was the metropolis), extending from Cleveland to Bristol, seemed to be permanently rid of armed Confederates. The loyal inhabitants of that region

Burnside's army at Cumberland Gap


Lookout Mountain in September, 1863.

received the National troops with open arms.

After the battle of Stone River, or Murfreesboro, the armies of Rosecrans and Bragg lay confronting each other, the former at the scene of the battle and the latter below the Duck River. Bragg's main base of supplies was at Chattanooga. In that relative position the two armies continued from January until June, 1863. Meanwhile detached parties were very active in various parts of Tennessee. At the beginning of February (1863), General Wheeler, Bragg's chief of artillery, with 4,500 mounted men, with Brigadier-Generals Forrest and Wharton, attempted to recapture Fort Donelson. The chief object of the Confederates there was to interrupt the navigation of the Cumberland River, and thus interfere with the transportation of supplies for Rosecrans's army. The Confederates failed in their project, for the fort was well defended by a little garrison of 600 men under Col. A. C. Harding, assisted by gunboats. There was a severe engagement (Feb. 3), and at 8 P. M. the Confederates fled with a loss of nearly 600 men. Harding lost 156, of whom fifty were made prisoners. Late in January, Gen. J. C. Davis swept over a considerable space in thirteen days, and captured 141 of Wheeler's men. Later, Gen. Earl Van Dorn, with a large mounted force, was hovering near Franklin, below Nashville. Sheridan, at Murfreesboro, and Colonel Colburn, at Franklin, marched simultaneously to confront him. Van Dorn was accompanied by Forrest. Colburn, with 2,700 men, moved against Van Dorn at Spring Hill, but failed to form a junction with Sheridan. After a sharp encounter he was forced to surrender (March 5) about 1,300 of his infantry. The remainder, with the cavalry, escaped. Sheridan, with about 1,800 cavalry, skirmished in several places with the [49] Confederates, and finally at Thompson's Station, after a sharp engagement, captured some of his antagonists and drove Van Dorn beyond the Duck River. He returned to Murfreesboro with nearly 100 prisoners, with a loss of ten men killed and wounded. On March 18, Col. A. S. Hall with 1,400 men was attacked by Morgan, the guerilla, and 2,000 men at Milton, 12 miles from Murfreesboro. With the aid of Harris's battery, in a three hours struggle Hall repulsed Morgan, who lost 300 or 400 men killed and wounded. Early in April, Gen. Gordon Granger was in command at Franklin, building a fort near. He had about 5,000 troops. Van Dorn attacked him there (April 10) with 9,000 Confederates. The latter intended if successful to push on and seize Nashville, but he was repulsed with a loss of about 300 men. Rosecrans sent Col. Abdel D. Streight (q. v.) on an extensive raid in Alabama and Georgia in April and May, which resulted in the capture of the leader and his men.

Late in November, 1863, Gen. Sherman (q. v.) arrived in the neighborhood of Chattanooga. It was imperative that he should get his army over the river without being discovered. To draw the attention of the Confederates to another quarter, Hooker was ordered to engage them on the northern side of Lookout Mountain. His entire force consisted of approximately 10,000 men. The main Confederate force was encamped in a hollow half-way up the mountain, the summit of which was held by several brigades. Hooker began the attack on the morning of November 24. Geary, supported by Cruft, proceeded to Wauhatchie, crossing Lookout Creek there, the rest of the troops crossing in front of

Battle of Lookout Mountain.

[50] the Confederates on temporary bridges. Geary crossed at eight o'clock, and, seizing a picket-guard of forty men, extended his line to the base of the mountain. By eleven o'clock Hooker was striving to drive the Confederates from the mountain; all his guns opened at once upon the breastworks and rifle-pits along the steep wooded acclivity, and Gross's and T. J. Wood's brigades, sweeping everything before them, captured the rifle-pits. At the same time the troops scaled the heights, driving the Confederates from the hollow to a plateau well up towards the crest and around towards the Chattanooga Valley. At considerably past noon the plateau was cleared, and the Confederates were retreating in confusion towards the Chattanooga Valley. Hooker established his line on the easterly face of the mountain; so that, by an enfilading fire, he completely commanded the Confederate defences, stretching across the valley to Missionary Ridge. See Chattanooga campaign, the; Lookout Mountain, battle on; Missionary Ridge, battle of.

General Burnside, with the Army of the Ohio, had occupied Knoxville, Sept. 23, 1863. The Confederate General Buckner, upon his advance, evacuated east Tennessee and joined Bragg at Chattanooga. Early in November, General Livingstone, with 16,000 men, advanced against Knoxville. On the 14th he crossed the Tennessee. Burnside repulsed him on the 16th at Campbell's Station, thereby gaining time to concentrate his army in Knoxville. Longstreet advanced, laid siege to the town, and assaulted it twice (Nov. 18 and 29), but was repulsed. Meantime Grant had defeated Bragg at Chattanooga, and Sherman, with 25,000 men, was on the way to leave Knoxville. Livingstone, compelled to raise the siege, therefore, retired up the Holston River, but did not entirely abandon eastern Tennessee until the next spring, when he again joined Lee in Virginia.

On Jan. 9, 1865, a State convention assembled at Nashville and proposed amendments to the constitution abolishing slavery and prohibiting the legislative recognition of property in man. The military league with the Confederacy, the ordinance of secession, and all acts of the Confederate States government were annulled, and the payment of any debts contracted by that government was prohibited. These proceedings were ratified by the people, and William G. Brownlow (q. v.) was chosen governor. In April the legislature ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the national Constitution, reorganized the State government, and elected Senators to Congress. The Fourteenth Amendment to the national Constitution having been ratified by the State in 1866, it was soon afterwards admitted to representation in Congress. The constitution of the State was revised early in 1870. Population in 1890, 1,767,518; in 1900, 2,020,616. See United States, Tennessee, in this volume.

Territorial Governor.

William Blount, appointed governor of the territory southwest of the OhioAug. 7, 1790

State governors.

John SevierAssumes officeMarch 30, 1796
Archibald RoaneAssumes officeSept., 1801
John SevierAssumes officeSept., 1803
William BlountAssumes officeSept., 1809
Joseph McMinnAssumes officeSept., 1815
William CarrollAssumes officeSept., 1821
Samuel HoustonAssumes officeSept., 1827
William CarrollAssumes officeSept., 1829
Newton CannonAssumes officeOct., 1835
James K. PolkAssumes officeOct., 1839
James C. JonesAssumes officeOct., 1841
Aaron V. BrownAssumes officeOct., 1845
Neil S. BrownAssumes officeOct., 1847
William TrousdaleAssumes officeOct., 1849
William B. CampbellAssumes officeOct., 1851
Andrew JohnsonAssumes officeOct., 1853
Isham G. HarrisAssumes officeOct., 1857
Andrew JohnsonAssumes officeprov. March 12, 1861
W. G. BrownlowAssumes officeApril, 1865
DeWitt C. SenterAssumes officeOct., 1869
John C. BrownAssumes officeOct., 1871
James D. Porter, JrAssumes officeJan., 1875
Albert S. MarksAssumes officeJan., 1879
Alvin HawkinsAssumes officeJan., 1881
William B. BateAssumes officeJan., 1883
Robert L. TaylorAssumes officeJan., 1887
John P. BuchananAssumes officeJan., 1891
Peter TurneyAssumes officeJan., 1893
H. Clay EvansAssumes officeJan., 1895
Robert L. TaylorAssumes officeJan., 1897
Benton McMillinAssumes officeJan., 1899
Benton McMillinAssumes officeJan., 1901

United States Senators.

Name.No. of CongressTerm.
William Blount4th to 5th1796 to 1797
William Cocke4th to 9th1796 to 1805
Joseph Anderson5th1797 to 1798
Andrew Jackson5th1797 to 1798
Daniel Smith5th1798
Joseph Anderson6th to 14th1799 to 1815
Daniel Smith9th to 11th1805 to 1809
Jenkin Whiteside11th to 12th1809 to 1811
George W. Campbell12th to 13th1811 to 1814
Jesse Wharton13th to 14th1814 to 1815
John Williams14th to 18th1815 to 1823
George W. Campbell14th to 15th1815 to 1818


United States Senators—--continued.

Name.No. of Congress.Term.
John Henry Eaton15th to 21st1818 to 1829
Andrew Jackson18th to 19th1823 to 1825
Hugh Lawson White19th to 26th1825 to 1840
Felix Grundy21st to 25th1829 to 1838
Ephraim H. Foster25th to 26th1838 to 1839
Alexander Anderson26th to 27th1840 to 1841
Felix Grundy26th1839 to 1840
Alfred O. P. Nicholson26th to 28th1841 to 1843
Ephraim H. Foster28th to 29th1843 to 1845
Spencer Jarnagin28th to 30th1843 to 1847
Hopkins L. Turney29th to 32d1845 to 1851
John Bell30th to 36th1847 to 1859
James C. Jones32d to 35th1851 to 1857
Andrew Johnson35th to 38th1857 to 1862
Alfred O. P. Nicholson36th1859 to 1861
37th and 38th Congresses vacant.
David T. Patterson39th to 41st1866 to 1869
Joseph S. Fowler39th to 42d1866 to 1871
William G. Brownlow41st to 44th1869 to 1875
Henry Cooper42d to 45th1871 to 1877
Andrew Johnson44th1875
David McKendree Keyto1875 to 1877
James E. Bailey44th to 47th1877 to 1881
Isham G. Harris45th to 54th1877 to 1897
Howell E. Jackson47th to 49th1881 to 1886
Washington C. Whitthorne49th to 50th1886 to 1888
William B. Bate50th to ——1888 to ——
Thomas B. Turley54th to ——1897 to ——

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