TENNESSEE: East Tennessee’s Civil War: Pro-Union with Divided Loyalties
It was June 1861 and Tennessee was about to leave the United States to join the Confederacy. East Tennesseans didn’t want to go, and they put up a fight.
Tennessee voted to join the Confederate States of America on June 8,1861, becoming the Confederacy’s 11th and last state. Some 105,000 Tennesseans voted for secession; 47,000 voted against, according to the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Most against secession lived in the state’s east.
Unlike most West Tennessee and many Middle Tennessee residents, East Tennesseans were mostly pro-Union. Most of the region’s mountain farms were small, not large plantations. Cotton — a driving factor in the deep South — wasn’t king here, Maryville College Associate Professor of History Aaron Astor explained.
Slavery was present but not prominent in comparison to other areas of the South. About one-fourth of African-Americans living in Civil War Knoxville were free men or women, according to Joan Markel, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture’s Curator of Civil War History.
Loyal to the Union
East Tennesseans voted by more than 2-to-1 that June against secession — 33,000-to 14,000.…
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)