“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sparta in White County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

The War Around Sparta

Divided Loyalties

The War Around Sparta Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
1. The War Around Sparta Marker
Inscription. “Brother against brother” sums up the divided loyalties families faced in White County during the Civil War. In 1862, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s troops marched through the Sparta town square en route north to invade Kentucky. Later, an estimated 600 Confederate guerrillas operated in the area, and Sparta served periodically as a Federal base under Union Col. William B. Stokes, 5th Tennessee Cavalry. In February 1864, Stokes wrote that “It will take some time and continued scouting to break up these bands, but you may be assured no time will be lost and no effort spared to rid the country of them.”

The notorious Confederate guerrilla, Champ Ferguson, is buried north of Sparta in France Cemetery. On February 22, 1864, 60 partisans including Ferguson overwhelmed two of Stoke’s companies ten miles northeast of here in the “Battle of Dug Hill.” After the war, Federal officials arrested Ferguson, then tried and convicted him for war-time atrocities. He was hanged on October 20, 1865.

The Federals utilized a high point in Sparta, the historic City Cemetery, as a post for observing river, rail, and turnpike traffic. Confederate Gen. George Gibbs Dibrell (1822-1888) is buried there. Dibrell formed the 8th Tennessee Cavalry on September 4, 1862, with 921 men, mostly farmers, from White
Map in the lower right of the marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
2. Map in the lower right of the marker
Map in the lower right of the marker
and adjoining counties. The White County Heritage Museum houses the Colt revolver that Dibrell’s “friends and citizens of Sparta” presented to him in 1862.

Tom Burgess operated a gristmill at present-day Burgess Falls State Park, located north of Sparta, during the war. The mill served the community there for more than a century.

“Little thought have I had that I should ever live to see civil war in this, our goodly land, but so it is! ... There will be many a divided family in this once happy Union. There will be father against son, and brother against brother.” — Amanda McDowell, Sparta, 1861

Gen. George Gibbs Dibrell Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. George G. Dibrell’s presentation pistol — Courtesy Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce
Civil War veterans’ reunion, ca 1900 — Courtesy White County Heritage Museum
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 55.517′ N, 85° 27.867′ W. Marker is in Sparta, Tennessee, in White County. Marker is on West Maple Street near South Main Street, on the right when
The War Around Sparta Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 26, 2013
3. The War Around Sparta Marker
traveling west. Click for map. The marker is on the grounds of the White County Courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Sparta TN 38583, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. White County (within shouting distance of this marker); Lester Flatt (approx. 0.4 miles away); George Gibbs Dibrell (approx. half a mile away); Bragg Invades Kentucky (approx. 0.8 miles away); Rock House (approx. 3.6 miles away); a different marker also named The Rock House (approx. 3.6 miles away); Earl Webb (approx. 8.9 miles away); Bragg’s March to Kentucky (approx. 9.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Sparta.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 405 times since then and 34 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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