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Mountain City in Johnson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Fighting Bushwhackers

The Civil War in Taylorsville

 
 
Fighting Bushwhackers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 16, 2021
1. Fighting Bushwhackers Marker
Inscription.  In 1861, Mountain City had a different name — Taylorsville — but this place had been the seat of Johnson County since 1836. Like other mountain areas, Johnson County strongly supported the Union. Late in 1862, Confederate authorities sent officers to Taylorsville to force all white men "between the ages of 18 and 40 years subject to conscription" to join the army, with mixed results.

Confederate supporters were constantly under threat. As late as October 1864, a group of Taylorsville secessionists asked Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge for support. "Our county is now infested with some four or five bands of robbers and bushwhackers, who are obstructing the public road, robbing Southern men, and killing them, and further, threatening to drive us all from the county." The requested help never came. Instead, the Union army arrived. By April 1865, within days of Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender in Virginia, Federal authorities posted the "First U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, 420 men, and the Fourth Tennessee Infantry, 544 men" at Taylorsville. The sight of that many African American soldiers must have jarred the white residents of a county

Marker detail: Gen. John C. Breckinridge image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Library of Congress
2. Marker detail: Gen. John C. Breckinridge
Click or scan to see
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where relatively few slaves had resided.

The most prominent Civil War leader associated with Johnson County and Taylorsville is Union Lt. Col. R.R. Butler, who organized and commanded the 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry and served as a U.S. congressman after the war. His mammoth Italianate-style house, completed about 1871, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The most famous post-war incident associated with Taylorsville is the capture of Thomas C. Dula in 1866. Dula, who served in the 42nd North Carolina Infantry, was charged with murdering Laura Foster. To escape arrest he made his way to Johnson County. A posse captured Dula in Taylorsville and took him back to North Carolina for trial. He was executed in 1868. His story was later immortalized in the folk song "Tom Dooley."
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansLaw EnforcementWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1865.
 
Location. 36° 28.546′ N, 81° 48.369′ W. Marker is in Mountain City, Tennessee, in Johnson County. Marker is on Court Street north of West Main Street, on the left when traveling north.

Marker detail: Johnson County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Tennessee State Library & Archives
3. Marker detail: Johnson County Courthouse
Marker is located beside the Johnson County Courthouse entrance, near the northeast corner of the building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 222 West Main Street, Mountain City TN 37683, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Baptist Church Bicentennial Celebration (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clarence "Tom" Ashley (approx. 0.2 miles away); Roderick Random Butler (approx. 0.2 miles away); Maymead Stock Farm (approx. 3½ miles away); Laurel Bloomery (approx. 6.8 miles away); The Trading Ground (approx. 9½ miles away); “Virginia Creeper” Railroad (approx. 13.2 miles away in Virginia); Christmas Tree Farms (approx. 13.2 miles away in Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mountain City.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Legend of Tom Dooley
 
Also see . . .
1. War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Civil War. One battalion First U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, 420 men, and the Fourth Tennessee Infantry, 544 men, under command of Major Gray, First U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, moved to Taylorsville, Tenn. Major Gray encamped the battalion of his regiment and two companies of the Fourth Tennessee Infantry at the cross-roads two miles southeast of the town. At Taylorsville advantage was taken of the court-house and other buildings for defensive purposes.
Marker detail: Bushwhackers image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Library of Congress
4. Marker detail: Bushwhackers
(Submitted on May 31, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. The Legend of Tom Dooley. Tom Dula was blamed for the murder. Dula fled, heading for Tennessee. Bob Grayson headed a posse to hunt down Tom Dula, and the posse dragged the fugitive back to Wilkes County (NC). On May 1, 1868, Tom Dula was executed for the murder of Laura Foster. It's this version of the tale, a complicated story story that ends in the death of an innocent man, that became immortalized in a folk song that circulated in North Carolina for nearly 100 years before it was made nationally famous by the Kingston Trio in 1958. (Submitted on May 31, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Tom Dula image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Iredell County NC Public Library
5. Marker detail: Tom Dula
Fighting Bushwhackers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 16, 2021
6. Fighting Bushwhackers Marker
(Johnson County Courthouse in background • marker on right)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 31, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 31, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 77 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 31, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jun. 13, 2021