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

Fighting in Hawkins County

Surgoinsville and the War

Fighting in Hawkins County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, September 10, 2016
1. Fighting in Hawkins County Marker
Inscription.  Land, timber, and commercial opportunities drew settlers here to the banks of the Holston River. As the Civil War approached, the river's importance in the Tennessee Valley made it a contested transportation route. Hawkins County residents mostly voted against secession, but pockets of Confederate support existed.

The nearby Lyons store and post office, the commercial hub of Surgoinsville, became a focus of activity for Confederate supporters. On May 21, 1862, Clinton G. Lyons and Frank L. Phipps organized Co. A. 12th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, there. Phipps was elected captain while Lyons, son of the store's Pennsylvania born owner Williams Lyons, was first elected lieutenant and later captain. The next month, when Confederate Gen. Kirby Smith planned to invade Kentucky, he wrote, "I think I shall order Colonel (James W.) Starnes to Rogersville to scout in Hawkins and Hancock (Counties). …If Captain Phipps's Company from Hawkins County can be found, …they could act as guides for him."

The war drew close to Surgoinsville in 1863, when an engagement occurred a few miles south at Big Creek on November 6. Confederate Gen.
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William E. Jones and his cavalry brigade surprised the regiments of Union Col. Israel Garrard, 7th Ohio Cavalry, and Maj. Daniel Carpenter, 2nd East Tennessee Mounted Infantry, and soundly defeated them.

Clinton Lyons survived the war and returned home to a county that remained divided for many years thereafter. He and his wife reared six children.

Gen. Kirby Smith
Gen. William E. Jones
Cavalry Calsh
Kentucky and Tennessee, 1862
All images courtesy Library of Congress
Erected 2016 by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 21, 1862.
Location. 36° 28.1′ N, 82° 51.083′ W. Marker is in Surgoinsville, Tennessee, in Hawkins County. Marker can be reached from Long Bend Road, 0.1 miles south of Main Street (Route 346), on the right when traveling south. Marker is located at Riverfront Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Surgoinsville TN 37873, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. New Providence Church (approx. 2½ miles away); Maxwell Academy (approx. 2½ miles away); Mitchell's Hollow (approx. 2.9 miles away);
Fighting in Hawkins County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, September 10, 2016
2. Fighting in Hawkins County Marker
Thomas Gibbons (approx. 4.7 miles away); The Battle of Big Creek (approx. 6.6 miles away); Michael Looney (approx. 6.8 miles away); The Hickory Cove (approx. 6.9 miles away); Rice's Mill (approx. 6.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Surgoinsville.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 27, 2017. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 689 times since then and 166 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 10, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 7, 2023