Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Knoxville in Knox County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Knoxville: A Divided City

Simultaneous Union and Confederate Rallies

 
 
Knoxville: A Divided City Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 16, 2016
1. Knoxville: A Divided City Marker
Inscription. In April 1861, before Tennessee seceded, Knoxville was deeply divided. Excited residents gathered in the streets and held rallies to sway public opinion. These divisions were never more visible then than during simultaneous Union and Confederate rallies on Gay Street (one-half block straight ahead) on April 27, 1861. Knoxville artist and keen observer Samuel Bell Palmer captured the spirit of the time in a sketch made from memory while he was a prisoner of war in Illinois.

A U.S. flag near main Street, flying above the "Liberty Pole", was a gathering place for Unionists. On the corner of Church and Clinch streets, a Confederate flag marked a secessionist rendezvous point. At the corner of Gay and Main streets, then-Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson delivered a pro-Union, anti-secession speech to supporters gathered around him, while a Confederate regiment and band marched down Gay Street. Nearby, at the Lamar House, Confederate gentlemen entertained ladies with music. Perceiving the musical disturbances as deliberate, some Unionist reacted angrily, but cooler heads on both sides intervened to calm then.

Six weeks later, Tennessee joined the Confederacy. Much of East Tennessee, however, remained loyal to the Union. Tensions exploded, further dividing neighbors and families. While the national war raged, East Tennesseans
Knoxville: A Divided City Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 16, 2016
2. Knoxville: A Divided City Marker
also fought each other. Violence continued even after the war's end. The divisions persisted for decades, some for a lifetime.

(sidebar)
Knoxvillians Samuel Bell Palmer (left) and brother John enlisted in Capt. William D. Kain's Co., Tennessee Light Artillery, in March 1862. Captured at Knoxville in September 1863, they were imprisoned at Camp Douglas, Illinois, for the remainder of the war. While in prison, Samuel Palmer drew sketches, including the Knoxville rallies, and later sent them to Maj. Samuel K. Williams, Jr., a guard who had befriended him.
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 57.683′ N, 83° 55.017′ W. Marker is in Knoxville, Tennessee, in Knox County. Marker is on Main Street east of Walnut Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 Main Street, Knoxville TN 37902, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Treaty of the Holston (a few steps from this marker); Knox County World War II Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Old Knox County Courthouse
Andrew Johnson image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse
3. Andrew Johnson
(a few steps from this marker); Commemorating the Treaty of Holston (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Andrew Johnson Office Plaza (about 300 feet away); First Baptist Church (about 300 feet away); Blount Mansion (about 700 feet away); Chisholm Tavern (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Knoxville.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 19, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement