Tellico Plains in Monroe County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Caught in the Middle
Both armies used the Unicoi Turnpike Trail behind you (present-day Joe Brown Highway and Tennessee State Route 68) to move soldiers and supplies. Early in December 1863, after Confederate Gen. James Longstreet abandoned his siege of Knoxville, Union Gen. William T. Sherman ordered Col. Eli Long to pursue a Confederate wagon train south along this turnpike into northern Georgia. Long captured only a few of the 300 wagons.
Although the battles that occurred along the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad did not happen here, deserters from both sides—“bushwhackers”—attacked civilians and soldiers from behind trees, rocks, and curves. Reminders of murderous brutality are evident in the Coker Creek Cemetery. Lt. James K. Morrow, 3rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (US), was “Bushwhacked on Steer Creek Road While Cradling Oats,” according to his tombstone, five years after the war ended.
The community slowly
Civil War veterans are buried in the nearby Ironsburg and Coker Creek cemeteries. These graveyards, which also hold the remains of bushwhackers and their victims, are reminders of an era when war and suffering dominated these mountains.
“(In the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains) the warfare between scattering bodies of irregular troops is conducted on both sides without any regard whatever to the rules of civilized war or the dictates of humanity. The murder of prisoners and non-combatants in cold blood has …become quite common (as well as) almost every other horror incident to brutal an unrestrained soldiery.” — N.C. Gov. Zebulon B. Vance
(lower left) Col. Eli Long - Courtesy Library of Congress
(center) Reverse of James K. Morrow tombstone - Monroe County Archives
(upper right) “Union Bushwhackers Attacking Rebel Cavalry,” Junius H. Browne, Four Years in Secessia (1866)
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 15.496′ N, 84° Touch for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Coker Creek Welcome Center in the Cherokee National Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Tellico Plains TN 37385, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Unicoi Turnpike Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Gold Mining (within shouting distance of this marker); Tellico Iron Works (approx. 7½ miles away); Cherokee Heritage Trails (approx. 7½ miles away); Fort Loudoun Massacre (approx. 7½ miles away); Boyhood Home of Ray H. Jenkins (approx. 7½ miles away); The Tennessee Overhill Experience (approx. 7½ miles away); Scott Mansion (approx. 8.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tellico Plains.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 688 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on April 9, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.