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1861 East Tennessee Unionist Rebellion. Causes and Effects & The people who made it happen. Agenda. Migrations that formed Tennessee Political Conditions in Tennessee Military Situation Cloaks and Daggars Starts and Stumbles Execution Lessons Learned. Migrations.

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1861 east tennessee unionist rebellion

1861 East Tennessee Unionist Rebellion

Causes and Effects&The people who made it happen

  • Migrations that formed Tennessee
  • Political Conditions in Tennessee
  • Military Situation
  • Cloaks and Daggars
  • Starts and Stumbles
  • Execution
  • Lessons Learned
  • Settlement along with Watauga River 1770
    • James Robertson
    • John Sevier
  • Jurisdiction
    • Virginia
    • North Carolina
    • If not them, then who?
  • Watauga Association Government
    • 13 Member Legislative Body
    • 5 of those appointed as Commissioners
    • 1 of those 5 elected by Commissioners as Chairman who presided over the Courts.
  • Watauga Association 1772
    • “They were the first men of American Birth to establish a free and independent community on the Continent” (Theodore Roosevelt Winning of the West, p183)
    • “…the first written compact for civil government anywhere west of the Alleghanies." (JGM Ramsey, Annals of Tennessee p107)
  • 1779 Nashville is founded by James Robertson and other Wataugans.
  • 1784 – 1788 State of Franklin
  • June 1st 1796 Tennessee Statehood
    • Knoxville as Capital
    • Constitution seemingly a recitation of all previous wrongs against the people of Watauga and protections against it.
    • Thomas Jefferson, referring to Tennessee’s Constitution said, “"The most republican of all the constitutions adopted by the states.“


Easier Farming

More Room!


Political Influence

  • Nashville and Middle Tennessee – Explosive Growth.
    • 1790 – 1830 Nashville grew 273%
    • 1817 Capital of Tennessee moves to Murfreesboro
    • 1826 Capital is moved again to Nashville
  • Knoxville and East Tennessee – Stagnant Growth
    • 1790 - 1830 Knox county grew only 20% after suffering an 18% loss of population in 1810.
    • The removal of the Capital from Knoxville had to rub the people of East Tennessee the wrong way.
  • Tension by the numbers
    • February 1861 Secession Convention vote fails by roughly 9,000 votes
    • East Tennessee rejects the proposal 33,000 – 7,000
      • Many counties rejecting by 80% or greater
  • Unionist Conventions
    • May 30th Convention in Knoxville
      • Report made no friends with their opposition.
      • Adjourned to await the outcome of the June 8th vote on Secession “subject to the call of the President”
  • Tennessee secedes from the Union June 8th, 1861
  • East Tennessee Unionist Convention President T.A.R. Nelson calls for a second meeting in Greeneville on June 17th.
    • Unionists on the way to Greeneville attacked near Strawberry Plains by Louisiana Tigers as the passed on the tracks.
    • Louisana Tigers ride into Greeneville during the convention and “committed some minor outrages”.
    • Exciting time. Much lively debate, what time they were not dodging armed and angry Confederate soldiers.
  • Greeneville Convention Debate
    • Opening Remarks by John Netherland
    • T.A.R. Nelson’s Resolutions
      • Supported by Rev. William Blount Carter and others
    • Oliver P Temple’s Resolutions
      • Supported by Horace Maynard and others
    • Very heated debates but a final list of 6 Resolutions were passed by acclamation.
      • There is some evidence to suggest that some of the participants were just ready to go home.
military situation
Military situation
  • Late summer 1861 in the Western Theatre
  • Reverend William Blount Carter leaves Tennessee for Kentucky.
  • Kentucky
    • A few Union raw regiments still organizing
    • Home Guards defending counties, loyalties suspect
    • State Militia was forming under orders of Simon B Buckner
  • Tennessee
    • Confederate Troops travelling by rail to Virginia
    • Bridges guarded by Confederate troops
    • Union Regiments quietly gathering
military situation1
Military Situation
  • September of 1861 in the Western Theatre
  • Kentucky
    • September CSA General Polk takes Columbus Kentucky
    • September had several Infantry and Cavalry organizations in the field.
    • Neighboring states began sending troops to Kentucky
  • Tennessee
    • CS General Zollicoffer moves into Kentucky
    • Cumberland Gap occupied by CS Col Churchwell(4th TN) and Rains(11th TN)
  • Reverend Carter goes to Washington
cloaks daggers
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Rev. William Blount Carter’s Plan
cloaks daggers1
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Rev. William Blount Carter’s Plan
    • President Lincoln agrees to the plan
    • Secretary of State Seward offers $2,500 for the cause
    • General McClellan will keep the Army of Northern Virginia and Confederates in Middle Tennessee busy.
  • Return trip…
    • Stops at Camp Dick Robinson
    • Gen. Thomas convinces Gen. Sherman
    • Date is set for November 8th.
    • Takes Daniel Fry and William Pickens back with him.
cloaks daggers2
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Rev. William Blount Carter’s Lieutenants

Daniel Stover

William Pickens

William Cross

David Fry

Alfred Madison Cate

cloaks daggers3
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Colonel Daniel Stover, 4th Tennessee Infantry

Daniel Stover

William Pickens

William Cross

David Fry

cloaks daggers4
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Captain David Fry, Co F, 2nd Tennessee Infantry

David Fry

cloaks daggers5
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Colonel William Cowan Pickens, 3rd Tennessee Infantry

William Pickens

cloaks daggers6
Cloaks & Daggers
  • William Cross

William Cross

cloaks daggers7
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate, Co G, 6th Tennessee Infantry

Alfred Madison Cate

starts and stumbles
Starts and Stumbles
  • Reverend Carter had his men set.
  • October 16th 1861
  • October 21st 1861
  • October 28th 1861
  • Can’t unring the bell
starts and stumbles1
Starts and Stumbles
  • October 16th 1861 – Sherman meets with SecWar Cameron







100 Miles

100 Miles

300+ Miles

starts and stumbles2
Starts and Stumbles
  • October 21st 1861 – Battle at Camp Wildcat



starts and stumbles3
Starts and Stumbles
  • October 28th 1861 – Battle at Camp Wildcat


AS Johnston


cloaks daggers8
Cloaks & Daggers
  • Rev. William Blount Carter’s Plan already in trouble…
  • But the show must go on…
cloaks daggers9
Cloaks & Daggers
  • November 9th, 1861
  • Colonel Daniel Stover, 4th Tennessee Infantry

Daniel Stover

  • Daniel Stover
    • B: 14 NOV 1826 Carter, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 18 DEC 1864 Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, USA
    • Married Mary Johnson
  • - B: 8 May 1832 Greeneville, Greene, Tennessee, USA
  • - D: 19 April 1883 Bluff City, Sullivan, Tennessee, USA
  • - Daughter of Senator Andrew Johnson

"Only one of these bridges, the one over the Holston, was destroyed. The other was guarded by Captain David McClelland's company of Confederate Infantry, and the attempt at its destruction was therefore abandoned.. There was a guard of two men at the Watauga Bridge. These were easily overpowered and captured. Their lives were spared on the promise that they would not reveal the names of the men who burned the bridge. Yet they went away and disclosed the names of all whom they recognized.“East Tennessee and the Civil War, OP Temple, p385

William Pickens

William Cross

David Fry

  • Captain David Fry, Co F, 2nd Tennessee Infantry

Captain David Fry

B: 1825 Tennessee, USA

D: bef1880


Catherine S Goreley

B: 1824 Tennessee, USA

Bridge successfully destroyed.

Overall Success in doubt

5 of the 8 men involved hanged by Confederate Authorities

Captain Fry mustered each

member of his party into Co F, 2nd East Tennessee the night before.

David Fry

  • Jacob and Henry Harmon
  • Jacob Harmon
    • B: 2 JUN 1818 Midway, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 17 DEC 1861 Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 3 November 1837 Greene, Tennessee, United States
  • Malinda Self
  • B: 26 Jan 1818 Midway, Greene, Tennessee, USA
        • D: 30 May 1872 Midway, Greene, Tennessee, USA

Henry Harmon

B: 3 Sept 1839 Midway, Greene, Tennessee, United States

D: 17 Dec 1861 Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

David Fry

Pottertown \ Harmon CemeteryGreeneville TennesseeFind A Grave Memorial# 9101540

  • Jacob Madison Hinshaw & Henry Fry
  • Jacob Madison Hinshaw
    • B: 8 DEC 1840 Hawkins County, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 30 NOV 1861 Greene County, Tennessee, USA
  • MarriedAlmarinda Walker
        • B: About 1839 Tennessee, USA
        • D: 18 October 1913 Hawkins County, Tennessee, USA
  • Henry Fry
    • B: 7 DEC 1823 Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 30 NOV 1861 Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 9 Nov 1843 Greene County TennesseeMaria Barbara WamplerB: 11 Nov 1824 Mosheim, Greene County Tennessee
  • D: 10 Jun 1899

Jacob M HinshawPrivateCo F

2nd Tennessee InfantryLong CemeteryHawkins CountyTennessee

David Fry

Find A Grave# 73702193Blue Springs Cemetery, Mosheim, Greene CountyTennessee

  • Christopher Alexander Haun
  • Christopher Alexander Haun
    • B: 14 SEP 1821 Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 11 Dec 1861 Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 29 Dec 1846 Greene, Tennessee
    • Elizabeth Cobble
    • B: 1820 Greene, Tennessee, United States
        • D: 10 Mar 1909 Greene, Tennessee, United States

Concord Baptist Church Cemetery436 Concord Road, Mohawk, TN 37810

David Fry

  • Harrison Self
  • Harrison Self
    • B: 15 Jul 1813 Gap Creek Valley, Greene, Tennessee, United States
    • D: 23 May 1888 Rush, Indiana, United States
  • Married Sarah Camias Cobble
        • B: 28 Aug 1810 Tennessee, United States
        • D: 1863 Blue Springs, Greene, Tennessee, United States

David Fry

  • Hugh Andrew Self
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 49091515Owsley Union Cemetery
  • Longview (McDonald County)McDonald CountyMissouri, USA
  • Hugh Andrew Self
    • B: 9 Apr 1845 Blue Springs, Greene, Tennessee, United States
    • D: 20 Oct 1910 McDonald County, Missouri, USA
  • Married 26 Aug 1875 Greene, Tennessee
  • Happy M Ealy
        • B: Oct 1858 Greene, Tennessee, USA
        • D: 27 Jan 1924 McDonald, Missouri, USA

David Fry

  • Colonel William Cowan Pickens, 3rd Tennessee Infantry
  • Colonel William Cowan Pickens
      • B: 07 MAR 1825 Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
      • D: 8 Apr 1872 Sevier, Tennessee, United States
  • Married 11 Feb 1847 Blount, Tennessee,USA
  • Susan McCammon
  • B: 1830 Lowes Ferry, Blount,
  • Tennessee, United States
  • D: 1886 Blount, Tennessee,
  • United States
  • Eusebia Cemetery,
  • Eusebia,
  • Sevier Co
  • Tennesse

William Pickens

  • Colonel Daniel Mack Ray, 2nd Tennessee Cavalry
  • Yates CenterWoodson CountyKansas, USAPlot: Block 11 # 49Find A Grave
  • Memorial# 48364879
  • Colonel Daniel Mack Ray
    • B: 27 MAR 1833 Yancey County, NC, USA
    • D: 1913 Woodson County, Kansas, USA
  • Married
  • Louise A. Farris
        • B: Mar 1828 Kentucky
        • D: 1900 Woodson County, Kansas

William Pickens

  • Other members of the team
  • James Montgomery (became Captain in the US Volunteers)
  • Abe Smith
  • B.F. Franklin
  • White Underdown(became Lieutenant in the US Volunteers)
  • William Montgomery (became Captain in the US Volunteers)
  • Elijah Gamble (became Lieutenant in the US Volunteers)
  • "a father and a son - the son objecting to the mention of either his father's or his own name."
  • All men from Sevier County
  • Private James Keelan
    • B: 1828 Virginia
    • D: 12 Feb 1895 Bristol, Sullivan County, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 25 Oct 1846 Knox, Tennessee
    • Mary Hoeper
      • B: abt1825 Tennessee
      • D:

William Pickens

  • William Cross

The other leaders assigned to bridges eventually found their way to a similar rank in one of the early Tennessee Union organizations(Infantry and Cavalry) so Col. William Cross may well be the man.Chances are the bridge was heavily guarded and the attempt was abandoned.

There is a William Cross associated with the 3rd Tennessee Infantry:Soldier's Rank In:Major

Soldier's Rank Out:Colonel

Alternate name:

Film Number:M392 roll 4

Src: NPS Soldiers and Sailors

There is little information on the fate or identity of the men involved in the effort to burn the bridge at Loudon. A certain William Cross is mentioned by Temple.

William Cross

  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate, Co G, 6th Tennessee Infantry
  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate
    • B: 20 Dec 1822 McMinn County, Tennessee, USA
    • D: 13 Sep 1871 Sweetwater, Monroe, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 7 Nov 1843 Monroe Tennessee USA
  • Louisa J WalkerB: 1824 Tennessee, United States
  • D: aft 1900
  • Buried in Wells Cemetery, Hamilton County, Tennessee

Alfred Madison Cate

  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate
  • Thomas L Cates
    • B: 3 Jun 1833 Tennessee, USA
    • D: 19 Mar 1907 Cleveland, Bradley, Tennessee, USA
  • Married 1860 Tennessee, United States
  • Margaret Hall
    • B: 28 Dec 1842 Bradley County, Tennessee
        • D: 25 Jun 1918 Cleveland, Bradley, Tennessee
  • Hiwassee Bridge
  • Adam Thomas
  • Jesse F Cleveland
  • Eli Cleveland
  • Thomas L Cate (Brother of A.M. Cate)

Fort Hill Cemetery ClevelandBradley CountyTennessee, USAPlot: 14, Plot 056

Find A Grave

Memorial# 39704185

  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate


William T. Cate

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, TennesseeEnd of Watch: Thursday, September 14, 1882 “Sheriff Cate and Deputy Sheriff John Conway were shot and killed when a prisoner they were transporting escaped.”

  • William T Cate
    • B: 13 Jan 1830 Tennessee, United States
    • D: 14 Sep 1882 Tennessee, United States
  • Married
  • Malissa J Overton
  • B: abt 1834 Tennessee, United States
  • D: 21 Jun 1864
  • Chattanooga Bridge
  • W.T. Cate (Brother of A.M. Cate)
  • W.H. Crowder
  • Captain Alfred Madison Cate
  • Bridgeport Alabama
  • R.B. Rogan
  • James D. Keener
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • The East Tennessee Rebellion was an emotional response.
  • The resulting persecution had an enormous impact.
  • The Failure of Federal Army Commanders to send that Military Column provides one of the greatest “What ifs” of the Civil War.
thank you
  • Questions?
  • Family Group Sheets, links to my Ancestry Trees, this presentation, and all images are available at my blog: HTTP://WWW.WAYNEFIELDER.COM