Civil War

In honor of our ancestors...
“Our Creator gives each of us the choice to embrace our Heritage and to honor the memory of our ancestors, regardless of their political affiliations, race, constitutional and/or religious beliefs... Historic preservation in its purest form, and acceptance of who our ancestors were, is that to which we must cling.  It is most honorable to mark the graves of our ancestors and to hold memorials in honor of them.  We hold no prejudices, and would commend all who would preserve the true and documented history of our forebears.”          - Shelia Steele Hunt, 2009

Civil War collection at Blountville
The Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism currently houses a wonderful Civil War research collection in its Archives and History Center in historic Sullivan County. Several lineage organizations are donating books in memory of their Civil War ancestors. If you would like to make a donation for our Civil War collection, please email us or call us at 423.323.4660.

The war in Sullivan County
During the Civil War, East Tennessee became a battleground for the Northern and Southern forces. The railroad running through this section was the chief means of communication, travel and supply for the South. For this reason, the bridges, telegraph lines and tracks had to be protected; they were in possession of the Confederate forces for nearly three years of the war, but when Burnside was assigned to the command in East Tennessee, reaching Knoxville, September 3, 1863, he mapped out an agressive campaign to gain control of the railroad.

The Battle of Blountville took place on September 22, 1863. Confederate forces numbered 1,257 men, while there were double that number on the Federal side. The 4-hour siege began at noon when Union Col. John W. Foster attacked and shelled the town, setting fire to the Courthouse, initiating a flanking movement and compelling the Confederate forces to withdraw. Confederate men, women and children retreated through Brown's meadows, resulting in what many felt was a Union victory.

Battle of Blountville
Battle of Blountville sign erected at historic Sullivan County Courthouse by Sons of the Confederate Veterans. For a complete account of the Civil War in Sullivan County, please visit the Archives and History Center within the Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism.

Tennessee Civil War Trails recognition for Battle of Blountville
On September 18, 2008, some 145 years after the battle, the town of Blountville gained major recognition on the Tennessee Civil War Trails program by receiving its official Tennessee Civil War trailblazer sign and the first three interpretative markers commemorating the Battle of Blountville.  The three interpretative markers have been placed in front of the Sullivan County Courthouse, at the Blountville Cemetery, and on the hill formerly known as "Schoolyard Hill" where the Masonic Institute once stood.  The Hon. Steve Godsey, Mayor of Sullivan County, was present for the installation ceremony in conjunction with committee members Ambre Torbett, Shelia Hunt and Anita Long. Additional interpretative markers will be placed in the town over the next 3-5 years to commemorate the Battle of Blountville.

Civil War Trail

Muster Roll of Captain J. W. Bachman's Co. G, 60th TN Regiment Volunteers
The Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism is blessed with a rare find... that of the muster roll of Captain J. W. Bachman's Co. G., 60th TN Reg. Volunteers. This roll is dated March 1, 1863 to April 30, 1863, and many Sullivan Countians are listed as present, dead or missing.

The unit was organized October 1, 1862 and mustered into Confederate service on November 7, 1862. Most of the men were captured at Vicksburg and served the remainder of the war in Vaughn's Brigade in East Tennessee and Western Virginia.

Click the image below to view a closeup of the roster.


19th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Provisional Army CSA

Sons of the Confederate Veterans Camp #1817 TN
Also see our Events page for area Civil War events.