Post #1 of the Civil War in Cumberland County
The residents, approximately 3,460 (including slaves) of the newly formed Cumberland County did not have long to enjoy their accomplishments. On April 12, 1861 the Civil War began.
“With the state formally casting its support for separation from the Union in June and the subsequent addition of both the state and its army to that of the Confederacy in July, the first major wave of military enlistments on the Cumberland Plateau was for Confederate regiments. Turney’s First Tennessee Volunteer Regiment was organized as early as April 1861 and immediately drew men from Franklin and surrounding counties.”(The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 72)
“Once Governor Harris and the state legislature passed a secession ordinance on May 6, the governor began organizing regiments into what was called, temporarily, the Provisional Army of Tennessee. It proved to be a cumbersome process to recruit, train, equip, arm and mobilize a Confederate army in Tennessee. Manpower was rarely the problem, but organization was made difficult by Harris’s decision first to declare independence from the United States and then to form a ;defensive league with a Confederate government more interested in protecting its new capital at Richmond then in shoring up its western heartland. Between May 6, when the legislature adopted the secession ordinance (to be ratified on June 8), and July 31, when the Provisional Army of Tennessee was formally handed over to the Confederacy, more than twenty-five thousand Tennesseans enlisted in more than fifty regiments across the state.” (The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 73)
“Down in the Valley boys hurried to Spring City to join the Confederate Army, west of the Caney Fork they went to Sparta and did likewise. In the central, eastern and northern sections sympathies were generally for the Union, though everywhere families were divided and bitterness broke out.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
“Chris Ford down in Grassy Cove saw his father go off to the Confederate Army never to return. A man of strong feelings, Chris vowed he would not shave until the Southern Confederacy achieved independence. They say that years later whenever Chris road horseback, his flowing beard would cover his saddle horn.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
“Five Ford brothers and four Loden boys from the Cove joined the South, while Mose, Jim and Az Dorton, John Swan and Bill Brewer joined up with Company D 2nd Tennessee Federal Infantry, organized and led by Capt. Robert C. Swan. Out in Yellow Creek the Hamby brothers went both ways, W.A. was a rebel and Hebbert and Rueben joined the Union Forces. There were many more of these divided families, and many other soldiers.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
Although many went off to war, the local wars that hit Cumberland County were of a different type… to be continued.
*photos and newspapers courtesy of the Library of Congress