East Tennessee Confederates and the Civil War, 1860-1870
- Author(s): Groce, W. Todd
- Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
- Publication Date: 2000-07-26
- Status: Active
- Available in Paper: Price $19.95 | Buy Now
“Groce offers a gracefully written, impressively researched narrative account of the experience of East Tennessee Confederates during the Civil War era. His analysis raises provocative questions about the socioeconomic foundations of Civil War sympathies in the Mountain South.”—Robert Tracy McKenzie, University of Washington
“Scholars of Appalachia’s Civil War have long awaited Todd Groce’s study of East Tennessee secessionists. I am pleased to report that this ground-breaking study of Southern Mountain Confederates was worth the wait.”—Kenneth Noe, State University of West Georgia
A bastion of Union support during the Civil War, East Tennessee was also home to Confederate sympathizers who took up the Southern cause until the bitter end. Yet historians have viewed these mountain rebels as scarcely different from other Confederates or as an aberration in the region’s Unionism. Often they are simply ignored.W. Todd Groce corrects this distorted view of East Tennessee’s antebellum development and wartime struggle. He paints a clearer picture of the region’s Confederates than has previously been available, examining why they chose secession over union and revealing why they have become so invisible to us today. Drawing extensively on primary sources—newspapers, diaries, government reports—Groce allows the voices of these mountain rebels finally to be heard.
Groce explains the economic forces and the family and political ties to the Deep South that motivated the East Tennessee Confederates reluctantly to join the fight for Southern independence. Caught in a war they neither sought nor started, they were trapped between an unfriendly administration in Richmond and a hostile Union majority in their midst. When the fighting was over and they returned home to face their vengeful Unionist neighbors, many were forced to flee, contributing to the postwar economic decline of the region.Placing the story in a broad context, Groce provides an overview of the region’s economy and explains the social origins of secessionist sympathies. He also presents a collective profile of one hundred high-ranking Confederate officers from East Tennessee to show how they were representative of the rising commercial and financial leadership in the region.
Mountain Rebels intertwines economic, political, military, and social history to present a poignant tale of defeat, suffering, and banishment. By piecing together this previously untold story, it fills a void in Southern history, Civil War history, and Appalachian studies.
The Author: W. Todd Groce is executive director of the Georgia Historical Society.