Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Cumberland County at War

Marker ID:  
Location: in front of Cumberland County Military Museum, 20 S Main St, Crossville, TN
County: Cumberland
Coordinates: N 35° 56.86    W 085° 1.575
  35.94766666    -85.02625
Waymark: None


Cumberland County at War
Divided by Conflict

Divided loyalties in Tennessee produced a bitter and violent Civil War experience in Cumberland County, the only county that did not report a vote either for or against secession. Confederate supporters joined Co. B, Lt. Col. Oliver P. Hamilton’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, and Cos. A and B, 28th Tennessee Infantry, among others. Unionist Robert C. Swan formed Co. D, 2nd Tennessee Infantry (USA). Polly Hand and Richard “Red Fox” Flynn conducted Unionists to Federal units in Kentucky via the Underground Railroad network. County founder, state legislator, and Confederate Eldridge Myatt, captured at the Battle of Lookout Mountain, died in the Federal prison at Rock Island, Illinois. Unionists John E. Brewer and John R. Swan died in the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia.

Guerillas on both sides killed and wreaked havoc on civilians here. Union raiders “Tinker” Dave Beatty and Harve Shillin (a local resident) stole cattle, horses, plow mules and food. Confederate raiders Champ Ferguson and Col. John M. Hughes stole hundreds of Federal horses. In July 1864, as the 4th Tennessee Infantry (USA) pursued them, Maj. T.H. Reeves declared “the citizens…aiders and abettors to the thieving band” and seized their property.

Andrew Kemmer built a false wall to conceal corn from Union soldiers. A neighbor told the Federals, who broke down the wall and took the corn. The Thomas Majors and Samuel Brady families buried a large wooden box of goods in a stable. Years later, the Brady family donated the box to the Cumberland County Military Museum, housed in the former county courthouse before you.

“I understand that there has been some of the good old friends of the Rebellion deceast not long cince all I hated about it was there hadn’t been a few more of them that went the same way. …I walked over the bloody field of Murfreesboro…(and) beheld the carnage and goar at one sight I could behold a thousand men which had just crest the chilly waters of Jordan. I am getting tierd of this unholy war…(w)raping the winding sheat around many a found mothers, nobly boy and sprinkling ther hearth stones with tears.” — Sgt. Azariah Dorton (Cumberland Co. resident), 2nd Tennessee Infantry (USA), June 11, 1863

Tennessee Civil War Trails.