Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Rogersville Engagements

Marker ID:  
Location: on South Depot St south of East Main St, Rogersville, TN
County: Hardin
Coordinates: N 36° 24.395    W 083° 0.385
  36.40658333    -83.00641666
Waymark: None


Rogersville Engagements
Hawkins County in the Civil War

In June 1861, 1,250 Hawkins County residents voted against secession, while 835 voted in favor. Rural residents tended to have Unionist sympathies but townspeople such as those in Rogersville sided with the Confederacy.

Confederate forces often occupied Rogersville during the war. On August 21, 1864, Union General Alvan C. Gillem sent Lt. Col. William H. Ingerton, 13th Tennessee Cavalry, to drive them out. The Federals killed 23 and captured 35. Two days later, after Confederate forces reoccupied Rogersville, Ingerton returned and killed 13 and captured 24. During Federal occupations the Hale Springs Inn usually served as headquarters.

Confederate Congressman Joseph B. Heiskell was among those captured in Ingerton's first attack. A Rogersville lawyer, Heiskell argued cases in the courthouse here and electioneered here during his 1857-1859 terms in the Tennessee General Assembly. He opposed secession at first but changed his mind after the attack on Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers, and was elected to the Confederate Congress in 1862.

Gillem wrote to Lincon that "Joe Heiskell walked to meet us [to surrender]." Lincoln inquired teasingly of Gillem, "Does Joe Heiskell's 'walking to meet us' mean any more than Joe was scared and wanted to save his skin?" Heiskell was imprisoned for the rest of the war at Camp Chase, Ohio. After his release, he was a delegate to the 1870 Tennessee Constitutional Convention, served as attorney general and state court reporter, and compiled Heiskell's Reports of Tennessee Supreme Court Cases, still in use. He died in 1913.

This Greek Revival-style courthouse , one of the earliest surviving in Tennessee, was constructed in 1836-1837 from architect John Dameron's design. At different times during the Civil War, each side used it as a headquarters.

Erected 2017 by Tennessee Civil War Trails.

Pictures of this marker can be found on HMDB.org