While writing my first novel, A Civil Death, set in Knoxville, Tennessee, I did a lot of research on the Civil War in this area. I was amazed by just how much happened here and how very important East Tennessee was to the Union and the Confederate causes. What really got me excited though, was the discovery that Confederate General James Longstreet marched his men up a road right behind my house during November of 1863. He was in hot pursuit of Union General Burnside. They were racing from Loudon County to see who could take control of Campbell Station.
Burnside beat Longstreet by fifteen minutes. If Longstreet had been able to take Campbell Station, he would surely have been able to take Knoxville. The war may have had a much different ending if East Tennessee had been under the control of the Confederate Army.
Knoxville never felt like an old town to me, but learning more about it's historic past has changed the way I look at things. Now, as I drive toward U.T. Campus, I can see General Sander's being shot near the Presbyterian Church on Kingston Pike, wounded by sharp shooters working from the tower of Bleak House, General Longstreet's campaign quarters.
This year commemorates the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. I fully intend to learn more and share more about The Civil War in our own backyards.