CIVIL WAR IN AND AROUND CAMPBELL COUNTY, TENNESSEE
By Dallas Bogan
Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan.
This article was published in the LaFollette Press.
This week we shall
review The Civil War and Campbell County Tennessee, as written by Judge
Gregory (Greg) K. Miller. Judge Miller is a qualified writer with many
credentials to his name. Among them he set in motion the beginning of
the Campbell County Historical Society in LaFollette, Tennessee. He
was also chosen an honorable position as Who's Who in American Law,
and Who's Who Among Practicing Attorneys. There are many more credentials
to his name, specifically, his six years service as an Assistant District
Attorney for the Honorable Wm. Paul Phillips. He was also appointed
as Judicial Referee for the 8th Judicial District in 1988 by Judge Lee
Asbury; Judge Conrad Troutman, Jr., and Chancellor Billy Joe White.
Greg is the son of Clarence D. Miller and Ella Mae (Mowell) Miller,
all residents of LaFollette, Tennessee.
Greg writes that when he became interested
in the Civil War in Campbell County, Tennessee, he was bewildered as
to how little material that was available in the County. And so, he
decided to beat the odds by writing a book on the subject.
The first section of the book begins with the people of the County of
Campbell and the struggle for their own survival. However hard their
struggle, they were largely a happy and carefree lot.
Greg cites Mr. Frank Richardson's work
in his book, From Sunrise to Sunset. Mr. Richardson mentions in his
book how few dwellings there were in existence at the time in Jacksboro.
He also states that a chimney attached to a house was worth more than
the house itself. He writes of the many social grievances that were
encountered such as drinking, cock fighting, shooting matches, and frequent
The Civil War book states that prior to
the outbreak of the Civil War, Campbell County had a population of 6,712,
of which 366 were slaves. The 1860 U.S. Census lists 61 slave owners
with John Kincaid owning the most, 54. The value of slaves many times
far exceeded the value of the land on which they worked. A William Heatherly,
of the first district, owned 250 acres valued at $1,660; he also owned
two slaves at the same time, valued at $1,800
There was little sentiment in Campbell
County for the Confederate cause simply because of the less numerous
slave counts. In March of 1862, while marching through this area of
the County, Col. James P.T. Carter of the 2nd Tennessee Volunteer, U.S.,
wrote of the sentimentality of the locals. He writes:
"The people through the section of country over which we passed
are truly loyal in the sentiments and hailed the advent of our troops
with unbounded enthusiasm. Everything they had was freely tendered
The Confederate cause was put on the back
burner so far as sentimentality was involved. Of the 1059 votes cast
in Campbell County, only 59 favored secession. East Tennessee, on June
8, 1861, by a vote of 104,913 to 47,238, opposed secession. With the
overall vote counted, Campbell County favored the Union cause.
Pillaging ran rampant in Campbell County
by the Confederate forces. Lands were stripped of their crops, animals
killed. Other atrocities included looting and raiding of the local's
personal items. Frank Richardson witnessed the retreating of Confederate
forces from Big Creek Gap (now LaFollette) from Kentucky in December
of 1862. He wrote: "They spread out in the valley and commenced
devouring everything in reach, like the locust of Egypt. What they could
not eat they trampled under their feet."
Campbell County was located in a tactical
location due to its accessibility to Cumberland Gap. This setting was
a much-anticipated vicinity for the struggle between the two American
armies, Union and Confederate. The loyalty of the Campbell County residents
was one of faithfulness to their cause of the Civil War.
Judge Miller recounts a map in the vicinity
near Cumberland Gap. On this diagram he writes that at the beginnings
of the Civil War, there were 42 lesser gaps in the vicinity of the Gap.
He also writes that most gaps to the east of Cumberland Gap were mere
rough bridal paths.
The book also states that Campbell County
comprised the "best secondary gaps near Cumberland Gap." The
Jacksboro Gap was by far the most excellent gap, which was "described
as the best wagon road West of Cumberland Gap." It seems that most
attempts to flank Cumberland Gap were through Rogers Gap (located in
Claiborne County) and Big Creek Gap (now LaFollette)
Roger's Gap is located between Speedwell
and Fincastle. This opening is described as a secondary road in the
past, passable only for lightly loaded wagons and artillery. However,
Colonel John F. DeCourcy, of the 16th Ohio Infantry, improved this Gap
in June 1862.
Big Creek Gap guarded one of the two routes
connecting Cumberland Gap to Knoxville, the first being from Cumberland
Gap to Tazewell, in Claiborne County. The second course reached from
Cumberland Gap southward through Powell's Valley along the eastern flank
of Cumberland Mountain. This route passed through Speedwell, Fincastle,
The highest ranked officer from Campbell County was Col. Joseph Cooper.
Judge Miller relates in his book the many military exploits of this
famed soldier. Col. Cooper hated the Confederate aggression in Campbell
County. He, with 85 other Campbell County residents, organized Company
A of the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The book goes into detail
exploiting Col. Cooper's involvement in the Civil War.
This fine book has many chapter titles
such as First Thunder, Summer of Struggle, Full Fury, and The Storm
Abates. It also includes biographical sketches of the Civil War leaders
in the vicinity. Within these fine works Judge Miller has also included
the artillery arms likely used in Campbell County. For genealogical
purposes, included is the list of Civil War veterans buried in Campbell
Also for genealogical purposes, the book
contains the listing, in alphabetical order, of the Campbell County
Civil War Veterans, their companies, and whether they were in the Confederate
service or the Union service. This addition is such a valuable contribution.
This indexed book is a tribute to one
of Campbell's Counties finest historians. Judge Miller has outdone himself
in his research and writing expertise.
I have just touched on the contents of
this fine book. All my subjects listed in this article are just a drop
in the bucket. Whether you are interested in Campbell County and its
involvement the Civil War or not, the history of Campbell County and
the many names provided offer a volume of information.
If for historical reasons or genealogical
reasons, I would highly recommend this 109 page book simply because
of its powerful message. If the readers would like to purchase a book,
please write Judge Gregory K. Miller, P.O. Box 1193, LaFollette, Tennessee
37766. Price: $10.00 plus $2.00 shipping.