Battle of Morristown

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The battle of Morristown was a fierce battle putting brother against brother and son against father. General John Vaughn was the Confederate commander and General S. C. Gillem was the commander for the Union. Gillem's men, almost 3,000 strong were ready with repeating rifles. Vaughn’s force, almost 2,000 in number, was ready but shot muskets. These men, Union and confederate were about to battle near their own homes, and against their neighbors. At the time of the historic battle both sides were made up of men from East Tennessee. Some people back then called the Civil War the War Between the Republicans and the Democrats, because the Union was mostly Republican and the Confederates were mostly Democrats. The battle started in the early afternoon. Vaughn deployed his men in two lines. One was on a hill where Morristown College now stands, and another extended from there to where Radio Center is. The Union, General Gillem, attacked the Confederates first line of defense. Artillery took up a position near where Lincoln Heights School is today. The Union had the advantage of fresh regiments arriving. Gillem ordered the cavalry regiment to make a full scale, mounted charge with swords drawn against the Confederates. This attack resulted in the Confederates retreat. General Vaughn left 200 men and 2 pieces of artillery in the Unions hands. General Vaughn barely escaped while he was exchanging shots with Union horsemen. The Union cavalry raced into Morristown and chased Vaughn's men into Russellville. The capture of Morristown was a Union victory. About ninety men were killed in the battle of Morristown, and most Confederates.

NOTES: Both Commanders were Tennesseans and the officers and men were East Tennesseans. A lot of this information came from a two part article written by Howard Hill.