Johnson County during the Civil War

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Photos taken by Frank Young (Lasting Impressions - Boone, NC) of Civil War reenactment at Trade Days.

   Unfortunately in 1861 the Civil War began and Johnson County with the rest of the nation was in tumult. East Tennessee was historically a primarily Republican area and most men here sided with the Union. The vote in Johnson County was 787 to 111 against secession. Many families split and neighbors became enemies over this issue. Johnson County sent a company to unite with the 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry which fought for the Union. The Confederate army had sent troops into East Tennessee to control the people. The loyal Union men were forced to slip by these Confederate troops into Kentucky to join the Union army. Although there were no major battles fought in Johnson County, there were conflicts which resulted in some fighting. After the war was over many men were able to return home and settle their differences with their neighbors. This was true with the Coffey Brothers in the Smith's Mill area. However, other men were unable to reestablish their businesses. Major Joseph Wagner owned a hardware store and was a wealthy citizen. After he voted Republican his store was boycotted. Wagner left Johnson County after the war and left his home behind.

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