DeKalb County Tennessee
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project



Secession-DeKalb Confederates

Undoubtedly the stormiest period of DeKalb County's existence was the first part of the year 1861, the question before the people being separation from the Union or remaining in it. When the question was first agitated, a majority of Tennesseans were opposed to secession. The legislature ordered an election at which the people should vote at the same time upon the subject of holding a convention and electing delegates to serve in case a convention should be held. The election came off February 9, 1861, and resulted in a vote of 57,798 for the convention and 69,675 against it; for delegates who favored secession, 24,749, and 88,803 against it. This was throughout the State. In the election DeKalb County's vote was 833 for secession and 642 against it. Thus we see the voters of the county were by a small majority (191) for withdrawing from the Union. At that time the population of the county was only 10,573.

Meantime some of the Southern States had withdrawn from the Union. On April 12, 1861, the Confederates at Charleston, S. C, fired on Fort Sumter, where a United States garrison remained, although South Carolina had voted to secede. When the news Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) in a state of blockade and held that all vessels acting under their authority would be guilty of piracy.

Again Tennessee became intensely excited. It was evident that the President was going to try to force the seceding States back into the Union. The orators began to harangue the people, and many of the latter, not indorsing his intention to make war on the South, changed their sentiments and clamored to withdraw from the sisterhood of States. A second election was held June 8 to get the sentiment of all Tennesseans. The vote stood 104,913 for secession and only 47,238 against it. Isham G. Harris was at that time Governor of the State.

So Tennessee joined the Southern Confederacy. The first call was for 55,000 men; but before the close of the war the State furnished more than 115,000 Confederates. On the Union side more than 31,000 Federals were raised in the State, while Tennessee Federals who joined Kentucky organizations numbered more than 7,000. The total Tennesseans in the two armies thus totaled 153,000.

Though about four years of age at that time, the writer recalls something of the excitement which prevailed at Liberty, and presumably the whole county was so affected. Orators for and against secession spoke at different places and made their arguments before the crowds. Former Gov. William B. Campbell, of Lebanon, was one of the speakers going over the State pleading for the Union. The cry of the Unionists was, "Hurrah for Campbell and the Union!" and that of the secessionists, "Hurrah for Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy!" What took place in Liberty, as stated before, was characteristic of other portions of the county. The Southern sympathizers believed they would triumph in a few weeks, just as the North thought the war would not last long. To illustrate, Frank Foster, an aged saddler of Liberty and an extremely small man, would when in his cups ride his big horse up and down Liberty's one street and cry, "As for Yankees, I can whip half a dozen and outrun a thousand"; while White Turney, then reading law at Smithville, declared that within six weeks he would be eating Abe Lincoln's ears with a piece of hard-tack.

At first blush it appeared that all DeKalb County was for the South. Nevertheless, there was a strong undercurrent opposed to disunion, and this manifested itself after a while. Thus William B. Stokes, who had been a popular politician, at first sided with the South, going so far as to urge the enlistment of Confederate troops ; and when he changed his mind he found hundreds of men ready to follow him on the other side. Under the excitement prevailing it is not a matter for wonder that many men found it hard to come to a decision.

Some of the earliest enlistments of DeKalb County Confederates were made in a company raised at Auburn, in Cannon County; T. M. Allison, captain. This company was mustered into service at Nashville June 28, 1861. There comes back now the recollection of its advent into Liberty, musicians playing "Drive That Black Dog Out of the Wilderness," the lazy forenoon when, among the yard's old-fashioned roses, the bees droned slumberous and the neighbor boys watching the troops pass in their red hunting shirts, keeping step to fife and drum. Classic music may suit the cultured, but you hear that old tune, sweet and plaintive, yet somehow moving and thrilling one impetuously; hear it under such circumstances, and it will never be forgotten.

This company consisted of eighty-two men, fully half under twenty-one years of age. Names are called that were familiar in the Liberty community: Dr. J. S. Harrison, H. L. W. (White) Turney, Bob Smith, Arch Marcum, W. A. and Pressly Adamson, Josh Jetton, and others. The company became a part of the Second Tennessee Cavalry. Bob Smith, attacked with measles at Jacksboro, East Tennessee, was discharged and later joined the Federals. White Turney became a lieutenant, was wounded twice, married in West Tennessee, practiced law in Dyersburg, and died in 1880. Dr. Harrison went through the war, removed from Liberty to Smithville, then became a citizen of McMinnville, a splendid type of the old-time Southern gentleman. He died in October, 1914. Captain Allison resigned and returned to his home, near Auburn, and was killed by Federals in his back yard August 2, 1862.

Eight Confederate companies were made up in DeKalb County, while about half of Capt. P. C. Shields's company (G) of Col. John H. Savage's regiment were from the county. The muster rolls of Confederate soldiers are in the archives at Washington. They are old, mutilated, and not easily handled. An effort was made to get the names of first enlistments, but this was hardly possible in any case. Where names were secured (photographed) they are often misspelled, as Louis for Lewis, while one name may appear in one place as "William" and in another "W. J." This has added to the problem of getting them correct. Rut, in spite of all, hundreds are correctly presented herein.

Capt. John F. Goodner's company was raised at Alexandria in April, 1861, and became Company A, Seventh Tennessee Infantry. When Col. Robert Hatton became brigadier general, Goodner was elected lieutenant colonel and commanded the regiment much of the time during the remainder of the war. Colonel Goodner, as shown elsewhere, commanded a company in the Mexican War. The Seventh saw much service, was in the Yorktown campaign, at Seven Pines, in the Seven Days' Battles, at Culpeper Courthouse, Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, and Fort Archer, and surrendered at Appomattox. Colonel Goodner died at Alexandria some years after the war. The muster roll shows the following names in his company:

Captain, John F. Goodner;
Lieutenant, R. V. Wright.

After Goodner became lieutenant colonel. R. V. Wright was elected captain, serving until Allison's squadron of cavalry was organized, when he was elected captain of Company C of that battalion.
J. S. Dowell became captain of Company A, serving until the close of the war.

Company A, Seventh Tennessee Infantry

First lieutenant, J. S. Dowell
Second lieutenant, F. W. Hobson
Third lieutenant, Robert C. Bone
Sergeant, Wilmoth Burges
Sergeant, James Vannata
Sergeant, R. D. Floyd
Sergeant, J. A. Donnell
Sergeant, J. T. Barbee
Corporal, Dixon A. Foutch
Corporal, James R. Newsom
Corporal, A. M. C. Robinson
Corporal, Bartlett Warford


John H. Allison
Robert Allison
S. Ashby
W. H. Atwell
Joab Bailiff
William Bailiff
William Bartlett
William Bartley
John Caskey
Chesley Chapman
A. J. Cheek
John Cheek
John L. Close
V. B. Coe
J. N. Compton
G. W. Cowen
Hi Curtis
A. L. Davis
Thomas Davis
G. W. Driver
Alfonse Emerique
R. D. Floyd
William T. Floyd
W. J. Foster
Elijah A. Foutch
F. L. Foutch
Levi Foutch
J. B. Garrison
G. W. Gregson
William Griffin
T. W. Goodner
J. R. Harris
Abe Hendrixon
William Hinesley
Ben Hood
H. H. Hood
W. H. Hullet
John Johnson
Elijah Jones
G. W. Lamberson
W. R. Lamberson
Thomas Light
L. C. Lincoln
John L. Luck
L. D. McGuffey
R. Malone
J. D. Martin
J. J. Martin
P. J. Mason
Theo. Moores
Irvin D. Murphey
G. W. Murry
Horace Newsom
R. H. Newsom
T. A. Newley
J. D. Nix
Burr F. Paty
J. W. Pendleton
Lit R. Parkinson
Andrew Pratt
John Read
G. W. Reasonover
James Risdon
Andrew Robinson
Thomas J. Sneed
C. P. Shaver
Walter Sullins
W. R. Sims
D. W. Sewell
Isaac Sanlin
Dan Snider
William Sewell
J. W. Shanks
William Terry
A. P. Tracy
W. W. Trousdale
T. D. Webb
John Williams
William Willoughby
O. J. Williams
H. M. Wilson
James Winfrey
W. C. Yeargin
T. W. Yeargin
J. Job Bailiff
G. W. Cowan
G. W. Driver
J. B. Garrison
P. J. Mason
James Vannata
J. Williams
James Winfrey
Chapman Chesley, Mechanicsville
L. R. Parkinson, Chancellorsville
T. W. Sewell, all at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862
J. Cheek, November 6, 1862
V. B. Coe, September 25, 1861
J. Compton, September 15, 1861
L. D. McGuffey, November 13, 1862
J. Pendleton, December 15, 1861
W. R. Sims, January 5, 1863
William Willoughby, December 5, 1863

Capt. R. D. Allison's company (F), Twenty-Fourth Tennessee Infantry

Capt. R. D. Allison's company (F), Twenty-Fourth Tennessee Infantry, was raised at Alexandria in 1861 and was organized with the regiment mentioned. He was elected colonel and H. P. Dowell captain. Allison resigned in 1862 and organized a cavalry battalion at Alexandria, with J. S. Reece, who had been discharged from the Twenty-Fourth because of his age. This battalion will receive further notice later on. The Twenty-Fourth took part in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Franklin, and Nashville, surrendering at Greensboro, N. C.

Captain Colonel, R. D. Allison
First lieutenant, H. P. Dowell
Second lieutenant
Third lieutenant, J. F. Luckey
Third lieutenant, W. S. Patey
Sergeant, W. D. Fielding
Sergeant, James A. Barnett
Sergeant, M. D. Braswell
Sergeant, Lewis E. Simpson
Sergeant, J. W. Jaques
Corporal, C. Scott
Corporal, G. W. Gordon
Corporal, J. A. Clark
Corporal, A. Rollands
D. L. Allen
James Allison
Robert Allison
J. L. Askew
L. B. Baker
E. A. Barbee
Robert Barbee
James Barr
W. P. Bennett
J. R. Betty
G. W. Bowers
Giles Bowers
Sampson Braswell
T. F. Bradley
T. F. Bradley
Lewis Barrett
S. Briggs
Tobe Briggs
A. J. Bradford
Abe Britton
T. Brown
T. B. Brown
W. D. G. Carnes
W. B. Carter
Thomas Chandler
B. F. Cochran
H. M. Coffee
R. D. Coffee
Josiah Conger
Isaac Cooper
Nathan Corley
M. J. Covington
Miles Covington
A. L. Cranler
J. C Craddock
N. L. Craddock
A. P. Crowder
W. C. Curtis
J. J. Cutter
R. G. Davis
R. J. Davis
W. C. Davis
W. P. Dennie
M. F. Doss
J. D. Estes
C Ferrel
W. C Fielding
L. H. Fite
J. C. Foutch
J. F. Gaultney
James S. Glenn
J. E. Gold
J. P. Gold
G. W. Gordon
John A. Gregory
G. W. Hale
J. P. Hale
John R. Hale
Horace Hays
W. H. Hays
J. Heflin
A. D. Helmantaller
J. W. Hubbard
D. D. Hudson
T. L. Johnson
W. T. Jones
J. M. King
Robert King
S. J. King
John Laurence
W. H. Lincoln
John Luckey
Sam Luckey
W. H. Luckey
W. S. Lynch
F. P. Lyon
Bailey Marks
C. C. Martin
J. Mooneyham
J. A. Mooneyham
William H. Mott
James Nolan
Jasper Owens
W. W. Patterson
J. H. Powell
S. A. Powell
W. D. Prentiss
W. C Preston
J. C. Prichard
James Raney
Ed Reece
J. S. Reece
Amos Retries
L. A. Rollands
J. M. Shavers
John Smith
A. J. Stephens
J. W. Stewart
Andrew Stuart
John Thomas
W. H. Thomas
W. M. Timberlake
N. Vantrease
Lewis Washburn
W. E. Williams
W. H. Whittington.
J. A. Winfrey
J. T. Winfrey
J. W. Whitley
J. C. Craddock
A. P. Crouch
W. C Curtis
J. F. Gaultney
J. A. King,
W. J. Knight
F. P. Lyon
Bailey Marks
J. A. Mooneyham
Joel Mooneyham
Amos Petry
C. Fumel, Murfreesboro
G. W. Hall, Perryville
Joseph Woolen, Shiloh
J. W. Stewart, Chickamauga
James Allison, December 24, 1861;
Sampson Braswell, January 4, 1862;
W. B. Carter, January 10, 1862;
W. H. Mott, Alexandria, after having been wounded at Murfreesboro.


DeKalb County | Tennessee

Source: History of DeKalb County, Tennessee. By Will T. Hale, Nashville, Tennessee, Paul Hunter, Publisher, 1915.


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