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Civil War Stories


 Margaret Kidwell McAmis
First, there were Northern and Southern sympathizers living side by side in Greene County. In some cases, they remained friends. My great-grandparents, Wilson and Margaret Kidwell McAmis, were Northern sympathizers who lived near the Ross family, who were Southern sympathizers. Throughout the war, the two families shifted anything of value from one farm to the other when the soldiers came through the area. 
The second story is of Margaret Kidwell McAmis. She was alone with the children one night during the war. A knock came at the door; she asked who it was. No answer. The process was repeated twice more. After there was no answer the third time, Margaret fired her gun through the door. The following morning there was blood on the steps. Contributed by Ann Regen Myhre 

William Elbert Milburn, Chaplain 8th Tennessee Cavalry

“ I was never connected to slavery; was taught from boyhood to believe it was wrong; there never was one hour in which I approved it; I do not expect there ever will be.”

  William Elbert Milburn was born on September 16, 1797 in Frederick, Virginia.  His parents Jacob Jonathan and Nancy Ann Emberson, who were married on October 10, 1796 in Greene County had returned to Virginia to settle the estate of Jonathon's father.                      

There was a lot of unrest in the country in this time that culminated in the Civil War.  South Carolina was the first state to succeed from the Union.  Tennessee was the last state to succeed in June of 1861.  This was an extremely divisive time.  Most of the people in East Tennessee did not want to leave the Union.  However, when Tennessee did secede from the Union there were strong feelings on both sides.  Some counties were more pro-Union than others, but within each county, each neighborhood, each church and  even each family a division was created by strong feelings on both sides of the issues.  William Milburn found himself right in the middle of this storm.  Bishop James Andrews presided over the Church Conference of 1861.  He was both an influential and calming force and exerted his belief that religion and politics should not mix.  However the sentiment changed in 1862 when Bishop John Early presided over the conference. Early was much more sympathetic to the Confederate cause and began to challenge the personal political motives of the ministers and their loyalty to the now Confederate state of Tennessee.  William Milburn was among those ministers whose loyalty was questioned.

       In the conference of 1863, the Bishop dismissed arguments for the rights of ministers to have political beliefs that conflicted with those of the state and "ruled that the Conference had a right to arrest the character of any preacher who sympathized with the Union cause."  Over the objections of some members about giving the suspected ministers the opportunity for a trial; the Bishop ruled that they could be tried immediately.  As a result of this, Jonathan Mann, William Rogers, William Milburn and W. H. H. Duggins were expelled from the church by a resolution.  

William Milburn joined the 8th Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers on February 6, 1864.  He was mustered out in Knoxville on September 11, 1865.  After the war, he was reinstated by the Hols ton Conference where he continued to preach and work to abolish racism until his death on December 11, 1877.  He is buried in the cemetery of Milburnton United Church in Greene County on land given by his father for this church. Contributed by Cyndy Cox
American Civil War Homepage
Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial 
Additional Resources
Bluegrass Confederate- The Headquarters Diary of Edward O. Guerrant, by William C. Davis and Meredith L. Swentor 
The Bridge Burners- A True Story of East Tennessee's Underground Civil War by Cameron Judd