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Sumner County in War
by Jay Guy Cisco

From Historic Sumner County, Tennessee

Retyped and revised by Diane Payne and Danene Vincent

In war, as in peace Sumner County has ever responded to the calls of duty. The pioneers themselves were for the most part battle scarred veterans, veterans in experience not in years. Almost every man of whom and a few women, and every boy that was large enough to handle a gun, had taken part in skirmishes with the Indians, and many men fought the British. General Griffith Rutherford, General James Winchester, General Daniel Smith, Colonel Anthony Bledsoe, Major David Wilson, Colonel Edward Douglass, Major William Cage, Major George Winchester, Captain William Bowen, Captain George D. Blackmore and others had held commissions in the war for independence. Isaac Bledsoe, some of the Wilsons, Frank Weathered, James Gwin, Nathan Parker, Hugh Rogan, David Shelby, George Gillespie, John Morgan, James White, some of the Neely's and others had fought in the ranks in the same war.

In the second war with the British, Sumner County furnished a company commanded by Captain Hamilton. This company served under Jackson and was at New Orleans. In the Seminole war, in 1836, a full company went out from Sumner and the three highest officers of the regiment to which the company was assigned were Colonel William Trousdale, Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Conn Guild and Major Joseph G. Meadows, all Sumner countians.

When the war with Mexico broke out Sumner County furnished three companies: the Polk Guards, officered by Captain Robert A. Bennett, Lieutenants J. M. Shaver and Patrick Duffey: the Tenth Legion, commanded by Captain S.R. Anderson, afterwards a Brigadier-General in the Confederate service: Lieutenants W.M. Blackmore and P.L Solomon: and Legion Second, commanded by Captain W.S. Hatton. The names of all of those who lost their lives are all inscribed on the monument erected by the people of the county in the cemetery at Gallatin. There are now living in the county two survivors of those companies: W. F. Clendenning and J. W. Rutherford.

Colonel Trousdale was twice wounded at the battle of Chepultepec and was brevetted Brigadier-General in the regular army for gallantry. William B. Campbell, afterwards Governor, who gave the famous command, "boys, follow me," and won for his regiment the title of the "Bloody First" was born in Sumner County.

Again, in 1861, when the sound of battle was heard throughout the land, the gallant sons of Sumner rallied around the Southern Cross and gave to the Confederate armies more soldiers than she had voters, and no more gallant men ever wore the gray. In all it furnished more than twenty-seven companies. The first to be formed was mostly raised by William B. Bate, and was commanded by Captain Charlton. Another was commanded by Captain Humphrey Bate, another by Captain D.L. Goodall. These formed a part of the Second Tennessee, of which William B. Bate was the first Colonel. After his promotion, Colonel W. J. Hale, now living in Hartsville commanded the regiment. The formation of other companies immediately followed, one under Captain James Barber, and another under Captain D. C. Douglass, were mustered into the Seventh Tennessee. Captain Barber died in December 1861, at Millsboro, VA. John D. Fry, First Lieutenant, was elected Captain and O. H. Foster First Lieutenant. Captain Fry was seriously wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, and being disabled for further services resigned. Lieutenant Foster was made Captain, and as such served until the close of the war. When the regiment was reorganized in April 1862, James Franklin was elected Captain in place of D. C. Douglass. At the battle of Cedar Run, August 9, 1862, he received a wound which necessitated his retirement from the service, and Robert G. Miller was elected Captain and served to the close of the war. Captain W. H. Joyner organized a company which was mustered into the Eighteenth Tennessee in June 1864. About the same time Captains Frank Duffey and James A. Nimmo raised companies which formed part of the Twentieth Tennessee. Captain Alexander Baskerville raised a company, which was mustered into the Twenty-fourth Tennessee. A little later in the same year, Captains J. L. Carson, William. A. Lovell, William T. Sample and John Turner raised companies which became part of the Thirtieth Tennessee.

In the last part of 1861, Captains Joyner and James L. McKoin raised companies, which were mustered into the Forty-fourth Tennessee. Captains C. L. Bennett, H. H. Boude, Mr. Griffin, Minnis, J. E. T. Odom, and Baxter Smith recruited companies for the calvary service. The first of the calvary companies to be raised in the county was in the summer of 1861, when Captain (afterwards Colonel) Baxter Smith raised a company of eight men. His company was attached to the Seventh Tennessee Calvary, and he was promoted to Major of the battalion. Afterwards the battalion was consolidated with other troops and formed the Second Tennessee Cavalry. Major Smith was then transferred and made the Colonel of the Fourth Tennessee, and commanded what was called the "Texas Brigade," and composed of his own regiment. Two Texas regiments and one Arkansas regiment, in the last campaign of the war.

The citizens of Sumner County contributed to a fund sufficient to build a handsome monument to the Confederate heroes. It stand on the grounds of the Trousdale home, now the home of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The county erected a splendid monument to its heroes of the Mexican war, but many of the men who fought in the battles of the Revolution and the men who fell victims to Indian ferocity, sleep in unmarked graves.

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