Sunday, June 28, 2015

Washington College

Chartered as an academy in 1783, when this territory belonged to North Carolina, and as a college in 1795 by the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, Washington College was "the first real institution of learning west of the Alleghanies." (Roosevelt's Winning of the West )

Our Scotch-Irish forbears had hardly reared their cabins before they built this "log college" in the wilderness.
General John Sevier, the leader of those sturdy patriots in the battle of King's Mountain, was one of the trustees, and it was on his motion that the College was named in honor of Washington. The territory was still infested by hostile tribes of Indians.

The founder and first President was the Reverend Samuel Doak, of Virginia, whose parents came from the north of Ireland. He graduated from Princeton College in 1775, studied theology, and became the "apostle of learning and religion to this region." The first donation (four hundred acres of land in North Carolina) was from Colonel Waitstill Avery a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration. The College was within the territory of the Watauga Association, famous as the first attempt at free government on the part of native Americans. Such are but a few facts from a history full of interest throughout. An indigenous product of this section of the mountainous South the interests of the College have ever been identified with those of the people, sharing their struggles and privations, whether amid the perils of frontier life, the vicissitudes of war or the endeavor to restore the losses thereby entailed. Their descendants, being conservative and tenacious of traditions, this venerable Alma Mater has a strong hold on their sympathies. Mr Doak was at the head of the institution for thirty-eight years. It has sent forth numbers of useful men in every generation since its founding, not a few of whom have been eminent in the services of Church and State. There have been twelve presidents one of whom died before entering upon his duties. For a while during the Civil War, and a short period in the early seventies, (1870's) when circumstances and lack of funds rendered it impracticable to keep a sufficient teaching force to do legitimate college work, little more was attempted than an academic course of high grade. Though not organically connected with any ecclesiastical body, the College has always been closely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The charter provides that "the advantages of a liberal education and the honors of the College shall be accessible to students of all denominations."

The College is on the Southern Railway in Washington County, ninety miles east of Knoxville. Washington College is the name also of the station and post office. One of the college farms lies adjacent thereto, but the buildings are a mile and a half distant. Free transportation may be had from the station at the beginning of each term if notice be given beforehand.

The small rural village almost wholly a college community, is free from the allurements and distractions of cities and large towns. A more ideal place for study could hardly be found than the primeval grove in which the buildings stand. It is in the midst of an intelligent community, long noted for its Christian culture and sobriety. There are no saloons within forty miles. Salem Church, on the campus, affords excellent church and Sabbath school privileges. Then the neighboring mountains and foothills, flanking the Upper Tennessee Valley, furnish a diversity and picturesqueness of landscape whose ever-varying cast and hue invest it with perennial interest. Such surroundings constitute a wholesome atmosphere for mind and heart alike. (Source: Catalogue of Washington College, East Tennessee:, College Press, 1907, pp 8-10)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Civil War Forts in Knoxville: Part 3

East Knoxville Fortifications

Fort Stanley: Captain Comfort E. Stanley
45th Ohio Mounted Infantry
Comfort E Stanley was born to James D Stanley and Susannah Miller on 6 Oct 1836, in Trumbull County, Ohio. He married Mary Cardill on 31 July 1862 in Sandusky, Ohio.
He was mortally wounded in action at Philadelphia, Tennessee. Buried In Knoxville National Cemetery: Link

Fort Hill: Captain John W Hill
12th Kentucky Cavalry
He was killed during the siege of Knoxville on 18 Nov 1863.
He married Mary Elizabeth Stevens on 17 January 1857 in Clarksville, Tennessee. When Mary Hill applied for a Civil War Widow's Pension, she stated that they had three children under age sixteen. (dated March 1864.) 
Buried in Knoxville National Cemetery: Link

Fort Saunders: General William P Sanders
 Brigadier General Chief of Cavalry in the Department of the Ohio
It was named for General William P. Sanders, who was wounded in a skirmish outside Knoxville on November 18, 1863 and died the next day. Sanders was initially buried in the cemetery of Second Presbyterian Church, but his remains were later moved to the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
William Sanders was born in Kentucky to Lewis Sanders and his wife Margaret.

William P Sanders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Civil War Forts in Knoxville Part Two

Battery Wiltsie: Captain Wendell Wiltsie


20th Michigan Volunteers who was mortally wounded in our lines during the siege Burial:
Wendell Wiltsie born about 1827. Attended Union College in NY. He is listed as a senior in 1857. Married Charlotte Benton on 7 September 1857 in MI
Wendell Wiltsie

Fort Huntington Smith: Lieutenant Colonel W Huntington Smith 

20th Michigan Volunteers who fell at the battle of Campbell's Station. 
 Married Susan Redford  Buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan
Burial: Link Permission to use photos from David Clark.

Battery Zoellner: Lieutenant Frank Zoellner

2nd Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th. Buried Knoxville National Cemetery

Battery Billingsley: Lieutenant Josiah Billingsley

 MI 17th Michigan Infantry
Lieutenant Josiah Billingsley from Coldwater, MI 17th Michigan Infantry 
He died in the action in front of Fort Sanders November 20th, 1863. He left a widow Mary. He is believed to be buried in Mason Cemetery Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan

Battery Clifton Lee: Captain Clifton Lee

112th Illinois Mounted Infantry
Burial place: unknown

Battery Fearns: Lieutenant Charles W. Fearns

Adjutant 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry

He was killed in action at Fort Sanders on 18 Nov 1963. He was married to Sarah J Tremble.
G W Fearns Marker


Battery Stearman: William Stearman

William Stearman, 13th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, who died 17 Nov 1863 of wounds received near Loudon, Tennessee.  Married on 8 January, 1857 to Sarah Jane Craddock
Buried in Knoxville National Cemetery


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Forts in Knoxville Part One

South of the River

Soon after the raising of the siege at Knoxville, General Burnside issued an order which was read to each regiment of his army and of which the following is an extract the balance of the order including names of some officers of other States.

Fort Dickerson

(1863-1865) - A Union Civil War Fort established in 1863 in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee. Named Fort Dickerson in G.O. 37 (Army of the Ohio), 11 Dec 1863 after Captain Jonathan Calvin Dickerson, 112th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry, who was killed 18 Sep 1863 near Cleveland, Tennessee. Burial: Link Fort abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.
  • 15-16 Nov 1863 - Repulsed assaults by 5,000 Confederate Cavalry.
  • Nov-Dec 1863 - Withstood the Siege of Knoxville.
  • Nov 1863 - Provided artillery support for the Battles of Armstrong’s Hill
Jonathan Calvin Dickerson was born on 8 May 1832 to Benjamin Dickerson and Elizabeth Shafer in Ulster County, New York. He married Ceonelia Deyo on 28 May 1863. They had one son, who was not born until after Captain Dickerson died.
Capt Dickerson was the first officer of the 112th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry who was killed.

He was a brave, daring leader, an honorable and conscientious officer, and a generous, noble hearted man. In a conversation with the author upon the chances of war, but a short time before his death, he declared he would never surrender to a rebel; that he would fight to the death rather than be captured; and in this, as in all things else, he kept his word. By order of Gen Burnside a fort in Knoxville was named Fort Dickerson, in honor of his brave death. He was buried in the cemetery at Cleveland and after the war, a fitting monument was erected to his memory by his widow. 

Battery Fearns
On the East side of Flint Hill. The breast height is entirely revetted eighteen embrasures finished and fourteen partly revetted About one quarter of the parapet should be raised two feet. The gateway is unfinished platforms for twenty-nine guns are required. This fort had a large well ventilated magazine.

Named Battery Fearns in G.O. 37, 11 Dec 1863 (Army of the Ohio), after Lieutenant Charles W. Fearns, Adjutant 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry, who was killed in action at Fort Sanders on 18 Nov 1963. He was married to Sarah J Tremble

General Orders Headquarters Army of the Ohio

No 37 Knoxville Tenn Dec 21 1863

In order to designate more clearly the positions occupied by our troops during the recent siege and in token of respect to the gallant officers who fell in the defense of Knoxville the several forts and batteries are named as follows:
Battery Noble At Loop holed house (35.9547, -83.9311), now Melrose Place, south of Kingston road in memory of Adjutant William Noble 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell in the charge upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th. 

Fort Byington At College Hill (now the University of Tennessee) after Major Cornelius Byington 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded while leading the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th 
Battery Galpin East of Second creek (35.9658, -83.9244) in memory of Lieutenant Galpin 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanderson the morning of November 24th

Fort Comstock Battery Gapin and Battery Wiltsie

Fort Comstock On Summit Hill near the railroad depot in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Comstock 17th Michigan Volunteers who fell in our lines during the siege 
Battery Wiltsie West of Gay street in memory of Captain Wiltsie 20th Michigan Volunteers who was mortally wounded in our lines during the siege 

Fort Huntington Smith On Temperance Hill in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Huntington Smith 20th Michigan Volunteers who fell at the battle of Campbell's Station 
Fort Huntington Smith, Battery CLifton Lee and Battery Stearman

Battery Zoellner Between Fort Sanders and Second creek in memory of Lieutenant Frank Zoellner 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th.

Battery Billingsley Between Gay street and First creek in memory of Lieutenant J Billingsley 17th Michigan Infantry who fell in the action in front of Fort Sanders November 20th 

By command of
Lewis Richmond AAG (p478)                      MAJOR GENERAL BURNSIDE 

Battery Noble: Lieutenant William Noble,
2nd Mich. Inf. Civil War
Buried Elmwood Cemetery, Wayne County, Michigan Link

Wm Noble Marker

Fort Byington: Major Cornelius Byington
2nd Mich. Inf. Civil War   
Cornelius Byington was born in March 1829 to Delia Storrs and Joel Byington. 
Buried Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek,Calhoun County,Michigan

Cornelius Byington Marker

Battery Galpin: Lieutenant Charles R Galpin 

2nd Michigan Volunteers

Charles R Galpin was born in New York to William and Louisa Hakes Galpin. They moved to Michigan when Charles was a young boy. 
 Buried Knoxville National Cemetery 

Fort Comstock: Lieutenant Colonel Lorin L Comstock  

17th Michigan Volunteers
Born on 2 July 1824 in Farmington, Ontario, New York. He Married Lucinda Minnis on 28 September 1856 in Washtenaw, Michigan. Burial: Link
Loren Comstock Marker