Friday, July 1, 2011

A little background on Company K, 13th Tennessee Cavalry, USA

Most of the 13th Tennessee Cavalry came from the counties Johnson and Carter, in the far eastern corner of Tennessee. Eastern Tennessee was a hotbed of Union sympathizers - there was even discussion of the region seceding from Tennessee, just as West Virginia did from Virginia and for the same reasons.

There was an uprising in Carter County - railroad bridges were burned, many of the men became fugitives when the State cracked down on them, many were captured and hanged. It was from this section that the 13th was initially formed. I'll be discussing some of that more in my next post.

You can read more about it here.

Company K, however, was made of somewhat different cloth. Initially designated the 17th Tennessee Cavalry, it was recruited primarily in Kentucky and was a more motley crew. Most of its members were Tennesseans residing in Kentucky, as my great-great grandfather John was, some were from North Carolina, several of them were former Confederates - some were even in military prison at the time of their recruitment.

The unit smuggled supplies into Knoxville during the siege, preventing a sure Confederate victory over that city.

The 17th was consolidated with the 13th in December, 1863 and John was promoted to Sergeant at that time. There are no military records for the 17th, as it was never mustered in, so that part of his history is almost a total blank.

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