One hundred and fifty years ago this month, the bloody Battle of Fort Sanders, the climactic clash in the siege of Knoxville, took place less than a quarter mile from the current John C. Hodges Library.
Nearly 40,000 soldiers fought over the town that fall of 1863.
UT Libraries will commemorate the events with a 6:30 p.m., Thursday, November 14, lecture by Tracy McKenzie, author of the authoritative book on the subject, Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War.
UT Libraries also will unveil a new digital collection that highlights its holdings of Civil War documents. Selected letters and journals in the Digital Civil War Collection capture the perspectives and personal experiences of soldiers and civilians. View the collection online.
On Thursday, McKenzie’s lecture will be in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library, 1015 Volunteer Boulevard. It is free and open to the public. A 5:30 p.m. reception and music in the Jack E. Reese Galleria will precede the lecture.
Lincolnites and Rebels details Knoxville’s complex Civil War experience from the viciously partisan journalism of characters like William G. “Parson” Brownlow to conflicts over the issue of emancipation.
Knoxville in the mid-nineteenth century was a commercial center. During the Civil War, it was almost equally divided between Confederate and Union sympathizers and was a strategically important juncture in the railroad that linked the eastern and western theaters of the war. Consequently, Knoxville was under continuous military occupation throughout the war.
Civil War artifacts from the UT Libraries’ collections are now on display in the Special Collections reading room, 121 Hodges Library. They include an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America signed by an imprisoned Confederate soldier to secure his parole; a Union veteran’s badge cast from bronze taken from Confederate cannons; and the signed carte de visite of General Ambrose Burnside, leader of the defending Union troops at the Battle of Fort Sanders.
The public is invited to interact with fellow Civil War enthusiasts, examine gems from the Libraries’ collections, and enjoy the music of old-time Appalachian string band Boogertown Gap.
Martha Rudolph (865-974-4273, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, email@example.com)