June’s After-action Report

The CWRTNEI met Monday, June 12, 2017, at the ACPL with 20 members and two guests (Denny & Julia Karst) present. Dick Tagtmeyer called the meeting to order and Vicki Brouwer took notes on Tony Trimble’s presentation on Cades Cove. Bob Schmidt brought us up-to-date on what the Civil War Trust is doing to preserve battlesite land and provided membership forms. The blind raffle generated $22 minus the cost of refreshments and we had one new member join.

We will meet at 5:00 prior to next month’s meeting at J.K. O’Donnell’s downtown for those wishing to eat out as a group.

Be sure to use the CWRTNEI link provided on your membership card to see program listings, treasurer’s report, membership information, etc!

Here’s Vicki’s report:

Civil War Round Table of North East Indiana – June 12, 2017

Dr. Tony Trimble, Vice President of the Indianapolis Civil War Round Table, was our featured speaker. A practicing psychologist, Dr. Trimble is the author of many Civil War related articles and an adjunct professor of history at Ivy Tech Community College.

Dr. Trimble provided a presentation regarding Cades Cove and the secluded valley’s role in the Civil War. A picturesque valley within the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Cades Cove is peppered with quaint cemeteries. The final resting place of a Confederate soldier piqued Dr. Trimble’s interest. Dedicating a great deal of time and many visits to explore the area, he studied its place in Civil War history.

Tracing Cades Cove’s history from Chief Kade, a Cherokee leader, Dr. Trimble shared that the Cove was first settled in 1818 by the Oliver family who sought plentiful and inexpensive land to farm. At the time of the Oliver family’s arrival, the Cherokee were not hostile. Soon the area began to be farmed, swamps drained, and more settlers arrived. The Cherokees, now feeling displaced, became more aggressive and were forcibly removed in 1838 in the relocation known as The Trail of Tears.

Politically torn, the western portion of Tennessee voted to secede from the Union while the eastern portion of the state remained loyal to the Union. Given its location, Cades Cove was trapped between the divisions. Cades Cove’s Baptist Church became the “invisible government” of the community. Unfortunately, just as the state of Tennessee was divided regarding Union or Confederate support, the Baptist Church had similar rifts. The Missionary Baptist Church broke away from the Primitive Baptist Church due to differing beliefs regarding the institution of slavery.

Recognizing Knoxville as a strategic site, Confederate troops were sent to eastern Tennessee. Blount County formed a home guard to protect the residents of Cades Cove while the Union army protected Knoxville. Confederate bushwackers burned bridges and created difficulties for the Cove residents who turned to guerrilla warfare to protect their families, cattle, and belongings.

While Confederate attacks were repulsed, the Cades Cove residents’ food provisions ran low and they were too remote to receive assistance from outside sources. Meandering Rebels confiscated food, horses, materials, and ammunition while the residents’ guns were deemed to be contraband. By 1864, many Cove residents, nearing starvation, left the Cove for other locations.

Residents continued to repel Rebel raiders and succeeded in securing the Cove. A heavy price was paid by many of the residents for their support of the Union. Dr. Trimble related a story in which a well-known Union supporting member of the Cades Cove community was killed by his son’s Confederate troops in December 1864. Father and son, although they supported different causes, were buried beside each other.

Due to the isolation of the environment, distrust of outsiders, and intermarriage of residents, the number of Cades Cove residents dwindled. The federal government purchased the land and Cades Cove became part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

We thank Dr. Trimble for providing an interesting presentation regarding a subject not often detailed.

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