Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Historic Sites | 4 comments

Battle of Blountville

Battle of Blountville: Federal Guns on Cemetery Hill

Marker placed by Tennessee Civil War Trails.

This is where Union forces stood when they attacked Blountville on September 22, 1863, during a campaign to control the Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. On the day of the attack, the Confederates occupied Blountville while the Federal forces held the south bank of the Watauga River.

Union Colonel John W. Foster led his cavalry brigade across the river at 9 AM, drove off pickets from Confederate Col. James E. Carter’s First Tennessee Cavalry, and then occupied Cemetery Hill. Foster shelled Carter’s positions in Blountville in front of you, then ordered a charge about sundown that pushed Carter’s regiment from the town.

Foster reported that he suffered six killed and fourteen wounded. The next day, he occupied Carter’s Depot as the Confederates withdrew.

The cemetery here was created before 1824 on land that later belonged to the adjacent Blountville Presbyterian Church. Although churches typically had their own burying grounds, the local Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches, which stood near here, all shared this cemetery.

This marker is located at the northwest corner of the cemetery. From downtown Blountville, travel west on Highway 126, which was originally the Great Stage Road. Fork right onto Cemetery Road. Follow the road around to the right. The marker is on the right at the curve.

The cemetery is the resting place of notable Sullivan County citizens and dozens of Confederate soldiers and officers. Among them are:

Deery, William       Builder & owner of the Deery Inn in historic Blountville.
Denny, Captain L.H.   One of the enlisting officers of the 61st Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry, CSA.
McClellan, Colonel George   Commander of the 5th Battalion, Tennessee Cavalry, CSA. Also known as the 1st and 4th Battalion, it was organized August 29, 1861 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Rhea, John   Revolutionary War Patriot; participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain; United States Congressman 1803-1815. Additional biographical information available on Wikipedia and
Rutledge, General George    Revolutionary War Patriot; participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain
Snapp, Major James P.   Captain (later Major), Company E, 61st Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Pitts’) (81st Infantry), CSA
White, Captain Owen M.    Captain of the Sullivan County Reserves (Jackson’s Home Guard), CSA.

Tennessee Historical Commission
Marker #1A-124
Here on September 22, 1863, Confederate forces commanded by Colonel James E. Carter fought a Union brigade led by Colonel John W. Foster. After delaying the Union advance for more than four hours, Carter withdrew toward Zollicoffer, now known as Bluff City. During the battle, artillery shells set fire to the courthouse and much of the town burned. Skirmishing near Blountville continued until news of the bloody battle at Chickamauga reached General Ambrose Burnside, and Union General Henry Wager Halleck ordered a retreat toward Knoxville.

This marker is located in front of the Sullivan County Courthouse on Highway 126 in downtown Blountville.

Dedicated to
the memory of the
Confederate Soldiers
Sullivan County
War of 1861-65
Battle of Blountville
Sunday September 22 1863
Erected by
Nineteenth Tennessee Chapter
June 6, 1928

This marker, dedicated by the Nineteenth Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy® is located next to the Tennessee Historical Commission’s marker on the front lawn of the Sullivan County Courthouse.


Additional information on the Battle of Blountville at

Marker photos by Sharon Steele-Smith, June 2012.

4 Responses to “Battle of Blountville”

  1. Linda Kennedy says:

    I cannot believe the Confederate history that I have missed. I lived in Blountville for 5 years in the late 50’s early 60’s. I was not interested at all in history. Now I find that my great grandfather who was in Carter’s First Cavalry and the one whose record allowed me to join the UDC actually fought where I lived. So many regrets that I didn’t start earlier in my life to get interested in my genealogy.

  2. Louise La Force Roberson says:

    Is there a list of Confederate dead from this battle?
    I am looking for the battle in which my great-great uncle
    Mount Moncier La Force was killed in 1863 in East TN?

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