At the start of the American Civil War, Knoxville, Tennessee, with a population of just over 4,000, was considered a prosperous metropolis little reliant on slavery. Although the surrounding countryside was predominantly Unionist in sympathy, Knoxville itself was split down the middle as Union and Confederate supporters held political rallies at opposite ends of the town''s main street. Following Tennessee''s secession, Knoxville soon became famous (or infamous) as a stronghold of stalwart Unionism, thanks to the efforts of a small cadre who persisted in openly denouncing the Confederacy. Throughout the course of the Civil War, Knoxville endured military occupation for all but three days, hosting Confederate troops during the first half of the conflict and Union forces throughout the remainder, with the transition punctuated by an extended siege and bloody battle during which nearly forty thousand soldiers fought over the town. In Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War, Robert Tracy McKenzie tells the story of Civil War Knoxville--a perpetually occupied, bitterly divided Southern town where neighbor fought against neighbor. McKenzie documents the loyalties of more than half of the townspeople and explores the agonizing personal decisions that war made inescapable. Mining a treasure-trove of manuscript collections and civil and military records, McKenzie reveals the complex ways in which allegiance altered the daily routine of a town gripped in a civil war within the Civil War. Following the course of events leading up to the war, occupation by Confederate and then Union soldiers, and the troubled peace that followed the war, Lincolnites and Rebels delves right into the heart of a divided town caught between North and South in the Civil War.
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