Unveiling of Civil War Trails Marker - "Knoxville as a Divided City"

A new Tennessee Civil War Trails marker was unveiled on December 5 which focuses on Knoxville as a bitterly divided city. Located at the Knox County Courthouse, the marker tells the story of the happenstance of simultaneous Union and Confederate rallies taking place in April 1861 only blocks apart on Gay Street. Knoxvillian Samuel Bell Palmer witnessed the rallies firsthand and, with amazing accuracy, sketched the scene from memory while a prisoner-of-war at Camp Douglas, Illinois. Those familiar with downtown will recognize several of the buildings, such as the Lamar House on the south end of Gay.

Remarks began at 12:15 p.m. with participants that included Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. Representing the state was Tennessee State Historian Dr. Carroll Van West, who, along with Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker, co-chairs the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Others participating in the program were East Tennessee Historical Society Director Cherel Henderson, and Calvin Chappelle, chair of the Knox County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The Tennessee Civil War Trails Program is part of a five-state trails system that encourages visitors to explore both well known and familiar sites associated with events of the Civil War. Tennessee has 310 markers, and its trails guide is the most requested of the five states, which also include Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. "Knoxville: A Divided City" is the eighth Civil War Trails marker in Knox County. Local sponsor for the marker is the East Tennessee Historical Society.