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Lincolnites and RebelsA Divided Town in the American Civil War$
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Robert Tracy McKenzie

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182941.001.0001

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“Prudent Silence” and “Strict Neutrality”

“Prudent Silence” and “Strict Neutrality”

Chapter:
(p.111) CHAPTER FIVE “Prudent Silence” and “Strict Neutrality”
Source:
Lincolnites and Rebels
Author(s):

Robert Tracy McKenzie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182941.003.0006

This chapter analyzes the behavior of Knoxville Unionists under Confederate military occupation (May 1861-August 1863) against the backdrop of the speeches of William G. Brownlow, who undertook a triumphal speaking tour in 1863 and became, for his adoring northern audiences, the very personification of Southern Unionism. Drawing on extensive evidence from Confederate and Union civil and military records, the chapter constructs a collective profile of Unionist and Confederate sympathizers that includes nearly 450 individuals from 323 households. Mining these and other contemporary sources (diaries, memoirs, correspondence), it sketches the range of responses among Unionists to Confederate occupation. Whereas Brownlow was lecturing Northern audiences about defiant, “unconditional” Southern Unionists willing to sacrifice their all in defense of the Stars and Stripes, Knoxville's Unionist leaders were in fact adopting a range of accommodation strategies that defined loyalty to the Union as anything short of active, enthusiastic support for the Confederacy.

Keywords:   William G. Brownlow, Knoxville, Tennessee, loyalty, Confederate military occupation, Southern Unionism, Unionists

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