Wednesday, June 08, 2011

150 Years Ago: Saturday, June 8, 1861

On June 8, 1861, voters in Tennessee chose secession 104,913 to 47,238.  The vote was a foregone conclusion; Tennessee Governor Isham Harris and the state legislature virtually already had the state in the Confederacy.

Much of the pro-Union vote came in the eastern part of the state.  Wherever the Appalachian Mountains ran through the South, through western Virginia and North Carolina, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, and even into northern Georgia and Alabama, Union patriotism was high, slave population was low, and there was a resentment against the flatlanders who were in power.

Also on this date, the United States Sanitary Commission was authorized by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Simon Cameron.  The USSC was set up to coordinate the volunteer war efforts of women.  They raised money, worked as nurses, ran kitchens in army camps, made uniforms, and performed other duties.

Robert E. Lee was unemployed.  He had been in overall command of the Virginia state troops.  On this day, Virginia Governor John Letcher turned the troops over to the Confederate government.

In the western part of the state, Brigadier General Robert Garnett took command of the rattled Confederate troops that participated in the Philippi races.

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