Mabry-Hazen House and Bethel Cemetery
— Knoxville Campaign —
On November 4, 1863, Confederate Gen. James Longstreet led two reinforced divisions from Chattanooga to attack Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's garrison at Knoxville. Burnside confronted Longstreet below Knoxville, then withdrew on November 17. Longstreet followed, besieging the city. In Chattanooga, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's army defeated Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's forces at the end of the month. Grant ordered Gen. William T. Sherman to reinforce Burnside. Longstreet withdrew on December 4, as Sherman's 25,000 men approached. Sherman soon rejoined Grant.
This is the Mabry-Hazen House. Early in September 1863, when Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside occupied Knoxville, Capt. Samuel H. Lunt, assistant quartermaster, established his headquarters in the house. Like many Knoxville businessmen during the Federal occupation, owner Joseph A. Mabry—an outspoken supporter of the Confederacy—signed an oath of loyalty to the United States. Federal troops built fortifications here on Mabry's property, and his wife, Laura C. Mabry, later drew a sketch of the earthworks that crisscrossed the tract. Mabry's Hill became the eastern anchor of the Union defensive network north of the Holston River. After the Battle of Knoxville in November 1863, Burnside named the works northeast of here Fort Hill in honor of Capt. John W. Hill, 12th Kentucky Cavalry, who had died in the fighting.
At the foot of Mabry's Hill, local residents later established Bethel Cemetery, which contains remains of more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers. Those who died in the assault on Fort Sanders on November 29 are buried there; however, most of the interred died of disease in the camps and military hospitals around Knoxville. The cemetery also contains the remains of about fifty prisoners and twenty veterans who died after the war. The names of 1,465 of these men are recorded on the undertaker's list. In 1892, the Ladies' Memorial Association dedicated a Confederate monument that still stands in the cemetery.
This Italianate-style dwelling helps to tell the story of the effects of the Civil War on the Knoxville home front. The house was completed for Joseph Alexander Mabry II and his wife, Laura Churchwell Mabry, just three before the war began. Joseph Mabry received the honorary title of General for donating an estimated $100,000 to outfit local Confederate soldiers. Confederate Gen. Felix Zollicoffer established his headquarters here in 1861. A Confederate supply depot also operated on the property, and a garrison was posted there to protect it.
Joseph A. Mabry, ca. 1880
Confederate monument, ca. 1895
"Knoxville from Mabry's House," March 1864 looking east Courtesy Library of Congress
"Home after War showing Fort and Ditches," ca. 1865, by Laura C. Mabry All images courtesy Hazen Historical Museum Foundation