Affair at Travisville

Affair at Travisville (HM1ES0)

Location: Pall Mall, TN 38577 Pickett County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 34.888', W 84° 59.837'

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War Comes to Tennessee

The first military action of the Civil War in Tennessee occurred on September 29, 1861 at Travisville. The blood spilled in this brief engagement brought the reality of the conflict home to the people of the Cumberland Mountains. Confederate Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer had acted forcefully to establish control over the border region of Tennessee and Kentucky. When bands of mounted men took Federal forage and military supplies, Union Col. William A. Hoskins marched his 12th Kentucky Infantry to Albany, Kentucky. The regiment joined with the loyal Home Guards in several counties to protect Unionist families from these raids.

After receiving reliable information that Confederate soldiers were camped thirteen miles away from Albany near the Methodist church in Travisville, Hoskings detailed Capt. John A. Morrison and a company of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry to reconnoiter the camp and capture it if possible. When surprised and ordered to surrender, the 100 Southern troops first attempted a defense but then fled under heavy fire into the surrounding hills. Four Confederates were killed in the affair and four were captured. One of the dead, James M. Saufley, is buried here in a marked grave. The Federal cavalrymen brought the prisoners back to Kentucky, where they were released after taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. The men of Morrison's company were the first Union troops to cross into Tennessee after the war began.

"Colonel, I fired several rounds, captured one soldier and two horses, and looked for more, but they were all gone." — Pvt. Thomas Huddleston, 1st Kentucky Cavalry.

James M. Saufley, a graduate of a law school in Louisville, Ky., who was killed in the Travisville engagement, is buried in the cemetery here. According to a postwar memoir written by a staunch Unionist, former Kentucky congressman James S. Chrisman, a secessionist uncle of Saufley, induced the young man to join the Confederate camp. James Ferguson, a brother of the notorious Champ Ferguson, allegedly shot Saufley.

(upper center) Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer Courtesy Library of Congress
(upper right) Map of Middle and East Tennessee, 1862 - Courtesy Library of Congress
(lower right) James M. Saufley grave marker
HM NumberHM1ES0
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 10:32am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 679176 N 4050311
Decimal Degrees36.58146667, -84.99728333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 34.888', W 84° 59.837'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 34' 53.28" N, 84° 59' 50.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)931
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 199 Travisville Cemetary Rd, Pall Mall TN 38577, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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