June 24-July 4, 1863
— The Confederate Retreat —
From June 24th to June 27th, the Union Army of the Cumberland had moved flawlessly to maneuver the Confederate Army of Tennessee out of its position south of the Highland Rim. As Rosecrans would later say, only heavy rains had prevented a complete military conquest of the Confederate forces. Yet, once the northern commander reached Manchester his luck began to change. He approached Tullahoma cautiously, knowing the Confederates were behind solid entrenchments. Then, on June 30th, the Confederate General Braxton Bragg moved his army south of the Elk River, burning the major bridges in his rear. Union soldiers were held up long enough for the Army at Tennessee to escape across the Cumberland Plateau. Rosecrans made his headquarters here in Winchester, in the house directly across 1st Avenue, to contemplate his next move.
As the Tullahoma Campaign ended on 4 July 1863 Major General Rosecrans could celebrate victory. He had maneuvered the Army of Tennessee out of the state while suffering only 570 casualties, less than half the number who fell in one Union brigade the first day at Gettysburg. Bragg, on the other hand, had saved his army. In late September, he would prove to Rosecrans just how dangerous the Army of Tennessee could still be when he nearly destroyed the Union forces at the Battle of Chickamauga in mid-September.
Known by his men as "Old Straight," Confederate Major General Alexander P. Stewart once lived in Winchester on what is now 3rd Avenue. A West Point graduate, Stewart became an educator after resigning his commission in the 1840s. Before the war he taught mathematics and experimental philosophy a Cumberland University in Lebanon.
Initially Stewart opposed secession, but joined his state when Tennessee left the Union. He fought at all the major battles in the Western Theatre, including Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville. Stewart men were known for standing up under overwhelming odds.
After the war Stewart resumed his teaching profession at Cumberland and eventually became chancellor of the University of Mississippi. After resigning in 1888, he was appointed commissioner of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. He served in that capacity until his death in 1908.
Franklin County Secession
When the secession movement first came to Tennessee in February 1861, the state grand divisions were divided on the issue. West Tennessee, with ties to the Deep South and cotton, was solidly pro-Confederate. East Tennessee, a mountainous region with few plantations, was solidly pro-Union. Middle Tennessee was split.
Throughout the ordeal Bedford County, just to the north, remained intensely Unionist, with Shelbyville garnering the name "Little Boston." Here, in Franklin County, pro-secession sentiments dominated public opinion. At Winchester rallies the movement to secede began even before Lincoln election. Reactions were so strong that citizens voted to leave Tennessee and join Alabama if he state did not leave the Union.
Peter Turney, son of a prominent Franklin County attorney and Unites States Senator, raised a regiment (Turney First Tennessee Confederate Infantry) in response and joined the Confederate army in Virginia. Thurney would serve as colonel before being wounded at Fredericksburg. After the war he became a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court, eventually Chief Justice (1886-1893), then governor of Tennessee from 1893-1897.
(lower right) Major General A. P. Stewart