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CAPT JEFFERSON DENTON'S COCKE COUNTY, TENNESSEE UNION HOME GUARD

This page is dedicated to GEORGE W. TEMPLIN, lost Union Soldier for 148 years

Researched and Prepared by Carolyn Whitaker

18 March 2012

There had been much raiding, pillaging, assaulting, and killing amongst the Confederates and Unionists in the neighborhoods south of Newport, where many of our families lived on Bogard Creek and the Cosby area. The heartbreak and devastation done by each other's families, brother to brother, father to son, son to father, and the poor widow's and children, who were left without fathers, was almost too much for them to bear. Still today, you can feel when you approach some of the families they are rather "cool" upon your reception and very tight mouthed. I've experienced this on occasion at family reunions. Totally unaware of what had happened amongst some of the families at the time, I now understand why. As more records become available online, it has given us access as never before. After years of research we are finally putting some answers to some questions that we've had for years. And now we begin to understand the "coolness." Finding a forgotten soldier in some people's minds is not a "forgotten soldier" in others. They know he disappeared, never to return and families never forget. My heart fills with such sorrow that our families were torn from limb to limb in these times. It is incomprehensible to us what they really went through. Each trying to protect their homes and families for what they believed. And, as we know, not everyone agreed on what was best for them.

The men on these two lists will tell us who was involved in the capture of Confederate General, Robert Brank Vance at Cosby Creek on that fateful day in January, 1864. I'm sure this angered the boys on the Confederate side and they more than likely sought revenge to these men.

We know for sure, that Felix Grundy Lewis killed his cousin, Asa Perry Lewis. Felix fled for his life to Texas, along with the many other Confederate families. It appears as though Asa Perry Lewis' wife, Nancy Bird's mother, Nancy Catherine Denton, may have been a sister of Jefferson Denton.

George Templin disappeared off the face of the earth when he was captured by Confederates in February, 1864 and sent to Richmond prison. He later was sent to Andersonville Prison, where Jefferson Denton also had been sent. How he managed to get out of there is anybody's guess. Richard Templin was the brother of George and David Templin. David Templin was married to Martha Click, whose mother, Temperance Francis Denton, was also Jefferson's sister. Martha's first husband, John Bird, was the son of Dennis Bird and Nancy Catherine Denton, most likely sister of Jefferson as above. John had already been killed 13 Feb 1863 at Murfreesboro, leaving her with two small children. Richard Templin was married to Emelia "Milly" Denton, daughter of Abraham B Denton and Nancy Shewsbury Allen, also cousins of the Dentons. George Templin was married to Elizabeth Hartsell, who's aunts and uncles had married into our Click families. Jefferson Denton's daughter, Margaret, married Lewis Anderson Click, Jr, whose father, Sr, was a brother of Henry Jackson Click Jr whose wife was Temperance Denton, and parents of Martha Click Bird Templin. And it just goes on and on the relationships. Lewis Click used to store his horses under his house. I've been to that place that still stands, but is now occupied as a "horse" barn more or less. Cousin, Larry Hall, and I tramped around there back in 2001 in awe, after I got chased by one of the horses!! The big log beams are still very visible and quite a large area under the house.

Temperance Denton had first married my 2nd great uncle, Henry Jackson Click and 2nd John Murrell. Word has it that John Murrell served in the war and ended up a prisoner of war. I still haven't checked him out yet to verify it or which side. I do know he and Temperance left Cocke County, first passing through Giles Co. Tennessee before ending up in Cooke County, Texas where other family members had settled. And out of the Murrell family, their daughter, Sarah Ann Francis, had a daughter Lena Rivers Allen. She had married one of the Allen boys and I believe he's William Alexander Allen, son of Calvin Allen and Sarah E. Denton, another sister of Jefferson. These Denton children's parents are Thomas Denton and wife, Francis, believed to possibly be a Boring, but that is not confirmed she was for sure. The "Alac Allen" on the list seems to be the same man. I find a William Allen on the same Union list with Thomas Hal Denton, which would make them first cousins through Sarah and Jefferson Denton. He disappears off the face of the earth and nobody seemed to know anything about him until this daughter surfaced out of the blue one day. I was contacted by descendants of Lena's family in hopes of finding their Allen grandfather. I knew Sarah Ann Francis had been married at least twice, one to William Click, son of Louis Click, Sr and 2nd to Samuel Clevenger. However, this daughter never showed up on census records with her mother for some reason. So the hunt was on!!

Then you have the family ruckus between our Click family and their Sisk/Campbell cousins over burying slaves in our Click family cemetery. Sisk's wouldn't allow anymore of their family to be buried there, so they started their own across the road!! My grandpa, William Columbus Click,also a big Union man, was brother to the other Click men and he had gotten slaves as a wedding gift when he married my grandmother, Phoebe Gray. Grandpa, James Gray, was a big slaveholder in Culpeper Co. Virginia, who had brought them with him when he moved to Cocke County around 1806. Another one of the Denton sisters of Jefferson was, Lavina Louisa. She had married one of our cousins, Houston Sisk. I won't even get started on the Campbell connections from Culpeper Co. Virginia and all the kin that moved to Cocke county with our Gray's. They do involve the Sisk and Lillard families, who also lived in the same neighborhood.

The following letter was found in an old trunk in Cocke County among the belongings of Thomas Hal Denton, son of Capt Jefferson Denton. Jefferson Denton was married to Charity Huff and lived on Bogard Creek. Due to major conflicts between the families on which side they were to sympathize with, Jefferson, a strong Union man, helped to organize a group of neighbors to keep guard over their families, homes, livestock, and food. As a result the home guard was formed.

CAPT. JEFFERSON DENTON LETTER

Believe this letter was written by his son Thomas Hal Denton

Birdsville, Cocke Co. Tenn

March 30, 1896

Mr. Henry Gibson

Washington, D.C.

Dear sir

In answer to your letter dated March 5 in relation to my father Capt. Jefferson Denton and others my father was Captain of a Company of home or National guards. The best information I can get that was organised in the Summer 1863 my father was captured September 1863 and was in the Andersonville prison about 6 or 7 months. He was in 4 or 5 battels or skirmishes. He was in the battel and capture of General Vance on Cosbys Creek in this county and battels at Hackeltooth near wher Vance was captured. One battel at Hackeltooth there was 13 rebels kild. Below I will write all the names of my fathers company that I can learn of:

Capt Jefferson Denton Died

Lieutenant George Templin was captured by the Rebels & never heard tell of

Lieutenant John Denis Living P.O. Cosby Cocke Co.

F. J. McGaha Living Birdsville P. O.

A. B. Hartsell Birdsville P.O.

Joseph Denis " " "

Perry Lewis Kild by the Rebels

John Lewis Living McK(?)iney Texas was wounded

Sanders Jenkins Ded

John Butler Ded

Richard Templin Ded

Syras Jones Captured never herd tell of

Wm Hartsell

Brownlow Hartsell

Alac Allen

Esau Hartsell Living P.O. Jones Cove, Sevier Co.

Joseph Webb Kild by the Rebels

Wm Huff Ded

The 2nd list also was found in possession of Thomas Hal Denton's belongings:

JEFFERSON DENTON CAPTAIN

JOHN DENNIS FIRST LIEUTENANT

*GEORGE C. TEMPLIN 2ND LIEUTENANT

JOHN BUTLER FIRST SERGEANT

JAMES MERRELL 2ND SERGEANT

NOAH BIRD FIRST CORPORAL

GREEN MCGAHA 2ND CORPORAL

SANDERS JENKINS 1 GUN, NO AM

JOSEPH WEBB NO GUN

JOHN HUFF NO GUN

E. LKANAH KENER 1 GUN, FULL ROUND

JAMES HIX 1 GUN, NO AM

WM. HIX 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN HIX NO GUN

JOEL DENNIS NO GUN

JOSEPH LAIN 1 GUN, FULL ROUND

JOHN BELEW 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN SMALLWOOD NO GUN

FELAX MCNABB 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN DENNIS 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN HARTSELL NO GUN

ELIAS BELEW 1 GUN, NO AM

ANDERSON PADGET 1 GUN, NO AM

WM. N. HARTSELL 1 GUN, FULL ROUND

BROWNLOW HARTSELL 1 GUN, NO AM

JOSEPH PADGET 1 GUN, NO AM

ISAAC LEMMENS 1 GUN, NO AM

CYRUS JONES 1 GUN, NO AM

LAWSON SUTTEN 1 GUN, NO AM

JAMES M. LILLARD NO GUN

WM. ODELL NO GUN

ROBERT MCMAHAN NO GUN

THOMAS JONES 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN ONSBY NO GUN

RUTHERFORD ROSE 1 GUN, NO AM

SAMUEL BUTLER 1 GUN, NO AM

WM. CARSON 1 GUN, NO AM

JAMES DENNIS NO GUN

COLLINS WILLIAMS 1 GUN, NO AM

DAVID C. MILLER NO GUN

ISAIAH BUTLER 1 GUN, NO AM

ALBERT PADGET

JOHN J. ALLEN 1 GUN, NO AM

DAVID SHULTS 1 GUN, NO AM

GEORGE M. NORRIS 1 GUN, NO AM

JOSHUA HARTSELL NO GUN

BIRD WILSON NO GUN

ABRAHAM HARTSELL 1 GUN, NO AM

ROYEL LAIN 1 GUN, NO AM

MORRIS HARTSELL NO GUN

JOSEPH DENNIS 1 GUN, NO AM

*RICHERD TEMPLEN 1 GUN, NO AM

JOHN P. DENTON 1 GUN, NO AM

ISAAC ALLEN 1 GUN, NO AM

G. W. BUTLER 1 GUN, NO AM

WM. HATLEY 1 GUN, NO AM

DAVID DENTON

J. A. DENTON 1 GUN, NO AM

*DAVID TEMPLIN 1 GUN, NO AM

ELIAS DAVIS NO GUN

JAMES P. TAYLER 1 GUN, NO AM

ROBERT DUNCAN 1 GUN, NO AM

FOUNTAIN LAIN NO GUN

ELEXANDER ALLEN 1 GUN, NO AM

A. P. LEWIS NO GUN

JOHN LEWIS NO GUN

ANDERSON VINSON NO GUN

HUE NORRIS NO GUN

JAMES CLARKE NO GUN

G.W. GUNTER

JAMES WATERS

JACOB SHULTS

WILLIAS LEATHERWOOD

JAMES CLARKE

WM MURR

DANIEL LEATHERWOOD

WM NELEN

MARTIN NELEN

JOHN DAVIS

WM WILLSON

JOSEPH LEATHERWOOD

Confederate General Robert Brank Vance, brother of the governor of North Carolina, was making his advance on the Tennessee borders.

COSBY CREEK. After the Confederates lost possession of East Tennessee it was the policy of the Confederate government at Richmond to guard all the passes on the Tennessee boundary so as to keep free and clear their line of communication from Richmond through Danville, Greensboro, Salisbury and Charlotte to Columbia and the South. In order to do so this section of the country was made into the Military District of Western North Carolina and Brigadier General R. B. Vance was placed in command. He had a brigade under his command. They succeeded in keeping the Federals under General Burnside penned up in Knoxville, but never did dislodge them from that city. After Chickamauga, General Longstreet came from Virginia and drove the Federals back into Knoxville and besieged that place. But the exigencies of General Lee's army were such that Longstreet was ordered to return with his army to Virginia. No sooner had Longstreet started with his army for Richmond than Burnside followed him, harrassing his men, and it was to draw Burnside off that General Vance teas ordered to make a demonstration by going through Quallytown, up Ocona Lufty and through the Collins Gap down into Tennessee. It was during a cold snap in January, 1864, and fortunately Vance had but two or three wagons; but he managed to take them up the mountain successfully. Still, when the artillery got to the top, following the rough road Col. Thomas had constructed, it had a hard time getting down the other side. The cannon were dismounted and dragged over the bare rocks to the bottom, while the wheels and axles of the carriages were taken apart, divided among the men and so carried to the foot of the mountain, when they were reassembled. The guns were not tied to hollow logs, as in Napoleon's passage of the Alps, but were dragged naked as they were down the steep mountain side. Capt. Theo. F. Davidson had this done.

January 14, 1864: Capture of C. S. A. cavalry, including General Vance on Cosby Creek

January 14, 1864 - Skirmish at Schultz's Mill on Cosby Creek

Report of Col. John B. Palmer, Fifth-eighth North Carolina Infantry], commanding Western District of North Carolina.

HDQRS. WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, Asheville, January 19, 1864.

COL.: I regret to state that positive information has just been received that Brig. Gen. R. B. Vance, lately commanding this district, is a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. He was captured at Schultz' Mill, on Cosby Creek, in Cocke County, Tenn., on Thursday afternoon last. Gen. Vance crossed Smoky Mountain from Jackson County, in this state, to East Tennessee on Tuesday, the 12th instant, with one section of artillery, 375 cavalry, and 100 infantry. Leaving Col. W. H. Thomas and Lieut. Col. J. L. Henry with the balance of the force at Gatlinburg, 4 miles below the Smoky Mountain, Gen. Vance proceeded with 180 cavalry to Sevierville, where he, on Wednesday at 3 p. m., captured a train of seventeen wagons, with which he started for Newport, Tenn., via Schultz' Mill. At this latter place he, on Thursday, about 2 p. m., stopped and remained about one and a half hours. Here he was surprised by a force of the enemy's cavalry, estimated at about 400, coming from their camp 6 miles below Sevierville, and himself, 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 37 privates, together with about 100 horses, 1 ambulance, &c., captured. The captured wagons and teams were also retaken by the enemy. There being no rear guard or pickets out, the enemy were enabled to approach within 100 yards before they were discovered. The surprise was complete. Col. W. H. Thomas, commanding the party left at Gatlinburg, had been ordered to fall back with his infantry and to send Lieut.-Col. Henry with his cavalry and artillery to Schultz' Mill, where they were directed to take up a position and await the arrival of Gen. Vance. Lieut.-Col. Henry, commanding the cavalry and artillery, replied that he thought it best to fall back with Col. Thomas, and failed to move as directed. . . . Lieut.-Col. Henry, however, proceeded to Schultz' Mill on Friday, and the enemy having retired passed safely on to Newport, and is now on his way up French Broad. It is believed that if Lieut.-Col. Henry had obeyed the order sent him or even without his force if precautions had been taken to prevent surprise, this calamity could have been avoided and the train saved, as the country immediately above Schultz' Mill is admirably adapted to defense. I shall feel it incumbent upon me to place Lieut.-Col. Henry under arrest for disobedience of orders, to await the decision of the general commanding as to whether he shall be tried by the general court-martial now in session at this place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. B. PALMER, Col., Cmdg. District.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 76.

January 14, 1864 - Capture of C. S. A. cavalry, including General Vance, brother of the Gov. of North Carolina, at Cosby Creek, 23 miles from Sevierville

Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, U. S. Army, commanding Cavalry, Department of the Ohio.

DANDRIDGE, January 15, 1864.

I have just word from Col. Palmer, belonging to Gen. Elliott's command, and whom I had sent after a party 300 strong, under command of Gen. Vance, a brother of the Governor of the Governor of North Carolina, that he overtook them on Cosby Creek, 23 miles from Sevierville, at 3 p. m. on the 14th instant. They had rested to feed their animals, and were about to take the road to Newport when he charged them, routing their entire command. He captured 52 prisoners, including Gen. Vance, his adjutant-general, and inspector-general; also about 150 saddle-horses and over 100 stand of arms, besides destroying a large number of arms on the road. He also captured a fine ambulance filled with medical stores and provisions the rebels had picked up on their retreat from Sevierville. He also recaptured all the wagons and mules, together with the wagon-master and 23 other prisoners that were taken with the trains captured from us near Knoxville. The Home Guards are pursuing the dismounted rebels, who fled to the mountains, and many of them will no doubt be captured. The entire command is dispersed, and the rebels not captured will no doubt return to their homes. The enemy had 2 men wounded. Our loss was nothing. The prisoners are on their way to Knoxville, and the train has been returned to its wagon-master. Gen. Elliott speaks in high terms of Col. Palmer's operations, and I would recommend him to your special consideration.

S. D. STURGIS, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Cavalry Corps.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 74.

2nd Regiment Tennessee Infantry - U. S. A.

COMPANY C

GEORGE W. TEMPLIN

born 8 Oct 1828 Washington Co. Tenn Died 5 Aug 1864 Andersonville, Sumter Co. Georgia

I received an email from Marvin and Samme Templin that they had found the missing GEORGE TEMPLIN, son of JACOB TEMPLIN and CATHERINE MURRELL. He was listed on a Union Prisoner of War record and had died in Confederate Andersonville, Georgia prison of diarrhea. Since the letter stated "never heard tell of" we had always just believed he had been killed in the mountains during one of the skirmishes and we'd probably never hope to find him buried anywhere. His brother, DAVID TEMPLIN, was a Confederate soldier and ended up in a Confederate Cemetery in Chilton Co. Alabama. Below is a transcription of the records.

Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records

See TEMPLETON

2nd Tennessee

G Templin Rank P No of Regiment Tenn Home Guards Company A

Information obtained of ?? R Vol 39 Page 297

Captured at Newport, Tenn Feb 11, 1864, confined at Richmond, Va, Mch 26, 1864

To Andersonville, Ga May 31, 1864

Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records

See TEMPLIN Miscl Tenn

G W TEMPLETON Rank P No of Regt 2, State Tenn, Company C

Information obtained from M R Vol 3, pg 359; Vol 17, pg 150, Vol 41, pg 47/2

Admitted to Hospital at Andersonville, Ga Aug 5, 1864

Where he died in Quarters Aug 5, 1864 of Unknown, Grave 4778, No 7946

He is buried under the name of G. W. TEMPLETON

Find A Grave Memorial# 51144861 PVT C 2 TENN INF

He is listed on a list of dead at the cemetery List of Tennessee Union Soldiers interred at Andersonville,

4778 Templeton, G W, 2, C, August 5, diarrhea

Letter Nashville, April 8, 1864 to Charity Huff Denton from husband Jefferson Denton

Dear Wife

It is with emotions of gratitude to the ruler of the universe that I seat myself to let you know that I am yet in campe ejoying ( blank) health I am not as well as heart could wish though under all circumstances I will not complain of myself.

It is with a sad heart that I must inform you that George Denton took the measles about two weeks ago. He staid here in camp 4 or 5 days and at last he was taken to the hospital and he improved as we all thought untill abt 3 days ago ---- suddently took a backset and on the 6th of Aprile he died and on the 7th me and Thomas Denton went to see him and he was dead thou whilest we are grived to loose a kindred a father a mother brother sister son daughter husband or wife we should remember it is a debt we all have to pay and should willingly give them up to the will of Him who keeps us all and while we are thus sad at his death we have one consoling thought that is he professed to make peace with god before he left camp and expressed a willingness to die.

He seemed to resign this all and reclaim himself on his makers arm willing to abide by will of his maker. We have every reason to believe he is today resting in paraidse above

Jefferson Denton to Charity Denton

Note: George Denton was the husband of Jefferson and Charity's daughter, Nancy Denton. George was son of Jacob Denton III and Deborah Lichlyter of Jefferson Co. Tennessee. He served Company H 4th Tenn Cav

19 March 2012 Copyright Carolyn Whitaker