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Forgotten Yankees of East Tennessee
About the Book:
Yankees of East Tennessee
is the story of Corporal William “Red Bill” Hatmaker.
He was a young soldier serving with the 1st Tennessee
Infantry Regiment, 1st East Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment of
the United States Army during the Civil War.
was considered a southern state and seceded from the Union.
However, she provided over 31,000 men to the armies of the north, the
majority coming from the counties of East Tennessee.
These loyal Unionist left their families and homes to an uncertain
future behind enemy lines forcing them to deal with the Confederate Army,
guerillas and partisans in a very uncivil war.
the travels of Corporal Hatmaker and his best friend, John Ford, as they learn
about the trials and tribulation of war.
Smell the smoke of battle and hear the sabers rattle as our boys fight
in the Western Theater of Operations of the Civil War.
Meet some of the leaders that shaped our country both during and after
have tried to be as historically accurate as possible.
I have relied on historical fact, family history and my own life
experiences in weaving this tale of love and war.
About Steve Hatmaker:
Steve Hatmaker is a freelance writer and a native of Lake City, Tennessee, which is nestled in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. He is a medically retired United States Marine Corps Staff Noncommissioned Officer. He saw service both stateside and overseas during his 15-year tour of duty.
After military service he returned to Lake City and Anderson County, Tennessee where he worked in law enforcement for three years. He now works as a Personnel Security Specialist subcontracted to the Department of Energy. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management Tusculum College.
He currently resides in Anderson County, Tennessee with his wife Susan and children, Luke and Morgan.
“Damn its cold!” muttered Sergeant Ford as he rubbed his hands together to get the blood flowing. His breath hung heavy in the air as the snow began to fall heavily. It was an unusually cold and snowy January day as most of the men of 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Army of the Cumberland, United States Army were rising to face whatever this damn war threw at them today. Most of the men were lost in their thoughts of home, loved ones and of the carnage they had seen yesterday. The majority of these men were Tennessee ridge runners from Anderson and Roane counties of East Tennessee. Being in Murfreesboro only made matters worse knowing that they were a one or two day horseback ride from home. They did take small comfort in knowing that the Johnny Rebs were just as cold and wet as they were and, most likely, were a helluva lot hungrier.
There was the usual moaning and groaning that goes with life in the trenches. Soldiers’ cussing each other, soldiers cussing NCO’s but mostly soldiers cussing the officers and the “big picture.” The big picture – General Braxton Bragg and his rebels had been forced out of Kentucky back into Mississippi after the Battle of Perryville in October of 1862. Now they were back in Tennessee wanting to take Nashville and Major General William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland could not, would not let that happen!
“Hey John, Sergeant Ford, take a look at that group of officers,” I yelled, “ something must be up.” “Hell if I know,” replied John , “but you had best make sure your men have plenty of ammo and something to eat. It could be a long day.” I only nodded and thought about “my men.” They were veterans now, bloodied at many places in Kentucky and Tennessee. Many had been wounded before and all knew what was expected of them. The weak ones were long gone – weeded out by the hard life of a soldier. A lot of the best ones were either dead or maimed both physically and emotionally, but they were gone just the same.
I was deep in thought, thinking about some of the best who were gone, Cook, Rucker, Franklin. Hell, disease had gotten as many of them as the damn rebels had. Suddenly the bugle call “to arms” was sounded. Immediately the men sprang into action, grabbing rifles and haversacks and filling their firing pits. “The Johnny Rebs must be starting their assault,” I said out loud to no one in particular, “this cold ass day is going to heat up in a hurry!”
Out of the January mist, the men got their first glimpse of the boys in gray and butternut. Their line stretched for hundred of yards wide and was at least five ranks deep. The boys in blue were struck by the discipline of their counterparts in gray. “Damn,” muttered Captain Chiles as he peered through his binoculars, “that’s the 26th Tennessee Infantry coming this way. All them boys are from our neck of the woods, damn, damn, damn!” Many of the Tennessee ridge runners were thinking of brothers, cousins and friends who had chosen confederate gray over union blue – would they meet eye to eye, face to face on this cold January morning? As I looked over at Sergeant John Ford, our eyes met and seemed to say, “how the hell did we end up here?”
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