Today's reflection of Knoxville-a Civil War victory
Did you know that East Tennessee tried to withdraw from its home state to side with the Union in the Civil War? Comparisons were drawn between this Appalachian section of the state and Switzerland. Switzerland is famous for it's wartime neutrality. For one thing, there were very few slaveholders among the hill people who lived in East Tennessee and the land wasn't suitable to plantation agriculture. The issue of slavery was largely opposed on moral grounds.
Lincoln famously said, "If the Union Army could take East Tennessee, we will have the Rebellion by the throat and it must dwindle and die." What was so important about Knoxville and East Tennessee that would cause Lincoln to make such a statement? In the first two years of the Civil War, East Tennessee supplied to the Confederacy, 25,000,000 pounds of bacon and large supplies of livestock and grain. So, it was apparent that Lincoln and his senior military staff knew of the importance of this breadbasket to the Confederacy.
—Richard Basch, stripedpot.com, May 7, 2011