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General George Thomas Letters

Identifier: MS-2246

  • Staff Only

The General George Thomas Letters, 1869, contain three letters which provide insight into a resolution proposing the removal of portraits of Thomas as well as former Governor William Parson Brownlow from the state capitol. In the first letter, dated December 8, 1869, State Speaker of the House W. O. N. Perkins describes the incidents which brought about the proposal and argues that the feeling of the members of the house is to let bygones be bygones and to labor in the future for the restoration of Peace. The other two letters, both from G. P. Thurston in Nashville, reassure Thomas that his portrait will not be removed because his friends would stop the matter with prompt intervention.


  • 1869

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The General George Thomas Letters, 1869, outline the debate over a resolution proposing the removal of Thomas's portrait from the state capitol.

Biographical/Historical Note

General George Thomas earned the nickname The Rock of Chickamauga after his troops stubbornly held their position on Snodgrass Hill after most of the army had fled from the field. Thomas was then given command of the Army of the Cumberland. After participating in the campaign to capture Atlanta, Thomas's troops took up position in Nashville, where they defeated General John Bell Hood's Confederate Army of Tennessee. Thomas remained in command in Tennessee until 1867, when he was assigned to the Pacific coast. He held this post until his death in 1870.

In 1869, Tennessee politics took an interesting turn when Reconstruction era Governor Parson Brownlow stepped down from office in February to accept a U. S. Senate seat. He was replaced for the duration of his term by Senate Speaker Dewitt C. Senter, a conservative East Tennessee Unionist. Hoping to win election in his own right and facing opposition from within his own party, Senter reached out for support from the state's Democrats by effectively setting aside the franchise laws that had been put in place during Reconstruction, allowing thousands of Confederate sympathizers to vote. Senter won the election, but conservative Democrats gained control of the legislature.


Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

This collection was purchased by Special Collections in February 2002.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA