We’re excited to present a series of blog posts that will introduce readers to our talented authors and the books they’ve written, as well as learn about their motivations to write them and their creative and research processes.
This month, we have Peggy Scott Holley, author of Hawkins’ Tories: A Regimental and Social History of the 7th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry USA in the Civil War.
Q. How long did it take for you to research and write it?
I started collecting information about 30 years ago and wrote a couple of articles in historical journals while I was still teaching. After retiring, I was able to write the book in about a year and a half.
Q. Can you tell us a few interesting discoveries you made in your research?
I found that Colonel Hawkins was well known on the national scene before the war and worked hard to keep war from being declared. After the war he was instrumental in keeping reconstruction troops out of Tennessee.
I discovered that areas of West Tennessee where Unionists were strongest continued to vote Republican into the 20th century and that area rivalries engendered by the Civil War remain even after the state has become Republican.
Q. What does your book offer that no other book or publication has before?
Certainly no one has written a detailed account of this regiment previously. It also calls attention to the attitude of Confederate sympathizers to fellow southerners who chose to support the federal government and to the plight of southerners who were incarcerated in southern prisons. The largely ignored contributions of southerners, especially as Grant’s occupation forces in West Tennessee and Kentucky, are also documented.
Q. What do you hope your book will accomplish regarding the memory of Hawkins and the 7th Tennessee?
I hope descendants will appreciate these men who acted on their convictions in the face of overwhelming opposition and that the general public will become more aware of the extent of pro-Union sentiment within the Confederacy and its effect on the Civil War.