Though surrounded by Confederate sympathizers, a small group of Unionists in the eastern part of West Tennessee refused to succumb to pressure to join the rebellion. Led by local lawyer Isaac R. Hawkins, they formed the 7th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry which became part of Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee.
Stationed not far from home throughout most of the war, the men of the 7th proved invaluable as scouts and protectors of Union supply lines. The existence of southerners fighting for the Union greatly annoyed Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. His troops captured much of the unit at Union City, Tennessee in 1864. Taken to Andersonville Prison in Georgia, the 7th Tennessee found itself in the unenviable position as southerners in a southern prison.
Hawkins’ Tories details the history of this southern Unionist regiment, including its service at the battles of Lexington and Trenton, Tennessee and its imprisonment at Andersonville. It also examines factors involved in the decision to support the Union. Biographical sketches of the officers, some photographs of the soldiers, and a regimental roster are included as well.