Brothers in Arms
Greeneville TN: Andrew Johnson National Historic Site hosted an exhibit titled Brothers in Arms. In 1861 many families asked this question; "Which side are you on, brother?" The Civil War tore the nation apart, perhaps nowhere more so than in East Tennessee. This divided area truly did give people cause to ask the question "which side are you on." Unionists and Secessionists actively campaigned for their respective viewpoints. Unionist sentiment was stronger in rural areas such as East Tennessee where there were few slaves and the residents led largely self-sustaining lives.
The Andrew Johnson family was all staunch Unionists, and each member of the family served in some way. The temporary exhibit at Andrew Johnson National Historic Site explored the service of the Johnson family men, including Andrew Johnson, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Daniel Stover.
The exhibit was supplemented by several original family pieces. As Military Governor of Tennessee, Andrew Johnson occasionally visited the field. His well-worn campaign desk took a place of honor behind the exhibit and was brought to life with replica pieces of the time. The Andrew Johnson Museum and Library shared Robert Johnson's "Book of Common Prayer" and a family-oriented brass flask to round out the story.
"The soldier's life was one of varying situations and emotions," said Lizzie Watts, site Superintendent. "Veterans Day is an appropriate time to reflect on the service and sacrifices of our veterans and their families. This exhibit explored many of those facets, from the strategy and coordination needed as reflected by the field desk, to the fears and insecurities that might've found refuge in the 'Book of Common Prayer."
Did You Know?
Delos Lake, CA District Attorney during Andrew Johnson’s administration, sent a snuff box to Johnson “made from the product of our State of California – the workmanship by one of our citizins, and the quartz gold forming the cover represents the mining District of Grass Valley.”