Brothers in Arms
Greeneville TN: Andrew Johnson National Historic Site will host 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 explores the service of the Johnson family men, including Andrew Johnson, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Daniel Stover.
The exhibit will be supplemented by several original family pieces. As Military Governor of Tennessee, Andrew Johnson occasionally visited the field. His well-worn campaign desk takes a place of honor behind the exhibit and has been brought to life with replica pieces of the time. The Andrew Johnson Museum and Library has 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," says 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 will explore 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."
The temporary exhibit will be on display at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Visitor Center from November - December. The public is invited to enjoy Monday – Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The site is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days.
Did You Know?
Martha Johnson Patterson, Andrew Johnson's daughter, said their slave Sam would boast that he was Johnson's servant. "But in truth," she continued, "Andrew Johnson belonged to Sam." Andrew Johnson gave Sam land for a church and school for the freedmen of Greeneville, TN.