homestead graffiti

A Civil War soldier - J.D. Williams - left his self-portrait on the wall of the Andrew Johnson home during his occupation.

An NPS Photo

With Andrew Johnson's Homestead unoccupied by the family during the Civil War, it became susceptible to anyone who wanted to enter. It was used as a temporary residence, as well as hospital and headquarters for both the Union and Confederate armies.

During the home's restoration by the Park Service in 1956, graffiti was discovered under the layers of wall paper, evidence of soldier's emotions. Although Johnson's daughter Mary covered the graffiti with wallpaper when she prepared the house for the family's 1868 return from Washington, the quotes remain on the plaster walls beneath. On a downstairs wall/this wall, some made gibes at his political career with "Fools names and monkey's faces are often seen in public places." Others swore vengeance - "Andrew you had best skedaddle for Lovejoy is after you and if he git you you are a goner sartin."

"Andrew Johnson - Traitor of the South"

NPS Photo

"Looney's Brigade" was one of the regiments who used the Andrew Johnson Homestead as headquarters. The members of this Confederate unit were particularly expressive in their disappointment of Johnson's Union stand.

NPS Photo

J.C. Calhoun and P.W. Reavis of Looney's Brigade left their names on an upstairs wall.

NPS Photo

Some of the soldiers in the Homestead did not write messages. Some of them defaced the property in other ways, such as scribbling on the walls.

NPS Photo

"Confederate States of America"

NPS Photo

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
121 Monument Ave.

Greeneville, TN 37743


423 638-3551

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