September 29th., 1861 marks the date of what has become known as the Affair at Travisville. Until the events of this day transpired, people locally had assured themselves that they were too far off the beaten paths to see any fighting. We would be safe from the pending conflict. Rationalizing that with no major roads or railways crossing through the area, why would an army come through this remote area? No one ever thought that it would be this close to home. This single event answered the questions in everyone’s mind of, if and when, the war would come to Tennessee. These first shots fired in aggression in 1861 would also mark of the first fatalities in the conflict suffered locally and within in the borders of the state.

In response to a Confederate attack a few days earlier, Union troops from Kentucky entered the state and dispersed a Rebel camp at Travisville in present day Pickett County. According to the report filed by Colonel William A Hoskins of the 12th Kentucky Infantry. Information was received that morning that forces where forming another encampment a distance of 13 miles from their present position near Albany. With troops of the 1st Kentucky Calvary under the command of Captain Morrison along with members of the Home Guards of Houstonville, they came upon an encampment of 100 Confederate troops. Their orders where to assess the threat (and if possible) take the Confederates by surprise, order a surrender and should they refuse, to fire upon them. Morrison did surprise the rebel troops who fled upon being ordered to surrender. Four Confederates were killed in this clash while the remaining troops retreated into the surrounding hills. Four prisoners along with two horses were captured by Thomas Huddleston, a private in Capt. Morrison's company. According to Huddleston’s own account of the skirmish, "He looked for more, but they had all fled." The prisoners were brought this side the line (back to Kentucky), when, after taking a solemn obligation to prove faithful to the United States Government, they were released.
The event of that particular Sunday, one hundred and forty one years ago, represents the first military action in Tennessee during the Civil War. Well over two thousand different military actions occurred throughout Tennessee in the period from 1861 through 1865. Only in the past several years has Travisville been acknowledged as the official beginning of the conflict and the struggle for control in Tennessee.

Today this site of the skirmish is identified by a marker located on Hwy 200, approximately 1.5 miles off Hwy 127, 10 miles from Byrdstown. Visit the Borderlands exhibit located in the Town Hall in Byrdstown. For information regarding the hours that the exhibit is open to the public contact the Chamber of Commerce at (931) 864-7195 for more information on our program and the progress that we have made in learning about our place in history.

For more information on the Byrdstown/Pickett County area Contact theByrdstown Pickett County Chamber of Commerce or visit our website at

Site last updated November 19, 2009