This year the United States Army celebrates its 244th birthday. That would make 1775 its beginning. Amazing! Before there was a Robertson County, even before there was a Tennessee, there was the Army.
The fact is, of course, that men who would eventually be counted as Robertson Countians were fighting for independence.
Soldiers who fought in the American Revolution would later be listed as “Revolutionary War Pensioners.” In the “Tennessee Pension Roll of 1835,” many men were included whose homes were, by 1835, in Robertson County.
In the “Virginia line” had been David Henry and Hugh Henry, for example. Jacob Zeck was with the Pennsylvania Line and Charles Gent was a private in the Georgia Line.
James Owens was with the South Carolina Militia. John Hardiman was listed specifically as serving in the infantry and cavalry in the North Carolina line.
War was declared against Great Britain in 1812, due to several concerns. These included England’s use of “Indians” against the new nation and taking sailors off of U.S. ships to serve on British ships.
Andrew Jackson led the Tennessee Militia during the Creek War of 1813-1815. As far as Tennesseans were concerned, those years were the War of 1812 for them.
Goodspeed’s “History of Robertson County, Tennessee” tells that in military drills in those early years, guns were carried. Later, sticks and cornstalks were used. This caused the men to be called “cornstalk militia.”
No one laughed, however, at the skill of those men, their marksmanship having been perfected in hunting.
Dr. Archie Thomas was a surgeon with Jackson during the Creek War. Thomas followed him to New Orleans and returned to Springfield at war’s end.
In 1818 came the Seminole War. James Cook of Robertson County raised the Second Regiment of Tennessee Mounted Infantry. Officers included Burrill Pitts – 1st Lieutenant, Cornelius Carmack – 2nd Lieutenant and Moses McCarley – 3rd Lieutenant.
They were mustered into service in January, 1818 and returned home in July.
Less than 20 years later, in 1836, another call for volunteers came from General Edmund P.Gaines. A company was organized to protect the “frontier of Louisiana against the Mexicans.”
L. J. Henry was Captain, G.F. Niell was 1st Lieutenant and A.J. Izor was 2nd Lieutenant. Pinckney Gunn was later made 1st Lieutenant.
When the Company reached Fayetteville, Tenn. on July 4, 1836, it was placed in the Second Regiment of Tennessee Infantry. Col. Trousdale was the commander. For seven months they served in Alabama and Florida.
Pinckney Gunn was killed and others wounded. Simmons Walton died at Tallahassee.
That same year, from Feb. 23-March 6, Joseph Washington and B.A.M. Thomas fought bravely at the Alamo in the Texas Revolution. Peter Bailey was from Kentucky, but distant cousins live today close to the Tennessee-Kentucky line.
And that is not all.
Independence Day? How hard it was fought for!
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.