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The State of Scott was a Southern Unionist movement in Scott County, Tennessee, in which the county declared itself a "Free and Independent State" following Tennessee's decision to secede from the United States and align the state with the Confederacy on the eve of the American Civil War in 1861. Like much of East Tennessee, Scott became an enclave community[1] of the Union during the war. Although its edict had never been officially recognized, the county did not officially rescind its act of secession until 1986.

Free and Independent State of Scott
Unrecognized Territorial Enclave of the United States



Flag of State of Scott

Location of State of Scott
Scott County within Tennessee
Capital Huntsville, Tennessee
Government Organized unrecognized State
 •  Established 1861
 •  Proposed by Senator Andrew Johnson June 4, 1861
 •  Tennessee secedes from Union June 8, 1861
 •  re-integration into the State of Tennessee 1986



Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union. On June 8, 1861, the people of Scott County, spurred on in part by a speech delivered four days earlier on the steps of the Huntsville courthouse by then-Senator (and future president) Andrew Johnson[2]—a Democrat and himself a slave holder—voted overwhelmingly (541–19) against Tennessee's referendum on secession from the Union. Later that year, the county court voted to approve the Scott County Assembly's unanimous resolution of secession from Tennessee,[3] while allowing the immediate formation of the "Independent State of Scott,"[2][4] an enclave community whose sympathies remained strongly loyal to the Union throughout the war.

Of little strategic value, the mountainous State of Scott was not the site of any fighting on a major scale during the Civil War, instead seeing mostly guerrilla warfare, bushwhacking, and skirmishing, which often took on a brutally violent and vicious nature.[4]


The proclamation was finally repealed by Scott County in 1986. The county petitioned the state of Tennessee for readmission,[2] which was ceremonially granted, even though its secession had not been recognized by the state—nor the federal governments of either the Union or the Confederacy.


Roadside markerEdit

Today, a roadside marker on Highway 63, near the county seat, Huntsville, Tennessee, reads:

United States Senator Andrew Johnson delivered a speech at the Courthouse at Huntsville on June 4, 1861 against separation. At the election four days later Scott County voted against separation by the largest percentage margin of any county in Tennessee. Later that year in defiance of the state's action of secession, the county court by resolution seceded from the state and formed the Free and Independent State of Scott.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Evan Andrews, "6 Southern Unionist Strongholds During the Civil War,, 13 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Astor, Aaron (June 11, 2011), "The Switzerland of America", Opinionator: Exclusive On-Line Commentary From The Times, New York Times, retrieved December 21, 2011
  3. ^ Margaret D. Binnicker, "Scott County", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture Encyclopedia,, retrieved February 8, 2011
  4. ^ a b "Churches of Scott County, TN". Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  5. ^ "Independent State of Scott – 1F32 – Huntsville, TN – Tennessee Historical Markers on". December 28, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2011.

Further readingEdit

  • Crofts, Daniel W; "Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis."
  • Fischer, Noel C; "War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860–1869."
  • Groce, W. Todd; "Mountain Rebels: East Tennessee Confederates and the Civil War, 1860–1870"
  • Temple, Oliver Temple; "East Tennessee and the Civil War."
  • Gason, J.H.; "Mist in the Mountains. A Chronicle of Scott County"

Coordinates: 36°26′N 84°31′W / 36.43°N 84.51°W / 36.43; -84.51