We have some important anniversaries for the Civil War in East Tennessee this month. Nov. 16, 1863, was when the Battle of Campbell Station occurred, and Nov. 19th was when Gen. William Sanders died in the Lamar House (now the Bijou Theater) in Knoxville.
Lamar House (Bijou Theatre)
Since 1817, the Lamar House has been an important part of life in downtown Knoxville, especially during the Civil War era. This building was the most popular hotel during the Civil War but was also the scene of several dramatic and violent dramas during the war. The three-story brick building was owned by former U.S. Congressman, turned ardent Confederate, William H. Sneed during the war. While the city was under Union control, the Lamar House boarded many important military officers including CSA General Joseph E. Johnston and US General Ulysses S. Grant.
In September 1863, the situation shifted drastically with the arrival of Federal troops. The building then headquartered Union military officers and part of the building became the “Lamar Hospital.”
The mortally wounded General William P. Sanders was carried to and died in the building after having been shot in a skirmish on Kingston Road (now Pike) during the siege of Knoxville on November 18, 1863. Following the war, Union authorities attempted to confiscate the property but a court intervention thwarted the effort. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Now, as the Bijou Theatre, it serves as a venue for concerts, musical events, and more.