Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10 - Notes on the Civil War in Tennessee

10-15, Operations in East Tennessee
Report of Brig. Gen. James G. Spears, U. S. Army, commanding
Twenty-fifth Brigade, Army of the Ohio, of operations June 10-15.
CAPT.: In obedience to instructions of June 10, 1862, I proceeded with my command (then composed of Third, Fifth, and Sixth Regt.'s of Tennessee Volunteers, commanded respectively by Col.'s Houk, Shelley, and Cooper) by way of Big Creek Gap, in order to join Brig.-Gen. Morgan at Speedwell. The advance of my command, after having opened and removed a heavy blockade through Pine and Cumberland Mountains, entered the Gap on the evening of the 11th, at which point my pickets were fired on by the pickets of the enemy, which resulted in a pretty heavy skirmish. As we advanced through the Gap the enemy's pickets, lying in ambush, contested our advance, and fired upon us from rocks and other places of concealment. They had prepared to defend that place, but the enemy was repulsed and driven from ambuscade and from the Gap with the loss of 2 killed and several reported wounded. On that evening we advanced through the Gap, and it being dusk, my men lay upon their arms and rested until next morning. On the next morning the opening of the blockade was resumed, and the work continued until 12 o'clock that day, during which time the enemy's cavalry pickets and my advance pickets kept up a heavy skirmish, which resulted in the capture of 3 rebel cavalrymen, their horses and equipments, and 2 or 3 rebel citizens, who were aiding the rebel enemy in the picket skirmishes.
At 12 o'clock, the blockade being opened and the rear of my train having arrived, the whole command and transportation were ordered to renew the march to join Gen. Morgan at Speedwell. After having passed through the Gap and turned up the valley the advance train was ordered to halt and the rear ordered to close up. While said order was being executed the advance of the trains was charged upon by a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry, but they were gallantly repulsed by the Fifth Regt., commanded by Col. Shelley, and made to retreat in confusion. They were pursued by Capt. Clingan with his company, Fifth Regt., a brave and gallant officer, a considerable distance. Capt. Clingan and his men succeeded in killing 1 of the enemy and wounding several others. Capt. Clingan returned with his whole command, having captured the enemy's flag and divers articles of clothing and other articles. After which we continued the line of march, and had proceeded about 4 miles up the valley, Col. Houk commanding the front and Col. Cooper protecting the rear of my transportation, at which place I was overtaken by a courier, bearing a dispatch which directed me to return to Big Creek Gap, as it was important that our entire forces be concentrated at once at Williamsburg; on the reception of which I immediately changed direction and marched in same order back to Big Creek Gap, and reoccupied my former position that night. On next morning I threw my men out in ambush on each side of the road opposite Big Creek Ford, and ordered the transportation to be removed to the top of the Cumberland Mountains, under a sufficient guard to protect it, and learning that the enemy's cavalry was in considerable force advancing in my rear, I kept my men there in ambush and on the mountain during that day and ensuing night.
In the early part of the night I threw a heavy picket out in the valley, to see if possible where the enemy was and in what force, with instructions that if attacked they should fall back into the Gap, where I had my main force to cover their retreat, in which condition we lay that night.
On the morning of the 15th my pickets were attacked, but they were unable to draw the enemy after them, and seeing that I could not draw them into the ambuscade, and knowing that my trains were out of their reach, I ordered Col. Houk, Col. Cooper, and Col. Shelley to proceed into the valley and advance across the same and attack the enemy on the ridge, at which place they seemed to be assembled in force. They did so, and succeeded in routing them, driving them across Clinch River and alarming them so much they filled boats with rails, set them on fire, and turned them loose down the river, and retreated toward Knoxville. On that day we captured some prisoners, some 60 tents, burned and destroyed 57, brought 3 on horseback into camp, and destroyed divers articles of camp equipage to the amount of some $800 in value. We also captured several rebel flags, drums, swords, &c., and in the evening, on our return to the valley, I received a dispatch informing me that the order to march to Williamsburg was countermanded, and that I was ordered to join Gen. Morgan at Speedwell at the earliest practicable moment, in order that our forces on this side might be concentrated for the purpose of attacking Cumberland Gap. It then being dark, or about it, I threw out picket-guards and remained at the Gap during that night.
On the following morning, having been joined by the Twenty-fourth Brigade, commanded by Gen. Carter, in obedience to said order, at 4 o'clock I took up the line of march, and on same evening arrived at Rogers' Gap. No particular incident worthy of note occurred during the march. As we passed along we were frequently greeted by groups of citizens along the road, both ladies and gentleman, who had heretofore acted with the secession party, who expressed their great joy and satisfaction on the arrival of our army, and who stated that they had been deceived, but that they were glad our army had come to relieve them from the oppression and thralldom which had borne them down, and invited the officers to visit their houses and families and partake of such refreshments as they had, which, judging from all that I could see, was generously given and thankfully received. On the way, however, having learned from reliable sources that two citizens-William D. Sharp and James Cooper-were uncompromising secessionists, and had been and were the endeavoring to excite the people to rebellion, I had them arrested and carried them to Rogers' Gap, where on the next morning I transferred them, together with the prisoners and property taken at Big Creek Gap, over to Gen. Morgan's disposal on the 15th, where, after resting one day, having received orders from Gen. Morgan, I, with my command, together with commands of Gen.'s De Courcy, Baird, and Carter, took up the line of march at 1 o'clock for the purpose of attacking the enemy, who was then said to be encamped in force at or near one Thomas'. The place assigned me in the order of march was forty-five minutes in rear of Gen. Carter's brigade, which marched up what is called the New Valley road. But before arriving at said place it was ascertained that the enemy had abandoned it under great confusion, and made their way, some said, toward Cumberland Gap, some toward Knoxville, and others toward Morristown.
After resting a while at said place we were ordered to take up the line of march toward Cumberland Gap, in order to attack the enemy there, but before arriving at that point it was ascertained that the enemy had abandoned it and fled toward the railroad in utter confusion, after having first burned and destroyed all their commissary and provision stores, tents, camp equipage, &c. They left some artillery and other
small-arms. Gen. De Courcy having first arrived with his brigade on that evening, after having marched some twenty miles, proceeded to the top of the mountain, raised the glorious old flag of our country, and fired a salute from Capt. Foster's battery in honor of the brilliant success achieved by the valor, energy, and patriotism of our officers and soldiers.
It would be unjust to close this report without according to Adjt. D. A. carpenter, of Second Regt. Tennessee Volunteers, James Edwards, and William Cook, who volunteered their services, great praise for the gallant and efficient services rendered me in all my movements and marches. Their valor, patriotism, and untiring zeal and energy are worthy of note and thanks. The officers and men and all under my command with promptness, energy, and zeal executed at all times every order and command given to them by me, and my warmest thanks are accorded to them, one and all.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brig. Gen., Comdg. Twenty-fifth Brigade, Army of the Ohio.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 69-72.
10 , "SPECIAL ORDERS,NO. 111;" The Provost Marshal and Vagrancy in Memphis
Special Orders, No. 111

Office Provost Marshal,
Memphis, June 10, 1864

There is a class of persons in this city, usually seen from day to day in saloons, billard rooms, and on the streets, unemployed, and having no apparent mode of obtaining an honest livelihood, and most of the deprecations and atrocities occurring in or about the city may be traced to that class. It is ordered that after the 15th day of June, 1864, the Provost Guard and Detective forces of the city of Memphis will arrest all vagrants and other persons whose mode of living is of a suspicious character, or who cannot produce satisfactory evidence that they follow some honest calling.

Such persons when found, will be employed on the fortifications at Fort Pickering or expelled from the District, as the nature of the case may; require. It will also be the duty of the Provost Guard to arrest and bring to this office all persons in gambling houses, and any householder letting, or subletting, their premises for such purposes, will, when found, be arrested and all property found in such places confiscated.

Jas. L. Geddas,

Col 8th Iowa Infantry

Approved, by order of C. C. Washburn Commanding

Memphis Bulletin, July 9, 1864.

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