Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 3 - Notes on the Civil War in Tennessee

3, Dispersal of Starnes Confederate Cavalry and capture of "the fighting Baptist Preacher," Captain A. D. Trimble at Winchester
No circumstantial reports filed.
HUNTSVILLE, June 4, 1862.
An expedition under the command of Gen. Negley, consisting of troops from all the forces under my command, marched from Fayetteville on the morning of the 1st instant. On the 2d this column entered Winchester, driving thence the enemy's cavalry, under Starnes, and captured a Baptist preacher, who is a ranger, with four of his band. That column is now moving toward Jasper. A supporting column, under Col. Still, now occupies Stevenson. It is now expected that these two columns will unite before reaching Jasper. We hope that the enemy is ignorant of our strength and will make a stand at Jasper. They were undoubtedly surprised at Winchester, and I think will not expect to be followed into the mountains. I learn, from what I consider reliable authority, that on the 28th ultimo Beauregard telegraphed Leadbetter at Chattanooga to cross the river and hold the northern side, and especially Winchester, at all hazards. Some artillery has already been sent over, and possibly some infantry. I think my force is more than sufficient, even if all the troops under Leadbetter should be found at Jasper. Our entire force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery will hardly fall short of 6,000 men.
There is but one way of ridding the country of guerrilla bands, and that is to turn out against them a sufficient force of cavalry to pursue and utterly destroy them, with orders not to return till the work is ended. I cannot obtain horses; the wagon horses have been inspected and are [of] little value. Can you send me some cavalry?
O. M. MITCHEL, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. II, p. 257.
Winchester June 3 -- 1862
To Gov Andrew Johnson,
The advance of my command Maj [sic] Wynkoops [sic] battallion [sic] of Pa [sic] Cavalry dashed into Wincheser this morning scattering Col [sic] Starnes rebel cavalry in all directions and are now pursuing them, through the mountains. We surprised & captured Capt [sic] A D [sic] Trimble the fighting Baptist preacher & four of his Company [sic]. It is reliably reported that a considerable reinforcement of the Enemy are near Jasper Expecting [sic] to join Starnes regt [sic] & attack us. We shall march forward to meet them at once. You will please forward this dispatch to the Sec'y War and oblige[.]
James S. Negley Brig Gen Comdg
Papers pf Andrew Johnson,  Vol. 5, p. 435.



3d June, Wednesday.--Bishop Elliott left for Savannah at 6 A. M., in a down pour of rain, which continued nearly all day. Grenfell came to see me this morning in a towering rage. He had been arrested in his bed by the civil power o­n a charge of horse-stealing, and conniving at the escape of a negro from his master. General Bragg himself had stood bail for him, but Grenfell was naturally furious at the indignity. But, even according to his own account, he seems to have acted indiscreetly in the affair of the negro, and he will have to appear before the civil court next October. General Polk and his officers were all much vexed at the occurrence, which, however, is an extraordinary and convincing proof that the military had not superceded the civil power in the Southern States; for here was an important officer arrested, in spite of the commander-in-chief, when in the execution of his office before the enemy. By standing bail, General Bragg gave a most positive proof that he exonerated Grenfell from any malpractices.
In the evening, after dark, General Polk drew my attention to the manner in which the signal beacons were worked. o­ne light was stationary o­n the ground, whilst another was moved backwards and forwards over it. They gave us intelligence that General Hardee had pushed the enemy to within five miles of Murfreesboro', after heavy skirmishing all day.
I got out of General Polk the story of his celebrated adventure with the -- Indiana (Northern) regiment, which resulted in the almost total destruction of that corps. I had often during my travels heard officers and soldiers talking of this extraordinary feat of the "Bishop's." The modest yet graphic manner in which Gen. Polk related this wonderful instance of coolness and bravery was extremely interesting, and I now repeat it, as nearly as I can, in his own words.
"Well, sir, it was at the battle of Perryville, late in the evening--in fact, it was almost dark when Liddell's brigade came into action. Shortly after its arrival I observed a body of men, whom I believed to be Confederates, standing at an angle to this brigade. and firing obliquely at the newly arrived troops. I said. 'Dear me, this is very sad, and must be stopped;' so I turned round, but could find none of my young men, who were absent o­n different messages; so I determined to ride myself and settle the matter. Having cantered up to the colonel of the regiment which was firing, I asked him in angry tones what he meant by shooting his own friends, and I desired him to cease doing so at o­nce. He answered with surprise, 'I don't think there can be any mistake about it; I am sure they are the enamy.' 'Enemy!' I said; 'why, I have o­nly just left them myself. Cease firing, sir; what is your name, sir?" "My name is Colonel --, of the -- Indiana; and pray, sir, who are you?"

"Then for the first time I saw, to my astonishment, that he was a Yankee, and that I was in rear of a regiment of Yankees.--Well, I saw that there was no hope but to brazen it out; my dark blouse and the increasing obscurity befriended me, so I approached quite close to him and shook my fist in his face, saying, 'I,ll soon show you who I am, sir; cease firing, sir, at o­nce.' I then turned my horse and cantered slowly down the line, shouting in an authoritative manner to the Yankees to cease firing; at the same time I experienced a disagreeable sensation, like screwing up my back, and calculating how many bullets would be between my shoulders every moment. I was afraid to increase my pace until I got to a small copse, when I put the spurs in and galloped back to my men. I immediately went up to the nearest colonel, and said to him, 'Colonel, I have reconnoitred those fellows pretty closely--and I find there is no mistake who they are; you may get up and go at them.' And I assure you, sir, that the slaughter of that Indiana regiment was the greatest I have ever seen in the war."
It is evident to me that a certain degree of jealous feeling exists between the Tennesseean and Virginian armies. This o­ne claims to have had harder fighting than the Virginian army, and to have been opposed to the best troops and best generals of the North. [added]
The Southerners generally appear to estimate highest the northwestern Federal troops, which compose in a great degree the armies of Grant and Rosecrans; they come from the States of Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, &c. The Irish Federals are also respected for their fighting qualities; whilst the genuine Yankees and Germans (Dutch) are not much esteemed.
I have been agreeably disappointed in the climate of Tennessee, which appears quite temperate to what I had expected.
Fremantle, Three Months, pp. 83-86

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