1, Resisting the work of the Public Health Office in Memphis
"Communications from the people"
Health Office, Gayoso Hotel
Memphis, Tenn., July 1st, 1864
Editor of the Bulletin:
The citizens of this city now, that the Health Office is established, have settled down to the conviction that they have nothing to do but stand by and looking on, thinking the Health Offices capable of renovating the city independent of outside assistance or aid and yet when the Health Department endeavors of itself to find out the location and persons who are guilty of committing nuisance, the citizens seek to hide the offender, and the matter is kept closed. Thus the very means that should be most active in the cleansing out and bringing to light these nuisances are perfectly inactive, and the Health Office is blamed for non-performance of duty, and the offender is found, and punished, it is then blamed for the vigorous measures used; and the labors of the Health Office is stunted [sic] at the very start. The police to discover the exact location of a nuisance are obliged to search a person's premises as though they were hunting some criminal, and if detected some person is blamed for reporting the case, thus encouraging the accumulation of filth, and as a natural consequence the increase of disease.
Person reporting a nuisance at the Health Office, after elaborating on the evil of having said nuisance was found, are sure to close their report, with an earnest injunction to the Health Commissioner, not to report their names, in connection with the nuisance, as if the idea was a stigma to their names and character, in the least, as a neighbor and citizen.
How it is the interest as well as the duty of ever citizen to keep his or her premises free from everything that would tend, in the least, to engender disease.
Orders have been repeatedly issued, and the Health department has worked well and faithful to bring the city up to a standard of cleanliness, and already, notwithstanding the warm weather at hand, the effects of the labor performed, may be seen in the decrease of the number of deaths of the citizens.
Yet. The citizens will manifest the disposition of "dog in the manger;" they won't remove the nuisance themselves, and seek to hide it from those who will.
This is the cause of the issuing of stringent orders which must and will be carried out to the very letter.
How every person is held responsible for the cleanliness of his premises, and the street or alley in front of his premises, and it should be his duty to see that not only his dwelling, but the street, alley and gutter were kept clean, and free from obstructions each day; for the latter is as essential to his health as the former. He should also have his outhouse well cleaned and limed; and were all in the habit of doing this they would not only add encouragement to the Health Department, and give it a new impetus, but would bring their city up to that standard of cleanliness so necessary to public health and prosperity.
W. Underwood, Health Commissioner
Memphis Bulletin, July 2, 1864.
2, Martial orders relative to prohibition of liquor sales, protection of Union flag, possession of firearms. restrictions upon lewd women and theft in Memphis
I. The guard stationed in the...city will have the utmost vigilance to discover the parties who are in the habit of selling intoxicating liquors in defiance of orders. Persons found guilty of violations...will be at once arrested, his liquor confiscated...place of business closed....This order applies on steamboats as well as the city.
II. The insulting or accosting of loyal citizens will no longer be tolerated under any circumstances. Union citizens who have placed the American flag over their houses will be protected....the Provost Guard are instructed to shoot down anyone who may attempt to remove the flag or molest the owner of the premises.
III. [Those without permission to carry firearms will] be placed in closed confinement. [Only police may carry firearms.] The members of the Police are required to report themselves immediately to this office and register their names, stating the number of the ward where they perform police duty.
IV. Lewd women are prohibited from conversing with soldiers on duty; nor will they be allowed to walk the streets after sunset. Anyone of the class indicated who shall violate this order will be conveyed across the river, and will not be allowed to return within the limits of the city.
V. Some unknown person, representing himself as "Capt. J.K. Lindsey, Co. K, 43d Ill. Vol. has committed several depredations by entering private houses and taking private property, giving a receipt for same, under the pretense that he is acting by authority of the Provost Marshal. [remainder illegible]
Memphis Union Appeal July 2, 1862
2, "The First Duty of our Authorities," a plea for public sanitation in Memphis
We hope that our public officers will at once recognize the necessity for prompt sanitary precautions to prevent the outbreak of epidemic diseases in our city. The weather during a portion of the day is excessively hot, averaging 90 degrees in the shade, and with an unusually large population, many of whom are crowded into badly ventilated residences, and have few needful opportunities for bathing or cleanliness, there is danger that, with the utmost care by our authorities, there may be an unusual number of diseases during the present summer and fall, and this danger will be alarmingly greater if measures are not promptly taken to remove the abounding sources of malarious and other poisons. Our streets are, perhaps, not as thoroughly clean as they should be, but our greater danger is from the collections of bilge and stagnant water along our wharf. To this subject attention is specially directed, as immediate action may prevent much loss of life.
Memphis Bulletin, July 2, 1864.
3, Report to the Southern Mothers' Association Executive Committee
To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:
Having been elected by you on the 7th of June, as surgeon of the institution under your charge, I immediately entered upon the discharge of my duties, and herewith have the honor to submit to you this, my first monthly report:
Number discharged 52, sent to private houses 25, in the wards 27, died 2. total 106.
Diseases—Diarrhea 11, dysentary 6, neuralgia 3, constipation 1, contusion 3, fatigue and exposure 9, measles 2, gun shot 3, opthalmia 1, pneumonia 19, intermittent 42, ptyalism 2, congestive chill 2, abcess 1, cut with bowie-knife 1. Total 106.
Of these there were from army of Tennessee 14, Missouri troops 1, 2d Arkansas regiment 91. Total 106.
In examining the above list of diseases, it will be seen that nearly twenty per cent. have been pneumonia. The causes of this are readily explained by the facts attending the trip of the 2d Arkansas regiment, colonel T. C. Hindman, commanding, to Knoxville and back. These troops, fresh from the back woods of Arkansas, unaccustomed to excitements, and actuated by the loftiest patriotism, thought it incumbent upon them to cheer at each flag station, village and town upon the road, both going and coming, until their bronchias became inflamed in the highest degree.
In addition to this, the dust and cinders, the open cars, the heat of the days, the cold nights, the sudden change of the weather while in East Tennessee, insufficient clothing, the want of blankets, and sleeping on the damp earth, rendered their trip everything but one of pleasure. Hence our rooms were filled on their return with fully developed cases of pneumonia. None are so classified that did not present several of the characteristic symptoms and phenomena of the disease. In addition to there, nearly all the cases of intermittent were more or less accompanied with congestion and pleuritic affections of the lungs.
In view of the number of patients and the character of the disease, it affords me pleasure to state that only two have so far proved fatal, and that there is only one man whose case may be regarded as critical. Mr. Gallagher, of the Crocket Rangers, died on the 15th ult., having come under my charge after he had been abandoned by his physician. I immediately called Dr. Hopson in consultation with me, but he had become so prostrated and diseased that our efforts were unavailing to restore him. He died in consequence of secondary hemorrhage. The other, Mr. S. L. Poston, of Capt. Harvey's company, 2d Arkansas regiment, was attacked with pneumonia in Knoxville on the 14th ult., and arrived here on the 17th. His case was complicated with phthisis pulmonalis, and was in the third stage on his arrival here. He died June 23d.
In my attendance upon the sick soldiers under my charge I have been nobly aided by the excellent council and advice of Drs. Allen, Shanks, Holliday, Erskine, Cypert, Wilson, Irwin, and others of the city, and Surgeons Bartlett and Darling of 2d Arkansas regiment. They have visited our rooms as friends and as physicians, and I earnestly hope that each member of the profession will consider himself at all times a welcome visitor to our rooms.
The druggest [sic] and military board of Memphis have aided us by contributions of valuable drugs and medicines, and to them we should return our sincere thanks. I have endeavored to use the strictest economy in the administration of medicines by having them compounded at my rooms, saving valuable time.
It is a source of pleasure to me to bear testimony to the patriotic, self-sacrificing devotion of the different members of the association, who have been engaged in nursing the sick during the last two weeks. Assiduous in their daily vigils, they have accomplished as much, or more, by the tender care of the patients confided to them, than could have been done by any other means. It could not be otherwise. Actuated by the holiest and noblest patriotism they left their splendid palaces to administer to the wants at the bedside of the humble soldier. They have watched over their patients with a devotion and interest that excites the liveliest admiration. Mothers have left the cares and charms of home, to bathe the fevered brow and cool the parched tongue of those who were sons and brothers in the holy cause of defending our sunny South. The zeal and devotion of the "Southern Mothers" displayed at the rooms has extended to the fireside, and they have thrown open their doors, and taken the convalescing to their homes. So far, the demand for them to be thus provided for, has exceeded the supply.
Our thanks are due to Capt. A. B. Jewell, for many acts of kindness, especially in providing us, on several occasions, with good barbers; thereby aiding materially the comfort and appearance of the patients.
I have found it necessary to station sentinels at the front and rear entrances, also at the foot of the second stair case, leading to the Third [illegible] to all, as much as promiscuous visiting interfered with the treatment of the patients. In this connection, I will state to the members of the association, that so long as I have charge of the wards, I will enforce the strictest order and decorum. No "southern mother" shall ever blush at the recollection of ever having crossed the threshold of our rooms. No invalid soldier will ever regret that he was nursed by a "southern mother."
I will close by saying to the commanding officers and to the patriotic soldiers of the South that the rooms of the "southern mothers" in Memphis are always open, that they are ready and willing to receive their sick and wounded, and that they will be provided with everything to render them comfortable; that they will be watched over and nursed with the tenderest care by the members of the order, without fee or reward.
Respectfully yours, etc.,
G. W. Curry.
July 1st, 1861
To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:
I herewith tender to you my resignation as surgeon of the institution under your charge.
Highly appreciating the honor you have conferred upon me, and the uniform kindness you have always shown me, I am, respectfully,
G. W. Curry, M. D.
"Mothers' Rooms," July 2, 1861
G. W. Curry, M. D., Surgeon of the Society of "Southern Mothers:"
Dear Sir: The resignation of your position in our society having been laid before a called meeting of the association, seventeen members being present, it was by acclamation voted that we cannot dispense with your services in our "Rooms;" we therefore decline to accept the resignation, and beg you to enter immediately upon your duties again, assuring you of our perfect confidence in your skill, our high regard for you personally, and our heartfelt gratitude for the noble and disinterested service you have rendered as in our attempts to alleviate the horrors of war by nursing to the best of our ability the suffering sons of the South in arms for the defense of our homes.
S. C. Law, President.
Mary E. Pope, Secretary.
Memphis Daily Appeal, July 3, 1861.
3, Report on Martial Law in Knoxville
Knoxville, Tenn., is under martial law. The editor who olds Brownlow's spectre, having experiences its delights in a midnight arrest and a lodging in the guard house, soliloquizes thus upon the order of things:
"We have got martial law, and we feel disposed to return thanks for it-just as Cuffy did. He was a pious negro, and always returned thanks for what he had on his table, but always mentioned his wants also. Some wags who knew that he was short of potatoes, provided themselves with a basketful, and when Cuffy returned thanks for what was on the table, and added, "Mighty good dinner, Mass' Lord, if I only had a few pertaters', down came a shower of the coveted tubers, playing smash with cuff's scant delf-ware The pious negro, without changing his attitude, unhesitatingly continued his prayer – 'Dem's 'em, Mass' Lord-only just luff 'em down a little easier next time."
We are very thankful to our government for martial law, but hope they will 'luff down a little easier' next time."
Milwaukee Morning Sentinel, July 3, 1862. 
4, A Protest Against Feminine Taunting of Federal Pickets in Memphis
It costs but very little to be polite and affable. The effort, intellectual and physical, neither exhausts the constitution nor impoverishes the mind.
Gentlemen of refinement and polish, are always urbane in their demeanor to all, equals as well as to inferiors. In that, they furnish indubitable evidence of being well bred, refined and educated with a punctilious observance of the elevating amenities of life. Their deportment and graceful presence, betoken the gentleman, which contrasts strongly with the coarse, vulgar, uncultivated booby, who is loudest in his manifestations of dislike, of anything that displeases him, under all circumstances and in all places. The clown carries the evidence of his doleful ignorance in his countenance. He is always blundering and stammering, sitting on his hat, upsetting his tea on the snowy spread, stumbling over a chair, or falls sprawling on the door steps as he bows himself in the approved lobster-like style out of the room.
These two cases show the effect of early training, we decide at once, which of the two has been blessed with the refining influences of good society, and that intellectual expansion secured by the attrition of mind upon mind, which gives character and a status to the man.
We are led to make these remarks on what is expected from every well-bred person, in consequence of the insulting course pursued by a well-known pseudo poetess of a bevy of goslin[g]s green on Madison street, towards our soldiers.
All that an envenomed, vile tongued, virago, aided by hissing adders could do, has been done, to insult our pickets, as they come in from and to out on duty.
The poor, week [sic], and fluttering aspirant for the groves of Parnassus, vents her intoxicated hatred and crazy wrath towards or men, by hissing in the modern geesy [sic] style, looking very sharp and very fierce, flaunting her dress as evidence of contempt with various other elegant and lady-like proofs of her utter abhorrence for Federal soldiers.
Her demonstrations are eloquent of her early training, her associations were evidently coarse, unrefined and far removed from that retiring modesty, which so embellishes and ennobles woman.
Crack-brained, dreamy and visionary secessionists, whose head is crammed with rickety, disjointed poetical twaddle, which would get any school girl a sound thrashing for writing, and very apt to fancy themselves buoyed up with a divine afflatus, which is really excessively offensive and gassy. Such vagaries, however, we can tolerate, and by great exertion endure, but we cannot, and will not, endure their silly taunts and indignities to our men. We therefore strongly urge our military authorities to arrest all such offenders ands send them South.
Secessia is precisely the place for them, they should yearn to reach their beloved Dixie.
We don't want them.
Memphis Union Appeal, July 4, 1862.
4, The 4th of July in Columbia
The cannon was heard in Town [sic] of Columbia celebrating the day…a greate [sic] many negro men[,] women & children with there [sic] flags & flag poles[.] [A] dinner was prepared for many at White's Spring but the black ladies was marched to the Table[.] [T]he soldiers pitched in & devoured it & so the blacks was quite unlucky (they got none). In the evening the soldier was sent all over Town [sic] & pressed & captured all the able bodied negro men that could be gathered, several hundred, to gone somewhere to work….
Nimrod Porter Diary, July 4, 1864.