Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 15 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

15, Guerrillas burn cotton near Hickory Wythe depot
More Cotton Burning in Tennessee.
We learn that about sixty bales of cotton were burnt on Wednesday night near Hickory Wythe depot, about twenty-five miles from this city, under the following circumstances.
It appears that Mr. Gager, of this city, had a lot of cotton at Concorda, about thirty-five miles from Memphis, and left here on Wednesday (15th) with about twenty-five drays to bring it here to market. While on the way out to Concorda, the draymen were informed by the planters along the road, that if they brought the cotton that way, en route for Memphis, they would burn it. Nevertheless, the draymen went on to Concorda. Loaded with cotton and started back.
On getting near Wythe Depot, the dray cavalcade was arrested by about twenty-five citizens, all armed, who ordered that the drivers should throw the cotton off the drays. Some of the draymen readily complies the order, while others ran to the woods and escaped. The cotton thrown off, the draws was [sic] fired into by the arresting party, and in that way set on fire and consumed. The cotton left on the drays by the fugitive owners was likewise burned, and on the drays on which had been loaded. The draymen who obeyed the order to unload the cotton, were permitted to retake possession of their teams.
The arrest and conflagration were made about eight o'clock on Wednesday (15th) night, and before the great rain which afterwards extinguished all fires and put down the dust.
It seems to be generally understood that the Confederate cavalry are still hovering around the neighborhood of Wythe Depot, and we should not be surprised to hear any day of the capture of the whole concern.
Memphis Bulletin, July 18, 1862.



Union Men Shot and Thrown into a River.
Thirteen Men and Boys Shot and Buried in one Grave.
Women Whipped and hung by Rebel Officers.
From Col. Robt. A. CRAWFORD, of Greene county, Tennessee, who is a refugee and was one of the vice-presidents of the late Convention at Nashville, we learn the following facts in reference to rebel rule in that beautiful "Switzerland of America," East Tennessee. Col. CRAWFORD HAS a personal knowledge of some of these facts, having left the scene of their enactment quite recently, and vouches for the truth of all of them, as his information was obtained from trustworthy persons, and written down on the spot. Another evidence of their authenticity is the accuracy with which names, dates, places and particulars are detailed. There is scarcely a shadow of doubt that these infamous outrages, these damning acts of barbarism, were perpetrated by fiendish human for wearing the apparel of the Confederacy, and representing its authority. But, to proceed to the facts: last summer three young men, brothers, named ANDERSON, left their homes in Hawkins county, and attempted to make their way into Kentucky. They were arrested by a squad of Confederate cavalry on Clinch river, about seventy-five miles from Knoxville, shot, and thrown into the river. Their bodies were found floating in the stream, fifteen miles from their own forsaken homes.
In the month of January, [sic] 1863, at Laurel, N.C., near the Tennessee border, all the salt was seized for distribution by Confederate Commissioners. Salt was selling at seventy five to one hundred dollars a sack. The Commissioners declared that the "Tories" should have none, and positively refused to give Union men their portion of the quantity to be distributed in that vicinity. This palpable injustice roused the Union men; they assembled together and determined to seized their proportion of the salt by force. They did so, taking at Marshal, N.C., what they deemed to be their just share, and which had been withheld from them, simply because the adhered with unconquerable devotion to the Government of their fathers.
Immediately afterward the 65th N. C. regiment, under command of Lieut. Col. JAMES KEITH, was ordered to Laurel, to arrest the offenders.
L. M. ALLEN was Colonel of the regiment, but had been suspended for six months for crime and drunkenness. Many of the men engaged in the salt seizure left their homes. Those who did not participate in it became the sufferers. Among those arrested were Joseph WOOD, about sixty years of age; Dave SHELTON, sixty; JAS. SHELTON, fifty; RODDY SHELTON, forty-five; ELISON KING, forty; HALES MOORE, forty, WADE MOORE, thirty-five; ISAIAH SHELTON, fifteen; WM. SHELTON, twelve; JAMES MEETCALF, ten; JASPER CHANNEL, fourteen; SAML. SHELTON, nineteen, and his brother, ages seventeen, sons of LIFUS SHELTON; in all thirteen men and boys. Nearly all of them declared they were innocent, and had taken no part in appropriating the salt. They begged for a trial, asserting that they could prove their innocence.
Col. ALLEN, who was with his troops, but not in command, told them they should have a trial, but the would be taken to Tennessee for that purpose. They bid farewell to their wives, daughters, and sisters, directing them to procure the witnesses and bring them to the Court in Tennessee, where they supposed their trial would take place. Alas! How little they dreamed what a fate awaited them! The poor fellows had proceeded but a few miles when they were turned from the road into a gorge in the mountain, and halted. Without any warning of what was to be done with them, five of the them were ordered to kneel down. Then paces in front of these five a file of soldiers were placed with loaded muskets. The terrible reality flashed upon the minds of the doomed patriots. Old man WOOD, (sixty years of age) cried out: "For God's sake, men, you are not going to shoot us? If you are going to murder us, give us at least time to pray." Col. ALLEN was reminded of his promise to give them a trial. There were informed that ALLEN had no authority; that KEITH was in command, and that there was no time for praying. The order was given to fire; the old men and boys put there hands to their faces and rent the air with agonizing cries of despair; the soldier wavered and hesitated to obey the command. KEITH said, it they did not fire instantly, he would make then change places with the prisoners. The soldier raised their guns, the victims shuddered convulsively, the word was given to fire, and the five men fell, pierced with rebel bullets. Old men, WOOD and SHELTON were shot in the head, their brains scattered upon the ground, and they died without a struggle. The other three lived only a few minutes. Five others were ordered to kneel, among them little BILLY SHELTON, a mere child, only twelve years old. He implored the men not to shoot him in the face. "You have killed my father and brothers," said he, "you have shot my father in the face; do not shoot me in the face." He covered his face with his hands. The soldier received the order to fire, and five more fell. Poor little Billy was wounded in both arms. He ran to an officer, clasped him around the legs, and besought him to spare his life. "Your have killed my; old father and my three brothers; you have shot me in both arms -- I will forgive you all this -- I can get well. Let me go home to my mother and sisters" What a heart of adamant the man must have who could disregard such an appeal. The little boy was dragged back to the place of execution; again the terrible work "fire!" was given, and he fell dead, eight balls having entered his body. The remaining three were murdered in the same manner. Those in whom life was not entirely extinct, the heartless officers dispatched with their pistols. A hole was then dug, and the thirteen bodies were pitched into it.
The grave was scarcely large enough; some of the bodies lay above the ground. A wretch named Sergeant N. B. D. JAY, a Virginian, but attached to a Tennessee company of the 65th North Carolina regiment, jumped upon the bleeding bodies, and said to some of the men: "Pat Juba* for me, while I dance the damned scoundrels down and through hell." The grave was covered lightly with earth and the next day when the wives and families of the murdered men heard of their fate, searched for and found their grave, the hogs had rooted up one man's body, and eaten his head off. Oh heavens! What must have been the agony of their wives and children on beholding that sight? When the awful reality burst upon the, what great drops of affliction must have oozed from their bleeding hearts. Yet, all this was done in the cause of freedom! "O liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name?"
Captain MOORLEY, in charge of a cavalry force, and Col THOMAS, in command of a number of Indians, Accompanied KIETH'S men. These proceeded to Tennessee; KEITH'S men turned to Laurel, and were instructed to say that the cavalry had taken the prisoner with them to be tried, in accordance with the pledge of Col. ALLEN. In their progress through the country, many Union men were known to have been killed and scalped by the Indians. Upon the return of KEITH and his men to Laurel they began systematically to torture the women of loyal men to force them to tell where their fathers and husband could be found and what part each had taken in the salt raid. The women refused to divulge anything. They were then whipped with hickory switches, many of them till the blood coursed in streams down their persons to the ground; and the men who did this were called soldiers! Mrs. SARAH SHELTON, wife of ESAU SHELTON, who escaped from the town, and Mrs. MARY SHELTON, wife of LIFUS SHELTON, were whipped and hung by the neck till they were almost dead; but would give no information. MARTHA WHITE, an idiotic girl, was beaten, and tied by the neck all day to a tree. Old Mrs. UNUS REDDLE, aged eighty-five years, was whipped, hung, and robbed of a considerable amount of money. Many others were treated with the same barbarity. And the men who did this were called soldiers! The daughters of WILLIAM SHELTON, a man of wealth and highly respectable, were requested by some of the officers to play and sing for them. They played and sang of a few National airs. Keith learned of it, and ordered that the ladies be placed under arrest and sent to the guardhouse, where they remained all night.
Old Mrs. SALLIE MOORE, seventy years of age, was whipped with hickory rods thrill the blood ran in streams down her back to the ground; and the perpetrators of this were clothed in the habiliments of rebellion, and bore the name of soldiers!
One woman, who had an infant, five or six weeks old, was tied in the snow to a tree, her child placed in the doorway in her sight, and she was informed if she did not tell all she knew about the seizure of the salt, both herself and the child would be allowed to perish. Sergeant, N. B. D. JAY, of Capt. REYNOLD'S company, and Lieut. R. M. DEEVER, assisted their men in the execution of these hellish outrages. Houses were burned and town down. All kinds of property was destroyed or carried off. All the women and children of the Union men who were shot, and of those who escaped, were ordered by General ALFRED E. JACKSON, headquarters at Jonesboro, to be sent through the lines by way of Knoxville. When the first of them arrived at this place, the officer in charge applied to Gen. DONELSON (formerly Speaker of the House of Representatives at Nashville) to know by which route they should be sent from there, whether by Cumberland Gap or Nashville. Gen. DONELSON immediately directed them them to be released and sent home, saying that such a thing was unknown in civilized countries. They were then sent home, and all the refugees met on the road were also turned back.
On the 13th of February, 1863, a squad of soldiers were sent to conscript JAMES MCCULLUM, of Greene county, Tennessee, a very respectable, industrious man, thirty or thirty-five years of age. They found him feeding his cattle. When he saw some of them he ran to back of his bar, other were posted behind the barn, and without hailing or attempting to arrest him, one of them shot him through the neck, killing him instantly. His three little children, who saw it, ran to the house and told their mother, she came out wringing her hands in anguish, and screaming with terror and dismay.
The soldiers were sitting upon the fence. They laughed at her agony, and said they had only killed "a damned Tory." The murdered man was high esteemed by his neighbors, and was a firm Union man.
In April last, two rebel soldiers name Wood and Ingole, went to the house of Mrs. RUTH ANN RHEA, living on the waters of Lick Creek, Green[e] county, to conscript her son. The old lady was partially deranged; she commanded the soldier to leaver her house and raised a stick to strike one of them. He told her if she struck him he would run her through with his bayonet; she gave the blow, and he shot her through the breast.
In the same month, JESSE PRICE, an old men sixty years of age, two sons and two nephews, were arrested in Johnson county, Tennessee, bordering on Virginia, by Col. FOUKE'S cavalry, composed of Tennessee and North Carolina men. They were taken to Ash County, to be tried for disloyalty to JEFFERSON DAVIS & Co. The old men had been previously arrested, taken to Knoxville, tried and acquitted.
When the five prisoners arrived in Ash county, a groggery keeper proposed to treat FOUKE'S men to eight gallons of brandy; if they would hand the old man, his sons and nephews, without a trial. The bargain was struck and the five unfortunate men were hanged without further ceremony. The brandy was furnished, and some if it drank before the tragedy, the rest afterward.
And is it upon the graves of such martyrs upon the bases of such damning acts of barbarity that the independence of s Southern Confederacy is to be established? The blood of these murdered men, women and children, appeal to heaven against such a consummation. Read this bloody record of inhuman, fiendish slaughter, ye sniveling sympathizers and ask yourselves if the vengeance of a just God must not sooner or later blast the hopes and schemes of such enemies of their race? It s it possible that an inexorable idol demanding such rivers of innocent blood, can be long worshiped in their light of the nineteenth century! [sic] Forbid it, God! Forbid it, all ye mighty hosts of Heaven! Christianity cries out against it. American honor demands that the monstrosity be case into the flames and destroyed forever.
All the blessed memories of the past; all the glorious anticipations of the future, call upon the noble patriots of the Union to avenge the blood of these martyrs to the cause of freedom and nationality. Eight thousand East Tennesseans and six thousand Middle and West Tennesseeans [sic] have already enrolled their names in the army of the Union, to avenge the wrongs of their kindred.
Memphis Bulletin, July 15, 1863.

*Ed. note - Juba is defined a complicated rhythmic hand clapping on knees and thighs that accompanied dancing done by slaves.



15, Skirmish on Forked Deer Creek
JULY 15: 1863.--Skirmish on Forked Deer Creek, Tenn.
Report of Col. Fielding Hurst, First West Tennessee Cavalry.
LA GRANGE, TENN., July 20, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor of submitting the following report:
In compliance with your order bearing date Jackson, Tenn., July 15, 1863, I proceeded with the regiment to Montezuma; thence to Purdy and Camden, where I ascertained the bridge across Big Hatchie River, near Bolivar, was destroyed. I then moved to this place, by way of Pocahontas. On leaving Jackson I marched up the Forked Deer 8 miles, and found the trail of 1,500 to 1,800 rebels, under Biffle, Forrest, and Newsom. They fled before us in great haste, destroying all the bridges they crossed on, giving me such difficulty in crossing streams in 40 miles travel that I found myself 10 or 12 miles in their rear without any hope of overtaking them this side of our lines.
We took about 20 prisoners; paroled 8 and brought in 7. Some 5 or 6 fell back and made their escape, my rear guard being worn out with fatigue from hard marching and crossing streams by fording, swimming, &c.
I beg leave to state it as my belief that the entire rebel force which we met at Jackson fled by way of Shiloh in a badly torn up and demoralized condition, and could have been easily captured by a small force if thrown out from Corinth.
The prisoners all concur in stating that they were out of ammunition and low-spirited.
I am, sir, your very obedient servant,
FIELDING HURST, Col., Commanding Regiment.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. II, p 682.


No comments: