21, Skirmishes around Nashville
No. 1.--Brig. Gen. William Nelson, U. S. Army, commanding at Murfreesborough.
No. 2.--Col. John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana, commanding at Nashville.
No. 3.--Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, including operations July 18-24.
Report of Brig. Gen. William Nelson, U. S. Army, commanding at Murfreesborough.
HDQRS., Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 24, 1862.
GEN.: You will have heard that on the 21st instant Forrest went down the Lebanon road to within 5 miles of Nashville and burned a bridge and some trestle work. When this occurred I had only the cavalry companies I picked up at Nashville, Haggard having joined after the damage was done. I determined at once to cut off Forrest's retreat, and gave orders for the cavalry to march to Readyville (see inclosed paper ), and thence to Statesville, and close up to Milton, and I would march with infantry to the point where the Jefferson pike crosses the road from here to Lebanon, 2 miles beyond Stone River, it being my impression that Forrest, having gone by way of Lebanon, would return this way. Twenty minutes before marching a courier came to me from Franklin, bringing a dispatch that Forrest, with 2,500 or 3,000 men, was at Nashville. All sorts of reports came by the courier. I immediately, to save the stores at Nashville, changed the order and sent Haggard with all the cavalry to move rapidly to Nashville and attack the enemy wherever he could find them, telling Col. Haggard that he would find the enemy scattered, marauding, and having his own men in hand all he had to do was to attack and destroy them as fast as he came to them. I immediately followed with the infantry, and at 10 p. m. was in 10 miles of Nashville. Col. Harrard sent me several messages with various accounts of the supposed strength of the enemy in front. I answered him in writing to attack-to attack all the time.
When I arrived at the junction of the Old Franklin road, at 10 p. m., I found him and all the cavalry there awaiting my arrival. He had been there five or six hours. The enemy were so strongly posted, &c., that he had determined to wait for me and report, having held a council of war and all that sort of nonsense. In an hour's examination I was satisfied that there was not only no enemy, but that they had retreated over the identical road that I had expected they would. Being so sure that he would go that way in any event, I sent messengers back to Col. Barnes at Murfreesborough for him to take the regiment remaining there and abandon everything there and move up that road; but, alas! he got there just after Forrest had gone by.
By the telegram sent me by Col. Miller, indicating that Nashville was in danger, Forrest escaped; the 80 men that were guarding the bridge that was burned are lost, 3 of them killed, the rest taken. They were of the Second Kentucky. That regiment is much reduced since leaving Athens; 3 were killed and 48 wounded on the railroad; now 3 are killed and 81 taken, making a loss of 6 killed and 129 lost by death and prisoners.
Forrest was last heard of near Liberty. I have ordered a battalion of Wolford's cavalry to come here by way Shelbyville; a battalion of Board's by way of Versailles. When they do come I will have about 1,200 cavalry, and Mr. Forrest shall have no rest. I will hunt him myself. Where, O tell me, where is Gen. Jackson? It's a chance for him.
I have called in 500 negro laborers from the country to build the field work indicated. When it is finished it will relieve the men here, and I can take the field with the whole force, and I will clear out the country if it can be done. I have stationed three regiments at the crossing of the Jefferson and Lebanon pikes, and will move on McMinnville from that point instead of from here.
Your order has been received to forward 100,000 rations to Stevenson, and I am using all energy to carry it into execution. I will be able to-morrow to send a train to within 5 miles of Nashville, when I will load it and send it along.
If you will send me the rest of my division I will settle the rest of this country in no time. The troops I find here are without discipline, and your orders in relation to marauding, stealing, and rascality generally are dead letters as far as many of them are concerned.
By the burning of the bridges provisions are scarce, and a train I have not, but will go ahead. I inclose some papers. Reports are constant that a large force is coming in at this point. Every man in this country yesterday, so soon as the troops changed direction, started, and I heard of several parties hurrying to Forrest to carry him the news.
I must tell you something that has transpired since you left here. The hostility to the United States Government and the troops has increased 1,000 per cent. It seems settled into a fierce hatred to Governor Johnson, to him personally more than officially, for in questioning many people they cannot point to an act that he has not been warranted in doing by their own showing; but still, either in manner of doing it, or that it should be done by him, or from some undefinable course touching him their resentment is fierce and vindictive, and this country, from being neutral at least, as you left it, is now hostile and in arms, and what makes it bad for us it is in our rear. The continual rumor of a large body of infantry coming into this country tends to make the discontented bold and active. Wherever Forrest stopped he found prepared (notice no doubt having been given) food and forage in ample quantities. Every man is an active spy, and guerrillas are now aiding him.
I send this letter by Messrs. William Spence and William Elliott, two good and true Union men, whom I beg to recommend to your favorable consideration.
W. NELSON, Brig.-Gen.
Maj.-Gen. BUELL, Cmdg. Army of the Ohio, &c.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 18, 1862.
Information has been received at these headquarters that arms and other property belonging to the United States, captured with the troops last Sunday, were distributed yesterday to the disloyal citizens of this town. All persons having such arms or property in their possession will bring them immediately to the court-house and turn them over to the provost-marshal there. These failing to do so will be arrested and sent to a military prison on the charge of treason.
By order of Brig.-Gen. Nelson, commanding.
J. MILLS KENDRICK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. --. HDQRS. FOURTH DIV. ARMY OF THE OHIO, Murfreesborough, Tenn., July 21, 1862.
The inhabitants of the county will furnish negro laborers to the amount of 200 for the use of troops at this point. These laborers will report here to-morrow morning.
By command of Maj.-Gen. Nelson:
J. MILLS KENDRICK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
Report of Col. John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana Infantry, commanding at Nashville.
HDQRS., Nashville, July 22, 1862. Gen. Forrest, with forces variously reported from 1,200 to 4,000 strong, advanced yesterday on Lebanon pike within 8 miles of city, then marched across to Mill Creek Bridge, 7 miles out on Chattanooga Railroad; destroyed three bridges, taking 80 prisoners Second Kentucky Volunteers, killing 2; 1 wounded. Rebel loss reported, 20 killed and wounded. Took prisoners on Murfreesborough road 12 miles from this place, camped, paroled the prisoners this morning, and marched at daylight toward Murfreesborough to capture wagon train with 360 of Thirty-sixth Indiana, who left here yesterday morning for Murfreesborough, and supposed to have been 12 miles this side of Murfreesborough this morning.
The enemy menaced this place yesterday evening; drove in our pickets; captured 3 of our scouts. They are divided into parties and endeavored to draw out my forces after them. I held and will hold my forces under arms in city. I have no cavalry to pursue, but will hold the city. I telegraphed to Franklin last night and this morning to send couriers to Murfreesborough with all information. The paroled men have just arrived.
JNO. F. MILLER, Col., Cmdg. Post.
Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, including operations July 18-24.
HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, McMinnville, Tenn., July 24, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you that on Friday, the 18th, at noon I left my camp on Mountain Creek, 10 miles from this place, with about 700 effective men of this brigade, in the direction of Nashville, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance. On my arrival at Alexandria with a portion of my command (the Texas Rangers) I was advised that during the day some 700 Federal cavalry had been sent from Nashville to Lebanon. I immediately ordered forward the balance of my command, being portions of the First and Second Georgia Cavalry and the Tennessee and Kentucky squadrons, and by a forced march reached Lebanon soon after sunrise. We dashed into the city in fine style, but found that the enemy, having notice of my approach, had retired about 12 o'clock, leaving me in the undisturbed possession of that place. I found the entire population true and loyal, with perhaps a single exception.
I remained at Lebanon until Monday morning, and moved then with my command toward Nashville. On reaching the vicinity of Nashville, say 5 or 6 miles, I captured 3 of the enemy's pickets. I moved then around the city, semicircling [sic] it and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, passing within 3 miles of the city, and capturing on the way, 2 additional pickets. I moved on the road for the purpose of destroying the bridges on the railroad near the city, and to my entire satisfaction accomplished the purpose, destroying three important railroad bridges over Mill Creek and cutting the telegraph wires. At each bridge I found heavy pickets, and had some considerable skirmishing at each, and also at Antioch Depot.
In the several skirmishes there were 10 killed and some 15 or 20 wounded, 97 prisoners (94 privates and 3 lieutenants), besides destroying a considerable amount of stores at Antioch Depot. Our forces were reported to be four times their number, so I afterward learned.
The necessity of rapid marching to secure the end desired having exhausted to a very considerable extent both men and horses, I found it necessary to fall back to this point, with a view of recruiting, which I did in good order, having the satisfaction to report that I did not lose
a single man on the expedition, either in killed or wounded. I regret the limited time allowed me in which to make this report will not permit me to enter minutely into the details of this exploit. I hope it will fully meet the approbation and expectation of the general.
Permit me to add that the entire force, officers and men, under my command acquitted themselves with great credit, and bore the fatigue and risk of the expedition in a manner only to be borne by Confederate troops. My demonstration on Nashville, I am advised, created great excitement in that city, by which the greater portion of the force at Murfreesborough was ordered to that point. I regretted then, and now sincerely regret, that the limited force I had with me, which was all that I had which was available, did not permit me to make a more solid demonstration against that city. They were evidently frightened. A few thousand would then have placed that city in our possession.
On my return I sent a flag of truce to Murfreesborough and found the troops at that point in great confusion and evident fright. They are attempting to fortify the place and have partially blockaded the road between that city and this. I am credibly informed that the same state of confusion and terror pervaded their entire army at Wartrace and all other points within my reach. I regret that my force will not permit me to avail myself of this terror.
The officers and men of my entire command, flushed with victory and our past success, are anxious and ready to meet the enemy. I feel secure in my present position. Should events render this an insecure place I will fall back to a less exposed point.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen., Second Cavalry Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 815-819.
21, "Murder, Robbery, Cutting and Maiming;" the return of a crime wave and a call for the return of a military police force in Civil War Nashville
Many of our readers will remember the fearful state in which Nashville was for two or three months previous to the first of last January; almost everyday we were called upon to record some brutal murder, a burglary, a robbery, or assaults. Earnestly and repeatedly we called upon the authorities for reform, and suggested a plan by which we hoped to restore law and order, and protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens.. This plan was finally approved by Gen. Rosecrans, who caused a military force to be placed in command of the mayor, with the view of aiding the police in the preservation of good order, and the prevention of crime . We need scarcely say that our citizens were rejoiced at the manner in which Lieut. Isom's detachment performed their arduous duties; after two days and nights of constant vigilance, some of the most notorious characters were either in jail or had absconded, and so close a watch was kept upon the others that manly found it convenient to leave the city soon thereafter. Citizens could walk the streets at any hour of the night without fear, and the horrible atrocities were nearly forgotten, when Lieut. Isom was called to another field of operations, and his men were ordered to other duties, thus leaving the city again at the mercy of the depraved -- citizens and soldiers.
Again our city is disgraced by scenes of barbarous atrocities and almost nightly robberies. Soldiers are permitted to roam about the city off duty, armed, and after imbibing a few glasses of whisky, ready and willing to use their weapons upon the slightest provocation. Within a few days we have recorded the killing of Jeremiah Walsh, an inoffensive citizen -- an act, to say the least of it, unwarranted: the poisoning of a family of nine persons; the cutting of a soldier by a comrade in so horrible a manner that he died in a few hours thereafter; the killing of sutler by a negro [sic]; and on Sunday night [19th], the cutting of a citizen with a sabre or sword bayonet, in such a manner that it is almost miraculous how the man could possibly survive.
The atrocities are increasing daily, and hence the necessity; of immediate action to check the progress of crime in our midst. We respectfully suggest a conference between the military and civil authorities, for the purpose of deriving some means of preserving order. South Nashville, especially, needs immediate attention. We were informed by one of the watchmen of that district last week that in one night, between the hours of 10 and 3 o'clock , he heard more than a dozen shots fired, and one of the city marshals informed us that no citizen considered himself safe outside his house after dark. The Western part of the city also needs especial attention and for reasons which Marshal Chumbly can point out.
If no better plan can be adopted than that we originally proposed, we respectfully urge upon the authorities its revival; it is simply to detail a sufficient number of the Provost Guard, to allow two men to accompany each Policemen on his beat, and parade it together every night -- the whole to be under the command of the Mayor, and subject to his order, night and day.
Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1863.
21, "The Tennessee Banks."
We have understood that the Supervisor of Banks will enter upon the discharge of his duties under the Bank Code durijng the present or coming week and that it is his intention to exact as faithful a cmmpliance with provisions of the Bank
Code and the acts amendatory thereof as circumstances will at present justify. We feel warranted in saying that one object he will labor to accomplish will be to bring up the notes of the banks doing business in the State to the "greenback" standard. He regards it a duty he owes to the peoople of Tennessee, who hold largely the issues of our banks, to require the banks to make their issues as good as that which the Government has made legal tender.
Another matter that will engage the especial attention of the Supervisor of Banks will be the looking after and gathering up of such of the assets of the Bank of Tennessee as may be within reach. There is a large amount of debts due the Bank scattered over the State much of which, by proper attention, may be secured. The evidences of these debts have been carried beyond the limits of the State; but where it can be ascertained that a party owes the Bank, the laws of Tennessee provide amply for enforcing its collection. The Bank holds a very considerable amount of real estate in various parts of the State, which he proposed to take possession of. The greater portion of this real estate is improved and very valuable, and may be disposed of upon very advantageous terms. From these tow items a fund may be realized which will go a long way toward liquidating the indebtedness of the State.
Nashville Dispatch, July 21, 1864.
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