Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

12, A Visit to the Jackson Environs
From Jackson, Tenn.

A Visit to the Country, Cotton-Ginning.

A Southern Unionist on Democracy and Abolitionism.

&c., &c., &c.

Special Correspondence to the Chicago Times.

Jackson, Tenn., Aug. 12.

In company with a cotton buyer, I yesterday paid a visit to the country. He was after cotton, and I after sight-seeing. The roads of this country were laid to accommodate the farms and the "lay of the land," and therefore they go winding around hills, across valleys, and through the woods, decidedly in contrast with the checker-board arrangements of the northwestern States. Hot and dusty as it was, the ride was not without points of interest. The land is considerably rolling; the valleys and flats are of considerable extent and fertile; while the hills seemed of a light sandy soil, and, where they had been cultivated, to be pretty much worn out. Indeed, some of them had been abandoned, and the rain had washed great gulleys [sic] down the declivities. Such a thing as feeding the land with manure, or clovering it, never seemed to have entered into the arrangements of the farmers. The barn houses, yards, stock, implements, fruit trees, fences, gardens, &c., would not compare very well with the like possessions of a northwestern farmer of equal wealth. The few apple and peach trees were breaking down under the weight of their load of fruit; but, in the way of varieties, they were just such as sprang up of their own accord. Grafted apple trees and budded peach trees have not been yet extensively introduced. But the abundance of fruit on the few trees we saw proved the adaptation of the soil and climate to these productions.

After a six miles' ride, we turned from the wood into a lane, and made slowly for a cotton press and gin we saw in operation, three-quarters of a mile distant. We found the location on the highest point of land we had attained, and we could look off in the valleys in every direction, and see hundreds of acres covered with growing corn. Not a stalk of cotton could we see, or had we seen during the day. There is a pleasant grove of oak around the house of a former proprietor, and near by the gin and press necessary to prepare the cotton for market. The present proprietor had added this farm to his estate, and the house was tenantless. The proprietor was at his house, a mile distant, and a little nigger was mounted on a little mule to inform him that some gentlemen wanted to see him about his cotton. Four negro men, three boys and three girls, were at work in ginning and baling cotton. The gin house was a log structure, placed on stilts, eight feet above the ground, under which was the lever power and the big wheel to propel the gin, to which was attached four mules, with a little nigger on the end of each lever to keep the mules in motion. As the cotton came from the gin, it fell into a lean-to at one end, while the seeds were thrown back into the room. One nigger fed the gin and took care of the seeds. The press, when the screw was turned off, stood full 25 feet high, with heavy timbers morticed together, through the top piece of which the screw was worked. The screw was of wood, and 14 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. From the top of the screw came down two long bowing swaps, to which horses or mules are attached to turn the screw. Below, under ground, is a box the size of a cotton bale, put together and taken down by clasps. Above this is a stationary box, connecting directly with it. One half of the bailing is spread upon the bottom, which is groved [grooved] to admit the passage of the rope that finally binds the bale. About 500 pounds of cotton are then weighed and put into the boxes and trampled down as much as possible, when the other half of the baling, with its edges rolled up, is placed on top. The follower, attached to and turning on the lower end of the screw and filling the length and width of the boxes, is adjusted, and one horse set to trotting around the ring to send the screw to its work. After a little, the pulling becomes two hard for him, and a pair of mules are detached from the gin and attached to the end of the other lever, and soon the screw is down; the cotton is all squeezed into the lower box, the sides and ends of which are now taken off, the bailing adjusted and sewed together, and the ropes passed around the bale through the grooves and drawn tight and tied, the screw is turned the other way, and the bale is rolled out ready for market.

I remarked to one of the "intelligent contrabands" that it was pretty hot work for such a day.
"Yes," said he, "but we's in a mighty hurry."

"What makes you in a hurry?"

"Cause we want's to get massa's cotton out of de way so's we can gin on em. We's afeard dem Confederate soldiers is coming again, and dey'll burn it all up. Does you tink dey's comin' soon, massa?"

"Guess not, my boy. How much cotton have you?"

"I reckon we boys have about seven bales, and we's mighty skeered that we shan't get it sold. When will dem Confederates be here?"

"Not for the present. You will have plenty of time to get your cotton off."

"Does ye think so?"

"Yes, certainly."

"Dat's good!"

And, evidently much relieved in his mind, he commenced hurrying up the work. I thought, considering "massa" had but eleven bales, that seven was a pretty good share for four "boys," and at thirty cents per pound, which it is now bringing, it would make them quite a handsome pile.

"Mary" grinned beautifully at the sight of fifty cents, the promise of which set her off in a hurry to fill our small bag with peaches. Two little fellows looked wistfully, and scampered after her in the hopes of dividing the spoils. When they returned, they plead for five cents each because they had climbed the trees. Thus in these little black children, less than a half dozen years old, the love of money was developed as strongly as in white children.

The proprietor arriving, a gentleman who had passed his three score years and ten, my cotton friend soon disposed of his business. On being introduced to him, I found him quite deep, yet fully as inquisitive as a Yankee.

"Do you live at Jackson?" he said.

"No, I reside in Chicago."

"In Chicago! You are a northern man, then—perhaps an officer in the army?" looking at me with a very great degree of astonishment.

"No, sir."

"You will take no offence if I ask you your business?"

"No, sir. I am a newspaper correspondent."

"Oh! you write letters to the newspapers. Is there any chance for the democrats to beat the abolitionists up there?"

"I hope so."

"You are a democrat, I reckon. If you could only beat the abolitionists, we democrats could soon fix up this war. I have opposed it all the way through—opposed secession—and have always been in favor of the old government. The democrats always conducted the government successfully and harmoniously, and, if they should beat the abolitionists at the North, the old government will soon be restored."

"I think so."

"Yes, the first thing to be done is to vote down the abolitionists."

The cotton-weighing then proceeded, and I amused myself in watching the playing of the little boys and girls in the loose cotton.

As we were about to leave, I drew from my pocket a tin foil paper of tobacco to replenish my "quid," the dong of which attracted the attention of the old gentleman.

"What is that you are putting into your mouth?"

"Tobacco. Will you have some?"

"What, do you have tobacco cut up in that way? I never see the like before. Don't you swallow it?"
I assured him that gentlemen "up north" did not use any other kind, and that, although the article I had was of rather poor quality, yet, if he was a lover of the weed, he would find that it would not hurt him; upon which he appropriated a small quantity, the girls took a quid, and, amid invitations to call again, we departed. It was so late in the afternoon that we concluded to return immediately to quarters.

The old gentleman had resided on the farm more than thirty years, scarcely ever getting out of sight of it, and never but once getting twenty-five miles from home, when he took his first and only railroad ride to see a sick relation. He is a devout Christian belonging to the Methodist Church and is known in the neighborhood as being "gifted in prayer." If the country was full of such citizens, there would be little chance for demagogues to drag us into civil wars.

J. M. G.

Chicago Times, August 19, 1862.


12, "A Heartless Villain;" The seduction of Miss Emma C. Tompkins
One of the most aggravated cases of seduction which we have heard of in a long time has just been concluded by the Civil Commission in this city. The facts in the case developed by the legal examinations seem to be about as follows: Some time during the past spring a man named Victor Moner, who was then engaged in the liquor a business in this city, went to Cincinnati and advertised in the public print for a girl to attend a variety store. The advertisement was answered by a lady by the name of Tomkins, who was a widow, with a daughter between thirteen and fourteen years of age. With this lady Moner had an interview; during that interview, he represented himself as being a man of wealth and position, having two or three fine stores in this city; that among them was a fancy variety store, and that he wished a girl to attend in this latter place. To offer still stronger inducements he represented that his partner who resided in this city was a married man, whose family moved in the very best circles of society, and that, she would have all the advantages of association with the best society the city could afford. These inducements were too strong to be opposed. The mother looked upon this splendid chance of her daughter being introduced to the highest circles of society as one not to be neglected. So she gave her consent to her daughter's leaving her home. The future looked bright with the sunbeams of hope; the daughter as is usual in such cases, was not averse to going, so arrangements were made for her departure to her new home, and as was supposed, fortune too. Moner brought the girl to his city and carried her to a boarding house on the corner of Beal and Second street, the Union House. Here she remained for some weeks, when Moner made another arrangement, the better to carry out his fell purpose of robbing her of her innocence and virtue. To this end, therefore, he rented a room over the Clay eating house, on Center alley between Madison and Monroe streets, where they for some time lived; and her, too, it was that he robbed her of that innocence and virtue which to her was worth more than the splendor of wealth. In this case, and in her extremity, she applied to Mr. Mallory, a lawyer of this city, who brought suit against Moner for damages. Yesterday, after three day spent in the examination of the case, the Court granted the request o Messrs. Mallory and Baird, and rendered judgment for plaintiff amercing Moner in ten thousand dollars damages. The case was conducted on the part of the plaintiff by Messrs. Mallory and Baird, assisted by Messrs. Bland and Thornton. The defense was conducted by Messrs. King and Bullock. This is one of the most cruel and heartless cases of seduction that has ever come to our knowledge. It was no sudden thought or ebullition of passion, as is clearly perceived by his going to Cincinnati, there advertising for help under a false pretext and luring this young girl, Miss Emma C. Tomkins, away from her home and kindred only to work her ruin. The punishment of death is [hardly?] enough for one who would thus coolly and deliberately blight the life, the prospects and the hopes of one so young.
Memphis Bulletin, August 12, 1863.


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