A Parable of the Self-Sacrificing Tennessee Plantation Mistress
A Noble Woman.
We overheard a conversation some few weeks since, which threw light upon the character of our fair countrywomen. A lady, young and beautiful, a graduate of one of our most popular Female Colleges, married the choice of her heart. They have a large plantation and a strong force to work it. He felt it to be his duty to lead a company of his neighbors and friends to the field of war to meet the invaders of our homes. But she was in such a condition that he hesitated to go from home, and for a time she was not quite willing that he should leave her.
After some deliberation and consultation with friends, however, she said she earnestly desired him to go. ["]But who will take care of the plantation?"
"I can do it myself."
"You will need at least an overseer?"
"No, I can manage better than any overseer we are likely to procure."
"You must not be left alone."
"No, I will get some sensible woman for a companion. That is all I need or wish."
"What if you are disturbed or insulted?"
"I can shoot as well as my husband."
"What if your servants rebel against your authority?"
"There is no danger. They love me too well, and if need be I can make them fear me."
"Then you really wish your husband to go?"
"I do not like to be separated from him. It is a terrible trial, but some must go. And between submission to the North and the short separation from my husband it is easy to choose. I can't go and fight but I can stay and take his place on the plantation while he is gone. Let him go and do his duty. I will stay and do mine."
Tennessee and all the South is full of just such women. They can and will, to a great extent, take upon themselves the cares and labors of the loved ones who have gone to the camp, so far at least as business is concerned. Why will not our sisters in the churches do the same, so far as practicable, in the labors of the church and the Sabbath School? Much or most that is to be done in the school they can do as well or better than anybody else. Try it sisters. Try it at once. Don't let your school disband or if it has done so, don't let another Sabbath pass till you gather it again. Don't wait for some one else to begin. Begin yourself, by going at once to the others who will help you, and secure the hearty co-operation of all. These times of trouble and distress are no time to neglect the duties of religion. When the dampness of death broods over the land the light of religion is more needful than ever. Take your places, then, at once, my sisters in the Lord. Fill up, at once, the ranks left vacant by our brethren who have gone to defend you and the "other loved ones at home" from horrors worse than death. Don't let the cause of God, at home, suffer from their absence any more than the good lady referred to above intends to let the interest of her noble husband suffer in his absence.
A. C. D.
Tennessee Baptist, August 3, 1861
3, "…I talked a few minutes when him and Six of his men came to the door with pistols cocked, and asked me where I was from and what was my business there." Dispersal of guerrillas in, Spencer, Van Buren County
Liberty Tennessee Augt. 5th/1864
Sir I hereby Send you a report of what I have done Since I last reported. on the 3d of this Month I received news of Capt. Carter and Champ Ferguson Combining forces and moving in the direction of Tracty [sic] city with the intention of attacking it. I immediately Started with fifteen men in pursuit of him[.] after traveling Some [sic] Sixty [sic] miles I reached Spencer. I there arrested a man who Seemed [sic] to know where Carter was, and informed me that he had returned from his attack on Tracy City. He informed me that Carter and his men was then at Hemlock Hollow, which is Twelve miles from Spencer on the Chattanooga Road. I then set my plan to get him. My self and Vannatta disguised ourselves and Started [sic] in the advance. Some [sic] four miles from Spencer where I stopt to enquaire after talking a ffew minutes telling them I was a Southern Soldier and wanted to find Capt Carter, I talked a few minutes when him and Six [sic] of his men came to the door with pistols cocked, and asked me where I was from and what was my business there. I told him that I was from Lebanon and then gave him an introduction to Mr. Smith was Vannatta and told him we wished to Join him. He then remarked to me to go to the Stable and feed our horses and have dinner[.] As I was unsaddling expecting to have a good time my men came in view of the house[.] Carters [sic] men discovered them, and it was not more than twenty steps to a Swampy thicket where it was impossible or a horst to go throug. [sic] I dismounted my men and pushed through but Succeeded only in hitting one, I captured all their horses and equipment also a large amount of goods that he had captured at Tracy City. I then searched the house [sic] and premises where I found about five wagon loads of arms and ammunition which I had piled and burned [sic] for want of transportation[.] The arms was principally Enfield Rifles, unserviceable and all loaded which made it dangerous when they were burnd[.] If you will permit those fifteen men to remain with me I will insure that Carter will never mount himself or make another raid[.]
Your Obedient Servt Joseph H. Blackburn, Comdg. Detchmt
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp, 76-77.