Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

15, Life in a Confederate camp of instruction [boot camp]; a letter from Sergeant Fayette McDowell at Camp Myers [Overton County, Tenn.] to his sisters at home in the Cherry Creek community in White County
Camp Myers
September 15th, 1861
Dear Sisters:
I will send you a letter if I get it done in time. I write letters for the boys in my idle time, which is not much; until I don't have time to write to you as often as I want to. I will explain to you what I have to do in a day. The drum taps at five in the morning, which is before day, you know. Well I have to get up, wake up the company, call them into line, call the roll, [and] dismiss them. I have then to go to every tent and enquire who is sick. Set their names o­n paper to hand to the surgeons. I have also to look over the list and count those who were absent, those able for duty, those absent o­n account of sickness, et. Set it all down to hand to the adjutant of the regiment. I then go to headquarters to hand in my reports. Next I eat breakfast; next I call the company into line to go o­n drill. Number them off and march them to the drill front.
Sometimes I drill them. They ought to set me over them every day, for I am the best in our company, so they say, and it is so by odds.
When the drill is over, I march the company to the tents. Next I go to officers' drill, not obligated to attend their drill but go o­nly to be up with any o­ne. I get in from all drill at half past ten. I then detail the guard, which has to be mounted at 12 o'clock. Hand the list to another sergeant, and sit down, rest sometimes, at other times I write for myself or others, at 12 o'clock I eat dinner. at 1 o'clock I take back the guard list, call up the guard and march them to headquarters or get some other sergeant to take them.
I then go to the commissary and draw provisions for the company, every other day lately, this takes me about 1 hour. The other sergeants divide the rations among the messes. Six men in a mess in o­ne tent. I have a mess to myself if I choose. I have four others with me. Choosing to sleep with them to help keep my mess in order [sic]. This takes me two hours. We then call the company o­n the street and drill them in the manual of arms (I have drilled them nearly every day at this drill) till 3 o'clock. We then rest till 4 and then call up the company to go to the field for regimental drill. They put the whole regiment together and drill 1 1/2 hours, sometimes in a run, or, as we say, o­n double-quick time. We then come to camps, put o­n our coats and caps and uniforms, and go o­n dress parade, takes half an hour. I then march the company to camps, call the roll, dismiss the company and set them to getting supper. I have a negro to cook for me. We drafted three free negroes, and for close attention to duties and not asking for a furlough, the Captain gave [one negro] to me. You know I feel big. He don't cost me anything. At seven I eat supper. Between seven and nine I write letters, love letters sometimes, for the boys. I gave give away about 4 quire of paper and wrote letters o­n about half of it.
The drum taps at nine. I have to see that all the lights in the company are put out. Then if I am ready, I go to bed. If not, I sit up. Sometimes I post my commissary book. I have to keep strict account of everything I draw from the commissary.
Outside of all this I take the sick to the hospital, be always in my place to detail men to perform the different duties. I have to oversee the cleaning of the streets, front and back streets, tents and all.
See to having the guns put in order and many other things that I forgot. You know I am busy. But I stand it very well. I suffer for sleep sometimes. I get to rest o­n wash day as I pay for my washing. That is I don't drill, o­nly officers drill. Have other things to attend to. I have Sunday [fee] from drill entirely.
Yours, etc.
L. L. McDowell
Diary of Amanda McDowell, pp. 65-66.
 15, "On the Shores of Tennessee."
"Move my arm chair, faithful Pompey,
In the sunshine bright and strong,
For this world is fading, Pompey -
Massa won't be with you long;
And I fain would hear the South wind
Bring o­nce more the sound to me,
Of the wavelets softly breaking
On the shores of Tennessee.

"Mournful though the ripples murmur,
As they still the story tell,
How no vessels float the banner
That I've loved so long and well.
I shall listen to their music,
Dreaming that again I see
Stars and Stripes o­n sloop and shallop
Sailing up the Tennessee.

"And Pompey, while o­n Massa waiting
For Death's last Dispatch to come,
If that exiled starry banner
Should come proudly sailing home,
You shall greet it, slave no longer -
Voice and hand shall both be free,
That shout and point to Union colors
On the waves of Tennessee."

"Massa's berry kind to Pompey;
But ole darkey's happy here,
Where he's tended corn and cotton
For dese many a long gone year.
Over yonder Missis sleeping -
No o­ne tends her grave like me;
Mebbe she would miss the flowers
She used to love in Tennessee.

"'Pears like she was watching, Massa -
If Pompey should beside him stay,
Mebbe she'd remember better
How for him she used to pray;
Telling him that away up yonder
White as snow his soul would be,
If he served the Lord of Heaven,
While he lived in Tennessee."

Silently the tears were rolling
Down the poor old dusky face,
As he stopped behind his master,
In his long accustomed place.
Then a silence fell around them
As they gazed o­n rock and tree
Pictured in the placid waters,
Of the rolling Tennessee.

Master, dreaming of the battle
Where he fought by Marion's side,
When he bid the haughty Tarleton
Stop his lordly crest of pride.
Man, remembering how you sleeper
Once he held upon his knee,
Ere she loved the gallant soldier,
Ralph Vevair,[1]  of Tennessee.

Still the South wind fondly lingers
'Mid the veterans silver hair;
Still the bondman closed beside him
Stand behind the old arm chair,
With his dark-hued hand uplifted,
Shading eyes, he bends to see
Where the woodland boldly jutting
Turns aside the Tennessee.

Thus he watches cloud-born shadows
Glide from tree to mountain crest,
Softly creeping, aye and ever
To the river's yielding breast.
Ha! Above the foliage yonder
Something flutters wild and free!
"Massa, Massa! Hallelujah!
The flag's come back to Tennessee!"

"Pompey, hold me o­n your shoulder,
Help me to stand o­n feet o­nce more,
That I may salute the colors
As they pass my cabin door.
Here's the paper signed that frees you,
Give a freeman's shout with me -
"God and Union!" be our watchword
Evermore in Tennessee."
Then the trembling voice grew fainter;
And the limbs refused to stand,
One prayer to Jesus - and the soldier
Glided to that better land.
When the flag went down the fiver
Man and master both were free,
While the ring-dove's note was mingled,
With the rippling Tennessee.
Soldier's Budget [Humboldt], September 15, 1862.
[1] Not identified.
 15, "That Little Coffin."
The world is full of interesting scenes from which the moralist and philanthropist may draw lessons of instruction. "We witnessed tow episode in he city o­n Saturday [12th] in startling juxtaposition with each other. The first was the sight. of all others most revolting to us, of a lewd woman carried o­n a dray, an officer vainly striving in behalf of public decency to keep her from the gaze of the troop of vile boys shouting and throwing dust upon her as she passed. The other was a hearse containing a little coffin. Oh, the tenderness awakened within us at that sight! The view of solemn and diminitive [sic] chamber of the dead aroused every sensibility of our nature. We followed it for a square and observed how the soldiers stopped and looked longingly after it. Did a vision arise in their minds as in our's or of a dear son or daughter, brother or sister clay cold in some distant home? Did they seem to hear, as we did, the mother's wails as the lid was laid for the last time o­n it, and that dear face that idolized form were hidden from by our eyes forever. But o­ne sight of all others gave us pleasure in that connection. An officer riding quietly with his orderly following met the hearse, reined in his horse, and actually took off his hat before that symbol of departed Youth! It was o­ne of the most touching sights our eyes ever witnessed. Need we say that that officer honored himself and the distant darlings who were in his mind as much by that touching salute as he has upon more than o­ne battlefield in which is prowess has been vindicated and his country's honor enhanced,
Memphis Bulletin, September 15, 1863.
15, "Vengeance."
A terrible and tragic scene was enacted near Bell's Bend, on the spot where the late Dr. Moore was murdered a few days ago. We have been unable to obtain full and authentic particulars, but learn that on Thursday last, Major Moore, son of Surgeon Moore, went with a detachment of men belonging to the 10th Tennessee cavalry, to Bell's Bend, and executed summary vengeance upon the inhabitants for the murder of his father. It appears that Major Moore met Mr. McWhirter about three miles this side of his home, when the party made him prisoner, took him back to the spot, where Dr. Moore was murdered, and there killed him without trial or form of trial. The same party then seized Mr. Matt Anderson, and would have killed him, we are informed, but for the interference of one of the party, who knew him well, and interceded for him. E. W. Hyde was also seized, and, as we learn, treated with every indignity; but they spared his life. They then proceeded to burn the houses, barn, etc., of the person residing in the neighborhood. Among the sufferers are the widow of Jerome B. Hyde, whose house and furniture were totally destroyed; William RT. Hyde, whose dwelling, barns, furniture, everything but his land was consumed; the family of J. M. McWhirter, two of the Abernathys, Matt. Anderson, J. M. Howington, and others, The two latter were brought in prisoners. We are not informed by whose authority all this was done, or whether by any authority, or whether there were any palliating circumstances attending it, bit we trust an investigation will be made of the circumstances.
Nashville Dispatch, September 17, 1864.

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