18, "VAMPIRES AGAIN."
The fact that our articles, denouncing the intolerable avarice and extortion of adventurous tradesmen have created a considerable fluttering among some of this class, induces us to continue rather than abate our warfare upon them. We hinted a few days since that the vile system of forestalling the market, in the purchase of army supplies, would probably defeat itself in the course of time by inviting the healthy interference of Government in the matter. The "army worms," who are eating into the very vitals of the South by subsisting upon speculation and monopoly, can be influenced in no other possible manner. They are mere vampires that maintain life only by phlebotomizing the Confederacy, and need some other corrective for their unnatural voracity than mere ordinary appliances. Patriotism and honest constitute no part of their moral system -- they care little who conquers in this war, so they [sic] can reap profit from its necessities, while at the same time they pusillanimously shun its burdens and skulk its battles.
The State Legislature, as recommended by Governor HARRIS [sic], should not leave their seat at the capitol before paying their respects to these quasi-traitors to the cause of liberty. We, of course, allude particularly to those scoundrels who have bought up such necessaries of life, as are needed by our soldiers and keep them hoarded under lock and key in cellars and garrets, refusing to sell until they can realize at least six or eight hundred per cent profit on the amount originally invested. These libels on humanity have not risked their capital by running blockades and embargoes, thus justifying additional compensation, but have simply purchased stocks and stores in our own markets. They have their tools and agents prowling about in every little country town and village, buying every article of necessity that they can possibly lay hand on, form a barrel of pork down to a paper of plus [pius?]; and, as we hear, are so conscienceless in many instances as to represent themselves as the commissioned agents of the Government.
We can see only one or two proper and feasible modes of remedying this evil. The more effectual one, perhaps, will be the plan suggested by us some days since. If State legislation is deemed unequal to the end, the salutary coup de main [sic] lately practiced by Moo. Moored in New Orleans, with a slight mitigation of its rigor, may do better. Government can take possession of the hoarded stores of these huckstering harpies, allowing them a reasonable profit on their investments, and a proper remuneration for the trouble and labor of having so long carried the keys of their locked up warehouses. Necessity alone can justify this move, and none can tell how soon its mandates may present themselves for enforcement. The principle, carrying with it the highest considerations of public good -- we may say of national benefit -- is parallel to that, which justifies the forced sale of land for the construction of a street or road of a public character. In the latter case, the property is valued; and a sufficient consideration given to the owner for its sacrifice -- a legitimate and recognized practice, known to every tyro in jurisprudence.
The principle involved is simply that individual interests must be subordinated to the public benefit. A government, struggling amid difficulties for its very existence against a powerful and unscrupulous adversary can undoubtedly take this step. Without eliciting the slightest demurer from the great mass of its citizens. None will oppose it, when it becomes necessary, beside the extortioners [sic] themselves who may become victims to the policy or that doubtful class of brethren whose patriotism, like the shadow upon a sundial, vanished with the appearance of the slightest cloud. The same reasons, in fact, that would dictate a rigorous policy toward political traitors, will apply with equal force to these mercantile conspirators, who are little better than the armed mercenaries of the enemy, who seek to crush out our liberties with instruments differing only in kind. The one only uses bayonets and bullet, honestly avowing himself a foe the other craft and capital, with base hypocrisy, pretending to be a friend. Equal culpability rests upon the shoulders of each, for we can make not substantial difference between adversaries foreign and domestic.
The amount of provisions, pork, flour, salt, etc., in the South is amply sufficient to last until another year, if we will but exhibit a degree of economy, and the only thing on earth besides extravagance that can make prices tremendous is monopoly. The laws of supply and demand, which usually regulate the matter, are silent amid arms, and the provision market in the Confederacy. Like the cotton market in London, is gradually getting under the influence of an unnecessary panic.
It is at all times desirable to conform even to the technicalities of the law in the administration of government, but we again advise the vampires that the period may not be far distant when the same necessity which recently compelled the martial interdiction of cotton shipments to large cities, may extend to circle of its persuasive influence over some of their own outrageous transactions.
Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 18, 1861.
18, "LETTER FROM GEN. PILLOW."
olumbus, KY, Oct. 14, 1861
To the Conductors of the Memphis Press
I inclose you for publication a letter to which I invite the attention of the good people of your city, whose right of property and liberties are protected by the army under my command. From this letter you will see that the families of the brave men composing the army are suffering for the necessaries of life.
I an aware of the liberal appropriations made by your county courts to provide for them; but yet there is suffering; and I fear a want of proper attention to the distribution of the fund.
But be that as it may, I cannot turn a deaf ear to the voice of wants sent to this camp from the wives of the grave men composing its rank and file -- nor can I refuse to allow those whose duty it is to provide for their families to go back, and provide them bread.
If I am compelled to grant such applications, it is easy to see that (combined with disease) this army will melt away until you city may be humbled by the tread of the tyrant's mercenary soldiers on your streets.
I know the public spirit and patriotic devotion of the people of Memphis to the cause of popular rights and a free government, and believe that the proper authorities will apply the corrective.
This is only one of many cases that have come before me.
I cannot and will not hold the brave men of this army to the post of duty when I hear the cries of their wives and children for bread, from your streets.
With great respect,,
Your ob't. serv't.
GID. J. PILLOW,
* * * *
CHELSEA, September 28, 1861
My Dearest Charlie:
I will write again to you, and perhaps you may get this one, but I do not know. I have written several letters to you, and get no answers. Why don't you [write]? Here I might starve and die, and you never would hear of it. I think it very hard that I should be almost destitute of the necessaries of life, and none to help me, and not even a helping hand to assist me, and the one I have on earth has been taken from me to go off and fight for the property of others that stay at home, [added]and see the poor women suffer for the mere want of bread; they care not for that, self is all they care for.[added] Oh, for God's sake show this to the colonel, and if he is a gentleman he will have some feeling for the female sex. I hope he is not solely destitute of sympathy for women. Oh, Charlie, please come [home], for I need your presence at home to make some provision for me and the baby. If I were not unable to do anything I would not think of it being so hard, but I am sick and have had Doctor Bailey tending on me ever since you left, and for my sake come home and let me see you once more. I really need your assistance at home.[added] The baby is well. I shall look for you, if not, write soon. I do not get one cent from the county, and what am I to do? Write soon.
Commercial Appeal, October 18, 1861.
18, Guerrilla Raid on the N&NW RR (USMRR)
OCTOBER 18 and 21, 1864.--Raids on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, Tenn.
Report of Lieut. William L. Clark, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, Assistant Inspector Railroad Defenses.
OFFICER ASST. INSPECTOR RAILROAD DEFENSES, DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Eastern Section Nashville and N. W. Railroad, Section 20, October 25, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with instructions received yesterday from your office, dated October 22, I have the honor to report the following particulars of the attack upon trains at section 36, Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, on the morning of the 18th instant; also, on the afternoon of the 21st instant:
The track repairers at section 36 were taken prisoners by McNary's gang (variously estimated at from 15 to 40 men, while some place the number at exactly 23) on the night of the 17th, about 12 o'clock, and held till late on the following morning, and made by McNary to draw the spikes from a rail and remove the fastenings at its end so as to be loose. The gang then drew back from observation, and in this condition of affairs the first a. m. train passed safely by them, except that a shower of bullets was poured in, which wounded a surgeon, Hogle, Engineer E. Andrews, and killed a boy, who was cook and brakeman, dead on the bunk, where he happened to by lying. The second a. m. train came to the loose rail and ran off; the engineer and fireman were wounded. Everybody was stripped of whatever money, watches, or valuables they had which pleased the fancy of the robbers. The locomotive was upset and slightly injured by cutting places with axes. One box-car was burned, but their efforts to burn the flat-cars loaded with iron, which composed the balance of the train, were not successful, and these were slightly injured. The third train, loaded with sawed timber from Ayres' saw-mill at section 29, ran up and was fired into. All hands jumped off and were robbed, except Engineer W. H. Stevens, who ran the train back to section 32, White Bluffs, in safety. Mean time the first train, Civil Conductor Charles White, arrived at Sneedville, and Col. Murphy, who was on board, had the telegrapher, G. W. Leedon, send a dispatch to Lieut. Orr, at White Bluff's, to come on with his cavalry. The dispatch was promptly obeyed, and Lieut. Orr arrived with twenty-five men twenty minutes after the gang had taken their departure, and pursued them a short distance unsuccessfully, and his horses being tired and inferior he returned. A wrecking train was dispatched with hands from Gillem's Station, section 51, to clear the road, and Lieut. Cox, with a detachment of Company B, One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry, and Capt. Frost, with a detachment from companies of the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry from Sullivan's Branch, were sent to section 36, and the road made clear on the following morning, 19th instant.
Again on the 21st instant, as the p. m. train for Johnsonville was passing section 36, it was signaled by the section foreman, whose cook had informed him she had seen men tearing up the track. Capt. O. B. Simmons, military conductor, had the train stopped, and with his large train guard pursued the bushwhackers, whose numbers could not be ascertained, for a considerable distance, but as they were mounted the pursuit was unavailing. Civil Conductor Charles White fastened down the rail and the train passed on. Afterward the gang returned and burned the house and commissary of the section foreman, who lay in the bushes in sight. They also burned nearly all the negro and other dwelling along the railroad for two miles. Piles of wood at sections 38 and 39 were burned, and various estimates placed the loss in wood at from 3,000 to 15,000 cords. The wood being in several ranks close to the road many ties were burned at the ends, and the rails warped by the intense heat, so that the 3 o'clock train for Nashville could not pass. The telegraph operator at Sneedville called operator at White Bluffs, section 32, and while calling the line was cut before getting and answer. Capt. J. W. Dickins, at Sneedville, went to the burning wood with part of this company, and arrived in time to hear the retreating bushwhackers laughing and talking, but was not able at that time (11 o'clock night) to do anything, and returned to Sneedville. On the 22d Military Conductor Capt. Van Skike, from Nashville, found out the condition of the road at sections 38 and 39, and took a detail up from White Bluffs and repaired the road as soon as possible so that trains ran through on the 23d of October.
I have made no delay in gathering the materials from authentic sources for this report, and hope it may prove acceptable.
WILLIAM L. CLARK, First Lieut., Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry,
Division Inspector Eastern Section Nashville and Northwestern R. R.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 877-879.