Sunday, October 2, 2011

September 29 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

100 Confederate prisoners killed and Frightfully Wounded-Strange Meetings-Incidents, etc.
One of the most startling and fatal accidents occurred in our city yesterday that we have ever been called upon to chronicle. The scene of the sad disaster, so fraught [sic] with human suffering, was the unfinished building, situated on the corner of Church and Cherry streets, known as the Maxwell House, which is used as a barracks for our soldiers. At the time of the accident, about 600 Confederate prisoners were confined there, in the upper or fifth story. At the signal for breakfast, the prisoners rushed to the head of the stairs, on their way to the dining-room, all gaiety and thoughtlessness. The rush was so sudden and their weight so great that the stairs gave way with a loud crash and 100 of the prisoners were suddenly precipitated, with a perfect avalanche of broken and scattering timbers, through two sets of flooring, to the third floor, where they landed [as] one quivering mass of bleeding, mangled humanity. Two (whose names we have been unable to learn) were instantly killed, and the whole of them more or less injured. Many of them were frightfully disfigured, having their legs, arms or heads broken.
The news of the accident spread rapidly through the city, and in a short time the streets in the vicinity were crowded with persons anxious to learn the extend of the terrible affair.
Guards were immediately thrown around the building to prevent the unfortunate sufferers, who were now being removed from the wreck, from being crowds. Ambulances were hurried to the spot, and the misguided and suffering Confederates, who had braved the dangers of many a hard fought battle to be maimed for life by an accident, were taken to the prison hospital. Here they were attended by our surgeons and nurses with all the kind and tender care that could have been shown a Federal soldier wounded under the Stars and Stripes fighting for the Union. The secesh ladies also waited on them with an untiring devotion that would reflect honor on a more righteous cause. One of the injured prisoners, a mere stripling, who has been captured several times before, remarked that he "would not care half so much if he had taken his breakfast."
In another part of the building were some Union refugees, lately arrived from Northern Georgia. Upon the occurrence of the fatal accident, some of the men rushed to the rescue among the foremost. One of them found among the sufferers three of his neighbors from Georgia, who had long since left their homes for the rebel service. Another refugee found his son, who had been conscripted, and of whom he had not heard in 16 months. A third encountered a brother from Texas, from whom he had been separated eight years. Such are the sad and impressive scenes, which can scarcely be called strange in this unnatural war.
Though many of the prisoners were badly hurt and will be crippled for life, we are told that not more than four or five are likely to die from the effects of their injuries.
We will remark that the present efficient commander of the barracks, Capt. Larkin, of the 89th Ohio, is in no way to blame for the accident, for he has frequently warned the inmates of the barracks against crowding around the stairways.
Below we give the names and the commands of the injured prisoners: [not included here]
Nashville Daily Press, September 30, 1863.


29, "Enthusiastic Meeting of Colored Men."
A large and enthusiastic meeting of colored men, and colored men only, was held in Collins' Chapel, Washington street, on Thursday [Sept. 29], for the purpose of electing a delegate to the National Convention of colored men to be held in Syracuse [NY] on the 4th proximo. Speeches were made by Messrs. Rankin, Foster, and Motley, and resolutions were passed expressive of their intention to co-operate with any measures that may be adopted by the Convention for the advancement of the interests of their race. Horatio M. Ranking was closed delegate by an almost unanimous vote. This was an able, earnest meeting of colored men exclusively, not white men having any connection with its management, and no women or children present. The object of the Convention is to take measures in relation to the disposition that shall be made of the freedmen who are expected to be liberated by the war. A report of their meeting will be transmitted to the heads of the departments at Washington the members of both branches of Congress and the governors of all loyal States.
Mr. Rankin [sic] started on his mission Northward today.
Memphis Bulletin, October 1, 1864.

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