Friday, November 18, 2011

November 17 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

17, Major-General William T. Sherman o­n cotton as money
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS, Memphis, November 17, 1862.
F. G. PRATT, Esq., Memphis, Tenn.:
DEAR SIR: Yours of November 14 has been before me some days. I have thought of the subject-matter, and appreciate what you say, but for the present think best not to tamper with the subject. Money is a thing that cannot be disposed of by an order. Were I to declare that Tennessee money should not be quoted higher than greenbacks, my order would do not good, for any person having cotton to sell has a right to brier it for anything he pleases; thus he might trade it for Tennessee money at 50 cents per pound, and for greenbacks at 52 cents, thereby making the discount. Money will seek its value, and no king or president can fix value by a decree or order. It has been tried a thousand times, always without success; but let money alone and it find its true value.
The reason why Tennessee money has been above greenbacks was, and is, because that kind of money was in demand for cotton. Now, is it our interest to encourage the bringing in of cotton? If so, must we not let the owner barter it for what he pleases? When we answer these question in the affirmative, we must let the owner of the cotton sell it as he pleases. Those who own cotton do not insult our Government by preferring Tennessee money to greenbacks. Tennessee money suits their individual purposes better than greenbacks, and it pleases me, as I see they want their money for local home use, and not to send abroad for munitions of war.
Let these things regulate themselves. War, and war alone, can inspire our enemy with respect, and they will have their belly full f that very soon. I rather think they will in time cry, "Hold, enough!" Till then, let Union men feel confident in their real strength, and determination of our Government, and despise the street talk of Jews and secessionists.
W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 868.




17, Capture of Tracy City train by Confederate guerrillas
No circumstantial reports filed.
STEVENSON, [November 17,] 1864.
Maj.-Gen. MILROY:
The officer at the tunnel reports that the Tracy City train was captured to-day by about fifty or sixty guerrillas; two of our men badly wounded and one captured; and also that they were going to Gizzard Creek to burn the bridge. I have ordered seventy men from Decherd to go to Gizzard Creek.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, p. 929.



17-29, Confederate Cavalry operations in Middle Tennessee previous to the Battle of Nashville
No circumstantial reports filed.
Excerpt from the Report of Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Division, of operations November 17-December 27, 1864, relative to activities in Middle Tennessee from November 17 - 29, 1864.
MAJ.: Your order directing me to forward a report of the operations of this division in the recent campaign in Middle Tennessee has been received, and shall be complied with as well as it is possible for me to do in the absence of reports from subordinate commanders, which have not yet come in.
On the 17th of November we crossed the Tennessee River at Florence and remained on Shoal Creek until the 21st of November, during which time we had several skirmishes with the enemy, and a part of our wagon train was taken by them, but was afterward recaptured and about forty of the enemy made prisoners. On the morning of the 21st the forward movement of the army commenced, my division taking the road by West Point, Kelly's Forge, and Henryville to Mount Pleasant and Columbia. On the 23d instant Rucker's brigade met Capron's brigade of the enemy's cavalry near Henryville and captured forty-five prisoners. After retreating for about five miles the enemy made a stand and a sharp skirmish ensued, but Maj.-Gen. Forrest, having got in their rear with his escort, charged them so vigorously that they fell back, leaving about twenty additional prisoners in our hands. Our loss in this affair was slight.
On the morning of the 24th Col. Rucker pursued the enemy to within seven miles of Columbia, when he again encountered and routed them, following them into the edge of the town, capturing about thirty prisoners. I retreat to say that in this pursuit Lieut.-Col. Dawson, commanding Fifteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was killed while gallantly leading his regiment in a charge. He had discharged all the loads from his revolver and was endeavoring to wrest one of the enemy's flags from its bearer when he was shot.
During the afternoon of the 24th and on the three following days (25th, 26th, and 27th) we skirmished heavily with the enemy in front of Columbia, driving them from their temporary fortifications into their regular works and obtaining possession of a valuable flouring mill within less than three miles of the town.
On the 28th Columbia was evacuated by the enemy, who took a strong position on the north side of Duck River, covering the crossing at the town. This division was moved seven miles up the river, where we forded it, and after riding for the remainder of the day and the greater part of the following night, we struck the enemy on the morning of the 29th near Hurt's Cross-Roads. Here we were joined by Gen.'s Buford's and Jackson's divisions of cavalry, and after driving the enemy's cavalry for some distance in the direction of Franklin we turned toward Spring Hill, where we met the head of the enemy's infantry column about 11 a. m., and held it in check until about 4 p. m., when Cleburne's division, of Cheatham's corps, came to our assistance. The cavalry alone had driven the advance line of the enemy for more than a mile across open fields, and with the assistance of Cleburne's division, which formed on our left, drove them from some temporary breast works which had been erected about two miles from some temporary breast works which had been erected about two miles from Spring Hill on the Davis Ferry road. It was then dark, and Stewart and Cheatham's corps of infantry having come up, this division was relieved.
During the night [29th] I was ordered to move south of Spring Hill across to the Carter's Creek pike to intercept a column of the enemy which was supposed to be cut off between Spring Hill and Columbia, and hold them in check, or if they had passed, to pursue them rapidly. When I crossed the Columbia pike I learned, to my great astonishment, that the enemy's whole column had passed up that pike, and within a very short distance of our infantry lines, during the night, and on reaching the Carter's Creek pike I found that no enemy had passed along it. I followed the latter pike to Franklin and saw nothing of the enemy until I arrived within two miles of that place, when I found them drawn up in two lines of battle behind a double line of intrenchments before it. I was joined here by Col. J. B. Biffle whit a part of Col. Dibrell's brigade of cavalry, which had been ordered to report to me. The infantry having come up, this division was formed on the extreme left on the line, and at 4.30 p. m. the whole line advanced, driving in the enemy's skirmishers easily, and this division drove back double its number of the enemy, who were strongly posted behind a stone wall, and pushed them back rapidly for one mile until they reached their permanent fortifications at Franklin. My line was pressed forward until the skirmishers were within witty yards of the fortifications, but my force was too small to justify and attempt to storm them, and I could only hold my position, which we did during the night and until an early hour in the morning, when the skirmish line was pushed forward and was the first to enter the town, capturing some 20 prisoners. Our loss up to this time, 116 killed and wounded.
* * * *
James R. Chalmers, C. S. Army, Brigadier-General
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, pp. 763-764.


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