21, ORGANIZE! DRILL!
The meeting of citizens at Odd Fellows Hall on yesterday, which was well attended and full of enthusiasm, demonstrated the spirit of patriotic determination that actuates or people in devising means for the defense of their soil. But one feeling pervaded the assembly - that the invader, whenever he may come, must be driven back at the sacrifice of every dollar and every hazard of every life in the Confederate States. [emphasis added]
It was recommended by resolution that the business houses in the city, except those engaged in the manufacture of military equipments and munitions of war shall close every day at 3 o'clock P.M., for the purpose of organization and drill. This is a move in the right direction, and though a little tardy in point of time, is better late than never. The call made by Gov. Harris for thirty thousand militia, need not interfere with it, but the two enterprises can proceed simultaneously and in harmony.
Memphis has been far behind other southern cities in the work of home defense, and has failed until recently to appreciate its necessity. New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston and other exposed cities upon the coast, not less endangered than we, have their volunteer reserve corps, who drill a certain number of hours every day. The time has come when we should imitate their example. Our whole male population , capable of shouldering a musket or a shot gun, should become soldiers, ready in any emergency to fly to the assistance of the brave men who are already in the field to defend our firesides.
As an auxiliary to the Confederate army -- as a [group?] of young soldiers to fill up the ranks, whether decimated by disease or the sword -- this unorganized multitude must be well disciplined and drilled. [emphasis added.] Without this, they are a mere mob, inefficient and unfit for service, Such is the idea upon which the coast cities have acted, and the result of their conviction now shows itself in thousand of finely discipline citizen soldier, armed to the teeth with the weapons and guns of every description and caliber, ready to meet the foe so soon as his foot presses their soil, and determined to contest with him the possession of every inch of their territory.
Experience shows that it will be better for the volunteer [sic] feature of this movement to be kept prominently in view, as it has been elsewhere in the South. The fact cannot be disguised that the militia service is somewhat obnoxious to our people, and they always respond to a call for its organization with reluctance. Nor is this unnatural. Inasmuch as but little honor is usually won by serving it its ranks. Hence we hope that Governor Harris will assign separate military officers for this volunteer auxiliary force that is to be raised, as the Executives of Louisiana and Alabama have done -- distinct from those who have charge of the State militia.
We do not deem any sensational appeal to the public necessary to arouse them at the present time. There is danger of invasion, it is true, but no occasion for panic or alarm. All that is needed to keep back the tide is to confront the foe, determined to resist to the death. No one apprehends but that we are fully able to keep him from advancing a single furlong beyond our army lines, if we are only up and doing. But to render assurances doubly sure -- and to strengthen the hands of our military authorities at Columbus (Ky.) -- we should give our undivided attention to this laudable enterprise.
It is said that in a late review of the troops at New Orleans, the vast column that turned out on the occasion was nine squares long -- estimated at ten thousand men. Cannot Memphis, so for the "banner city" of the South, display in ten days at least three thousand effective citizen soldiers? Arms can be obtained for them from every private house, and will be furnished, when it is known that they are needed. So let the watchword and the rallying cry be Organize! Drill!
Memphis Commercial Appeal, November 21, 1861.
 Editor's note: It appears as though the more substantial merchants and their politicians were more worried about the working classes, who had no intention of entering the army and were at the least reluctant to support the secessionist cause. A local militia would offer a means for controlling and indoctrinating the lower classes in the secessionist agenda. Under the slogan "Organize! Drill!" the ruling classes of Memphis expected to control the lower classes and gain some protection from mobs or even the Federal army. The local elite meant what they said when they wrote: "this unorganized multitude must be well disciplined and drilled."
21, Guerrilla attack on Northwestern Railroad
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Nashville, November 22, 1864--3 p.m.
Maj.-Gen. SCHOFIELD, Pulaski:
The guerrillas got at the Northwestern railroad yesterday morning and destroyed a train sent for [Major-General] Ruger, which has detained his brigade. He expects to be here by 4 p.m. Did Gen. Wilson reach Pulaski to-day? Upon inquiry I learn that there are three crossings of Duck River below Columbia, viz, at Williamsport, Gordon's Ferry, and at Centreville; at all of them the ground at the north side commands. I will give Ruger instructions to occupy the north bank at all three places.
GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen., U. S. Volunteers, Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 45, pt. I, p.
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