Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

 28, Excerpts from a letter by Surgeon William M. Eames (U.S.) to his wife in Ohio, relative to conditions in Nashville after a week of occupation
Camp 4 miles beyond Nashville, Tenn. Feb. 28
Friday 11 A .M.
Dearest wife,
You see by the above date that we have got through the rebel city of Nashville & are now we are encamped o­n a pleasant hill o­n the road to Murfreesborough where the rebel army is supposed to be fortifying -- about 40 miles from here. It is a very fine spring-like day & the last day of the winter months tho, we have had no weather like winter for a long time. The weather seems like what we get in May & the grass is springing up green & the buds begin to swell. The birds sing gaily among the trees & our camp begins to look cheerful o­nce more. For the past few days we have had very hard times & the men have been sick & discouraged & everything has had a gloomy aspect, owing to rainy weather -- want of good ratios & tents to sleep under. It has rained at least half the time & the men have been drenched & soaked, & have had to wade thro, deep water & then lie down o­n the damp ground with no covering but the cloudy or cold regions above with nothing to cook their scanty food in & I have often been pained to see them toasting their slice of stinking ham o­n a stick as their o­nly supper or breakfast with sometimes a little parched corn -- roasted o­n the cob. The bridges have all been destroyed by the rascals: our teams of course hindered with all the cooking utensils, provisions -- tents, bedding, etc. The Cumberland River is high above the banks & now fills many cellars & covers the houses even to the eaves. The river runs past the city with a deep angry current but our men are now all carried over & nearly all their teams which have kept along with the Reg [sic] since we left Bowling Green. Our team with 4 others was sent back from B. to Munfordville for provisions & we have not seen them since consequently we are without means of transportation save what we can carry in the room of two men in o­ne of our ambulances. Our boxed of medicines were left & nearly all our necessary articles but we still keep along. I have not been in Nashville much except to pass through it o­n our way out here -- But I saw enough of it to conclude that it was at least half union in sentiment & that very many were heartily glad to see us come to relieve them from the southern tyranny which has so long ruled over them. I saw the public square in which Amos Dresser received his whipping & the very beautiful State House & many buildings with a yellow flag flying -- revealing the fact that they were occupied as Hospitals. I suppose there are many hundreds of poor secession soldiers -- sick & wounded now in the city besides 200 of our own soldiers who were wounded at the fight at Fort Donaldson [sic] & then captured & brought here where they were recaptured by our men. We took vast quantities of rebel stores with the city -- estimated at more then 2 million dollars worth. -- including all kinds of provisions & camp equipage -- tents, etc., four steam engines (Locomotives) & several passenger cars & freight cars. Large quantities of rebel arms -- some finished & some in their workshops partly done -- Cannon in their foundries ______, [sic] Tinker Dave Beatty's secret hideout, near Montgomery [a.k.a. Morgan Court House] in Morgan County & tons of shot & shell & other ammunition -- medical stores -- etc. etc. besides three steamboats - o­ne of which the rebels burned after we had got possession of it. Our army here is now very large & every day increasing. Nelsons [sic] division came down o­n the Ohio & up the Cumberland o­n boats the day we came into the place. He first raised the Stars & Stripes over the capital building. After it had waved a short time a citizen of Nashville came to him & requested that the flag he owned should be raised in its stead. He said he had used his flag to sleep o­n all the time since the reign of terror commenced & now he wanted the same flag to wave over the State-house -- & it does. Long may it wave.
....Two of [General U. S Grant's] gunboats are here & they are ugly looking customers. Not less than a dozen large size Steam boats are lying at the wharves or engaged in carrying over troops & wagons. Several Regts of Cavalry & Batteries of Artillery are here, but our Division is still ahead of all & we can look out o­n the enemies [sic] country just beyond us. Their pickets came up close to our lines & two nights ago they commenced firing o­n our pickets & lost three of their men. We have taken several prisoners & more are being found every day in the city. I am quite well today & have but little diarrhea [sic]. Appetite first rate. Rob is also well & all the rest of my crowd. 
* * * * 
Yours as ever,
Wm. M. Eames
William M. Eames Papers 



28, Fire on the mountain
A cloudy day with a little rain, but not cold – the atmosphere, thick with smoke for the mountains have been on fire all around us. The weather has been windy and dry, the valley full of smoke – the sun and moon looking at their rising and setting like globes of blood. Last night the fires were in lines clear across one or two mountains – these running up to the summit – looking like the lines of the army….

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, February 28, 1864.

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