Friday, March 16, 2012

March 15 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

15, Increase in crime in Confederate Memphis
The Police Force - Our police force had hard duty to perform; the present Council materially reduced their number, while circumstances connected with the war have brought very many strangers into this city, and as thieves, gamblers and swindlers always follow the crowd, then there has been an unusual number of that class of gentry among us. At the present time the number of the floating brigand population is greater than at any previous period, and just now when the services of the police are so much required their ranks are being thinned by the volunteer and militia service, and the services of some of the remaining are partially required to assist militia organizations. These are facts which in justice to the police force, should be taken into account in estimating their services, and should also awaken serious attention on the part of those interested in the saftey and welfare of the city. Judging from numerous occuring incidents that have come to the knowledge of the Provost Marshall [sic] [he] will find a wide field of activity. We have too many direputable drinking houses, too many gambling houses, and other vile places.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 15, 1862.






15, 1862, Measures by Federal forces to protect public health in Murfreesboro, an excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence
At this time, the army were [sic] receiving large droves of beef cattle. Some of them were fine looking, other had to be killed soon, to keep them from dying. [sic] They were generally kept in lots in and about town. It took about fifty or sixty every day to supply the demand of the army and hospitals. They would drive out that number, [then] shoot them down. When butchered, it generally covered over a half acre ground, the entrails, heads and feet, left lying there -- so in the course of time several acres was [sic] covered in this way, and it began to get warm weather. The smell became very offensive.
We began to be apprehensive that it would cause sickness, but as fortune would have it, the authorities took the matter in hand -- dug pits, had the offensive [offal] collected up and thrown in and covered up. This caused the atmosphere to improve. Large numbers of horses were shot, such as were very poor, diseased and woarn [sic] out. Here was a fortune lost [sic] to some speculating, enterprising Yankee, in the way of sculls [sic], horns and shin bones.A system of street cleaning now commenced. Hands were set to work scraping up all the litter that was lying in the streets, gutters and corners, [and] hauled it out of town. Things now begin to put o­n a more cheerful and healthy appearance....
Spence Diary, p. 81.



15, "Sunday in Nashville"
Sunday dawned clear and pleasant, and the town was alive with pedestrians -- citizens and strangers. The churches were well attended during the day, and several funerals took place; that of the Rev. Dr. Ford (whose death cast a gloom over the city), was attended by the Masonic fraternity, and that of Capt. Baughby the Odd Fellows -- the body of the latter was not, however, deposited by the side of his first wife, in Mount Olivet Cemetery, as was intended, but in the vault of the City Cemetery, until inquiry could be made as to the cause of his death.
CLEANING STREETS is commendable, but we are at a loss to find an excuse for allowing the work on Passion Sunday. It has been said for ages that "cleanliness in next to godliness," not to be preferred to it.
THE WIDOW BEARD is recovering, under the constant and generous and skillful treatment of Dr. -------- -------------, aided by the comforts which our charitable friends have enabled us to purchase for her. We left with a king and good neighbor the wherewithal to continue a supply of the necessaries for the widow and her little children.
Fires added to the variety of accidents; about five o'clock in the evening a fire broke out at the residence of Mrs. Phoebe Ellis, on South Summer street, which was considerably damaged. Another fire broke out about midnight at the residence of Mr. A. C. Farris, on North McLemore street, which was entirely consume, and the adjoining house somewhat damaged.
SOME FIGHTING took place during the day; just enough to keep the boys from spoiling. The first took place on the corner of Cherry and Church, between a soldier a memeber of the Provost Guard. The guard attempted to arrest the soldier, who resisted. A fight ensued for the possession of the guard's musket, which the soldier finally succeeded in capturing and ran up the street with it, much to the merriment of some of Uncle Sam's boys who were standing by. The guard started in pursuit, but was tripped up by a soldier. We heard of no arrests. In Germantown quite a lively engagement took place, between 11 and 12 o'clock at night, some thirty or forty shots having been fired in the neighborhood of the brewery between those hours, but by whom, or with what effect, we were unable to learn, as all was quiet at "the seat of war" when the Provost guard arrived there.
THIEVES AND BURGLARS regarded not the sanctity of the day any more than quartermasters, and plied their vocation vigorously. A man named Ross was knocked down in the bottom north of the Sulphur Springs, and robbed of sixty dollars, the highwaymen escaping. A livery stable on College street near Church, was broken into by three men, but Wm. Rice, one of our efficient night officers, disturbed them will making a selection of plunder, and they vamosed. Several other interesting affairs occurred, which will be found chronicled in the proceedings of the Recorder's Court.
Altogether, Sunday was rather a lively day in Nashville.
Nashville Dispatch, March 15, 1864.


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