Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 2 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

April 2, 1863

2, Children, songs and a war souvenir

A bright sunshiny morning – not cold except for the wind which is blowing considerably – too high to be pleasant. This is "my Dushie's" birthday – she is eight years old. Dear little thing – she started off the school this morning with such a merry heart. Oh! these sweet children! how they twine and nestle around our hearts! They are a great source of pride to me and a great comfort – in spite of all the deep anxiety I feel on their account in these troublous [sic] times. They all seem so pleased with their school – so anxious to be off every morning, and so much in earnest over their tiny tests and little lessons. Ting is such an oddity. Last night Jessie was repeating in a rather careless way one of her lessons commencing "Praise God, - I called her attention to the fact that such was not the proper way to respect such words. Ting[,] looking up gravely from the floor where she was seated with the cat in her lap said "She better not say that, hattern [sic] she Ma? That's God's thing." She was evidently convinced that all morning – when the children came home we went to the river fishing – caught no fish as the wind was high and cold….In the evening we had the children all in my room conning [sic] over lessons, when Maj. Buford and Col. Hawkins were announced. We spent a pleasant evening – had music – and among things Col. H. sung for us two of his own songs, (it seems he is a poet,) one to the air of the "Star Spangled Banner" and one a new version of Bonnie Blue Flag which is beautiful – sentiment and refrain is "Hurrah for the bonnie flag that ends this cruel war." Maj. B. gave me some trophies from the Murfreesboro battle – German letters and poetry – and Mollie [got] a Yankee copper cent which was from the gun-boat taken by Wheeler's cavalry.[1] I had cake and cordial which were cussed [sic] and warmly complimented. This morning I took Memo, of an official report of Gen. Morgan's of the battle of Hartsville[2] – 3 reports – one of the late battle of Milton[3] – together with a bundle of Northern paper were sent me day before yesterday by Mrs. Morgan – I returned them this morning.

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, April 2, 1863. 

[1] January 8-14, 1863, Wheeler's Raid, including affairs at Mill Creek, Harpeth Shoals, and Ashland. It was during this operation, at Harpeth Shoals, that wounded Union soldiers were taken off a hospital boat by Wheeler's command, and the boat destroyed.

[2] December 7, 1862.

[3] Fought in northeast Rutherford County on .March 20, 1863.






Col. Boone telegraphs from Clarksville as follows:

The fleet gunboat St. Clair, and transports
 Eclipse, Luminary, and Lizzie Martin were fired into at Palmyra. Gunboat and Luminary perhaps taken. The Eclipse arrived here disabled; reports the advance of rebels o­n this place. We will hold until re-enforced.


NASHVILLE, April 3, 1863.

Gen. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff:

I have just received the following dispatch from Clarksville:

Scouts report the gunboat and
 Luminary escaped capture. The rebels are at Palmyra in force; have there a rifled 6 and smooth 12 pounder, and other caliber not ascertained. We must have the siege guns ordered for this post. Send them at o­nce.


I have ordered the siege guns down.

ROBT. B. MITCHELL, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

APRIL 3, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. GRANGER, Franklin:

The fleet was attached at Palmyra last night by the rebels, who had six pieces of artillery.

* * * *

There seems to be a considerable force at Palmyra.

J. A. GARFIELD, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 205. 

Report of J.S. Hurd, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, commanding gunboat
 St. Clair, relating to the attack o­n ships under his convoy at Palmyra, April 2, 1863

 St Clair, Off Smithland, KY., April 4, 1863


I have the honor to report in compliance with Captain Pennock's order...I...arrived at Fort Donelson at 1 o'clock p.m. 1st instant (April)found transports awaiting convoy; proceeded up the river....9 o'clock a.m. 2d instant, arrived at Gower's Island, above which I did not apprehend any danger. I headed downstream to convoy (to Nashville) other transports and towboats due from below.

My reason for doing this was there were two barges loaded with coal being towed up the river which were drawing 71/2 feet water. There was water enough o­n the shoals, but the river was falling and it was very important to get them up before the water became too low. Arrived at Fort Donelson at 4 o'clock p.m., found transports and towboats awaiting convoy. I headed upstream; proceeded up the river. At 10:30 o'clock p.m. arrived at Palmyra, and when off the bluff immediately above the town the enemy opened fire from the top of the bluff upon two transports (lashed together) in the advance. They were then above the enemy's battery, and so far as I know proceeded up the river uninjured. This vessel was next in line, next the
 Luminary (transport), next the towboats C. Miller and J.W. Kellogg with two barges, then the Fairplay. As soon as the enemy saw their shots aimed at the advance transports were ineffectual, they turned their attention to this vessel with artillery and small arms. TheLuminary (next astern), and then off the town, was fired into considerably with small arms. My guns had been run out and prepared for action. I at o­nce returned fire, and the contest was spirited for a short time, when my supply pipe was struck by a 12-pounder shell, which at o­nce let the water out of my back with the current. I hailed theLuminary (Captain Williamson), who came alongside, took my vessel in tow, and towed me down to Fort Donelson.

I am unable to estimate the forces of the enemy, but think them in strong force (a deserter says 12,000). They had from 10 to 12 pieces of artillery, 6 to 12 pounders. This vessel was struck six times with artillery, doing some damage, but not serious, other than cutting my supply pipe. I also received m any shots from small arms and some of canister.

When the firing commenced I was not more than 400 feet from the enemy's guns, and they were o­n the bluff at so great an elevation I could not use my guns to an advantage until I dropped down the river, and the water was them all out of my boilers. The o­nly casualties to my officers or men were Acting Master Foutty, who was struck o­n the right nee by a 6-pounder rifle elongates shot, and o­ne boy slightly scalded. Acting Master George W. Foutty will lose his right leg, and I fear it will prove fatal. He was sick; had not been out of his bed but o­nce during the day. When the firing commenced he at o­nce got out of bed, went below, and was doing his ditty well at the time he received the wound. My officer and men manifested great courage and coolness quite commendable. [

At the request of Mr. Foutty, I called the post surgeon at Fort Donelson o­n board, an after consultation it was though best to place in in the hospital at the fort.

I found it unsafe to attempt to run down to Smithland with my supply pipe so imperfectly repaired. Applied to Colonel Lowe, commanding at Fort Donelson, for a towboat to assist me. He readily ordered the J.W. Kellogg to my assistance. At 2:30 p.m. I got underway, stood down the river, and arrived at Smithland at 9:30 o'clock p.m.

The Fairplay, Acting Master Groves, commanding, was not near enough to take part in the engagement, having in charged the towboats and barges, but it affords me pleasure to represent the promptness and efficiency of Mr. Groves while convoying during the entire trip....

* * * *

J.S. Hurd, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, Commanding

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pp. 65-68.

Excerpt from a Federal soldier's diary relative to the attack at Palmyra

April 3, 1863 - We also had a small fracas o­n the Cumberland River yesterday. o­ne gunboat was considerably disabled and o­ne transport was shot through several times but did not damage her a great deal. They have all fell [
sic] back o­n [Fort] Donelson again and they are waiting for more gunboats to guard them through to Nashville. Our cavalry has started out this morning to learn the strength of the enemy at that place. At 3 o'clock p.m. we were ordered in line for battle and threw our tents down. We were then ordered to march up to the fort. We then stacked our guns. The cannons commenced practice to shoot and elevated their pieces o­n the hills and they all shot excellent. We are not in the old camp again and we have everything fixed up.

Diary of Charles Schreel, Company E, 71st Ohio Infantry


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