Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

1861, May 21, Tennessee – Confederate passion and rhetoric; Dr. Robert C. Abernathy of Pulaski to Dr. Hern of Indiana regarding Southern enthusiasm to defend itself from the Federal invasion
Dear Friend, 
Your very welcome letter reached me in due time & met with a cordial reception by all your friends (to whom I showed it) – I would have answered it sooner, but my time has been monopolized by my profession & my mind preoccupied in anxious reflections upon the impending crisis. Your friends are all well so far as I know & hopeful as to the result of the conflict. Pro. Mooney preached the most soul-stirring sermon to the volunteers ever heard in this country, - all were delighted, his text was the 45th verse of the 17th ch. Of the 1st Book of Samuel, - he read the whole chapter as preliminary to the sermon, &made Goliath personify the North & David represent the South – said that the world was full of Good & Evil; David representing the Good & virtuous of his day & his seemingly invincible adversary, the evil. You can imagine from the text the character of the sermon, but you cannot conceive [sic] the true effort. We will publish it & I will send you a copy. Our volunteers numbering about 25,000 are near the Kentucky line, near Cairo & other convenient points in camp. Well provisioned and well armed [sic]. Such entire unanimity prevails that the first intimation of invasion [sic] 75,000 freemen will rise as one man to repel & crush out the vandal hordes & scoundrels [sic] who would dare to put their infamous feet upon the soil of Tennessee. I tell you, my Friend, the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong." We are resolved to conquer a peace & dictate [sic] the terms of it, - we have asked to be let alone, & have been told in cowardly defiance, "that it did not belong to the vanquished to dictate terms to the victors.["] I say cowardly defiance, because noting but the confidence which brute force inspires could ever have induced the Gentry [sic] of the conscientious-scruple sick school of fanaticism to have given expression to so wonderfully a heroic a sentiment, - the most chivalrous sons of Tennessee are in the field & they will know no defeat [sic]. We who are the fathers of the land are forming reserved companies of Minute Men [sic] & we are all resolved to go whenever out Governor calls us. Our Negroes are all in fine [sic] spirits, many have gone with the Army & many more want to go & if God shall (in his wisdom) suffer us defeated in the first engagement [sic], we will muster 10,000 or perhaps 50,000 slaves who will meet death cheerfully in defense of their masters rights. Subjugate us!! Never, never, never!!! [sic] Mind you, we wage no offensive war; - & we claim to be freemen [sic] & to be possessed of the right to live in a Government of our own [sic] making. The North denies us this right & affirms that they will conquer us & hold us as conquered provinces, - Now in the name of all that is good & right! [sic] what sort of Government will this be if Lincoln & his minions succeed in subduing us? Could it by possibility be maintaining the Unions [sic]? A Union of 8,000,000 of high tone4d, brave & chivalrous men & women with [the] yoke of Northern bondage & oppression upon our necks? Talk of Union of gunpowder [sic] with fire of religion [sic] with sin [sic], of Heaven [sic] with Hell [sic] as well as [the] union of these two elements, the one claiming to be free & independent, the other [sic] planting its unhallowed foot upon our necks [sic] & crushing us into submission to their heterodox ideas. The idea at the North seems to be to whip us into submission & then make us trade with them, & this must be done before the 1st of Jan. 1862 – well, they may possibly accomplish their object but it will be the most costly [sic] patronage the world has ever seen.
Diary of Martha Abernathy 



1863, May 21, Emigration from Middle Tennessee

There has been a pretty heavy emigration from Middle Tennessee during the past three or four months, mainly to the Western States. These people go to seek homes where they hope to be free from the annoyances inseparably connected with a state of war, like that of which Tennessee is made the theatre. A considerable number of the best citizens of Nashville have left here for the same reason. A portion of these have located in Louisville, while others have gone further North or West. 

An old citizen of Nashville, who has located in Louisville, remarked to us the other day that he met more Nashville men in Louisville than he did here. Another citizen, who returned to Nashville a few days ago, after an absence of five months, remarked that he could find comparatively few acquaintances in Nashville, and that in a stroll around three or four squares he met but one man he knew. This will give the reader an idea of the exodus that has taken place from our midst; and almost every day adds to the number of those leaving. 

Nashville Dispatch, May 21, 1863.[1] 


[1] As cited in: .[note: recent issues contained lists of Confederate sympathizers being sent beyond the lines]



1864, May 21, Vendetta on White's Creek Turnpike, Nashville
Saturday [21] morning two men dressed as soldiers and reported to belong to the twelfth Tennessee, met Wm. Pearson, who was driving a wagon, a few miles out from the city on the White's Creek Turnpike, and after a few words they drew their revolvers and commenced shooting at him. Pearson left his team and endeavored to escape. Five or six shots were fired, one of which is supposed by parties who witnessed the affair, to have hit him. When last head of he was proceeding along the pike in the direction he had started when endeavoring to escape. His friends fear that he has wandered into the woods, and has died from the effects of his wound. Pearson was a young man, and formerly lived in Grundy county, in this State. The men who attacked him stated to some parties who witnessed the shooting, that the affair had its origin in a difficulty of several years standing. Any information in regard to Pearson left at this office will be delivered to his friends.
Nashville Dispatch, May 23, 1864.


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