Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

Letter of John A. Ritter, 49th Indiana Volunteers
August 14, 1862 from Cumberland Gap, TN*
Cumberland Gap, Ten.
Aug. 14, 62
Dear Margarett,
I take up my pen to write you a few lines to let you Know that I am still on the land. My health is verry good. I straind my foot some time a go that gives some pain ocasionly. That makes it some what inconvenient for me to walk much but as I have but verry little walking to do it has not set me back. The health of my company is tolerable good. Tom Buskirk is not well. I have no one in the Hospital that is up here. There is several back yet that has not come up with the some that will probably never come up but acording to an order their pay stops on the 11 of this month & on the 18th they are to be musterd and all that is not present are to be Court Matial. This I think will stir up their minds by the way of Rememberance. There are some of our men that have been home & at Hospitals under full pay that have never earnd five cents for the governmt and it is getting time to stop the game. We have men in my company that have not done one weeks service all told and such men is a disgrace to any lady or community.
You have perhaps seen an account of the skirmish that _______? had. The Rebbels faired? badly at the time. It is well understood that they lost a great many men in that fight. Some of the prisners put it 600, some at 250. How this is will perhaps never be Known. I think the ware will soon be at a close or that the fighting part of it is or will be done in a short time. I think the calling out the 600,000 men will have a better affect to convince the people in armes that we are in earnes than any thing yet and to let them Know that we have? the stringth. I would like to see some men drafted. Their are those that would not defend their own fire sides if the enemy was in our country and if it was not for those that are out in the _____? Keeping them back they would be in Indiana quick. There is nothing but the Bayonets that Keeps them from sacking all of these men that are at home injoying all the comforts of the private life. I am still at the gap making fortifications and I expect that we will stay here perhaps to the end of the ware. Gen. Morgan toldone of the Capts. that has a company here that he was agoing to have Houses built for the men that built the fortifications? and that they had to stay & defend them but the tide of ware is uncertain. He may take an other notion.
As ever,
John A. Ritter
http://gwillritter.tripod.com/jarletters2.htm*Ed. note - Blanks are inserted where words or phrases were totally illegible and underlining was used for words or phrases for which the correct interpretation was questionable.
14, “Lady Rebels - Their Tender Mercies.”The rebel ladies of Memphis, bless them, how soft and tender their hearts beat towards the vandal Yankee hordes, who to their great discomfiture are now desecrating the sacred soil of Dixie in their unhallowed feet, and whom the pious Dr. Waddel,* deeply moved by the anticipated wrongs, insults and miseries of the same delicate ladies, had it in his head and on his tongue, not a long time ago, to pray that the good Lord would “send them back to the polluted soil, and polluted homes.” Now let us have an interesting and deeply pathetic lesson or two by way of illustration. Not long after these same dastard, daring, ruthless, invaders made their hated presence in and to wicked possession of this sacred heritage of freedom, it so happened, that a poor confederate soldier, falling into their barbarous hands, sickened and died. Savage like, these Federal barbarian soldiers, prepared for the fallen foe a decent coffin and laid him in it, and they bore it and its sacred dust, like decent christian men, (which they were not) in solemn procession to the cemetery specifically specially consecrated to the sacred dust of the confederate army, and there laid him in the grave they had opened beside his confederates in arms and in death. A Federal officer and a rebel lady riding through the grounds and turning their attention to what was passing, slighted, and drew up to the grave around which the Federal soldiers were gathered, performing the last solemn rites of sepulture for their own, and their country’s enemy. The kind lady’s eyes saw a poor toad at the bottom of the grave. “Be so good, men do,” she cried, “be so good as to throw out that poor toad; don’t let it be crushed under the coffin, don’t” And instinctively they did as she wished. Soon the question was suggested by the lade, “why do you wage this cruel war against the South? Nothing else,” she cried, “but to set the negro free, enrich yourselves, and rule us.” “No,” replied the officer. The point was warmly discussed, as the grave was being filled, the fair one affirming and officer denying. “And to prove to you,’ said he, “that I am right, I’ll take the voted of these men, with whose manes and opinion on this subject I am unacquainted.” Then addressing the men, he said, “Soldiers, all of you who are in favor of freeing the negro by waging g this war, raise your hands.” Not one was raised. “Well,’ said she, “I’m still unconvinced that such is not the desire and design of the North, and such will be the effect, at all events, if you succeed; and my prayer is, that “Yellow Jack” may come along and sweep your whole army; to the same grave in which you have now placed the dead.” Oh! The exquisite tenderness of that lady’s heart, who could not bear to see the toad crushed beneath the coffin, but who could utter the prayer with the same breath that the Federal army might be crushed in the gave not in due process, land by the ordinary casualties of war, but by a power more fell [sic] than the Confederate army can wield - the power of that fell Southern distroyer [sic], the yellow fever. Really, I cannot resist the temptation of applying to these tenser hearted Southern lady rebels, the proverb of a very wise man: “The tender mercies of the wicked - even of these rebel ladies - are cruel.” Who ever heard the semblance of such a pray uttered by Northern lips, coming out of the depths of rancorous madness? I have never.
Bust a second lesson if illustration is at hand. A few days since, the 11th Indiana had a like solemn and mournful duty to perform towards one of its members. As the funeral cortege bore their dead comrade along with solemn sound of music to, probably, the same cemetery, certain ladies came to the door of their mansion, and patted their delicate hands in the face of the mournful procession in the extacy [sic] of their joy that another Federal soldier was going to his long home, where he would no more molest the South, and whither they wished the whole army might be swept like Senacherib’s, one hundred and eighty-five thousand in a night.
Did Solomon take a moral and social daguerreotype of these ladies, when he says ”the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he hath no need of spoil, she will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands to the distaff. She stretcheth out her hands to the poor, yes, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and her tongue is the law of kindness.” Is such the tendency and effect of slave-holding? Are such to be future mothers of civilized and christian race?
Memphis Union Appeal for August 14, 1862.*Ed. note - Dr. J. N. Waddel, a local Rebel preacher. He apparently was no longer allowed to preach after making these remarks sometime in July.
14, “Rebel Deserters.”
The following named rebel deserters came into our lines at this city, last week, and made applications to take the amnesty oath: Dan. Biggs, Wright’s Arkansas cavalry; J. W. Armour, 154th Sr. Tennessee infantry; E. M. Apperson, formerly of Memphis Home Guard; G. H. Burnet, co. B, 15th Tenn. infantry; Archivald Steward, soldier for C.S.A.; Smith Ingram, co. E, 5th Miss. cav.; Daniel Moore, co. E. 5th Miss. cav.; M.B. Guess, Johnson’s scouts; Joseph Berbver, co. A, 14th Tenn. cav.; Hugh Branch, 7th Tenn. Cavalry.
Memphis Bulletin, August 14, 1864.
14, “More Juvenile Thieves.”
Our columns have borne ample testimony to the extraordinary depravity ;now prevailing among the juvenile portion of our community. Yesterday, another one of these depraved youngsters, between eight and nine years of age e, was arrested in the store of Mr. James T. LeGuere, Druggist, on Main street. The little rascal had some seventeen dollars in his bosom, which he had just purloined from the drawer. His is held for trial before the military authorities, as there is no competent civil court.
Memphis Bulletin, August 14, 1863.
14, “Difficulty near the Navy Yard.”
We learn that there was a difficulty between two fellows named Tom Kinman and George Whalen, in the vicinity of the old Eagle Mills, near the Navy Yard. The difficulty grew out of some misunderstanding about some wood-chopping. We could not learn who was the aggressor, but they had some sharp practice at the game of “fisticuffs.” Kinman being much the stronger of the two, was fast getting the advantage of is antagonist, when some considerate persons interfered and put a period to the struggle. For a wonder, the “stars” did not irradiate the scene buy their presence as such things very seldom escape their vigilance. We suppose neither of the parties felt much better after that contest, nor did they have their business in any better condition to settle after than they did before they fought.
Memphis Bulletin, August 14, 1863.

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