Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

9, “In a Nice Fix”
In the breaking out of the present difficulties a good many East Tennesseeans [sic] with treason in their hearts, left and went over to the bosom of King Abraham, thinking, no doubt, that they would return to their homes in a very short time with a sufficient army to protect hem in their treason. Sixteen months have gone by and these poor deluded fools are no nearer the object they set out to accomplish than they were the day they started. They cannot get back to their homes, and never will. If the war was ended, and arrangements made for their return they could not live here. They would be looked upon and treated as tories, loathed and despised - forsaken even by the cowardly wretches who persuaded them to leave their homes and dear ones, for a situation in the Federal army. Those of them that have left property behind have forfeited it to their government, and their families will be bereft of it. Who is responsible for this state of things? Such men as Andy Johnson, Horace Mayfield, Bill Brownlow, and the smaller lights of toryism who are suffered to run over the country and preach treason to the people. In this [group are] such pettifoggers as Mitch Edward and Mr. Brownlow were applauded for their [truth?] while men who were older and wiser, were scoffed and hooted at for their loyalty. These vile miscreants are now[receiving?] their just reward at the hands of an often indignant people. There never was a more just retribution visited upon a corrupt set of men. They sowed the storm - let them receive the fury of the whirlwind. They deserve it. They have no have no home and are entitled to none in the Southern Confederacy - They deserted her in infancy when she needed help the cowardly scoundrels shrunk from the task and went over to the enemy-in her manhood [sic] she will never receive to her bosom [these same(?)] traitors. East Tennessee is and will be a part of her dominion, the opinion of the Lincolnites to the contrary notwithstanding.
Cleveland Banner [no date given], as cited in Chattanooga Daily RebelAugust 9, 1862.
 9, “Where are the Young Tennesseans?”
Mr. Editor: I desire to enquire of you whether you can tell the public where all the young and ardent Tennesseans are who are reported to be on the R. Road  from this place to Atlanta -- what are they doing? Are they waiting for other men to fight the battles and open the way to home and families, while they are pleasure-taking at the different towns and watering-places of the country? If this be true, it is a shame and their cheeks should be mantled with a deep blush of disgrace to be thus idle while the country needs their services so much. The Governor calls for a Tennessee State force, and each one of these young bloods should report themselves for duty without delay. Keep them stirred up until they act their proper part in this great struggle.
Signed “S”
Chattanooga Daily Rebel, August 9, 1862.
9, Skirmish at Sparta
Two reports were made on this skirmish, one from the Union point of view and the other from the Confederate perspective. Moreover, the fighting took place near the Confederate colonel’s farm.
AUGUST 9, 1863.--Skirmish at Sparta, Tenn.
No. 1.-- Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding brigade.
No. 2.-- Col. George G. Dibrell, Eighth [Thirteenth] Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate).
No. 1.
Report of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding brigade.
SIR: On the 8th instant, having received information that Gen. Dibrell, with between 800 and 900 men, was camped 2 miles south of Sparta, I marched at 3 p. m. with 774 men, hoping to surprise him. I took two day's rations and one day's forage, no wagons or ambulances.
At 11.30 p. m. I arrived at Spencer, and remained long enough for the men to make coffee and feed horses. I crossed Caney Fork at the mouth of Cane Creek, and at break of day struck the rebel pickets about 4 miles south of Sparta, and followed them at a gallop, but arrived at the town without seeing anything of their camp. In town I learned that they had changed camp the evening before, and were then between 3 and 4 miles north of Sparta, on the east bank of the Calfkiller. I pushed forward rapidly, but the pickets, whose horses were fresh, had given notice of our approach, and the rebels were ready to receive us. The Fourth Michigan Cavalry formed the advance guard, and, pushing in at the gallop, dislodged and drove the enemy before the column got up.
Gen. Dibrell fell back across the creek, and took up a strong position on a hill covering a narrow rickety bridge which was the only means of crossing the creek at this point. Finding a bad, rough ford about a quarter of a mile lower down, I directed Capt. McIntyre to cross with the Fourth Regulars, and attack sharply the enemy's right flank. I also directed Maj. Soubrette to support the Regulars with the Seventh Pennsylvania. I then moved to the front with the Fourth Michigan and a battalion of the Third Indiana, but the rebels, although outnumbering us and holding a strong position, difficult of access, would not wait for the attack but scattered in every direction. The Fourth Regulars, Seventh Pennsylvania and Third Indiana scoured the country for about 3 miles, but their horses were too tired to overtake the freshly mounted rebels.
Our loss, I regret to say, was heavy, but it was confined exclusively to the Fourth Michigan, the was heavy, but it was confined exclusively to the Fourth Michigan, the only regiment engaged, and which had only 115 men out. We killed 1 lieutenant and 13 men and took 1 lieutenant and 9 men prisoners.
I remained at Sparta until 1 p. m., and then returned to camp, where I arrived at 12.30 p.m. on the instant.
* * * *
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col., Cmdg.
No. 2.
Report of Col. George G. Dibrell, Eighth [Thirteenth] Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate.)
SPARTA, August 18, 1863.
In obedience to orders from Gen. Forrest, I left Chattanooga on July 27 with the Eighth [Thirteenth] Tennessee Cavalry; moved across Caldron’s Ridge and Cumberland Mountains to Sparta, arriving here on the 29th. My instructions were to watch and report the movements of Gen. Rosecrans' army, one corps of which was at McMinnville, 26 miles from this place. I sent scout into the lines of the enemy, and harassed their foraging and scouting parties, capturing a few prisoners and horses.
On the morning of the 9th instant, my pickets that were 8 miles from camp on the road to Spencer were attacked by the brigade of Col. Minty, and a lively race ensued to camp. Capt. [Jefferson] Leftwich, who was in command of the pickets, managed the retreat splendidly, holding the advance of the enemy in check and keeping his men well up until they reached camp. The regiment was encamped upon my own farm, 2 miles north of Sparta. We heard the firing before the courier arrived, just at daylight. Saddled as quickly as possible; sent Capt. [Hamilton] McGinnis with his company to meet and check the enemy while we fell back with the regiment across Wild Cat Creek, which, with its deep banks and a mill pond above the bridge, was only passable at the bridge. The enemy were in full speed, and before we could get into position were pressing our rear, having met and routed McGinnis and his company. I took position in front of the bridge with Companies G and K, and sent the balance of the regiment, under D. A. Allison, Allison, acting adjutant, to form a line from us to the Calfkiller River with instructions not to fire a gun until we opened at the bridge. The enemy had to enter an open space between the Wild Cat Creek and a large fence and pass up some 200 or 300 yards to the bridge. When their advance reached the bridge, we opened upon them, and then the whole regiment opened. They were yelling and charging at full speed, and the open space above refereed to was full of them. Our gallant boys raised the yell as they poured volley after volley into them, until they retreated in great confusion out of the trap into which he had drawn them. They soon rallied and charged us against, said to be by the Fourth Regulars, but we soon repulsed them. They then attempted a charge on foot, but were again repulsed. They then sent a party across the Calfkiller River to gain or rear, but I had anticipated them, and they were soon driven back. We skirmished awhile, and knowing my force was too small to contend long with a full brigade (we had not over 300 men present), I decided to fall back about 1 mile to the mouth of Blue Spring Creek, where our position would be strengthened, and did so; but the enemy declined to follow, us, when we soon learned they were withdrawing; we gave pursuit, and followed them to the Caney Fork River, a distance of 18 miles, but could not overtake them. The enemy left 20 dead horses and 12 dead men, and had a large number wounded. Our loss was 4 wounded and 8 captured.
During the fight I was re-enforced by Champ. Ferguson with a part of his company and by several citizens. By the time the fight was over, the ladies in the neighborhood had cooked and sent to us a breakfast for the entire regiment, which was highly prized as we had been driven from our camps before anything could be prepared. Col. Minty had four regiments in his brigade, and was very angry with his Union guides for bringing him into such a place as we fought him. This caused us to be cautious.
* * * *
G. G. DIBRELL, Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 846-848.
McMINNVILLE, August 11, 1863.
Maj. SINCLAIR, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:
Of course I whipped Dibrell. His men were scattered about the country like blackberries. Most of them took the road to Yankeetown. A few fled by Officer's Gap. The fight was on the bank of Calf River, from the salt well to a short distance above Little's. They were driven so sharply that none but the Fourth Michigan got at them. My force was 774; Dibrell's, 781. I remained on the ground until 1 p. m., and scoured the country around. I think it doubtful if they return to Sparta. Dibrell is a brigadier and Forest a major-general. Have eight days' forage on hand. Have heard nothing of Gen. Carter. Forrest is at Good Hope, near Kingston. Mechure was to leave Nashville with 4:00 this morning. Capt. Thompson, Fourth United States, has joined.
ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, p. 438.
McMINNVILLE, TENN., August 11, 1863.
Dr. J. D. HALE:
SIR: My information from a reliable source is that Col. Dibrell, sent by Gen. Forrest to White County, had directions and instructions to secure all the beef, all the wheat, and to use and destroy all the oats and corn in White and Van Buren Counties they cannot carry off, so as to subject the Federal army to all the inconveniences possible when they come to occupy the country; and not to fight the Federals if possibly to be avoided; and also so carry away the last horse and mule to be found in the country. In short, to devastate the country before the Federal troops can occupy it.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. III, p. 7
9, “Embalming.”
On Sunday last [7th], we received an invitation from Mr. J. H. Curry to witness the embalming of the body of Lieut. Stretch, of company D, 89th Illinois volunteers, by Dr. G. R. Wills. We arrived too late to witness the process, but we saw, and were much pleased with, the effect. Although the body had been dead about forty hours previous to the embalming, and decomposition had set in, as soon as the process had been accomplished, the body looked natural, and emitted not the slightest offensive odor. Another remarkable thing connected with the body was the flexibility of the joints and firmness of the flesh. The expense attending this process, including coffin and box, is not more than the price of a first quality metallic coffin. The body, as embalmed, preserves its natural appearance, so that the coffin may be opened on arrival at its destination without danger of being shocked at the deformity of the body.
Nashville Dispatch, August 9, 1864.

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