Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

25, 1862, Burning of Randolph
HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, Memphis, September 24, 1862.
Col. C. C. WALCUTT, Forty-sixth Ohio Volunteers:
SIR: The object of the expedition you have been detailed for is to visit the town of Randolph, where yesterday [23d] the packet Eugene was fired on by a party of guerrillas. Acts of this kind must be promptly punished, and it is almost impossible to reach the actors, for they come from the interior and depart as soon as the mischief is done. But the interest and well-being of the country demands that all such attacks should be followed by a punishment that will tend to prevent a repetition.
Two boats will be placed at your disposal, one, the Eugene, to proceed on the regular trip to Saint Louis when you are done wither, and the other, a chartered boat, wholly at your service. Embark on the Eugene two of your companies and on the chartered boat the remainder of your command, with a section of rifled guns that will be sent to the levee by Maj. Taylor. Get off by 5 or 6 p. m. at furthest and move up to this bend and make a landing at Cuba Landing; then send the Eugene ahead, moving, under steam without landing, to Fort Pillow and back, till she meets you, following more slowly. You should both be ready to reach Randolph at daybreak or a little before. I think the attack on the Eugene was by a small force of guerrillas from Loosahatchie, who by this time have gone back, and therefore that you will find no one at Randolph; in which case you will destroy the place, leaving one house to mark the place. Let the people know and feel that we deeply deplore the necessity of such destruction, but we must protect ourselves and the boats which are really carrying stores and merchandise for the benefit of secession families, whose fathers and brothers are in arms against us. If any extraordinary case presents itself to your consideration you may spare more than one house; but let the place feel that all such acts of cowardly firing upon boats filled with women and children and merchandise must be severely punished.
It is barely possible that the army of Breckinridge, last heard from at Davis' Mill, designs to reach the Mississippi River at Randolph, in which event the party there yesterday may have been an advance guard. If this be so the Eugene will discover the fact, for they will have artillery; then you should be very careful, as your force would be inadequate; but if the Eugene pass Randolph and return to meet you it is certain that it is a guerrilla raid, when you can safely proceed. Do not land at an accustomed place, but consult with captains and pilots. Approach the shore below the landing, get a couple of companies over as skirmishers, and move rapidly into Randolph. Of course the inhabitants will be all gone, or will be expecting you and be prepared for anything. Keep your men in the reach of your voice, and do your work systematically. Let your quartermaster take a minute account of every house or piece of property destroyed under this order, with the names of owners if possible. If all is clear, you can send parties inland toward Covington, but not over 5 miles.
When done you can take aboard your boat the men from the Eugene and let her proceed on her voyage. If you find men whom you suspect of guilt bring them in, but no women or children. Also you may capture any slaves, horses, or mules belonging to known rebels.
Yours, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 236.
SEPTEMBER 25, 1862.--Burning of Randolph, Tenn.
Report of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, Memphis, September 26, 1862.
* * * * 
The regular packet Eugene, from Saint Louis, with passengers and stores (not public), landed on Tuesday [23d] at the town of Randolph, and came near falling into the possession of a band of guerrillas and was fired into by some 25 to 40 of the band. I immediately sent a regiment up with orders to destroy the place, leaving one house and such others only as might be excepted in case of extraordinary forbearance on part of owner. The regiment has returned and Randolph is gone. It is no use tolerating such acts as firing on steamboats. Punishment must be speedy, sure, and exemplary, and I feel assured this will meet your views. I would not do wanton mischief or destruction, but so exposed are our frail boats, that we must protect them by all the terrors by which we can surround such acts of vandalism as decoying them to the shore and firing on them regardless of the parties on board.
That boat was laden with stores for the very benefit of families some of whose members are in arms against us, and it was an outrage of the greatest magnitude that people there or in connivance with them should fire on an unarmed boat.
The town was of no importance, but the example should be followed up on all similar occasions. I will send full reports as soon as Col. [Charles C.] Walcutt reports. All were here.
I am, with great respect, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p. 144-145.

25, A disappointed Maury county Confederate father throws his reluctant son out, excerpt from the diary of Nimrod Porter
I loaned George Martin[1] $5.00
George Martin (son of Judge Martin) came to town today, said his father had told him if he did not start off to the army of the Southern Confederacy on the next day he should leave his house he could not stay here he [sic] had not one dollar in the World [sic] but few clothes and no bridle, and was trying H. Bradshaw and a few others to get him a bridle said his father would do nothing for him.
Diary of Nimrod Porter, September 25 1862.[2]
[1] George Martin was the brother of Mrs. Gideon J. Pillow.
[2] Diary of Nimrod Porter, mfm 824, reel 3 Box 7, folder 6a, TSL&A. Hereinafter cited as: Diary of Nimrod Porter

25, One elite Confederate woman’s lamentation
....With Sherman’s success in Ga.---Farragutt’s [sic] at Mobile--Sheridan’s in the Shenandoah Valley--the death of Gen. Morgan and other minor [sic] successes of the Federals--it is no wonder we feel gloomy. Wheeler’s raid did not affect any good to the Confederate cause or any damage to the Federal, that we can see, or hear of; altho [sic] I am told he announces thro’ [sic] the rebel press that he fully accomplished all that he intended to do. I though one of his :intentions’ was to destroy “the Tunnel”----he did not accomplish that--”so far as heard from.” I am inclined to think that whole thing a failure--and believe it is so regarded generally. The rumor that a negro garrison is to be sent here, and that Andy Johnson will soon conscript every man, both black and white, bond and free-between the ages of 15 and 50 into the Yankee army--(his proclamation to that effect being just issued) has not tended to cheer our spirits, in the least. I begin now to look forward to the worst--to hope for nothing--to expect only disaster--and endeavor to meet it when it comes, not so much with fortitude and courage, but a with a sullen and stolid indifference. I have wished a thousand times that I had never married--that I had no family pressing upon me--no little children over whose present and future welfare to vex and worry--if I had no one but myself--it would be a small matter--I should not then care for all this trouble I should get out of it. There are some who always seem to ride upon a top wave--even in times like these I see people who seem always to have plenty--to be in need of nothing--even to be making profits out of the times. Such is not our case--We make nothing save by the hardest of “hard licks.” We are preyed upon on all sides--we get forward with no work--we gain nothing,--in short as Mrs. Myers says of her family--”When it rains soup our plate is always bottom upwards.” I have tried to “turn an honest penny “ by selling off the surplus of housekeeping articles which I brought from Bersheba [sic] --but altho [sic] such things are scarce and high, I cannot sell anything. No one seems to want them when they have to pay out money, or provisions for them--Well, it grows harder and harder with us, oh! I dread this coming winter. The house, which a very little energy and labor might make comfortable before the cold weather sets in remains just as it was when we returned to it--tho’ [sic] we have been here now 2 1/2 months. On Friday night we had a rain storm--the roof leaked like a sieve and tho’ [sic] a few hours time and a few nails and shingles would make it all secure--it remains thus--and will so remain until the plastering all falls, and the ceiling is ruined. Malone and the Col.  “Knock round”--their principal employment seems “going to town.” I often wonder what men were made for! To keep up the species I suppose--which is the only thing they are “always ready” [for] and never slow about doing! [emphasis added] For my part I am quite wearied and worn out with their general no-accountability--and wish they were all put into the army, where they could kill leach other off--the less of them the better! Well, I suppose it will be right a “hundred years hence.” I suppose I am beginning to become embittered by years of hardship, privation and sorrow. Verily, this world is a hard one, would to God I had never come into it! Having come into [it] however, let me endeavor to bear the “siege of troubles,” the “stings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” as best I may--trying meanwhile to comfort myself with the old Spanish proverb--”Patience--there is an end of all things.”...Great Heaven! when shall we have rest and peace? Will it ever come in our day? I am becoming a sad-souled woman--full of secret sorrows--full of heart-burnings, full of longing for the great and good--full of impatience and repining at the chains, the iron chains of everyday circumstance which bind me back from all that my better nature aspires to! How sad a thing it is to feel how powerless, how insignificant, how incapable we are! When the heart is fired for great deeds, when the eye is fixed on some high standard--when the whole nature is straining and struggling forward to have the petty chains of everyday wound about you, a perpetual hindrance and stumbling-block--oh! it is hard-hard! And no one to appreciate your sacrifices--sacrifices of your best and highest pleasures at the shrine of everyday duty--sacrifices which were it not for them--you would not be forced to undergo!
War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for September 25, 1864.

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