Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

6, Report of a draft riot in Nashville

"A riot occurred at Nashville, Tenn., Occasioned by the authorities resorting to drafting soldiers to supply the rebel army. The boxes used for this purpose [i.e., "draft lottery"] were broken up, and during the excitement two persons were killed and several wounded. Governor Harris was forced to keep his room, and was protected by a strong guard."

New York Times, December 8, 1861

6, Affair near Fayetteville

DECEMBER 6, 1863.--Affair near Fayetteville, Tenn.
Report of Brig. Gen. Joseph F. Knipe U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, First Division, Twelfth Army Corps.

DECHERD, TENN., December 9, 1863.

COL.: I have the honor to submit the following report:

The detail furnished from this post, in obedience to orders from headquarters Army of the Cumberland, as guard to working party taking up railroad iron on Fayetteville railroad, was attacked on the 6th instant, in the neighborhood of Fayetteville, and 1 man wounded and 4 taken prisoners. A small bridge [at] Salem was destroyed on the night of the 6th instant. I have sent forward hands to rebuild this structure will have it completed by this time, I think. I apprehend some difficulty in the removal of these rails with the force employed.

I have just learned that the contractor uses the troops furnished as guard to secure contrabands in the neighborhood to do the work, and that while so employed the 4 men were captured by a party calling themselves First Tennessee Battalion. The men captured have returned to this post with inclosed parole paper. I have returned the men to duty, regarding the parole as of no account.

I would respectfully suggest that the company of mounted infantry under command of Capt. Brixey, stationed at Tracy City, could be advantageously used on this work and would ask permission to so use them.

JOS. F. KNIPE, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Post.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 602.

December 6, 1864 - Changes in the Nashville environs as a consequence of the approach of Hood's army; an entry from the Journal of Maggie Lindsley's JournalDecember 6, 1864 - Changes in the Nashville environs as a consequence of the approach of Hood's army; an entry from the Journal of Maggie Lindsley. December 6, 1864 -  

The Forrest panic yesterday was unfounded it seems, but still the soldiers are here, and still destruction at least goes bravely. Barns, stables, fences all gone now, and the sound of the cutting and falling of our glorious forest trees heard from morn till night! Beautiful Edgefield no longer! Her beauty and her pride laid low in these her superb forest trees! For from the river to the Springside here is not a grove left! The bareness and the bleakness are simply intolerable, and make me sick. Whenever I go out o­n the balcony from my room, I just break down at seeing all those ugly stumps where were out beautiful "woods," with its wonderful sycamores, and its wealth of wild grape vine; where we swung, and climbed and played under a veritable bower of green until we reached the river banks! What shall we do without our "Woods" when the summer comes again? And the children! What a loss to the older, who have been accustomed to live the long summers there, and to the baby tots never to have know that Paradise! What will Springside be without its "Woods!" O! But I am tired of devastation, devastation and nothing but! It is difficult for me even now to recall Edgefield as it was four years ago – when I spent so much time cantering throughout the lanes and groves o­n horseback – where will I ever find shady roads now when the summer sun comes in all its intensity!

General Webster rode out this morning – in high spirits, and is sure of Hood's retreat or capture. Pray Heaven it may be the last, and we may be rid of this unsettled, horrible life. Colonel Mussey rode out, dined with us, and after dinner I rode with him – – down to Mr. Hobson's where we had a fine view of the whole (Union) army – our fortifications and the rebel lines. Nap was gentle, stood quite still - and behaved as if he were as inured to all his surroundings as they Colonel's horse, - while I viewed the whole scene leisurely through the Colonel's fine glasses. And what a grand sight it was! Forts Negley, Casino, and Camp Webster, great lines and masses of troops drawn up in battle array in every direction, flags flying, bands playing, bugles sounding, at intervals the cannon roaring, belching forth fire and smoke at every roar – very grand the scene! Colonel Stewart was at the head of his regiment, but I did not see Colonel Johnson. (Two years ago about, I saw General Rosecranz [sic] review 30,000 troops from this hill, and then in our enthusiasm and pride, we thought the war must surely be near it s close, and yet today we seem no nearer than then!) The Rebel works are just behind Mr. Rains's, in front of dear old Belmont, and they occupy Mr. Vauly's house. Mr. Edmundson's house is General Chatham's Headquarters – some other General is at Mrs. A. V. Brown's.

Dr. de Graw and Lieutenant Novel were here an hour this afternoon. They had learned that Mr. Gale's house had been burned.

7, "…and then began a scene which I shudder to recall:" depredations at the Washington tobacco plantation "Wessington," in the Springfield environs; Mrs. Jane Smith Washington's letter to her son, a student in Toronto, Canada
Springfield, December 18, 1864

My dear son,

I suppose you have received Mr. Anderson's letter containing an account of the occurrences at home last Wednesday and Thursday week. Friday morning (the 9th) was bitter cold and in coming up very early in the buggy with Dr. Dunn my fingers were frost bitten and I was not able to hold a pen or even dress myself for nearly a week, and so asked Mr. A. to write to you, which he very kindly did. I will try to give you a faithful history of a scent which God willing I hope never to witness again – But first to give a clear insight into the causes which prompted the act – I must review some occurrences which took place in our immediate neighborhood only two days previously.

On Monday the 5th, four men, dressed partly in federal uniform had robbed in open day [the] Troughles, Red burns, Squire Hyres, Jim Morrow and several others. Dr. Dun called by that afternoon and to us of it. The next day those same men robbed old Strous[?] Bucke Darden, and took Ian [?] Polk's horse.
That night about 9 o'clock, Dr. Dunn again stopped at the gate and told us to look out – that those men were in the neighborhood, and would pay us a visit.

The next morning [6th] old Dick reported that they had been seen in the Vanhhook field. All these things naturally put us on the qui-vive and we were looking every moment for the robbers.

We and not a neighbor in five miles had even hard that there was a hors presser in the country, we were all expecting robbers, but had no idea there was a federal in the country.

Your Father had been at the Tobacco barn all day and about half past three he came to the house with Joe and eat
his dinner. He had just risen from the table when Joe and Irene came rushing in saying two robbers were at the stable trying to steal Ball. Your Father seized his gun and rushed out – saw one of the men leading Ball off from the stable door and fired upon him instantly – so rapidly did this thing transpire that before I could run to the walk, the shot was fired and the mans [sic] companion was galloping with all his might down towards the mill – Your Father and Granville mounted to go in pursuit of the fellow, who had jumped the Orchard fences and was making rapidly for the Chestnut Colt. Granville went through the Peach Orchard your Pa started round by the pond, and at the granary came in sight of a squad who fired on him several times. He at once returned to the house, had Granville called in and prepared for defence expecting every moment to be attacked by the gang of robbers as we thought them to be. In the meantime the gang rode off in the direction of Cedar Hill. [They] were gone nearly an hour, when they returned[,] rode to the stable where had the man locked up, and then turned and again went towards Cedar Hill. I had the stable door locked when the man staggered into it, because I though he was only wounded and perhaps someone might be able to identify him and thus discover who composed the gang. He had on Federal pants his other clothes were those of a citizen. While the men were still around the place, I wrote to Dr. Dunn to get some friends, and come to our assistance and sent to Col [sic] Downey for a guard. In less than an hour after Foster returned from Turnersville [?], Dr. Dunn came over with a co [sic] from the 7th Ohio. Col Garrard, the whole command 160 men encamped there that night, and saw the man, and heard the circumstances, and the Col remarked that your Pa was doing good border service that he saw no evidence of the fellow having belonged to either army, and applauded your Father for his act. Col [sic] Downey sent down a squad but finding us amply guarded by Col Garrard's forces they returned to Springfield. 

The next morning [7th], not fifteen minutes after Col G. left the house, about twenty men of the 8th Michigan under Lieut. Crowley came dashing up to the house like demons and in an instant were swarming all over it – calling for your Father with the most blasphemous oaths and abusive epithets threatening to shoot him on sight. I took Lieut. Crowley to the room where your Father was, he accused him for everything under the sun, but your Father never answered him a word except that he was not conscious of having done wrong but that before a proper tribunal he would answer any questions. His calmness only enraged them more. I was afraid they would murder him if they took him from the house, and I and your Grandmother in tears and on our knees besought that man to send him under guard to Springfield, he scoffed at our prayers and drove us from him with oaths. They finally took your Father and started off with him but had not got to the top of Jimney's [?] Hill before they were overtaken by a squad of the 14th Illinois under Lieut Evans and your Father was brought back again, Crowley's command returned also, and then began a scene which I shudder to recall. I stood by your Father all the time, feeling that his safety was even for a moment depended on me. The officers insited [sic] the men to greater fury than even then possessed them, and after talking in a way to rouse their bad passions even higher, left them without control to rent their fury at will. Four two mortal hours, threats, curses, jeers and taunts as to his fate were heaped upon him and I. Pistols were snapped in his face, and shaken over his head, my prayers and tears were made a scoff and jest -–a band of Indians could not have taken more devilish delight in tormenting a prisoner. Your Father stood confronting them calmly and fearlessly, steadily looking into their eyes, and they quailed before the steady gaze of an unarmed prisoner like cowards as they were.

I felt the end was drawing near, and taking my arms from around him, I started to seek an officer having the three little girls standing round his feet. I had not left him a second when I heard a shot and turning saw your Father staggering from the shock, but in one instant he recovered himself and was grappling with the fellow's pistol with both hands. I rushed in between them and clasping my darling round the neck placed my body between him and the man, who cocking his pistol would have shot again through me had not a comrade caught his hand with the remark "you have done enough." I shrieked ["]murder[!"] with all my power, your Father stood as calmly defiant as ever, the children screaming round our knees, and those demons gloating over our misery. In twenty minutes of longer, Lieut Doyle of [the] 8th Michigan came to us and through his influence we were allowed to go to the house, where he helped me bind up the wound until the arrival of Dr. Dunn. One of the men who had most strongly threatened your Father's life, came with us to the house, our self-appointed guard and remained in the room with his gunk all the time. While this had been transpiring the house had been pillaged from garrat [sic] to cellar, trunks broken, open[ed] & rifled, furniture chopped to pieces with axes, doors burst down, and your Grandma cursed and told if she did not give them 500 dollars they would burn the house over her d__n old head. They robbed Granville of everything he had.

Now let me tell you how wonderfully God worked for our salvation, while those scenes were being enacted here, a man who had gone to Springfield to get a receipt for his horse, overheard the threats of those men, and going to Col Downey told him to go down and see us if he could. Boyd heard the same rumors, Col Shirley [?] Woodard also heard them & reported them to the Col who at their suggestion and from the noble instincts of his own heart, jumped into the saddle and with Boyd and an escort of 12 men, came under his whip and spur through the near way to our rescue. Not one moment too early did he come, their plundering almost done, the next act would have been murder and fire as was proved by their firing the straw in the cellar just after Col Downey came.

We saw the Lieut. And I do not know how he accomplished it, but by asserting his authority as commandant of this post, to hold prisoners charged with any crime he got your Father out of their hands and into his, then I felt his life was measurably safe but Col Downey had but 12 men while they were 50 strong, and we feared that after night they might over power his guard and still work their will.

To guard against any difficulty the Col sent back to Springfield for reinforcements and after their arrival left us a guard of fifteen men and with the others brought your Father here. While Col Downey was waiting for his reinforcements, the men of Crowley's & Evans' command began to burn the outbuildings. Col D had only men enough to guard the house and we had to let them burn. The Woods barn with the whole Tobacco crop was first consumed, then the shuck pens and corn cribs then the large barn where the hay was kept. (You remember the barn and stable below the house) that set some of the negro cabins on fire but they were extinguished, then they burned the Rocky barn in which was stored wagons, farming implements, threshing machine, shingles enough to cover the hose [sic] and many other valuable things. The fencing caught from this fire and but for the prompt exertions of Sergeant Jackson (a negro) the whole place would have been consumed.

I can never forget Col Downey and His men, all from the kind and noble Col himself, to the privates in the ranks, deserve our warmest gratitude, you are indebted to them, through God's good providence for your Father's life. My children shall remember Col Downey as their greatest benefactor.

The case has been laid before Gen Rousseau, and Gen Thomas, and they approve Col D's conduct throughout. We are staying with Gen Garner and his excellent wife and all his family vie each with each other in kindness.

Your Father is held subject further orders, non of our friends anticipate any trouble, most probably when the excitement subsides about Nashville his case will receive attention.
The bullet passed entirely through his arms above the elbow but missed the bone, it is healing as well as we could desire.
Boyd remained with your Grandma until day before yesterday, he will return there again. When our future movements have been determined on I will write you fully for the next few weeks we remain in Springfield either her or at Aunt Susan's. Grandma and the children are well. I hear from them every day, I wonder she did not die under this great distress, but God has upheld her as He has done us all. Blessed be the His name for evermore, my heart says Amen, in the feelings of gratitude to Him and the instruments he used to show his power.

Your devoted mother,

Jane Washington

[P.S.] Do not think of coming home, unless I write for you, you could do us no good here, your presence would only add to our cares. All our friends are as kind as they can be and I hope in a few weeks to be able to tell you that everything is satisfactorily arranged. Till them be hopeful and cheerful and study as hard as you can. Your letters of the 5th and 10th have been received.

Good bye, God bless you, my dear boy. 

TSLA, Civil War Collection 

Address on envelope: Wm. L. Washington, Box 185, Toronto, Canada. Often the wealthy would send their children out of the country to continue their schooling and to protect them from having to serve in either of the armies. General William Carroll, after being forced to resign rather than face charges of alcohol abuse, also went to Canada. The less wealthy didn't have these or similar options.

TSL&A, Civil War Collection, Correspondence by Jane Smith Washington, Letter, December 18, 1864

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