Another year has commenced, alas! With bloodshed. When will it cease? I ask that question with nothing but echo for my answer. The North is putting forth all its energies to try and subjugate us, and seems determined to do its worst. May the God of hosts be with us!
A battle was fought at Murfreesboro on the 31st ultimo. We have come out of it victorious. Thousands of the enemy have been slain and wounded. We have taken upward of four thousand prisoners, and spoils of all kinds; but I can scarcely rejoice, for our wounded are coming in by the hundreds and we have to witness the same sad spectacle as ever on such occasions. The weather is very cold, and I shudder to think what our men have had to suffer on the battle-field.
Our hospital is filled with wounded. Mrs. W and myself are not able to do any thing for them. Dr. Thornton is sick. Dr. Happing fills his place. I am anxious about my brother.
Cumming, A Journal of Hospital Life, p. 56.
An entry from the diary of Belle Edmondson
January, Saturday 2, 1864
Bettie and Uncle Elum went in town this morning horse-back. I sent $50. to Mr. Armstrong to get Eddie's suite of clothes and other articles which he needs. Poor Soldiers, this bitter cold weather I wish I had money to buy every thing they need -
Lieut. Spotswood went with two of Henderson's Scouts over Nonconnah to Mr. Deadrick's to get them to bring him every thing he needs out - they promised to do so. It has been sleeting all day - three of the Bluff City's called this evening, got their dinner, warmed and went on over Nonconnah. Cousin Frazor came this evening, and we have a house full - they are all Rebels, and we always have room for them if a hundred would come. All we can do is to sit round the fire, laugh, talk and try to keep warm. Bettie and Uncle Elum have not returned yet. I feel very uneasy, as she is to smuggle Eddie's clothes. Tate is out of humor, Eddie is troubled, but I think it will all be right - yet suspense is terrible –
DIARY OF BELLE EDMONDSON
January - November, 1864
January 2 – ca. 22, 1865 - Pursuit and capture of Confederate guerrillas from Liberty to Kingston; evidence of the growth of loyalty to the Union in the region
Nashville, Jan. 28, 1865.
Hon. Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee:
On the 2d of January, 1865, I left Liberty with a force of 250 men, composed of a detachment from the 5th Tennessee cavalry, under Captain Exom, a portion of Colonel Murphy's command, and a part of my own, the 14th Tennessee cavalry.
We arrived at Lebanon on the 3d, where we succeeded in capturing the notorious guerilla [sic] Howard, and three of his men, who have for month been a terror to the citizens of Wilson and adjoining counties. We turned our prisoners over to the commander at Murfreesboro; and hearing that there was a small Confederate force in the county of White, I at once proceeded there with my command by way of McMinnville, and succeeded in capturing a few prisoners. I learned in Sparta that Lieut. Revis, with forty-six Confederate soldiers had left there, and were attempting to make their escape across the Tennessee river. I at once selected thirty men, well mounted, but few of who had ever been in a fight, and sent the others to Carthage under command of Capt. Exom. I started in pursuit of the enemy on the 14th, and pursued him across the mountains to Brady's Ferry, on the Tennessee river, where they had crossed over twenty-four men under Sanders, who were immediately captured by a Federal force on the opposite side.
The enemy being apprised of my approach, made a hasty retreat up the Tennessee river for about sixty miles, when we overtook them, the second night [16th? 17th?], near Kingston, on the Tennessee river. I learned that the enemy was camping in a barn, and in order to surprise him, I dismounted eighteen men, surrounded the barn, and brought on the attack, which lasted for some fifteen minutes, the enemy fighting with great desperation, frequently engaging my men in a hand to hand contest in deadly conflict, but, nothing daunted, the brave men under my command fought with a zeal and determination that would have done honor to old veteran troops. I succeeded in capturing the commander, Lieut. Revis, and nine of his men, killed one man, and the remainder made their escape by plunging into the Tennessee river, where it is supposed they were drowned.
My loss was three men wounded. Too much praise cannot be given to the brave officers and soldiers under my command. They all seemed to vie with each other in their acts of daring and bravery….I was out over twenty days with my little command, riding frequently day and night, and succeeded in killing and capturing thirty-seven of the enemy, besides what escaped into the Tennessee river.
I deem it proper to state that my command was kindly received by the citizens, who were willing to give us any information they possessed concerning the guerillas and robbers; many who had not taken the oath of allegiance expressed a desire to do so, and return to their loyalty to the government, and many of them earnestly requested me to make my headquarters near where the guerillas are committing depredations, promising every assistance in their power. I will also state that they people in many instances have had their property taken, houses burned, helpless women and children turned out without shelter or food, by men claiming to be Federal soldiers, who doubtless honestly think that to be the best way to bring men back to their loyalty, but from my observations I feel sure that all that is necessary to produce a complete revolution in public sentiment, in favor of the Union, is to assure the obedient that they will be protected, and severely punish those who willfully violate the laws or usages of the Government.
I remain, Governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
J. H. Blackburn, Lt. Col. Comd'g 14th Tenn. Cav.
Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 7, pp. 441-442.