Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

29, "Working Men Read."

A correspondent of the Union and American talks in the following plain and sensible terms to the working classes of the South. Let every mechanic, farmer, and all others interested in the prosperity of the South read and reflect:

An effort is being made in Tennessee to array the working classes against their more wealthy neighbors. The attempt runs o­n this wise: "The rich men of the South own the slaves -- they are the nabobs of the land -- they are interested in slave property -- the poor people are not personally interested [in slave property] -- let rich men do the fighting if collision must come -- if the rich were deprived of their negroes, we would be o­n a level, and there would be more equality in society." Specious, but most fallacious arguments. I undertake to say that the laboring classes of the South are as much or more interested in the question [of slave property] that agitates the country than the rich. It is a fact, first, that most of the slaveholders in Tennessee are among the laboring classes. There are o­nly, comparatively, a few extensive slaveholders in the State. A large proportion of those who own negroes have from o­ne to a half dozen slaves, while a few hold them in large numbers. The small farmers in the country have o­ne or two or three servants each to aid them in cultivating the soil. With these slaves they and their sons toil in the same field, and feel no degradation. The abolition of slavery would seriously affect large numbers of this class. 

Secondly. It is a fact that large slaveholders usually have wealth over and above their slaves. They generally own large tracts of land, stock of various descriptions, bank stock, money, etc., so that that if their slaves were gone they would soon become landholders of the country, and would hold the poorer whites as tenants at will; and being proprietors of the soil they would soon prescribe the terms and conditions o­n which men without means should till the land. 

Thirdly. The emancipation of slaves, and the flooding of the country with free blacks, would reduce the price of labor, and thus materially injure the prospects of white laborers. Who does not know that the price of labor in the South is above the wages at the North? 

Fourthly. The policy of the abolitionist is to drive out slave labor, so that our "sunny South" may be overrun with hordes of free laborers from the North and foreign countries, that they may reap the advantages now enjoyed by industrious working men at the South.

Fifthly. The policy is to make black men equal to white men, in all respects. They require that the free negro shall vote with the white man send his children to the same school; sit in the same pew at church; eat at the same table; sleep in the same bed; move in the same social circle; work in the same shop or field in equal rank, and finally, as advocated by some, intermarry, and thus become o­ne race by amalgamation. Now, I ask the working men of Tennessee if they are ready to indorse all these sentiments? Are they willing that their children shall become the cstlers [sic], shoe blacks, carriage drivers, washer women and become servants of wealthy land lords, the rich merchant the lordly bankers of the country, while they themselves shall be put o­n a level with free blacks?

It is a fact that no man can gainsay, that in the free States, especially in the older and more aristocratic, that as the rich grow richer the poor become poorer, and that property creates castes in society. 

Let the working people of the South look well to their own interests, and not suffer themselves to be deluded by cunning politicians. This is the advice of


Nashville Daily Gazette, January 29, 1861.




29, "God pity the poor in our southern cities." An excerpt from the diary of Mary L. Pearre of Williamson County

* * * *

The Federals were out yesterday foraging. I fear we will be left without the means of subsistence. Most of our neighbors have lost all they can spare. Have taken no corn or hay from us yet.

The weather is cold. God pity the poor of our southern cities. They are cut off from all means of supplying themselves of fuel, depending entirely upon the charity of their enemies. I am thankful that we live in the country as among the hills. I once desired a splendid mansion upon a large farm near a city. This was has banished such fancies.

Dreamed last night of seeing Mr. H., received the last letter from him this tie last year. Oh! that I knew his fate. If living he certainly could have found means of sending at least one letter.
Suspense how terrible all these weary months. Are [sic] most my constant companion and still art [sic] with me.

If it were not for dreams how extremely dull would be these weary winter nights. Seldom any company of gentlemen. I soon grow weary of the incipid chatter of most of our visitors.

Mag, Matt & Dots are more interested in their two babies and domestic affairs that I can be. There fore time grows doubly tedious. Have no domestic cares. Cannot be content to card and spin as many Southern girls do. Halve but little sewing on hand. No new books. Therefore retire to bed early and get up late.

Used to ride as an amusement. Now I am afraid to go too far on account of the Federals. I know I could be more industrious yet have not the heart to labor unless I had more assurance being benefited by industry. Have more bed clothing than I desire the Feds. to take as they have done in many instances. I have frequently planned a course of study and reading as I a m possessed of most of the Poets, a number of histories and biographies, travel, science works etc. But I can't confine my mind to any subject except the war.

Diary of Mary L. Pearre




29 -- February 7, 1864, Disloyal citizens deprived of army rations in Tullahoma

Shelbyville, Tenn., January 29, 1864.

Lieut. Col. H. C. RODGERS, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Twelfth Corps, Tullahoma, Tenn.:

COL.: During Gen. Slocum's stay in this place, I mentioned to him the fact of there being "special permits" given to disloyal citizens of this place to purchase necessary supplies for themselves and families.

I find on inquiry that the following-named citizens have such permits and are daily purchasing supplies, viz: Mr. R. M. Wallace (wife of cashier of Branch Bank of Tennessee, who upon the entrance of the U. S. forces into this place decamped with all the funds of the bank), Miss M. Mathews, Miss Ann Wallace (daughter of Mrs. R. M. Wallace), Miss V. Mathews, Miss Felicia Whitthorne.

All of the above have permits granted by Lieut. Col. Robert Galbraith, late commander of this post. I would respectfully submit that it seems to me there is not benefit to be derived by a citizen of this place from taking the oath of allegiance to the U. S. Government and giving heavy bonds, if they can just as well get all the benefits without it and be at any time ready to show our enemy that they have been consistently his friend.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. H. STURDEVANT, Lieut. Col. and Commissary of Subsistence, Twelfth Corps.

[First indorsement.]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Chattanooga, February 3, 1864.


Respectfully referred to Maj. Gen. H. W. Slocum, who will direct the commissary at Shelbyville to stop the rations of these people. [added.]

By command of Maj.-Gen. Thomas:

WM. McMICHAEL, Maj. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
[Second indorsement.]


Respectfully referred to Maj.-Gen. Slocum, commanding Twelfth Corps, and attention called to the indorsement of the department commander.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Hooker:
H. W. PERKINS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. II, pp. 258-259.

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