Monday, January 7, 2013

January 5 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

January 5, 1861, "The Effect"

The idea of coercive measures by the Federal Government is having its natural effect upon the Southern mind. All hope of final adjustment of our national troubles being abandoned, the people of the South are preparing for the performance of their next highest duty – resistance to coercion or invasion. By despatches published this morning, it will be seen that the people of Florida, Georgia and Alabama have taken possession of the forts and other military establishments within our borders, and are otherwise preparing for the exercise of that highest of all rights – the right of self-defense. To this evident determination upon their part to defend themselves and their institutions, every true Southern heart will respond a cordial Amen. If collision at arms be inevitable, be the God of Battles upon the side of right, justice, and the South.

Nashville Daily Gazette, January 5, 1861.




5, A love letter from an unknown Federal soldier writing from Nashville, Tennessee, to Ettie.

Nashville Tenn Jany 5th 64

Friend Ettie

I believe I am not indebted to you by way of letter, but for your kindness to me I will write you a few lines. It is quite cool Weather  here now and some snow upon the ground but not enough to make sleighing. I wish I were in Hillsdale today I think I would call around to friend Ettie and go out a Sleighing. I get lonesome sometimes and I not know what to do, if I ever get out of the Service alive I am agoing [sic] to settle down and get married.

What a novel Idea that is, perhaps you will not believe it but I am not joking. I am not quite an old Bach yet but I fear I will be before long.

If you know of some good looking amiable young Lady that wish to change her situation in life, just mention the fact to her, and tell her there is a Soldier in the Army that wishes to marry in less than two years after his time expires in the Army.

On New Year's day about one o-clock I received a verry [sic] nice gift which I appreciated verry  much. It was the only gift that I received, and on that account realize its worth. You have my heartfelt thanks for your kindness and remembrance of a Soldier. Enclosed you will find the likeness of your unknown Correspondent which you will please accept, with the kindest regards.

I am yours verry  truly

Civil War Love Letters.[1]




        5, A Confederate refugees' stop in Shelby County

January, Tuesday 5, 1864

Still cold, cloudy and gloomy, has not moderated at all, it is real dangerous traveling, the ground covered with Ice.


Eddie has on his new suit, ready to leave for camp. Mr. Alexander and old Mr. Jayson are going with him, and we are better satisfied-I would not have him stay any longer for any thing, I am perfectly disgusted at the way in which our soldiers are lying about, shirking their duty. Eddie has everything to make him comfortable for this winter-


Two more of the Bluff City's arrived, got their dinner, warmed, and went on over Nonconnah. Our house still full, we have a gay time picketing for the Yankees, but I expect the boys think they have a gayer one running in the cold at their appearance-As usual we all sat up very late.

Diary of Belle Edmondson




        5, Depredations committed against Confederate civilians near Jasper, June 5, 1862

Jasper, Tenn., January 6, 1863

HIS EXCELLENCY Jefferson Davis

President of the Confederate States of America

Dear Sir:

I take the liberty to inform you how I have been treated by the Federal forces for my opinions' sake. On the 1st of last May [1862] eighty-three men belonging to General O. M. Mitchell's division came from Bridgeport, Ala., and pillaged my store for any article of worth, and on the 5th of June last [1862] sent ten soldiers (Federal) [sic] piloted by one of our tories and demanded $500 in cash and my person. The captain said he was directed by General Negley if I did not pay the $500 to take property to that amount. Not getting the case they took $900 or $1,000 of property, some relics of my deceased wife to her little son. They [arrested some of my neighbors and] took me from a sick bed and made me march with troops trained without anything to eat except crackers and bacon; no tents to lie in or blankets to cover with, but was compelled to lie on the cold ground without any covering whatever. From [there] we were marched near Chattanooga, Tenn., and put in a filthy stable; from thence to Shelbyville, Tenn., and put in a slaughter house, 140 feet deep without ventilation and a hospital above head with large cracks in the floor, and nothing to eat but crackers and hot water which they termed coffee. General Negley issued an order prohibiting the ladies or citizens of Shelbyville from furnishing us with any article of diet or citizens of Shelbyville from furnishing us with any article of diet whatever saying we were furnished with the same rations that the Federal soldiers were, which was false. From thence we were taken to the State Penitentiary [in Nashville] and incarcerated with thieves, murderers and assassins and such men as do God and man's laws at defiance set (for no crime save my love and devotion to my home and native south and her constitutional rights), where I remained near four months, while my little children were robbed of everything they had to eat and scared and insulted by a brutal soldier, they having come twelve miles to do it. I never lived in their lines. General Negley sent his cavalry six miles from his road of travel to rob and arrest me. He killed one of our citizens by marching him while sick for no cause except his opinion's sake, and other citizens of our county have been sent to Camp Chase, and are there now, if alive. Their names are William H. Ballard and Claiborn Gott. Neither of us was ever connected with politics or the army. I understand that General Negley was taken prisoner at Murfreesborough. If so, please give order concerning his case.

With sentiment of high regard, I am, President, Your, devotedly,

Washington Turner

P.S.-for my veracity I refer you to Generals John B. Floyd and John B. Gordon; Col. P. Turney, First Tennessee Regiment; Dr. J.G. Barksdale, Shelbyville, Tenn.; Revs. E.W. Sehon, Atlanta, Ga., and William T. Smithson, formerly of Washington, D.C.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, p. 805.




6, The travails of the exiled Shelby County Edmondson family

June, Monday 6, 1864

After all of our agreements &c about an early start, we did not get off until 8 o'clock, a terible [sic], terible [sic] day we have had. Cold Water almost out of it's [sic] banks, and still rising-the slews swiming [sic]-Mr. Wilson picked the way or we never would have gotten through. Arrived at Cold Water in time to eat our dinner and feed. Met with a Negro man, coming to Senatobia, gave him part of our baggage, had to go twenty miles out of the way, by Luxahoma to cross Hickey Hayley-We missed the road to Mrs. Wren's home, had to travel until 8 o'clock, through Senatobia bottom after night, oh, how terible [sic] to think of. We never would have reached here had it not been for Mr. Wilson's kindness-found old Mrs. Arnold ready to receive is, where we are all now ensconsed, Mrs. Wren fast asleep-Hal taking Chloroform. I beged [sic] her not to, but to no availe [sic]-I am all alone. Mr. Wilson and John both retired. We have glorious news from Va. Gen. Lee has repulsed Grant, with heavy loss. God grant it may be so. Traveled two days and only 30 miles from home. God bless my poor old Father, and his household.

Diary of Belle Edmondson




6, "Grand Colored Demonstration."


Yesterday, being the anniversary of the arrival of the Federal forces at this place, our colored population thought it proper to commemorate the event by a Pic-nic [sic] which came off at Odd Fellows' Hall. We supposed at one time, when looking out upon the streets, that there had been an eclipse of the sun, (or some other strange phenomenon,) which by some miscalculation of the astronomers had been set at a wrong date, but as the black mass neared the spot where we were standing, we discovered our error, as it turned to be a procession of the "culled persuasion." [sic]

Memphis Bulletin, June 7, 1864



[1] As cited in: [Hereinafter cited as: Civil War Love Letters.]


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