Nashville, Tenn., January 8, 1862
Hon. J.P. BENJAMIN
Secretary of War, Richmond, VA.
I confess to some surprise in reading the favor of [Acting Assistant Adjutant-General] Captain [Virginius D.] Groner, acting assistant adjutant-general, addressed to myself of date 3d instant, in which it is stated that orders had been issued through Brigadier General Carroll to disband Colonel [James W.] Gillespie's regiment, if not armed, accompanied with instructions not to commission officers of any twelve-months' organization unless it is armed at the time of muster. It would seem that the Department is not acquainted with the state of affairs in Tennessee. I premise that the Governor of the State thoroughly understands that he is required to arm such troops and that he is endeavoring to do so, with promise of success, I take pleasure in adding. But the condition of affairs in Tennessee is as follows: Since September last General Johnston, in the discharge of his duties, has made repeated and urgent calls upon the Governor for troops, but since the order of the Department (made, as I learn, in October last), accompanied with the request that they should be armed by the Governor, and in November last, to wit, the 19th, such was the urgency and importance of the defense of his line that the general called for every man in the State that could be armed. In answer to which, and to discharge his duty, the Governor made his call and took instant and withal hazardous steps to possess the State of the arms of the private citizens-inferior weapons, to be sure-but yet such was the only resource of the State, which fact General Johnston well understood. Volunteer companies were ordered to rendezvous, and the arms of the State were ordered to different arsenals in order to be placed in shooting order preparatory to their delivery to the different regiments that might be organized. The account of guns received corresponds pretty well with the number of volunteers reported, but necessarily there must be some little delay in fixing off regiments; and to disband them because at the instant of muster they may not happen to be armed is to place obstacles in the way of speedy organization and will prove more disastrous. A concise statement is that the Governor intends, out of the means alluded to, to arm the twelve months' volunteers of the State now called for by General Johnston. He believe that it can be done speedily, and is himself unwilling to incur the expense as well as attendant confusion and dissatisfaction that would follow the disbanding of troops. My information is that the ordinary rifle and shotgun in sufficient numbers are not at Knoxville, simply awaiting repair, not only to arm Colonel [James W.] Gillespie's regiment but one or two others, and I was in the act of arranging measures for the more speedy repair of them when I was handed Captain Groner's letter. I do not suppose, because I have not sufficient facts to warrant the reflection, the General Carroll's brigade requires the arms intended for Colonel [James W.] Gillespie's regiment, since I believe it was reported as an unarmed brigade to you, but if General Carroll's brigade need any I undertake to say that the Governor will endeavor to supply his wants.
I beg to add further that in view of the invasion threatened and imminent to the State of Tennessee it would be well, not only well but highly important to the citizens of the State as also the Confederacy now and in the future, if the Secretary would receive the assurances given that the troops called for will be armed by the State, either at the time of muster or within a short time thereafter, the time being only that necessary to put guns in shooting order.
Conceiving the publication of the order of Captain Groner would work injuriously, I will withhold it until further communication from you. It is proper to state that the Governor is absent from the city at this writing, but knowing the plans adopted and being in part charged with their execution I have take the liberty of writing as I have done
J.C. Whitthorne, Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 253-254.
8, Automatic death sentence for Confederates wearing Federal uniforms in the Knoxville environs
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7. HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 8, 1864.
Our outposts and pickets posted in isolated places, having in many instances been overpowered and captured by the enemy's troops, disguised, as Federal soldiers, the commanding general is obliged to issue the following order for the protection of his command, and to prevent a continuance of this violation of the rules of warfare:
Corps commanders are hereby directed to cause to be shot dead all the rebel officers and soldiers (wearing the uniform of the U. S. Army) captured within our lines.
By command of Maj.-Gen. Foster:
HENRY CURTIS, JR., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. III, Vol. 4, p. 54.
8, Rich and Poor take the Oath of Allegiance in Chattanooga
A letter from Chattanooga to the New York World gives the following account of the progress of the President's reconstructive scheme in Tennessee:
"A number of citizens have already taken the oath of allegiance, and are availing themselves of the President's Proclamation of amnesty. Among these is young Whitesides, whose father perished in the rebel army, and who was himself in that service eighteen months. He is extremely wealthy, being a partner in the grounds known as the Etna coal mines, which some years ago were leased to a New York company for nine hundred and ninety nine years, the proprietors of the soil receiving as rent a stipulated price per bushel of the yield. His mother is the proprietor of a portion of Lookout mountain, and has very wisely concluded not to see it sequestrated, if swearing will save it. And already she, too, has given in her adhesion the required oath. Whether or not those who accept this proclamation of amnesty really entertain any improved feelings toward the old government in general or the Yankees in particular, of course it is not for me to decide; but one thing is certain, and that is, they are thoroughly subdued-humbled; and if ever they are restored to their civil rights in full, they will never again use their privilege to encourage rebellion. It will be their last, and not first, remedy for lost rights in [the] future. The poorer classes are flocking in and subscribing to the oath-with their mark-little knowing or caring what it contains, so that they obtain bread for their families and immunity from rebel conscription or federal punishment by the process. They usually immediately enter the service of the government as teamsters, bridge-builders, road makers &c., and generally some enlist in the army."
Vermont Watchman and State Journal, January 8, 1864.