Thursday, May 30, 2013

5/30/2013 TN Civil War Notes

30, A Scotchman on the Crisis

Memphis, May 29, 1861.

Editors Appeal: As a Scotchman, I hail with pride the call made on my countryman in your issue of yesterday, to form themselves into a military company for the protection of their "altars and their fires" against the invaders of the land of their adoption, whose tocsin of war may already be heard sounding along our borders. But while I give my cordial support to the movement, as a descendant of those who shed the blood of patriotism with Wallace, and fought under the banner of Bruce, I object to the rallying cry which calls us to arms, viz: "To drive back the hireling mercenaries of Glasgow." In the first place, the Scotch are not a mercenary people, and never fought for hireling gold beneath the folds of any other banner than that of their own sea girt isle; and in the second place, the story is a fabrication, a lie got up by Jas. Gordon Bennet for a mercenary purpose, at the expense of his country's reputation, for his own has long since been bartered like a piece of merchandise, and his name desecrated at home as much as it is villified abroad….

John Gourlay.

Memphis Daily Appeal, May 30, 1861.


        30, Memphis Vigilance Committee Bans Newspapers

The rebel vigilance committee at Memphis has issued the following edict:


Resolved, by the Committee of Safety of the city of Memphis. That the Louisville Journal and Knoxville Whig, are herby declared suppressed, and that they be ordered returned from this office to their respective publishers.

D. Titus, President.

Bangor Daily Whig Courier, May 30, 1861. [1]




30, "The truth is, they and the country people all got drunk, or most of them, from liquor on the trains." Cypress Creek Bridge burned by Rebels[2]

Report of Lieut. Col. James Pell, Lay's Cavalry (Sixth Confederate), of burning of Cypress Creek Bridge, May 30

----,---- [sic], 1862.

At 12 o'clock, May 30, after bridges had been burned, it was the impression that the men in charge of the trains had destroyed them. We then heard that they had not been out. Lieut. McCune was sent, with a squad of men, with orders to go there, and order the conductors to destroy the trains and aid him in doing so.

About 2 p. m. we heard of immense stores at Cypress Bridge, of which some might be saved. Col. Claiborne sent me with orders to impress wagons and save all the stores I could and destroy the trains and locomotive, &c.

On my arrival, just before sunset, I found all the cars had been set on fire by Lieut. McCune, with the assistance of the country people, who had rolled off many of the stores into the marshes on both sides. I found seven locomotives-four badly and two slightly injured and one with no injury. These three latter were not so badly injured as to render them unfit for subsequent use. The others could be repaired in a machine-shop. The engineers had taken off plungers, valves, and fine work. I understood the engineers had gone off and repulsed to destroy these three. The truth is, they and the country people all got drunk, or most of them, from liquor on the trains. I detailed a mechanic and men to destroy them all, as much as they could, with an ax, &c.; but everything was on fire. There were 60 or 62 cars, chiefly loaded with commissary stores, a few horseshoes and guns; also a rifled piece (6-pounder) belonging to the "Appeal Battery," which is reported to have been carried out and hid, with some small-arms. I did not see them. I staid all night and pressed all the wagons I could; could not get many, and the country people carried off most of the stores. Most of the cars were heavily laden, and mostly with commissary stores.

[No signature.]

Thinks the railroad men knew nothing of the intention to burn the bridges; hence great confusion. About 100 sick in cars, who ran off in the swamps; do not know what became of them.

Report of Capt. Jefferson Falkner, Chambers Cavalry (Confederate), of burning of Cypress Creek Bridge, May 30.

Camp Near Clear Creek, Tenn., June 6, 1862.

On the night of the 29th ultimo I received an order in writing at Cypress Bridge about 12 o'clock directing me to take my company and Capt. Elliott's and march immediately to Cosset and to leave Lieut. Prather and 10 men, and for him to wait until daylight and then to burn the bridge, and to do it effectually, and not to burn it until daylight, as many trains would pass during the night. Having to send after my pickets, and from other causes, I did not leave the camp until about daybreak. As I was about leaving a man came and inquired for Lieut. Prather, and informed him that Col. Searcy had sent him to direct him (Prather) not to burn the bridge at daylight, as there was yet a number of trains to pass, but stated that the order was not in writing, and the colonel said it was not necessary that it should be. Neither myself nor Prather knew the man or whether he was a soldier or not. I then left.

I think that about one hour after sunrise I met a man on horseback inquiring the way to the bridge and how to find Prather. I told him how to find him. He informed me that he had an order for Prather, and, it not being sealed, I examined it, and found it to be from Col. Lindsay. He went on, and soon after he had time to get there I saw the smoke ascending from the bridge. I afterward saw as many as four trains passing the railroad in that direction. The only order that I received was the order in writing, above referred to.

J. FALKNER, Capt. Chambers Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I. Vol. 10. pt. I, p. 868.





        30, Skirmish at Triune[3]


Triune, Tenn., May 31st, 1863.


Notwithstanding the many rumors which have reached us of an approaching foe, and our almost constant aprehensions [sic] of a coming fight, affairs at this point remain much as usual, no enemy having appeared on this side of the Harpeth river.


Early yesterday morning the General Commanding ordered the First East Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Robt. Johnson, to make a reconnaissance of the grounds on the opposite side of the river, and ascertain if possible where and in what force the enemy was. The regiment crossed the river about nine o'clock a. m., passing down the Chappel [sic] Hill pike, Major Burkhardt and Adjutant Bentley with a squad of six men acting as the advance. They had proceeded but two or three miles when they were fired on by the enemy's videttes. The order was then given to charge, and chase was given the rebels. Here ensued a most exciting scene, the Rebs [sic] making desperate efforts to reach their reserves and give the alarm of Yankees, yelling at the top of their lungs, gained upon them at every stride. It was soon evident that our boys were bound to


And in less than twenty minutes the whole trio of "yellow coons" [sic] had acknowledged themselves prisoners of war. At his time, however, and before the arms of the prisoners could be taken from them, a foraging party of about fifty rebels entered the road in the rear of our men, thereby effectually cutting off all retreat in that direction. The prisoners, being still armed and seeing help near them, undertook to fire upon our boys and make their escape. But they had, for once, made a miscalculation; for in less than two minutes they were each placed hors du combat. Their horses were taken from them and their dead bodies left to be taken care of by their friends, while our little band were making their way through the woods towards the regiment unhurt. During my stay, there were several squads of butternuts seen, but always at a respectful distance. Nothing further of interest occurred. It was ascertained that there were four or five regiments of cavalry encamped about 5 miles beyond, and that, at a short distance behind them, was a considerable force of infantry. There are also some three or four regiments of rebel cavalry encamped near Eagleville, on our left in front.


Nashville Daily Press, June 3, 1863.



30, Federal commander at McMinnville recommends continued army presence to protect pro-Union lives and property from bushwhackers and to prevent crime


Maj. B. H. POLK, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dist. of Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.:


* * * *

I consider it my duty to state that in my view of matters here, the post McMinnville, Tenn., ought to be, at least for the present, occupied by troops, not only for the protection of the many loyal people here, but also to prevent the numerous small bands of bushwhackers from collecting in a body, which they will certainly do if not continually harassed and kept dispersed by troops. I learn from Mr. Th. Comer, the trade agent at this post, that there are at the present time $27,000 worth of goods and merchandise at McMinnville, all of which will have to be removed if the post be abandoned, as the citizens themselves are not capable of protecting themselves against these robbers and guerrillas, and brought these goods here under the impression that they would be protected by the military power. I am also satisfied that in the present famine-like condition of the poor classes, many who would otherwise remain quiet and peaceable will, under the continual pressure of want of the necessaries of life, engage in robbery and every other crime, unless restrained or overawed [sic] by troops; neither would there be any safety for the lives and property of several Union families here, for instance, of such as Doctor Armstrong, Capt. Clift, Gen. Rodgers, and other families and property. Should this post be completely evacuated, I would respectfully recommend that the citizens be made aware of that fact, and sufficient time given them for removal to other parts of the State.

I am, major, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. P. ROBINSON, Col. Twenty-third Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 57.




30, Capture of Champ Ferguson

NASHVILLE, May 30, 1865.

(Received, 5.20 a. m. 31st.) Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, U. S. Army:

The capture of Champ Ferguson and surrender of his guerrillas has restored complete quiet to Overton and Fentress Counties. I have directed Gen. Rousseau's expedition not to move. Gen. Stoneman will go on.

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 931.


The guerrilla leader Champ Ferguson was captured by a force led by Major Blackburn. "Champ has a very possessing appearance, and does not look like a bad man. He is fully six feet high, dark hair and complexion, and has an eye like an eagle. He is a strong, athletic man. He was taken at some point in East-Tennessee and expected to be pardoned as a prisoner of war, but the authorities could not 'see it in that light' and Champ will have to answer for his 'unvalrous [sic] deeds.'"

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, June 1, 1865.

        30, Cancellation of Hunt for Champ Ferguson and Continuation of anti-Guerrilla Campaign in Knox, Anderson, Campbell, Montgomery, Morgan White, Overton, and Fentress, counties

NASHVILLE, May 30, 1865

Maj.-Gen. STONEMAN, Knoxville, Tenn.:

The capture of Champ Ferguson and surrender of his guerrillas render Gen. Rousseau's expedition unnecessary and it will not start. Yours will, however, go on.

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Brig.-Gen., &c.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 933.


[2] These two Confederate reports describe this action, part of the Corinth Campaign. They point up the variety of military experience in Tennessee during the Civil War. There are streams named "Cypress Creek" in Wayne, Shelby, Perry, Obion, McNairy, Madison, Henry, Haywood, Hardeman, Crockett, Chester and Benton counties in Tennessee. The Illinois Central Railroad today traverses over a Cypress Creek in McNairy county. Also, one of these reports is dated at Jack's Creek in Chester county, so it would seem most likely the bridge in question may have been in McNairy county.

[3] This skirmish is referenced neither in the OR nor in Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: