Monday, May 6, 2013

5/6/2013 TCWN

6, Fear and loathing in Memphis – the Committee of Safety in Action

Affairs in Memphis-The Feeling in Tennessee and Kentucky.

On Saturday we were kindly furnished with the following information by two young gentlemen who had just arrived from Memphis, Tennessee, at which place they had for some time past been in business. During several weeks past the have received continued intimations that their presence was no longer desirable in Memphis, and one of the gentlemen was obliged to live in the night, his ticket having been procured by a friend. The other was waited upon by a Committee of Safety, who, after asking him where he was from, and how long he had resided there, informed them that if he intended to remain he must join a military company, and if he did not he had better leave the following morning. As the member of the committee seemed respectable, he deemed it advisable to leave that afternoon, an employe of the establishment in which he was engaged buying his ticket for him.

As he went to the cars on Friday a proclamation was posted up, to the effect that there were but two parties in the city, friends and foes; and all able-bodied men who did not at once join the Secession forces, were enemies. Several Northerners will be compelled to leave, while others who think more of dollars than principles, have expressed an intention to obey the proclamation.

The feeling in that section is decidedly in favor of Secession, the few Union men residing there being compelled to maintain silence.

A large force is engaged near Memphis in making fortifications, and at Fort Randolph, sixty-five miles above the city, every preparation will be made to prevent Northern troops from passing down the river. Sand batteries have been erected, and six thirty-two pounders have been planted. The point is garrisoned by a company of Light Guards of the 154th Regiment, and a company of flying artillery. More troops are to be sent there at an early day.

In the Southern portion of Kentucky the feeling is similar to that in East Tennessee….

On Wednesday last, our informants witnessed the perpetration of a horrible atrocity. As the steamer Glendale was lying at the wharf in Memphis, a young man, a clerk in Johnson & Just's store, who was about to start on a temporary visit to his old home, Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the purpose of being married, imprudently said that if the Secessionists visited his section of the country, they would be clubbed. The cry of "Abolitionist" was raised, and the poor fellow was knocked down, abused, and subsequently taken to a barber's shop and his head shaved. He was afterwards escorted by a policeman to the residence of one of his employers, and the next morning left for the North.

Two weeks before this, there men who had, it was supposed, returned North, were seen hanging to trees a short distance from Memphis. One was a moulder and the other two were carpenters, hailing from Ohio and Allegheny City in this State.

Our informants passed up the Ohio river, American flags were waving on both sides.

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 1861.




6, Renewing police surveillance of free Negroes in Nashville

To Free Colored Persons.—Almost every day one or more colored persons are brought before the Recorder, charged with being out without a certificate, and fined. Most of them are aware that the law requires them to have their certificate always with them; but the old police being acquainted with all those doing business in town, they were never molested, and the consequence is, they left their certificates at home. A new set of policemen having been appointed, colored persons must comply with the law.

Nashville Dispatch, May 6, 1862.




6, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 102, relative to increase of wall tents for infantry and cavalry regimental commanders in the Army of the Cumberland


Murfreesborough, Tenn., May 6, 1863.

General Orders, No. 78, current Series, from these headquarters, are so amended as to allow four instead of three wall tents to the field and staff officers of each regiment of infantry, and five instead of three to the field and staff officers of every regiment of cavalry having twelve companies and the full number of field and staff officers prescribed for such an organization. Cavalry regiments having a less number of companies will be limited to the allowance prescribed by these orders for regiments of infantry.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 314.




6, "A Dangerous Toy"

For several months past we have noticed as a favorite amusement among the juveniles of our city the use of a certain ingenuously contrived toy for throwing missiles such as small stones or pieces of brick, We never have known a boy who was not fond of casting stones, either at some target or in the air, and when a youth is the happy possessor of a sling, or some such a plaything as that which we have alluded to, he is delighted and consequently indulges in the use of it almost constantly. This might [pass?] in the country, but in town where there are more windows and more people which may accidentally come between the lad and the target which he shoots at, throwing stones will not begin to do. Last evening a Mr. Murphy, while standing on the corner of Union and Second streets, received quite a severe wound in his face from a missile, which was accidentally shot in that direction from one of those playthings in the hand of a little boy upon the opposite side of the street, who was as much alarmed at striking him as he was injured by his carelessness. The use of this toy should attract the attention of parents.[1]

Memphis Bulletin, May 6, 1864.





6, "While the two were engaged in robbing the house one of the other two seized me and commenced taking liberties with my person." Martha Marshall's Narrative; A Post-War Bushwhacker Attack in Franklin County

On Saturday the sixth day of May A. D. 1865 about one o'clock a party of four men rode up to my house in Franklin County Tenn. They came to the door and pushed said door open. Geo Pless who was then living there opened the door. They asked who lives here. He answered Pless. They then asked if this was the place Nelson was killed at. This Nelson was a Guerrilla Capt & killed my brother in law while surprised in robbing the house, some time previous. Pless answered them no sir this is not the place. The same man then came in and hitting Pless over the head forced him to sit down. They or two of them then commenced robbing the house. While the two were engaged in robbing the house one of the other two seized me and commenced taking liberties with my person. I broke away from him, and going to one of the others appealed to him to make the other stop which he did. They then dragged Mr. Pless into the floor and told him they were going to kill him that if he wanted to pray he must do so then. Mr. Pless got to his knees to pray just at that time I started to leave with my two little children just as I got to the door the one who was about to kill Mr. Pless stepped to the door and told the two who were there to guard us and to see to it I did not get away. He then took Mr. Pless out of the house to kill him when the same man who made the one spoken of above leave me alone took him Pless from the other. Mr. Pless succeeded in slipping off and affected his escape. Three of them then rode off leaving one of their party behind. The man left behind entered the house and catching Mrs Pless was about affecting his purpose on her person when she begged him to desist saying it would kill her since she was expecting every moment to be confined. He says then by G__D___ I'll have that other woman and catching hold of my babe which I had in my arms threw it in the backside of the bed. He then caught holt [sic] of me & threw me up on the bed and threatened to kill me. I again jumped off when he caught both hands and forced me down in the bed striking me in the side with his fist or pistol he said G___D____ you, you push me off & I will kill your baby. He succeeded in attaining his purpose. I with Mrs Pless & children left the house and went over to my fathers. While at my fathers the four again entered but left. While we were at the house the one who raped me there jumped on the bed for the purpose of burning the house. Mrs Pless extinguished it. Their brutality toward me was most inhumane. The whole party was very large but four entered the house. I did not recognize any of the parties.

Blood and Fire, pp. 162-163.


[1] It is not known what this toy looked like or how it operated. It is tempting to call it a "war toy," some class of spring-loaded gun which fired stones. It does not sound as though it was a sling (or "slung") shot.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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