Sunday, June 9, 2013

6/9/13 TN Civil War Notes

9, 1862 -  Effects of the war upon a Southern aristocratic woman's emotions and her children in Warren County

Yesterday I was not well enough to write. I was quite unwell on Thursday--and have been so ever since until this morning--I now feel somewhat better. In addition to my headache and its concomitants, I have been troubled with a diarrhea similar to that I suffered so much from last fall--arising I suppose from the cold, I have taken in some way. I am not worth a picayune--everything upsets me. I have managed to keep up however, and have not missed the children's lessons. Puss is "ailing" too, and has been for three months--I think if we both were sent to Bersheba [sic] for a month or two, we would be benefited. I have done but little during the past week, but read, when I could do so for my head,--Thursday was dear little Tingie's birthday--5 years old. The comical little creature knows her letter-and that is all she knows in the book line. Bun how funny and "cunnin" and knowing she is in a hundred other things. And she asked so many outlandish questions. The other day she asked "Mamma if Pap was to go away to the war and get shoot--what would you do? Would you get you some other husband to take care wid you?" Just now her "ruling passion" is a kitten given her by Mrs. Lou Spurlock--without which, sleeping or waking, she is never seen. I keep the children under my own eye now all the time, and I must confess that having charge of them always [is] in no way [a] very easy task. But it is better for them, and it must be done.

* * * *

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French.




9,  1863 - A Confederate newspaper account concerning the Army of Tennessee prior to the initiation of the Tullahoma Campaign


Situation of Bragg's Army

(Correspondence of the Mobile Advertiser and Register.)

Wartrace. Tenn., June 9, 1863

Remarks Climatic and Topographical – Crops – A Pop Call on Rosecrans – A Little Fight –Hard Marching- Condition of the Army – The Meteor General, Cleburne-Items Cavalry – Personal Annoyances.

It was our fortune to happen on Tennessee at a most diabolical time, "the rainy season." Most persistently has it rained, giving us a deluge of water, mud and slosh, making us as uncomfortable as a "wet hen," and unnamable as a "sore-headed bear." When the weather is dry and mild a tent is comfortable, but in wet weather is close and stifling.  Just think of sixteen soldiers in one tent, their things included, the ground wet, blankets ditto, with sixteen musket and accompanying traps scattered around it, and you have a picture of comfort delightful to contemplate. Officers are a little better off, being allowed one tent to four officers, into which, of course, they have to take their niggers, or leave them out in the wet. But the natives say the rainy season is nearly over. I hope so. The climate is delightful and healthful to those who live in houses. This is really one of the loveliest regions on this green earth. Pure, bracing atmosphere; cool, gushing springs of crystal water; fine forests; fields of luxuriant grains and grasses; meadows of red clover, fragrant and beautiful as a flower garden; fat, sleek, happy cattle, feeding lazily on the rich herbage; farm houses all comfortable, and many showing taste and culture. Such are the excellencies of this heaven favored country. It is rapture to me merely to look upon and breathe the air of such a country. All is green, and all is beautiful.

The crops are splendid. Nothing more could be asked. The wheat crop is enormous, and in a fortnight will be ready for the reapers. The only thing wanting is labor to cut and save it. The farmers say that they cannot save their wheat without help. General Bragg would do well to let his army help the farmers and take part of the crop for pay. Wheat must be saved, and, where necessary, the army should help to save it. The crop garnered and placed in safe depots, there will be no scarcity again during this war.

On last Wednesday, 3d inst., some of us made a "pop call" on Mynheer [sic] Rosecrans, at Murfreesboro.  On Tuesday night we received the order to march at daylight. A rain set in, and continued all night. The road was horrible-what children call a "loblolly." In many places it was foot deep in mud. The streams were swollen and we had to cross them continually by wading. But we hurried on and on, like an avalanche. Only once were we halted for rest, and then only for a few minutes. A little after one o'clock we were in sight of the Yankee pickets. Take it all in all; it was one of the hardest marches made during this war. Without waiting a moment the advance went to attack the enemy, and a heavy force of pickets were thrown out to guard all the approaches. I was with the pickets, and had occasion to be near the fight. By three o'clock our advance engaged the Yankee pickets, and a sharp skirmish followed. About five o'clock the artillery went in and fired thirty-two times. I could hear the missiles screeching and hissing through the air. Our advance rushed through Stone river, and went within about three miles of Murfreesboro. About sundown they were recalled, and there was again "quiet along the front." Both armies slept that night in cannon shot of each other, and doubtless both expected an attack before morning. We did, certainly, for so the pickets were warned. My individual loss in the affair was an umbrella and a pair of waterproof legs.

This was the boldest kind of a dash at the enemy, which bearded him in his very den, and which doubtless effected "a big scare" among his Dutchmen. Rosy may be perplexed to know the object of our visit. Let the Yankees "guess" it.

Our loss was slight, not exceeding a dozen. We do not know theirs, but the artillerists declare that they killed a Yankee colonel. During the night I could see the flames of burning houses, to which the Yankees set fire near the scene of the fight. Early next morning we faced about and returned to camp. Thus ended one of the most daring dashes of the war. I should like to see Rosecrans and his Dutchmen return our call.

The country between this place and Murfreesboro is a splendid one.  A stranger would never imagine passing through it that war had ever touched it with its ravages. Indeed, from the Normandy Hills, ten miles behind us, to Murfreesboro, the whole country is unsurpassed for richness, abundance and beauty. There will be a splendid crop of blackberries in about two weeks. They will be a great help to the army.

Our army is well conditional, except in the matter of shoes. Many are barefooted and utterly unfit for a march, or indeed any duty. This is without excuse. The government could get shoes if it would. There are plenty in Europe, and a half dozen steamers that run the blockade at Charleston could in one cargo bring enough to supply the entire army for a year. The Confederate States have ample credit in Europe and can buy them. If the government would only furnish the leather, each regiment could and would make its own shoes. The thing is too bad as it stands. We have quarmasterial promises of the arrival of twelve thousand pairs, which are to be here to-morrow; but

To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

And yet no shoes.

The notable man of army in General Cleburne, who has risen with a rapidity of a Claude Melnotte or a meteor. He began the war as a private, and in eighteen months was a major general. And this without going through West Point and without political influences. He fought his way up by hard knocks. Such success argues both extraordinary merit and extraordinary luck. No man, however inherently great, can get along without luck, and as the adage goes, "a fool for luck." They generally having a monopoly of the article, But occasionally Claude Melnotte or Cleburne. General Henningsen is one of the truly great commanders; but luck is against him, and he has quit the army in disgust.

I have a copy of the Louisville Journal of the 28th of May, and from it I take some items.  It is frightened about an expected advance of the Confederates into Kentucky this summer, and demands that Louisville be fortified. It publishes a long list of resignations of officers in Rosecrans' army, and the cause of the resignations. About a dozen are stated to be "for the good of the service." What does it mean for an officer to resign "for the good of the service??" Patriotic officers! Perhaps they are like the man who "left his country for his country's good."

The Journal contains a minute account of the surprise upon our cavalry at Middleton, just above here-the First Alabama and Eighth Confederate. They were surprised and attacked before the day by two brigades of Yankee cavalry. The surprise was effected by coming through the woods and fields, and avoiding the pickets, who guarded only the road. I have often wondered why some military man did not have sense enough to march through the woods and fields and catch some enemy napping. At last a man of sense has come to do it. That man in General Stanley, Rosecrans' cavalry chief. The old way, taught at West Point, is to picket the roads; but that won't do when an enemy has enough sense and energy to come through woods and fields.

There is a talk of Rosecrans advancing, and some believe it; but I regard it as "bush" Rosecrans is one of the timidest generals, and never made but one attack in his life, which was at Murfreesboro. But certainly our time must soon come. It is nearly six months since the large armies in Tennessee have measured strength, though they have confronted each other all the time, in easy striking distance. Twelve hours march by either army will bring it within the lines of the other. It is now June, "the month of battles," and surely the precious season is not destined to be wasted. If the fighting is not done desperately, and the Yankee armies annihilated or driven, beyond the border during the summer, both will take up winter quarters again, and sleep away another half year. Surely this will be avoided by our government. Surely an effort will be made to recover our lost territory.

Captain John J. Winston, of the Thirty-eighth, has accepted the appointment of adjutant in the Eighteenth Alabama. His reasons are, I suppose, the superior comforts and bandbox arrangements enjoyed by "the staff," and faith in the rising star of Holtzelaw. As matter now stand, Holtzelaw has a fine promise of the next appointment of brigadier.

I could write a jeremiad upon the personal vexations which worry us here. There is all manner of personal comfort, and that is enough to make a philosopher or an angel unhappy. We are short of clothes; short of shoes; short of what we want to eat. The paymasters are out of funds and can't pay us, and if we have a bushel of Confederate money we cannot get the Lincolnites around us to take it. It is a great annoyance to find things to sell, and yet cannot buy them, although we have money. An old man here has quantities of honey to sell, at two bits a pound, but will take nothing but "Chattanooga money."

This not an uncommon case. But these are not all, or the worst of our annoyances. We can get no letters from home; can get nothing by express and nothing by telegraph.

New York Herald, July 2, 1863.

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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