Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013, Tennessee Civil War Notes

14, Memphis city council terminates welfare assistance program for Confederate volunteers' families

City Almoner.—The city council two or three weeks ago appropriated money to give relief to destitute persons in the city, and appointed ex-Marshal Underwood, almoner, to distribute food to such persons. This gentleman performed his duties with rare sagacity, kindly attending to the wants of the poor, and firmly rejecting the importunity of imposters. Such confidence was felt in the discretion and integrity of the almoner, that many citizens placed flour, meal, bacon and other provisions at his disposal for distribution, thus more than doubling what the city had contributed. We had in the creation of the office of city almoner a provision made for those who, from the failure of the ordinary means of obtaining a living, and from the absence of sons and brothers in the army—for our county court have made no provision for the mothers or sisters of absent soldiers, and none for the widows and children of such as may fall in battle—require particular attention at this time, the provision was made at so trifling an expense to the city, owing to the voluntary contributions put in the almoner's hands, that we looked upon the arrangement as in every way an excellent one. To our surprise, a motion made by an alderman of the 7th ward, J. B. Robinson, to destroy this arrangement, was on Tuesday last adopted by the city council, and the destitute, so far as the city goes, are left as destitute as before. In this condition of things Mr. Underwood has generously offered to continue to render his service gratuitously, as the dispenser to the poor of such provisions as may be given to him for that purpose. Those having anything to spare from their houses or stores, or who wish to aid the poor by the hands of one who will ascertain that their gifts go into proper hands, should send the articles to the almoner's office, on Second street, east side, four doors north of Madison. Persons having vegetables in their gardens, or left over at market unsold; bakers having bread left over; or persons in any way disposed to help the many who now greatly require kindness from the philanthropic, should communicate with the almoner and leave the articles at his office. By such kind actions the unhappy consequences of Ald. Robinson's resolution may be averted.

Memphis Daily Appeal, June 14, 1861.




14, "It is a matter of skill and science between the mules and the men, the former to dodge and the latter to catch." A thesis on Army Mules at Shiloh

Special Correspondence of the Chicago Times.

Field of Shiloh, June 6.

About Mules.

No small ingredient of warlike efficiency is the component which is made up of that most thoroughly condemned and well-abused species, the mule. Indeed I sometimes convince myself that an army could not exist without them. No animal can be found so well adapted to the purpose, so patient, so enduring, so willing, so hardy and strong under circumstances which would tire out any other muscles and destroy any other animal constitution. They transport the entire sustenance of this great army, from the steamboats to the lines, over roads which no persons ever dreamed of except those who have followed an army. They live upon short rations many a time when a full stomach would not sustain a horse or an ox, and day in and day out, and often through the live-long night, they toil on, dragging through the mud, and over logs and stumps, the heavy loads which are necessary to supply the army. In doing this, they are sometimes exposed to hardships which break them down, but in the main their iron frames endure anything the indifference of men can inflict upon them, and live to begin their labors again the next day. As a general thing they are well fed. Government furnishes an abundance of corn and, when it can be got at, they have all the corn and hay they can eat; but hard work uses up the sustenance thus acquired, and, eat however much they may, they are at best but racks of bones.

Mulish Obstinacy.

Coupled with their patient and enduring qualities are the better known, but little understood, attributes of obstinacy and viciousness. "Stubborn as a mule" is a proverb of world-wide celebrity. And yet the term is not to be applied in so sweeping a sense. Mules, like all animal nature, not excepting the human, are endowed with a due degree of willfulness. To overcome this, and render them tractable, nothing is necessary but patience and gentleness—qualities which not one man in a thousand possesses. As a natural consequence, perversity begets perversity. The mule loses his temper over trials that would have driven Job to distraction, and the drier pelts him over the head with a club, and seeks by violence to subdue a disposition which rebels more and more with every blow. So they fight it out; the driver beating and cursing, and the mule kicking and plunging, and never doing right while there is the slightest chance of doing wrong. They are driven in teams of six, with but a single rein, attached to the bit of one of the leaders. With so indefinite a guide, they are apt to get entangled in the labyrinth of mire and forest through which their road generally lies, and to flounder about, until they either sink down exhausted, or stop in sullen obstinacy and refuse to pull the load any farther. Then a congregation of drivers ensues, each with whips and oaths ready to order, and with one at each mule, they are beaten and mauled into acquiescence, and after mountains of effort, started on their course once more.

Wagon Trains.

They go in trains of from ten to a hundred wagons. When the army moves, of course they are all on the road. Imagine six or seven thousand teams on the road at once, all laboring through a wilderness of mud, tumbling over logs and stumps, and threading their way through heavy woods, and you have an idea of the scene. From their immense numbers they cannot follow any common roads, the bad spots in which soon become blocked by broken and disabled wagons, and the trains diverge and strike across the country. Everything goes down before them. Fences, underbrush, and cornfields are alike served. Small rivers and creeks are filled up with timber, or fence-rails, and onward they go, like an army of locusts, sparing nothing, and stopping for nothing. Thus a space of country ten miles in width will become a vast roadway for the passage of this animal host; in the track of which crushed forests, obstructed rivers, and leveled fences show the energy of its captains, while an enormous debris of wagons, dead mules, broken chains, harness, and other paraphernalia remain as the handiwork of reckless and violent drivers. Over all, like a cloud, rises uproar of struggling men and beasts, of crashing wood and iron, of dire profanity and execration; as though this panorama of wild disorder were incomplete without the soul of anathema to animate its movements.

The Model Mule-Driver.

Men who are possessed of the spirit of patience and gentleness will drive these same obstinate animals with perfect ease, and at the same time save them great labor. As a general thing, the ordinary drivers kill a mule with hard work every time a season of extra labor comes on. They are tumbled aside to rot, and another is put in, to go through the same course. But drivers who are men of judgment, and who exercise careful treatment drive their teams through everything, and not only keep them alive but in good condition. When they go wrong, instead of cursing and beating, they get down and lead them aright, and, by the least bit of soothing and kindness, coax away their ill temper, and make them as willing as they are strong and hardy. I always like a man who can exercise this forbearance. If he is nothing but a mule-driver, he is a man superior to the petty malice of sudden passion; a man of cool judgment and counsel; a man, for all the world, to make a good husband and a kind father; for, as there are no greater trials to the human patience than mule-driving, so there are no more admirable minds than those who calmly surmount its troubles. Philosophy, you see, may be extracted from all things.

The Corral.

One of the curiosities of the mule business is the method of catching, harnessing and breaking them. They are brought up the river by steamers, hundreds at a time, and turned into the corral on the river bank, where they await their turn. Several thousand will thus become collected in a single troop. They are sleek, wild creatures, with timid, deer-like eyes, and small legs and feet, more like those of an antelope than any other animal. Agility is no name for their movements when they are in this free state. They spring, or turn, or roll over like a cat. Throw one down, and he will be on his feet before you realize that he has been off them. Surprise them by coming close unawares, and a cloud of dust thrown in your face will be the only evidence left to your astonished vision. In the art of kicking they are most perfect. They generally use one hind leg for this purpose, and a most effective weapon it becomes. They use it so handily, and in so pliable a manner, as to excite the wonder of the beholder. Launching out with it, they deliver a blow that often breaks a man's legs. Then they let fly a quick motion which reaches the point with nicety, and inflicts more alarm than damage, and when in a playfully cross mood, they put it out, as an elephant does his trunk, and administer little taps and pushes in a quick succession, to warn the intruder against too much familiarity. All this occurs when they are among their own kind. When they have become worn down in body and temper by hard work, their playfulness vanishes, and they kick at each other, and at their drivers, with a savage ferocity which is death to all the human kind. They are consequently never cleaned, for a man's brains are in danger of being knocked out every time he touches their legs with a curry comb. For the same reason their tails are shorn of hair, in order that they may not carry about with them a huge mass of mud in that appendage.

Catching and Breaking.

When a requisition is sent down from division headquarters for teams, preparation is made by selecting the wagons and harness, all new and putting men into the corral with lariats or lassos to catch the mules. Immediately a commotion exists. The vigilant animals are on the qui vive, and commence running and plunging to avoid the well-thrown noose. It is a matter of skill and science between the mules and the men, the former to dodge and the latter to catch. Amid such a multitude, the lasso must occasionally fall over a mule's head, and then ensues a contest of strength. The men run with the end of a long rope to a stake or tree or a wagon-wheel, and pass it around so as to draw upon the mule. Three or four pull here, and another dries him up. If he be a refractory one, nothing can exceed the fierceness of his struggles. Plunging to the end of the rope, he bounds hither and thither, rushes back and forth, throws himself upon the ground like a mad creature, rolls over and over, kicking and biting, and screaming with rage, until by degrees he is brought up to the hitching place, where he is secured by a chain, and left to struggle and fight until he is tired out. This sometimes requires hours before he can be approached, much less harnessed. Imagine twenty or thirty of these miniature devils raging in concert, with hundreds more racing and plunging about the corral, and add to it the dust of many feet, the shouts and curses of the lariat men, and you have a picture of the mule corral in catching time.

[illegible] tamed animals have to be harnessed and driven. By dint of half a day's work, with their heads tied up close to a tree which they cannot pull up by the roots, the harness is put on. They are then hitched to the wagon with [illegible] precautions to avoid their dangerous [illegible] with all the wheels locked and [illegible] rope at each bit, they [illegible] Such another [illegible] never was witnessed. Six unbroken mules [illegible] in harness which they never [illegible] before, and allowed to have their own way. They plunge forward, rush in opposite directions, kick, bite, and scream, lie down and roll over, and, in every other imaginable way, give vent to their ugliness of temper. This lasts an hour or two, and then they get up and go off calmly and peaceably, a little awry at first, but gradually sobering down into the traces, until every vestige of waywardness is gone, and, from that time on, they are fully broken. One cannot but be astonished at the ease with which they are conquered, and subdued into drudges. Thenceforward they lose their sleek coats, their keen bright eyes, and their agile and graceful movements. The harness wears broad marks on their skins, hard work reduces them to poverty of flesh, and mud plasters over their bodies; in everything they become the poor and degraded servants of mankind, born to drudge for a few months, and then to die and be cast aside. They are but the merest cattle in harness, leaving to the horse, whose spirit cannot be broken, the nobler duties of the species.

My Experience in Horse Ownership.

Speaking of horses reminds me of some experience I have had in that line during my pilgrimage with the army as a journalist. It is a matter of some importance that every correspondent should have some kind of a riding animal at his command, otherwise he will find himself deficient on emergencies when haste is essential. My first idea of the proper thing was a gallant charger, gaily caparisoned, prancing high and low when crowds were about, and always holding himself in readiness for a public exhibition. That is the officer style of doing the thing. I found that the article was difficult to procure, and expensive to keep, having no soldiers at my command to guard a fine horse night and day to prevent his being "cramped" and carried off. Before I had done with experiences in this line, I was contented with more modest pretensions.

During a period of four months I have been owner and sole proprietor of five horses. The first of these was a relic of the Donelson fight. He came from somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee, and, from a habit of climbing rocks and holding on by his nose, he was much addicted to standing on his hind legs, without regard to who might be in the saddle. This was a favorite feeding position, and grass being scarce at that time, and hay and oats scarcer, he was accustomed to take his meals in the tops of small trees, where his cultivated taste taught him to find tender twigs and juicy buds. This nutritious food gave him a frame like a clothes-horse, and his legs, to use an apt phrase, were as fat as a rye straw. His back-bone split a new saddle in two, and cut a hair-cloth blanket into shreds. I could have got along with this, but he constantly brought me to shame and disgrace by going on his hind legs for browse on state occasions, to say nothing of a propensity for climbing every steep cliff he came to, and sliding me over his tail in the operation. He was a good horse to go bird nesting with, or, in case of emergency, to run up the side of a house and get out of danger, but he was so far from my idea of a perfect horse that I sold him for thirty dollars, as Floyd's veritable war charger, to a trophy seeker who wore blue spectacles and carried a portfolio. As I saw him afterwards, in company with five others as poor as himself, dragging an army wagon, I conclude that the purchaser was not sufficiently vigilant to elude Uncle Sam's watchfulness and get him home. My last glimpse of him was as he stood upon his hind legs, with his fore feet on a rail fence, apparently reaching for browse in the moon.

My next attempt was in the mule line. A friend in the Quartermaster's Department insisted upon presenting me with a superb riding animal which had come into his possession, he didn't say how, but suppositively [sic] cramp process. The beast had a prepossessing exterior. Ears as long as my arm, a head like a butter-firkin, pipe-stem neck, body as comely as a sugar hogshead, and legs not to exceed eighteen inches in length. With this inviting exterior, he had a disposition still more outre [sic] and perverse, if possible. The first time I mounted him, he kicked up his heels, and landed me over his head, some twenty feet in advance. The next time, he sat down on his haunches, and slid saddle and all over his tail. Then he laid down, and rolled over and over, faster than a Bengal monkey could have followed him; and, finally, he resorted to every trick an animal could be guilty of, to show his perverse temper. He had a way of making a great fuss when the saddle-firth was buckled—putting on a deplorable countenance, and groaning dismally, as though his life was being squeezed out. You might pull and tug for ten minutes, straining the girth up to the last notch, and fairly tiring yourself out with exertion, when, upon stepping back with a malicious consciousness of having brought the ugly brute to terms, you would see his body collapse, and the girth hang suddenly limp and loose, while he looked askance with a cunning leer, as much as to say: "How do you like that now?" He never failed to inflate himself like a balloon when the saddle was to be put on, and then collapse for the satisfaction of having it turn around and unseat his rider at the first mud hole he came to. I rode him for the spite of the thing for two long weeks. I got a pair of spurs with rowels an inch and a half long, and flayed his sides with them whenever he ventured to flap his ugly ears at me, and I finally had the satisfaction of seeing him tumble down a bluff a hundred feet high, and break his neck.

Having had enough of vicious horses, I determined to try a quiet one next time. I accordingly invested in a demure specimen of the pony breed. He proved all I could ask, for, from that time onward during my term of ownership, I did no hard work except to urge him to a due sense of his duty as a horse, and more especially a journalistic horse. The arguments used in this controversy were clubs of the largest possible size, sharp-pointed sticks, spurs at the rate of several a day, building fires under his tail, and, on occasions of emergency, felling good-sized trees upon him as a starting impetus. He was patient under these afflictions, and never suffered anything to disturb his equanimity except the last two alternatives, which were always reserved for an impending battle, or a sudden movement to the rear. He was the best horse in the world to lead an army with, for he was sure to be behind and out of danger, but the very worse for a retreat, for obvious reasons. I was finally obliged to succumb to his pertinacity from a scarcity of timber and spurs, the soldiers having used the former for fuel, and his ride having demolished all the latter that were available in ten regiments. I sold him to an army chaplain who was too much reduced by bad whisky and the Tennessee quickstep to exert much physical force, and he was taken prisoner while going at a mad gallop of fourteen miles in fifteen hours, with several thousand howling Texan rangers in the rear.

I then determined to live upon my wits, so far as horseflesh was concerned. So I found myself sometimes in possession of a borrowed animal, sometimes riding a mule, sometimes bestriding a picked up [illegible] from the woods, and not unfrequently disgracing myself and my profession by resorting to the corral of rejected and broken down government horses. Sometimes I had a saddle and no horse; other times I had a horse and no saddle; again I had both and no bridle; and, as a consequence, during the majority of the time I wandered about disconsolately, carrying a saddle and bridle, and looking for a horse, or leading a horse and searching wrathfully for a saddle and bridle.

Of my next attempt at ownership I can say but little. I had reason to believe him all my fancy pictured him. He had unlimited style and action, enlarged capacity for getting over the ground, and a generally prepossessing demeanor, but the next morning after I became his owner the picket rope was found out, and the horse gone, while to the stake was attached a paper containing an original drawing of a school-boy horse on the high prance, mounted by a man composed of two rotundities for head and body, and four straight lines for legs and arms. Underneath was the pithy announcement, "Off for Dixy [sic]." [sic] The picture was remarkable for the expression of the countenance, where the artist had forgotten to insert the usual organs of vision and taste, and for the three erect hairs which composed the tail of the horse. It was also remarkable for the effect produced on my mind on finding it in place of my valuable horse. By a singular coincidence, a secesh deserter who had been pressed into the rebel service, hung several times, and periodically starved to death, and who brought information that the rebels were greatly disaffected, and had nothing but corn bread and molasses to eat, disappeared and never was heard of afterwards. It was insinuated that he was a spy, but I believe Gen. Halleck does not allow spies within his lines—at least that was why he turned the newspaper correspondents out. I lost forty dollars by that operation.

I now rejoice in the possession of a chef d'oeuvre of horse flesh. I paid ten dollars for him, saddle, bridle, and all, and I feel safe in saying that Uncle Sam hasn't money enough to buy him. He left the Texan Ranger Association on the occasion of the late battle, in consequence of his rider having met a cannon ball and stopped to cultivate its acquaintance while he went on in pursuance of previous orders and never passed until he had gone clean through our ranks, and found a mule in the rear, which he proceeded to masticate with all possible speed. He brought along several specimens of his master, in the saddle bags and holsters, which he seemed to regard with sanguinary affection and, having [illegible section] He never loses the opportunity to go the wrong road, to [illegible] and unexpectedly in the direction of the enemy's pickets, to run over general officers and their staffs, to kick up his heels despitefully at military persons of great airs and dignity, and, above all, to indulge in the delight of his heart—thrashing a mule. With these and numerous other amiable qualifications he has endeared himself to my heart, and money cannot buy him.

With a change of scenes it is fit to bring about a change of names. In memory of that historic spot where for months I have burned the midnight oil, and eaten hard bread and bacon, I subscribe myself


Chicago Times, June 14, 1862.[1]




        14, "PADDY GO AISY'S PARTIALITY." Memphis political satire

Editor Bulletin:

One of the wise men of Egypt, that is, an alderman of Memphis, has declared that, "wards, like republics, are often ungrateful." Had he had any experience he might have added that alderman were as ungrateful as wards. I fancied, foolishly it seems, that my attentions were bestowed on the members of the august body with an impartiality that subsided envy and defiled complaint. I labored hard as deliverer in-chief, in assisting them all to bring forth resolutions suited to their calling, character and capacity. Did I wish to excite your sympathy, and play upon your risible faculties, I could, like a hog with a curly narrative, a tale unfold, that would make you laugh till you'd cry; but as that might be too much for the plaintiff's fortitude, I forbear for the present.

Well, then I am accused of being partial. It appears that I have "puffed" every alderman in the board but one, and he very naturally feels insulted at the slight offered to his official dignity; and my neglecting to deliver him of a resolution, reduced him to the necessity of borrowing from his colleague, in order that his name should appear in print, because he seriously believes that the public must know his face by seeing his name in the newspaper. Fearing that the grumbling of Alderman Dusderman [sic] might injure my official reputation, I persuaded him to take a private lesson or two, in company with a few friends, and am happy to say that the system adopted was most successful – with which statement you will agree when the process is explained. Operations were commenced by explaining the parts of speech, which, as he had been an editor for twelve years, was somewhat difficult. However, he gradually came to understand that the principal parts of speech were the lips, tongue and palate all of which he assured me he possessed, upon which assurance he had but to use them freely to make as great a noise in the world as if he had been born a drummer; and in order to do that effectually, he had only to commit to memory two or three dozen adjectives, which could be thrown in on all occasions and in all themes. He is a penetrating genius; for his next question was, "How came I, to know an adjective?" This was going into the philosophy of the subject; and it was only after repeated efforts he began to comprehend; but did he fully understand, until placed before him in the most familiar simile of drunk men, because like him an adjective cannot stand alone. His anxiety made him try his powers too soon, which resulted in his stuttering and stammering, compelling a friend to call out "sing it, sing it," which he did, in good style, and in the following words, that are not in print and can speak for themselves:

Here's to our aldermen, jolly and fat;

With stomach as tight as a drum, sir'

Here's his honor, so found of the "herrin n' sallat."*

Washed down with a beaker of rum, sir.

Let their toast pass,

We're all of a class,

And with our teeth uppermost, going to graze.


Here's to the rather who spouts for a prize,

Here's to the genius that is dumb sir;

Here's to the one who keeps falling for "ayes

And nays" just as they'd come, sir

Let the toast pass, etc.


Here's the good soul who his meat can't retain

So hot are the coppers; and manger,

A dignified manner and gold-headed cane

Begs a "squirt" after each glass of lager.

Let the toast pass, etc.


Here's to the two who are at glyster[2] and pill,

Are acknowledged confoundedly clever;

Here's to the few who are sensible still,

And not the remainder who're never.

Let the toast pass, etc.


This effort was applauded by all present save a brother alderman, who fancied he was reflected on by the singer; and mustered something about being unable to make a speech, sing a song, or tell a story, but would like to ask a question, which was, "Why is an Alderman like a dose of chloroform? This was answered by the nigger [sic] in waiting exclaiming "Because he is a nuisance," (new sense). When the party agreed that the alderman who perpetrated such a farfetched pun should be suitably punished, which was immediately done in a manner perfectly agreeable to PADDY GO AISY.[3]

* An improved aldermanic mode of spelling herring salad. [sic]

Memphis Bulletin, June 14, 1863




14, Bringing in the Sheaves; Tennessee Presbyterians Return to the  Union Fold

TENNESSEE PRESBYTERIANS RETURNING TO LOYALTY.-The Nashville correspondent of the New York Times says that the Unionism of Tennessee is beginning to pronounce itself ecclesiastically. An initiatory movement has taken place on the part of one religious body at least, toward a resumption of former tine-honored associations. The Presbytery of Nashville, in August, 1861,[4] in an evil hour and hot haste, broke asunder the bonds which till then had bound its churches to the Old School General Assembly. They piously resolved to join the General Assembly of the Confederate States, provided such body should have not only a "name," but a "local habitation." The stress and constant crisis of Southern affairs have made such General Assembly as yet little better than "airy nothing;" nor has the most piercing eye, in the finest "frenzy rolling," been able to body it forth in any substantial form and proportions. No meeting of the Presbytery has been held since Donelson fell.

The churches of the body were drooping, woebegone, without coherence, without vitality, formless and void. It was found that its only hope of resuscitation was to undo the evil it had done, and renew fealty to man and to God, by renewing its former connection. A meeting of Presbytery was called accordingly, in roper form. The churches, some twelve or fifteen, were notified, with scrupulous care. The majority refused to appear by their representatives, but a constitutional quorum was present. The meeting was duly organized according to Presbyterial forms; and the former action, swinging the Presbytery off into the deadly embrace of rebeldom, was solemnly and decisively rescinded. The Presbytery now stands where it always stood, until the poisonous breath of secession blowing upon it, withered its beauty and sapped its vital strength. It will be sure to revive now. Returning loyalty and good faith is a potent remedy for a "mind diseased" as well as a body; the cause of the malady in either case being-rebellion.

New Haven Daily Palladium,[5] June 14, 1864. [6]









[2] Variant of "clyster" meaning an enema.

[3] There are other such columns by "Paddy Go Aisy," but the print is largely illegible.

[4]  See August 8, 1861, "Nashville Presbyterians Rationalize Support for Secession."

[5] New Haven, CT.

[6] TSL&A, 19th CN.

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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