16, Nashville's rabble. Confederate class hatred and consciousness.
"There go the rabble," said a rebel dressed in slick broadcloth, yesterday morning, and the long procession of citizen volunteers passed along the streets with the Stars and Stripes floating at their head. Rabble, indeed! And what have the working men and mechanics of this city done to these new made noblemen of ours that they should be reproached as a rabble? Have they not made these very purse-proud creatures rich, and ministered continually to their comfort? Have not the poor laboring men been the benefactors of this and all other countries? Ah, men whose hardened hands have never counted the gains of extortion and heartless oppression, hold up your heads like true men, and be not abashed by the insulting jeers of those who are living witnesses that wealth and principle do not always go together. "There go the rabble!" Rabble! Rabble masons, rabble carpenters, rabble smiths, rabble printers and rabble tailors. We think we saw some rabble lawyers, doctors and merchants also in the procession; men whose hearts are open to all honest men, and who have brains and principle as well as wealth, and who scorn to affiliate with traitors. Loyal men of Nashville, tell your brainless villifiers that you have weapons for the defence of your wives and children, and that while you scorn to bandy words with a would be aristocrat, you have strength to put twice your number to inglorious flight, if they are of such material as your former masters, or those who claimed to be your masters. If you are "rabble," so was Patrick Henry, the penniless grocer; so was Henry Clay, the mill boy of the Slashes; so was S. S. Prentiss, the poor school teacher; so was Franklin, the humble printer; so was Andrew Jackson, the orphan and a child of poverty. All that the world cares of the useful, the sublime and the beautiful in human intellect has been the offspring of the "rabble." And aristocracy is the chattering jackdaw which struts in borrowed feathers. Jackdaws, beware, lest you be stripped of your plumage?
Nashville Daily Union, July 16, 1862.
16, One Army of Tennessee private's account of the retreat to Chattanooga
CAMP NEAR CHATTANOOGA, TENN., July 16, 1863
Mrs. Morgan: My kind and esteemed friend, it may seem ungrateful that I had not heretofore acknowledged the receipt of your very kind letter of the 22d of May. The only excuse I offer is simply this: We were then lying at Shelbyville, and one could write nothing of interest, and even now cannot do much better than to relate old and stale incidents. As for the particulars of the fate of Vicksburg, you are possibly better acquainted with than I.
The fall of Charleston is reported as truth, yet nothing to confirm the report. Therefore I still have hope that the South can yet boast one Gibraltar. On or about the 24th of June we were then in front in Shelbyville working on the fortifications. About that time Col. Morgan's "Regiment of Cavalry" move in near the works about one-half mile from our encampment, but from the pace of work I did not get a chance to go see him, as I would have like [sic] to have done. On the night of the 26th we got orders to cook rations. About sunrise on the 27th we were formed, not knowing where we were going, to the front or rear. We struck the pike, moved by the left flank, to the rear, in retreat. This day was a hot, sultry one. As we passed through Shelbyville we saw every indication of retreat. Union families were seen peeping through windows exuberant with glee; other families of Southern sympathy were in great distress and gloom. I then thought of yourself [sic] and family, feeling as if every foot we moved would prolong you're your banishment from your once pleasant and happy home. We marched all day in the rear of the army, and night found us seven or eight miles from Shelbyville, worn-out and sick. During the night the rain fell in torrents, and the only shelter was trees. On the 28th we arrived at Tullahoma, cooked four days' rations on the 29th, and moved to the front on pickets three miles from the line of fortifications – just our brigade – the enemy showing evidence of fight. We occasionally heard a bullet pass. It seemed they were advancing, but slow and cautious [sic]. On the 30th the First Kentucky Cavalry had drawn back to our line of skirmishers, and reported the enemy in force two hundred yards from us. We remained thus until after sunset, when a report from a rifle in our front, then a volley which we didn't answer, expecting the enemy wanted to advance his lines. At dark all was quiet as death. We laid [sic] down upon our arms with sad feelings, thinking that the day of July 1st would usher us on a field of death and carnage. About 10 o'clock we are aroused from sleep and move to the rear, it having been ascertained that Rosey had evaded us by the right flank, and was endeavoring to get to the mountains before we could. We marched all night and until noon of the 2d. We halted at Alizonia, nothing unusual but the heat, and a great many cases of sunstroke. The 3d, at daylight, we moved through Winchester, stopping within two miles of town to rest in the heat of the day. Before we got seated the cavalry were skirmishing in Winchester. We pushed on, got to Cowan Station at 3 or 4 o'clock, formed line of battle, and lay without any further molestation. The 4th day of July we made an early start over the mountains, the enemy's cavalry still pushing us closely until we crossed the mountain and the Tennessee River. We were then more secure, and all the wagons safe in camp at Shell Mound Springs, which is large enough to float a large boat, and very cold. On the 5th we crossed one mountain, climbed another, and camped on the mountain thirteen miles from this place. On the 6th we got on the railroad, arriving here to learn of the fall of Vicksburg. The troops do not seem so much affected by the intelligence as would be supposed. The consolation is: the gallant conduct of the heroic garrison, and the hardships they underwent before the place surrendered, and the loss the enemy sustained there. It has cost them more than it can be worth, as it does not insure them the free navigation of the Mississippi River. Well, we are lying [sic] under the summit of old Lookout, but do not expect to remain, as we have got work to do, and the sooner the better for us. There is no doubt that the enemy will find it easier to recruit since our late reverses.
Mrs. Morgan, I expected Mr. Pettit or Walker to bring me some clothes that my friend, Mrs. Glover, has made for me, but I was disappointed. John Walker certainly forgot it. If you will have them at the hotel at your room, a friend of mine, Mr. Pratt, will bring them to me. He is this morning for Atlanta. Will return Saturday, when he will step off the train to get the package. He would not have time to find Mrs. Glover's house. If you will attend to this request, it will greatly oblige me. Mr. Lowe is driving around camp in good health; Brooks "ditto." I see Lowe occasionally; he is on some detail duty. There is not much sickness at present among the troops, though a great deal of playing off. I have a notion of playing rheumatism for a few days' leave of absence. Bragg says a man is not a good soldier unless he can play off. Tell Fannie I have waited patiently for an answer to a letter written last winter. I am afraid the good people of Marietta are forgetting the situation of their beloved country. I learn they have balls often, and are enjoying the gay frivolities of times of peace. Well, I guess it may be all right, as the first night I was home in Kentucky I passed at a ball for a few hours, forgetting we were at war, and enjoyed myself beyond description. Give friends, one and all, my kindest regards, and write soon. Remember me to yourself and family.
Your true friend,
J. H. Lynn, Company E, 154th Tennessee Regiment, T. V.
How it Was, pp. 181-186.
16, I have made a very considerable change in the administration of affairs here." The problem of creating loyalty to the Union. An excerpt from General R. H. Milroy to his wife
Headquarters District of Tennessee
Nashville, Tenn July 16th 1864
My Dear Mary,
....I had to go down to Tullahoma....and took [my] Comd [sic] here on Monday morning last. The duties here are very laborious and confining….I have made a very considerable change in the administration of affairs here. I am trying to make the loyal feel that it is good for them that they have been loyal, and the disloyal feel "wo [sic] is me!" that I have been "Disloyal"[sic]. I found that a great many of the rich rebels had [Federal] soldiers assigned to them as permanent guards, and were using our soldiers as servants and waiters instead of their negroes [sic] who had run off and left them. I issued an order and published it in the papers calling these guards all in at once--a great many of these fine ladies have been begging for guards for their fine property. But I allow no guards to go except to loyal citizens and only allow invalid soldiers to go then, who are unfit for duty in the field. I have been out and reviewed two fine negro Regts [sic] here. I also recd through contraband Camp a short distance out of the City. I found thousands of negro woman and children in a wretched fix. Crowded in old ragged tents on the ground--with out any shade,--many sick.
* * * *
….The gurillas [sic] are getting very troublesome in some parts of my District and it is rumored that forrest [sic] with a large force is approaching here.
Love to the Children.
Your Own R. H. Milroy
Papers of General Milroy, pp. 364-366.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214