Wednesday, July 3, 2013

7/3/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

3, Report to the Southern Mothers' Association Executive Committee


To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:

Having been elected by you on the 7th of June, as surgeon of the institution under your charge, I immediately entered upon the discharge of my duties, and herewith have the honor to submit to you this, my first monthly report:

Number discharged 52, sent to private houses 25, in the wards 27, died 2. total 106.

Diseases—Diarrhea 11, dysentary 6, neuralgia 3, constipation 1, contusion 3, fatigue and exposure 9, measles 2, gun shot 3, opthalmia 1, pneumonia 19, intermittent 42, ptyalism 2, congestive chill 2, abcess 1, cut with bowie-knife 1. Total 106.

Of these there were from army of Tennessee 14, Missouri troops 1, 2d Arkansas regiment 91. Total 106.

In examining the above list of diseases, it will be seen that nearly twenty per cent. have been pneumonia. The causes of this are readily explained by the facts attending the trip of the 2d Arkansas regiment, Colonel T. C. Hindman, commanding, to Knoxville and back. These troops, fresh from the back woods of Arkansas, unaccustomed to excitements, and actuated by the loftiest patriotism, thought it incumbent upon them to cheer at each flag station, village and town upon the road, both going and coming, until their bronchias became inflamed in the highest degree.

In addition to this, the dust and cinders, the open cars, the heat of the days, the cold nights, the sudden change of the weather while in East Tennessee, insufficient clothing, the want of blankets, and sleeping on the damp earth, rendered their trip everything but one of pleasure. Hence our rooms were filled on their return with fully developed cases of pneumonia. None are so classified that did not present several of the characteristic symptoms and phenomena of the disease. In addition to there, nearly all the cases of intermittent were more or less accompanied with congestion and pleuritic affections of the lungs.

In view of the number of patients and the character of the disease, it affords me pleasure to state that only two have so far proved fatal, and that there is only one man whose case may be regarded as critical. Mr. Gallagher, of the Crocket Rangers, died on the 15th ult., having come under my charge after he had been abandoned by his physician. I immediately called Dr. Hopson in consultation with me, but he had become so prostrated and diseased that our efforts were unavailing to restore him. He died in consequence of secondary hemorrhage. The other, Mr. S. L. Poston, of Capt. Harvey's company, 2d Arkansas regiment, was attacked with pneumonia in Knoxville on the 14th ult., and arrived here on the 17th. His case was complicated with phthisis pulmonalis, and was in the third stage on his arrival here. He died June 23d.

In my attendance upon the sick soldiers under my charge I have been nobly aided by the excellent council and advice of  Drs. Allen, Shanks, Holliday, Erskine, Cypert, Wilson, Irwin, and others of the city, and  Surgeons Bartlett and Darling of 2d Arkansas regiment. They have visited our rooms as friends and as physicians, and I earnestly hope that each member of the profession will consider himself at all times a welcome visitor to our rooms.

The druggest [sic] and military board of Memphis have aided us by contributions of valuable drugs and medicines, and to them we should return our sincere thanks. I have endeavored to use the strictest economy in the administration of medicines by having them compounded at my rooms, saving valuable time.

It is a source of pleasure to me to bear testimony to the patriotic, self-sacrificing devotion of the different members of the association, who have been engaged in nursing the sick during the last two weeks. Assiduous in their daily vigils, they have accomplished as much, or more, by the tender care of the patients confided to them, than could have been done by any other means. It could not be otherwise. Actuated by the holiest and noblest patriotism they left their splendid palaces to administer to the wants at the bedside of the humble soldier. They have watched over their patients with a devotion and interest that excites the liveliest admiration. Mothers have left the cares and charms of home, to bathe the fevered brow and cool the parched tongue of those who were sons and brothers in the holy cause of defending our sunny South. The zeal and devotion of the "Southern Mothers" displayed at the rooms has extended to the fireside, and they have thrown open their doors, and taken the convalescing to their homes. So far, the demand for them to be thus provided for, has exceeded the supply.

Our thanks are due to Capt. A. B. Jewell, for many acts of kindness, especially in providing us, on several occasions, with good barbers; thereby aiding materially the comfort and appearance of the patients.

I have found it necessary to station sentinels at the front and rear entrances, also at the foot of the second stair case, leading to the Third [illegible] to all, as much as promiscuous visiting interfered with the treatment of the patients. In this connection, I will state to the members of the association, that so long as I have charge of the wards, I will enforce the strictest order and decorum. No "southern mother" shall ever blush at the recollection of ever having crossed the threshold of our rooms. No invalid soldier will ever regret that he was nursed by a "southern mother."

I will close by saying to the commanding officers and to the patriotic soldiers of the South that the rooms of the "southern mothers" in Memphis are always open, that they are ready and willing to receive their sick and wounded, and that they will be provided with everything to render them comfortable; that they will be watched over and nursed with the tenderest care by the members of the order, without fee or reward.

Respectfully yours, etc.,

G. W. Curry.

July 1st, 1861

To the Executive Committee of the Southern Mothers:

I herewith tender to you my resignation as surgeon of the institution under your charge.

Highly appreciating the honor you have conferred upon me, and the uniform kindness you have always shown me, I am, respectfully,

Yours etc.,

G. W. Curry, M. D.

"Mothers' Rooms," July 2, 1861

G. W. Curry, M. D., Surgeon of the Society of "Southern Mothers:"

Dear Sir: The resignation of your position in our society having been laid before a called meeting of the association, seventeen members being present, it was by acclamation voted that we cannot dispense with your services in our "Rooms;" we therefore decline to accept the resignation, and beg you to enter immediately upon your duties again, assuring you of our perfect confidence in your skill, our high regard for you personally, and our heartfelt gratitude for the noble and disinterested service you have rendered as in our attempts to alleviate the horrors of war by nursing to the best of our ability the suffering sons of the South in arms for the defense of our homes.

S. C. Law, President.

Mary E. Pope, Secretary.

Memphis Daily Appeal, July 3, 1861.




3, Report on Martial Law in Knoxville

Knoxville, Tenn., is under martial law. The editor who olds Brownlow's spectre, having experiences its delights in a midnight arrest and a lodging in the guard house, soliloquizes thus upon the order of things:

"We have got martial law, and we feel disposed to return thanks for it-just as Cuffy did. He was a pious negro, and always returned thanks for what he had on his table, but always mentioned his wants also. Some wags who knew that he was short of potatoes, provided themselves with a basketful, and when Cuffy returned thanks for what was on the table, and added, "Mighty good dinner, Mass' Lord, if I only had a few pertaters', down came a shower of the coveted tubers, playing smash with cuff's scant delf-ware. The pious negro, without changing his attitude, unhesitatingly continued his prayer – 'Dem's 'em, Mass' Lord-only just luff 'em down a little easier next time."

We are very thankful to our government for martial law, but hope they will 'luff down a little easier' next time."

Milwaukee Morning Sentinel, July 3, 1862. [1]




3, Skirmish at Boiling Fork Creek, near Winchester

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the report of Major-General Philip H. Sheridan on operations during the Tullahoma Campaign relative to a skirmish at Boiling Fork Creek near Winchester, July 3, 1863:

* * * *

At 4 o'clock next morning, I marched on Winchester, driving the enemy's pickets. I directed the cavalry to charge a body of about 200 charge, but went pell-mell through the town, losing several men, taken prisoners. The enemy were driven across the Boiling Fork, a small stream about 1½ miles beyond the town. Here they made a stand, wounding 4 of Col. Harrison's cavalry. I then directed Gen. Lytle to advance his brigade and drive the enemy from the stream, at the same time halting the other two brigades at Winchester to ascertain if the division of Gen. Davis, which was to support me, had made to crossing of Elk River, and to open communication with Gen. Brannan, whom I expected on my left, at Decherd. Finding that Gen. Stanley was marching on Decherd with his cavalry, and that Gen. Davis had crossed the river, I continued my march on Cowan, where I arrived about 3 p. m., and found that the rear of Bragg's army had evacuated and crossed the mountain at about 11 a. m. Just before reaching Cowan I was joined by Col. Watkins, of the Sixth Kentucky, with about 1,200 cavalry, who was directed to report to me for duty. At this point, in obedience to your orders, I halted my division and went into camp. During the night I learned that the enemy had taken up a position at or near University, on the top of the mountain, about 7 miles from this place, and had covered his front with Gen. Wharton's cavalry brigade.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 515-516.




3, Report of Murder and a Lover's Revenge in Overton county

From the Nashville Times.


Romance of the War in Tennessee-A Young Woman Shoots a Guerrilla to Avenge the Murder of her Lover.

The following simple and unvarnished story has hardly a parallel in the pages of fiction.-Its strict truth is beyond question:

Near Murfreesboro, June 28, 1864.

To the Editor of the Times:

The original of the following letter is in my possession. The events so graphically narrated transpired in Overton county, Tenn. I knew Dr. Sadler from a small boy. The man who killed him for no personal grudge, but on account of his sentiments. I have no personal acquaintance with the young lady, but have the highest authority for stating that she is a pure, high minded girl, the daughter of a plain farmer in moderate circumstances. It only remains to state that Peteet was killed January the 30th [1864] and Gordenhire February 4, 1864, so that the vengeance they invoked has overtaken all three of the murder of M. G. Sadler.

John W. Bowen.

Martin's Creek, April 30, 1864.

Major Cliff: According to promise I now attempt to give you a statement of the reasons why I killed Turner, and a brief history of the affair. Dr. Sadler had, for two years previous to his death, seemed equally as near and as dear to me as a brother, and for several months nearer than any person-my parents not excepted. If he had not, I never would have done what I did-promise to be his.

The men who killed him had threatened his life often because he was Union man; they said he should not live, and after taking the oath they arrested him, but Lieut. Oakley released him at Pa's Gate. He stayed at Pa's till bed time, and I warned him of the danger he was in, told him I had heard his life threatened that day, and that I felt confident he would be killed if he did not leave the neighborhood and stay off until these men became reconciled. He promised to go; said he had some business in Carthage and would leave. He promised us he would leave the neighborhood that night, or by daylight next morning, and we felt assured he had gone. But for some unaccountable reason he did not leave. About 4 o'clock P. M. next day news came to me at Mr. Johnson's, where I had gone with my brother, that Dr. Sadler was killed. I had met Poteet, Gordenhire and Turner on the road and told my brother there that they were searching for Dr. Sadler to kill him. Sure enough they went to the house where he was and strange to me, after his warning, he permitted them to come in. They met him, apparently perfectly friendly, and said they had come to get some brandy from Mr. Yelton, which they obtained, and immediately after drinking all three drew their pistols and commenced firing at Sadler. He drew his, but it was snatched away from him; he then drew his knife, which was also taken from him. He then ran round the house and up a stair-way, escaping out of their sight. They followed, however, and searched till they found him, and brought him down and laid him on a bed, mortally wounded. He requested some of his people to send for Dr. Dillin to dress his wounds. It is strange to me why, but Sadler's friends had all left the room, when Turner went up and put his pistol against his temple, and shot him through the head. They all rejoiced like demons, and stood by till he made his last struggle. They then pulled his eyes open and asked in a loud voice, if he were dead. They then took his horse and saddle, and pistols, and robbed him of all his money, and otherwise insulted and abused his remains.

Now, for this, I resolved to have revenge. Peteet and Gordenhire being dead, I determined to kill Turner, and to seek an early opportunity of doing it. But I kept my resolution to myself, knowing that I would be prevented. I went prepared, but never could get to see him.

On the Thursday before I killed him, I learned he was preparing to leave for Louisiana, and I determined he should not escape if I could prevent it. I arose that morning, and fixed my pistols so that they would be sure fire, and determined to hunt all that day. Then sitting down I wrote a few lines so that if I fell, my friends might know where to look for my remains. I took my knitting, as if I were going to spend the day with a neighbor living on the road towards Turner's. It rained very severely, making the roads muddy, so that I became fatigued and concluded to go back and ride the next day, or Saturday. But Ma rode my horse on Saturday, and left me to keep house. We had company Sunday, A. M., so that I could not leave, but the company left about noon, and I started again in search of Turner. I went to his house about two and a half miles from Pa's. I found no one at home, and therefore sat down to await his return. After waiting perhaps, one-and-a-half-hours, a man came to see Turner, and not finding him, he said he supposed he and his wife had gone to Mrs. Christian's, his sister-in-law, who lived about one-half mile distant.

I concluded to go there and see, fearing the man would tell him I was waiting and he would escape me. I found him there, and a number of other persons, including his wife, and father and mother. Most of them left when I entered the house I asked Mrs. Christian if Turner were gone. She pointed to him at the gate, just leaving. I looked at the clock and it was 4½ o'clock P. M. I then walked out into the yard, and as Turner was starting called to him to stop. He turned I fired at the distance of about 12 paces, and missed. I fired again as quick as possible, and hit him in the back of the head, and he fell on his face and knees I fired again and hit him in the back, and he fell upon his right side. I fired twice before, only one of these shots taking effect. By this time I was in five steps of him, and stood and watched him till he was dead. I then turned round and walked toward the house and met Mrs. Christian and her sister coming out. They asked me what I did that for. My response was, "You know what that man did the 13th of December last-murdered a dear friend of mine. I have been determined to do this deed ever since, and I shall never regret it." They said no more to me, but commenced blowing a horn. I got my horse out and started home, where I shall stay or leave when I choose, going where I please and saying what I please.

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, July 3, 1864. [2]




3, Lifting of martial law in Memphis


Memphis, Tenn., July 3, 1865.

[Extract III]

Extract I, Special Orders No. 70, and Extract I, Special orders No. 83, series of 1364, from these Headquarters, are hereby revoked, and the officers appointed by them will cease to exercise their functions after this date.

They will also turn over to the officers elect all books and papers pertaining to their several offices.

By order of Major-General Jno. E. Smith

Davis, History of the City of Memphis, p. 47.


[1] TSL&A, 19th CN

[2] 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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