Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8/20/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

20, Blanket drive for soldiers

Blankets for the Soldiers.

The near approach of the autumnal season, and the almost certainty of the continuance of the war, suggests not only the propriety, but the necessity of supplying our troops in the field with warm clothing and warm covering. It will not probably be within the power of the government to do this, and much necessarily depends upon individual effort. On this subject the following suggestions of the West Tennessee Whig are the most feasible and practicable we have seen:

["] The supply of blankets in the stores are exhausted, and the possibility of supply from the North is cut off by the rigid non-intercourse of the war, while the blockading of our sea-ports cuts us off from all hopes of a reasonable supply by importation. How, then, it may be asked, are the wants of our soldiers to be supplied? It can only be done by every family giving up a portion of the blankets they have for family use, to the soldiers, and supplying the deficiency thus created by making "comforts," out of cotton, for their own use. These comforts do well enough for persons in comfortable houses at home, where they are not exposed to the weather, and our people are expected to make use of them, and send their blankets to the soldiers. There is no time to be lost in doing it, either. Before many are aware of it, the cool nights of early autumn will be upon them, and what they do for the comfort of the soldiers, they must do quickly. ["]

Memphis Daily Appeal, August 20, 1861.




20, Railroad Accident in Humboldt – the case of the forgotten password


Last Wednesday night [20th], news was received that there was imminent danger of an attack being made at a bridge on the R.R. some four or five miles below this place, where some of the Illinois Cavalry were guarding. They immediately sent to camp for reinforcements, and Lieut. Langdon, of the Curtis Horse, was sent down with a detachment of the 12th [Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry], on two hand cars. After going a few rods from the Depot, Lieut. Langdon stopped the forward car and got off to go back for the countersign, which he had forgotten. Those on the hind car, among whom was the telegraph operator at this place, tried to stop the car to prevent a collision, and in doing so, something broke, letting the lever down with great force, striking the operator on the head, injuring him severely. He is now at the quarters of Major Strong, and very low, but it is hoped he will soon recover.

Soldier's Budget [Humboldt], August 23, 1862.




20, "Arrest of a Modern Jack Sheppard."[1]

We have before alluded to the arrest of the fellow Brock in the Square on last Monday night. Since then we have taken the trouble to inquire into his case, in order to find out every particular connected with that arrest. The result of our inquiries was the unraveling of some three months of the life of a modern Jack Sheppard. Some three months ago a fellow calling himself John Brooke, was arrested as a deserter from the 8th Mo. Volunteer infantry, and placed in confinement in the Irving Block. Brooke only remained a few weeks in prison until he effected his escape by blacking himself and passing out, plate in hand, the sentinel supposing him to be one of the negro cooks, who were then permitted to pass in and carry victuals to the prisoners.

The next day, however, he was again arrested and recommitted to prison. This time his chances of escape were greatly lessened, by his being manacled. Here he remained some days, until he was went to the fort, where his liberty was still limited to a narrow cell, with his ball and chain to keep him company. He remained for a short time at the fort, when, with a squad of others, he was sent to the landing for the purpose of embarking for his regiment. When the officer in charge read the names of those to sent off, Brock did not answer to his name! When asked if he was not one of them, he replied in the negative, saying that he had just happened to wander down there, and that he thought he would stop and see what was going on. He then turned and went away. On that very same evening he got into a hack where a gentleman was seated. The gentleman was going out to the eastern portion of the city. The fellow, of course, made no objection to raveling the same way, as he said he was on his way to camp. When the hack had gone as far as the gentleman wished to go, he got out, and was followed by Brock, who immediately presented a pistol and demanded his money. Of course, the gentleman had no other resource left him, but to "shell out the greenbacks." Some how [sic] or other, some of the city police force got on his track, and arrested him. He was brought to the Station house and Lieut. Morris, of the Irving military prison, was sent for. The Lieutenant recognized him as being one of the prisoners, and had him brought to his old quarters in the Irving Block, where he was heavily ironed, to prevent the possibility of an escape. There he was kept about six weeks, when he was a second time sent to the fort.

The gentleman who had been robbed having left the city, and there being no one left to testify against him, he was about to be sent under guard to his regiment to be tried for the crime of desertion. At the fort he only remain three days when he again broke loose. This was on Monday [17th], about 5 o'clock in the evening. About 10 or 11 o'clock on the same evening, one of the attaches of the Provost Marshal's office became cognizant of his whereabouts, and procuring the assistance of two of the patrol guards belonging to the 25th Indiana, proceeded to the place where he had ensconced himself which was a house of ill-fame near Washington street and Front Row. They found him, arrested him, and were proceeding to the Irving Block. When near the corner of Main and Jefferson streets he made a bold attempt to get away from his captors by running. Several shots were fired after him without effect. He ran down Jefferson street to the alley between Main and Second streets -- reached Court Square, the gates of which were locked -- bounded over the fence, and ran to the Southeast corner of the square where he dropped down under a thick bushy evergreen. Here no doubt he supposed he was safe from further pursuit by the guard, but he was mistaken, for by this time the alarm was spread and the Square literally surrounded by armed men. Some person in the rooms of the pay department, Ayres Building, say the villain when he secreted himself under the evergreen. Capt. Hastings, of the 25th Indiana, with the activity of the bounding roe, cleared the fence, sought his lurking place, and dragged him from thence. He was immediately again recommitted to the Irving prison, where he will have ample time to mediate upon his many villainies. This fellow is one of the most consummate villains of his age. In person he is small, being not more than 5 feet and 3 inches in hight [sic]; he is apparently about 18 years of age. The expression of his features strikes one very disagreeably bold and impudent in his bearing, yet capable of putting on the most sanctimonious face, -- and using the most melting and pathetic language. He is originally from St. Louis, and it is said was a notorious jail-breaker in that city. We have in this fellow, a full realization of the character and acts of Jack Sheppard and other notorious characters by the by gone days. Since he has been in this city he has found it convenient to use no less than three or four names, sometimes John Brock, John Roberts, still again, John Thornhill.

Memphis Bulletin, August 20, 1863.




20, Letter to Editor Describing Poor Conditions at the Chattanooga Soldiers' Home

Chattanooga, Aug. 17.

Editor of the Chattanooga Gazette:

Please allow me to make a few suggestions through your paper, with regard to the soldier's [sic] home in this place. The soldier's home is, as it should be, a place of comfort and rest to the traveling soldier, who is compelled to seek a place of rest when he is detained for the want of transportation.

Having been detained here for a few days, in the soldier's home, instead of finding a proper place, for a soldier in rout and obtain his rations properly cooked, I find it to the contrary-a miserable, filthy room, scarcely fit for a pig sty.

The floors are covered with clay-piles of loose dirt are in the corners and under the bunks, showing a want of the proper use of the broom and mop, while the bunks are so full of vermin and other filth that that they are to be seen straggling across the room, I presume, in search of clean quarters, and the kitchen is as filled with dirt and grease and the utensils for cooking are so dirty that they place more resembles a butcher's shop than a place to cook for human beings.

The drains are filled up with refuse matter from the kitchens, fermenting and decaying, thereby filling the atmosphere with a disease creating poison, that is so deleterious to the health of the soldiers.

Now, should these things be allowed to so exist? Is it right? Is it just, that the soldier, who leaves his home, and sacrifices all that is near and dear to him, to support and defend his country against its traitorous foe, should be compelled to stay in such miserable, filthy place, all for the want of a little attention on the part of the proper military authorities. Yet, to make the matter more disgusting, there is a commissioned officer appointed to take charge of the building. I appeal to the consciousness of a wise and humane people for a reply.

If my statement of the above facts are doubted by anyone, I refer them to the many soldiers who are detained here, and if that is not sufficient testimony, call and see for yourselves.


The Chattanooga Daily Gazette, August 20, 1864. 




20, Military guards on Tennessee railroads withdrawn prior to returning to private ownership, troops to be used to control population of returning Confederate soldiers

NASHVILLE, August 20, 1865.

Maj.-Gen. STONEMAN, Knoxville:

The military railroads will soon be given up to their respective companies. You may, therefore, withdraw all the railroad guards and concentrate the regiments at the most convenient points for keeping a check on the conduct of the people. I recommend a central point between this and Johnsonville for one regiment, Johnsonville for another, Columbus and Franklin for another, Murfreesborough for another, one cavalry regiment at Pulaski, another cavalry regiment at McMinnville and Lebanon, another in West Tennessee. The Third U. S. Colored Cavalry and all the colored infantry and artillery now at Memphis to remain and the other regiments white cavalry in East Tennessee, and distribute the remainder of your negro regiments to the chief towns in the State not above mentioned. The quartermaster's department have the Fifteenth and Twentieth here guarding public property. They had better remain, as they now know what is expected of them and are becoming reliable.

GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj.-Gen., U. S. Army, Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 1105.

[1] Jack Sheppard was a notorious burglar and prison escapee in early eighteenth-century England. He became a folk-hero, the subject of plays, books and pamphlets. He was executed on November 16, 1724.

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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