Monday, August 26, 2013

8/26/13 Tennessee Civil War Notes

26, Difficulties with civilian travel on the train to and from Cedar Hill, Robertson County and Nashville

Division Headquarters

Nashville August 26, 1861

To J. T. Matthews

Cedar Hill Tennessee

Dear Sir,

Your communication of the 24th[1] is just in hand. Gen Foster regrets that you have been placed in such inconvenience. It is not his desire to annoy loyal citizens, although it will be difficult to frame any passport system, which will not do so, more or less. The officers have been directed to pass you and other known citizens from way stations without passports, and only to question and stop suspicious characters.[2]

By order of R. C. Foster

Brig. Genl. Commanding.

Winds of Change, p. 15.




26, Temporary occupation of McMinnville by Federals

HDQRS., Decherd, August 26, 1862.

Gen. THOMAS, McMinnville:

Keep your position at McMinnville, but make nothing like a permanent establishment. Be always ready to move at a moment's notice. That Bragg is this side of the river with a large force is beyond all question; it is hardly probable that it is merely for the purpose of demonstration, and we must be prepared to concentrate promptly. Of course the passage of so large a force across the mountains is difficult, but not so much so as you would suppose from the road you took. The Therman road is very good and the mountain quite easy of ascent. The descent on this side is easy enough by four roads, all diverging from Altamont, the first going by Beersheba to McMinnville, the second by Hickory Creek to McMinnville or toward Manchester, the third also to Manchester and to Decherd by Pelham, and the fourth to Cowan. The Beersheba road is excellent for a mountain road.

* * * *


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 426-427.


How true it is now that "we know not what a day may bring forth." I am saddened by looking over my record of yesterday. Then I was rejoicing that we could again have an opportunity to "catch our breath"--now the iron clamps are down on us again. This day is a type of the strain of suspense we are in all the time. This morning we heard early that the "Southerners were coming in upon every road," and the news made our heats beat with hope and exultation. The Col. went to town--in an hour or two I saw some 15 men flying out the road in groups, some of whom I thought were Federals. "Ah!" thought I, "the Southerners are coming." I did see some Federals flying I am positively certain. But about 11 o'clock the Col. came back saying that the Yankees were coming in and looking at the road that runs along the base of the mountain, I saw like another "sister Anne" "great clouds of dust"--made by the returning marauders. Soon after a small body of the "blue" cavalry passed out in the direction of Murfreesboro.-Some citizens came into town shortly afterwards reporting that these same cavalry were badly scared,--and it is thought they "saw Southerners" on the mountain and "retired,' These men said also that Nashville is taken by the Confederates--Nashville, Clarksville, and Gallatin. But how can we know? Just such a state of turmoil, and such a hey-day for Rumor, [sic] I have never seen.

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, entry for August 26, 1862.




26, Skirmish at Harrison's Landing and skirmish at Thatcher's

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Poe's Tavern, August 26, 1863--8 p. m.

Capt. J. R. MUHLEMAN, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

Col. Funkhouser met 30 of the enemy at Harrison's Landing this morning, this side of the river; attacked them, killing 3 (1 of them a lieutenant) and capturing 2 privates. The prisoners report that the Chattanooga Rebel of this morning reports the fall of Charleston. They say further that it reports the defeat of Lee by Meade. I give these as prisoners' reports. May God grant their truth. They report further what, if true, is important to us: that the enemy opposed to us are all moving toward Atlanta.

This morning I sent a forage train to Thatcher's Landing, and with the escort a section of artillery. A few shots were fired across at their works, when a general stampede took place. All the fords and crossings are occupied by a few regiments of the enemy with a few guns, with light works. They have for the past few nights sent small parties across to capture some of our men, to gain information. They are reported to be poorly informed of our purposes and force.

A very reliable report reached me this evening that on yesterday the advance of Burnside's forces reached Kingston, and after a short engagement thrashed Forrest. I am now making 2,000 pounds of flour per day. The condition of the command was never better.

Very truly,

W. B. HAZEN, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. III, p. 176.







A good many foolish people hate rats. We do not. We rather like them. We mention this not to be considered exceptional members of the class of foolish people, or as a proof of superior sagacity, but as an apology for saying something about a species of very useful animals that are abused both verbally and in print, a great deal more than they deserve. There are a half a dozen sorts of rats, all belonging to the family of rodents, a class of mammals distinguished by the chisel shape of the incisor teeth. The largest rats in the world are found in Bengal and on the Cormandel coast. They have a body thirteen or fourteen inches long, a tail from fourteen to eighteen inches long, and full grown one of them will weigh three or four pounds. In this country there are found six varieties of rats. The black rats, poor fellow, now nearly extinct, with their short, soft fur, dark backs, lead colored bellies and brown feet; they came to this country in the 16th century, from Europe and are pretty, timid, and active. The grey or Norway rat, which was brought to this country about the time of the Declaration of Independence, and is now the most common variety, was originally brought from Central Asia to Europe, through Russia. It is larger, fiercer, and more voracious than the black rat. The Chinese rats, which are colored black, white and brown, like guinea pigs, and have bluntish [sic] heads, large ears and long black whiskers, are now common in South America and Mexico. They are the prettiest and most easily tamed of the rat kind. On wealthy rat fancier in New York has several hundred pets of this sort. They are so tame that they will come at his call and like to be fondled.

The wood rat of the Gulf States is a very mild and docile variety, living mostly on fruits, roots and grain. The bush rat of the far west is a light brown chap with white feet. The cotton rat is of reddish brown the side being lined with dark brown. It is very pretty, active and easily tames. The common grey rat is so powerful and fierce and prolific, that it drives out all other sorts from its vicinity. It is intelligent and can be trained to perform many tricks, but its quarrelsome disposition makes it difficult to tame. A gentleman of our acquaintance has a female rat that he carries about in his coat pocket, and it is so thoroughly domesticated that it makes no efforts to escape. He has trained it to defend his pocket, and no watch dog can more faithfully guard his master's premises than it does the contents of the pocket.

Through frequently living in filthy localities, rats take great pains to keep themselves clean and their fur smooth. Their prehensile tails can be used for almost all the purposes of hands, and this makes them, when tame, very amusing. Rates are wonderfully prolific. They have young when they are six months old, and produce five or six litter of 12 or 13 ratlets [sic] each every year. The progeny of a pair of rats will thus be much over a million within three years. This prolificness [sic] would make them a great scourge, if their lives were not devoted to useful labor, but rats are very useful. They are the only scavengers we have in Memphis. Even in cities where thorough sewerage removed a vast amount of the decomposing matter that would other wise case disease – rats are indispensable. If there are only one hundred thousand rats in Memphis, and this is a very low estimate, then it take at least two hundred and fifty bushels of food every day to support them, and this food is almost wholly of such vegetable and animal matter as would otherwise be decomposed and generate disease.

Memphis Bulletin, August 26, 1864.




[1] Apparently lost.

[2] The passport system was utilized by the various Committees of Public Safety (Vigilance Committees), para-police organizations, to catch anyone suspected of holding northern sympathies.

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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