Monday, August 5, 2013

8/4/13 Tennessee Civil War Notes

4, The "Huyett Battery."

No people whose country is invaded and whose homes are threatened with all the evils of a desolating war, hail with pleasure every new and formidable means presented of overcoming and destroying their enemy. The more destructive the means, the more welcome the announcement of their availability. We have just learned that an engine of war, terrible in the work it will do, but simple and easy in construction and management, has been invented by Col. D. H. Huyett[1] of this city. It may not be prudent to state thus publicly the precise modus operandi of this new weapon, but according to the judgment of well known military gentlemen, it is entire feasible, and will supply a want long felt in the army and naval service. After the close of the war it may not be imprudent to give a full description of the instrument.

We have seen a drawing of this battery, and if certainly promises to be a very powerful engine either of defense or attack.

Chattanooga Gazette, August 4, 1861.




4, Shelter for Memphis' homeless

Home for the Homeless.—The Association of the "Home for the Homeless," will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, on Monday, August 5th, at 10 A.M. This institution, thus far, has been kept up by the contributions of its members almost entirely, and we hope they will not allow their interest to flag now. The Home is now in such a flourishing condition, and we trust, will remain so, notwithstanding the unsettled condition of public affairs. The poor we have always with us, and they must be cared for. As the Treasurer will make a report of the financial condition of the association, a full attendance is earnestly requested. By order of the President,

Mary L. Bayliss, R. Sec'y.

Memphis Daily Appeal, August 4, 1861.


4, Ignorance and superstition as the source of pro-Union sentiment in East Tennessee

From Our Special Correspondent "T.D.W."

Morristown, Tenn., Aug. 4, 1862.

Dear Confederacy:

I have noticed, during my stay in East Tennessee, one remarkable fact: that ignorance of the masses is the primary cause of all the toryism in this section. Nearly all of the respectable and well informed are true to the South. In no instance have I found an educated gentleman, or one who has much at stake, [who is] a follower of Lincoln. This must be, then, the effects of education. I find here more or less of the class called superstitious. They see ghosts, hobgoblins, trees on fire in the heavens, stars falling, worlds burning up, and a thousand other illusions that portend a large development of the supernatural. An old lady in this neighborhood discovered her dog lying east and west on his back, with his feet up towards the heavens. Straightway she announced to my horror that there would be a death in the family. One remarkable circumstance, however, she forgot to mention: the time the death would occur. If a cock comes in the house and gives a lively crow, straightway it is announced that a stranger is coming that very day. Horse shoes are abundant over the doors, and on inquiry I found it to mean the frightening off of witches. I find but few schools--few churches, and an enlightened gospel is seldom, if ever, heard in the mountains. This, then, is the truth of the whole matter: ignorance and superstition. Follow the chain of mountains, even in Virginia and North Carolina, and as the people in and on the mountains are more or less ignorant, unrefined and superstitious, the demagogue seeking an office finds his victims, and appeals to them by placing himself on a level with them.

T. D. W.

Southern Confederacy [Atlanta, Georgia], August 9, 1862.[2]




4, Forrest's and Wynkoop's forces skirmish at Sparta[3]

Skirmish Near Sparta.

On last Monday [4th], Col. Wynkoop, with one hundred and eighty cavalry, attacked a detachment of Forrest's command seven hundred strong, driving in their pickets and carrying on a sharp skirmish for some time. The guerrillas attempted to flank Col. Wynkoop's force with ten pieces of artillery, when he retreated in good order, having killed and wounded more than thirty of the rebels and losing only one man. Col. Wynkoop had an excellent position, and his long range carbines did excellent work. Hurrah for the glorious Seventh Pennsylvania and their brave Colonel!

Nashville Daily Union, August 10, 1862.



        4, Condition of the Army of the Cumberland in Middle Tennessee

One hundred miles south from Nashville the National lines now reach...into Alabama. To this point, Winchester, which I have just reached, trains run regularly every day. It is a very interesting to observe the effects of war upon a country, and I was especially interested in noting them upon a State which, like Tennessee, has important a part to play in the future.

The region south of Nashville is a beautiful country-a land of oak covered hills and running streams, and valley green with vast fields of Indian corn. For a great portion of the way there is no trace of war; the scene is the most peaceful and fertile. You pass long meadows of indifferent grass, then perhaps a neglected corn-field, which, in ordinary times, you would have merely noticed as an evidence of the idleness of the population; then a clover patch, a graceful, rolling hill, with oak, beech and chestnut covering it; a wide stretch of green corn; a dashing turbid stream, a field of weeds -- again corn or clover, and so on in picturesque succession for mile after mile. You seldom see wheat, though there is no doubt much of it in neighboring districts, and only here and there a cotton plantation. (I counted but five for a hundred miles.) For all that appears, you might be traveling in Southern Indiana.

The only growth unusual is a low tree, with broad tropical leaves, and a bright red fruit of a cucumber shape -- the "wild cucumber tree." The bridges alone remind one that he is within military lines, and in an enemy's country; the brown tents on the nearest slope, the stockade fort, the sentinel, the figures in National blue lolling about, tell us that we are no one of the great links of military communication. A few of the villages show very clearly the grim features of war. Lavergne [sic], which must have been a pleasant little rural hamlet, has mostly disappeared -- one house alone being left; some of the towns show deserted stores or houses with the clapboards gone, or here and there a melancholy brick chimney where rafters and beams had been carried of. One little place beyond Tullahoma -- Estelle Springs [sic] -- has a peculiarly plucked and plundered look. Some of the towns -- such as Murfreesboro -- are stripped of the beautiful groves which were once their glory, in order to give free sweep to the artillery. Now and then the high brick walls and chimneys of some storehouse or factory, burnt, probably by the enemy themselves, rise gloomily from a village street.

Yet, on the whole, the evidence of desolation and plunder are extremely small; they may be more plentiful near the pikes, yet near the railway, gardens are untouched, peaches are in bushels from orchards; and that highest test of a soldier's forbearance -- rail fences -- are whole and sound as in their first estate. So far as damage from war is concerned, this part of Tennessee could recover in a single season, and have a surplus for the future. In fact, the money brought in and freely expended by Rosecran's immense army, must more than pay off the losses by fire and the thieveries of the marauders.

As you advance, you discern more and more the evidences of the vast military power accumulated here. Camps on every hill side, brown and brawny soldiers swarming at every station, groves filled with thousands and thousands of horses, mules and waggons [sic]; soldiers everywhere, bathing in streams, riding over the distant hills, lying under the shade, crowding the trains, eating, drinking, and reading the newspapers; by every village [is] the red line of earthworks and stockade forts. In Murfreesboro you seem to have entered a town of boxes, bales and bags, heaped up and scattered about without number or order, and beyond all measurement or calculation. An army of teamsters is dragging them away, and stalwart contrabands are lifting and arranging them under the boiling sun.

Murfreesboro is said to be the strongest fortress on the continent. The only indications of it to the civilian are heaps of read earth on every hill on in the vicinity, with long ditches, stockades, and mounds crossing the railroads. But, even to the uninstructed eye, heaps of earth and sand with black object protruding from them have come to have a much more threatening look than the most ponderous piles of stones and masonry. Gen. Rosecrans evidently means to keep what he possesses, and he has already laid a hand on Tennessee, whose imprint several centuries will not wear away. Tullahoma gives a like scene of pleasant cottages, country stores, and crowds and throngs of soldiers, horses, mules, and wagons, without number. Winchester is still prettier, in the midst of a beautiful, rolling country, with oak and beach groves, and a few miles beyond, the heavy low line of the Cumberland mountains, the rich shadows filling its deep gaps lined with green forest. Soldiers' camps in Summer are by no means romantic or interesting things; villages of arbors, covered with brown branches, dirty, hot, and sweltering, with tin cups, newspapers, blankets, and equipment lying about in confusion; long lines of horses and mules kicking and fly-bitten, the men sauntering under trees or about the stations in flannel shirts and trowsers [sic]. Every one who could was reading newspapers, and all was orderly and well behaved. They looked wonderfully well and vigorous; in fact, I believe this army is now the healthiest of the great armies. The great want of every camp is good reading matter. "The Christian Commission" are doing a grand work in the Western armies, and have been the means of producing a deep religious influence; but it has often occurred to me that their reading was of too childish a nature, too Sunday schoolish for the camp. The best thing for the soldiers would be some publication -- newspaper or other -- with the army news, and then a great deal of moral and religious instruction connected with it. To this might be added practical directions for the soldier about securing his pension, if wounded, or about leaving his pack to his friends. Such an army gazette might accomplish a world of good in our idle camps. And camps must be idle in such weather as this. If any one of our impatient Northern strategists would be at Winchester today and take a short walk, with no more than a straw hat and linen coat, under this sun he would be convinced that there was very good reason for quiet on the Cumberland. It is such a sun as we never know at the North, burning, blazing, wilting, the thermometer from 95o to 100o and no air stirring. Fancy what a march must be in this weather with a musket, dart-ridge box, blanket and knapsack.

The great obstacle in this army, as in all our armies, to movement, is the amount of transportation. The Army of the Cumberland has had thirteen wagons to a regiment, or some 150 miles of trains. This is partly owing to the army rations being about 25 percent more than is needed for food, and partly to the great amount carried by officers. An army wagon has been known to carry a heavy cast iron stove for the officers' use, and it always takes a medley of all sorts of articles. Nothing will ever give us rapid marches and efficient movements but a reduction of transportation. The men in this climate have already abandoned their knapsacks. The officers ought to be equally cut down in their comforts and luxuries.

The only great and brilliant piece of brilliant piece of strategy yet performed on the Union side, it should be remembered (Grant's famous march to Jackson and Vicksburg), was made utterly without transportation even the Commander-in-Chief it is said, carrying only a tooth brush. We hope yet for a lightening of the luxuries of our officers, and a greater use of the "army's legs," as General Halleck calls it, Correspondent for the New York Times.

Nashville Daily Press, August 21, 1863[4]




4, "Miscegenation in Nashville"

About three months ago, Mr. William Scruggs, who resides...fourteen miles from town on the Hillsboro Pike, hired a refugee named Nash to work upon his farm. When the work was finished, Nash was paid off and discharged. He loitered about the place until Tuesday evening last [August 2], when he and one of Mr. Scrugg's negro girls disappeared. Mr. Scruggs came to town yesterday morning, and with the aid of a police officer, succeeded in finding the two in bed, in a house on the alley between Church and Union streets in the rear of the Maxwell house, or Barracks No. 1. The woman was taken in charge by Mr. William Thillet, a friend of Mr. Scruggs, and the two of them had taken shelter from the rain in the saloon of P.B. Coleman, when three soldiers came along, in company with a negro boy, who pointed the girl out to the soldiers, and the later immediately took possession of the girl, told her she was free, and at liberty to go where she pleased. The matter was laid before the military authorities who declined to inquire into the subject, or to have anything to do with it.

Nashville Dispatch, August 4, 1864.

[1] There is nothing to indicate Huyett's "battery" was ever produced. It was most likely a land mine discharged from a distance by means of electricity or it was set off by a pressure detonator.

[2] As cited in:

[3] Not identified in Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee or the OR.

[4] This article first appeared in the New York Times, August 4, 1863.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: