September 1, 1861, Exhortation to women of Shelby county and Memphis to form military aid societies
To the Ladies of Memphis and of Shelby County.
In response to the call of the Governor of the State, a large number of ladies met, and formed a "Military Aid Society." The officers were elected as follows: Mrs. E. H. Porter, President, Mrs. Laura Hays, Treasurer, Mrs. Grace Woodson, Corresponding Secretary, Miss Lou. Trout, Recording Secretary.
It is intended that this shall be the Parent Society, to take in work for the soldiers, and give it out to the auxiliary societies, which may be formed throughout the city. What we need is systematic and united action and effort, which can only be obtained by forming societies in each ward of the city. The representative, or manager of such ward societies, will apply for work to the parent society; will state the quantity of work desired, how much of it is to be done gratuitously, and what part of it is to be paid for, such manager being responsible for the return of the clothing in good order, and well done.
Those who need the money for their work will be promptly paid, and those who give their work will have the satisfaction of knowing that each suit, so made, will add two dollars, or whatever is paid for making the suit, to the fund of the society. The fund so made is to be used for the purchase of flannel for underclothing for the soldiers, for materials for knitting socks, for clothing for the sick and wounded, and other necessary expenses. All contributions to this fund to be used exclusively for the soldiers' benefit.
The first sewing to be done by the ladies is for Col. Forrest's regiment and for the Sumter Grays. We expect to begin on these this week, and hope to have a great many applications for work.
Ladies, let us form our branch societies, and begin on this work without delay. Unless you move speedily in the matter our soldiers will have to undergo all that the heroes of our first revolution suffered. Shall our brave defenders leave their bloody foot-prints in the ice and snow! Shall they perish for the want of clothing which we, by a little self-sacrifice and industry can supply?
Ladies of Memphis, and Shelby county! rise at once, and let your actions give the answer. Some will tell you that such sacrifice is not necessary—that the soldiers do not need the fund raised in this way. If you wish to see why such a fund is necessary, go to the Southern Mother's Association, or the City Hospital, and see the sick soldiers there. The doctors and nurses will tell you that the soldier who leaves their care enfeebled by illness, and returns to camp with insufficient clothing, is risking his life more surely than when he bares his breast to the enemy's bullets. Let each soldier, on leaving his sick bed, be provided with a couple of flannel shirts, drawers, and good stockings—then, if his outer clothing happen to be thin or worn, he will at least have some protection against the changes of the weather. The garments provided by your care may prevent his having a relapse, and thus be the means of saving his life—so valuable to his country. Let us, then, do our very best to increase the fund of our society, and prepare our soldiers to encounter the first keen blasts of autumn. Each one of you can do something, and let us all make one grand effort. We know that ladies are weary and have done much; but do our soldiers complain of fatigue while defending us?
"Our children need our care." We know they do not receive the attention usually bestowed upon them, but are they not better cared for than the poor soldier? Imagine the hardships of a soldier's life, their daily privations—contrast their condition with that of your children, or even of your servants, and then talk of our children's wants. Oh, where will our children be should the threats of northern invaders be executed? They have exultingly prophesied the time when southern women shall be weeping in desolation—their children in rags. Should their heartless prophesy be fulfilled, what comfort will it bring our aching hearts to remember that our children were neatly kept and carefully tended, while brave men, who were laying down their lives for us, struggled on without comforts—without the necessaries of life; nay, without even the boon of woman's sympathy to cheer them. Women of the South, delay not one hour; every moment is precious. Let us begin, heart and soul, at once.
All blankets, socks, shirts, yarn for knitting—bandages, lint—any article whatever, which would add to the comfort of the soldier, if sent to the society, will be carefully forwarded by trustworthy agents to those for whom they are intended. Those donating blankets will save the society some work by lining them with colored cotton, or domestic or any material not too heavy; though of course unlined blankets are also very acceptable.
Persons wishing work or any information respecting the society can apply at the house so generously furnished for the use of the society, by Mr. Kirtland, on Adams street, two doors east of Female College, or at the residence of the president, Mrs. E. H. Porter, corner Exchange and Third streets.
Mrs. E. H. Porter, President.
Mrs. Grace Woodson, Cor. Sec'ry.
Memphis Daily Appeal, September 1, 1861.
1, 1862 - A Madison County farmer suffers the trials of Job
....just after dark it was discovered that the house was on fire, on top of the roof. Saved some of the furniture, but lost the most of our things. Had some 90 feet of good cellar & 8 rooms in the house. The out houses being so insecure in these times of pillage that we had put many things in the cellars & up stairs we usually kept oats. Had my plows & wheat, books &c. all burned. Lost all bed clothing. The house was a good one, could not be built for much if any less than four thousand dollars. At this time we are all in an office standing in the yard. I certainly have had my share so far, house burned down, 8 negroes [sic] gone Josh and Rosana since yesterday morning...besides having the place pillaged from one end to the other. One field of over 40 acres turned out, cutting it down and feeding it in other places besides being subjected to insult-a nice way I think of restoring the Union.
Robert H. Cartmell Diary.
September 1, 1863, Confederate spy's report on Federal strength in Memphis
TWELVE MILES SOUTHEAST OF MEMPHIS, Shelby County, Tenn., September 1, 1863.
SIR: I visited Memphis yesterday and spent five hours in the city. I availed myself of the opportunity offered and gained information through a good secesh who had taken the oath. There are only about 3,000 troops in the city and only a battalion of cavalry, they having sent all their available force to Arkansas, except a garrison. The place is unfortified in two directions, and can be approached on the State line road with a few cavalry, and a small force sent up toward LaGrange and Germantown to draw their forces out, and those coming in this direction can do so at night without their knowing it, and as there are large supplies there and boats arriving from above every hour, you can destroy so effectually that it will compel them to fall back from Arkansas.
I saw two boat-loads commissary stores going down yesterday, and, as you know, to prevent desertion, the troops must have clothing and boots, and I am certain there is enough to equip 50,000 men. There are no breast-works. Come on the State-line road and 1,000 cavalry can take it now by surprising it at daylight, and if you should come you could send some one in a day or two ahead, and keep the others engaged at Germantown to prevent their coming before you had effectually destroyed all.
Such a thing would give new energy to the whole army. The streets are full of deserters. I saw a Yankee officer bring one in the barber's shop and pay his bill for a shave and hair-cut, and when once they get in there they can't get out. I shall go up the line and see what force is at LaGrange and Germantown.
I send you some Northern papers I purchased yesterday in the city. I was afraid to get any more for fear of arousing suspicion. I inclose you a letter from Mr. Jamieson, a wealthy secesh. I don't know the contents, but think it is about robbers who claim to be of your regiment, though I don't think they do. If you consider this worthy of your attention and Gen. Lee will send the cavalry, you can do the cause a great deal of good. The people are better secesh now than any of Mississippi.
J. A. HARRAL.
MORTON, MISS., September 11, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Maj.-Gen. Lee, who will immediately report whether in his opinion an attack on Memphis can be made by a considerable portion of his cavalry, without danger to our lines, and if so his views respecting the mode in which that attack should be made.
W. J. HARDEE, Lieut.-Gen.
HDQRS. CAVALRY IN MISSISSIPPI,
Canton, September 17, 1863.
I do not consider an attack feasible at this time. The cavalry in North Mississippi is not in good trim and is badly armed, nor do I know enough of the correspondent to know if his statements are reliable. Will have the matter looked into and make a further report.
S. D. LEE, Maj.-Gen.
A more recent report gives force 1, 500 effective; 1, 500 convalescents and artillery for duty.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. IV, pp. 581-582.
1, 1864 - Shaveless Sundays in Memphis
"A Change in the Programme."
Sunday was a day of general dissatisfaction to a good many of our citizens, who forgot to get their face cleaned on Saturday instead of Sunday, and on account of the new order, the barbers got on Saturday evening, a great many of our young men (as well as old) were disappointed, and had to go to church hairy and unshaved, but next Sunday we hope to see everybody with a smiling and clean face; and to have this we would advise all those in want of a shave to call on our fellow barbers on Saturday between the hours of 6 A. M. and 12 P. M. The intend to accommodate every customer that will call on them that day, and they are very happy to be put on equal footing with other white men on the Sabbath, and hope it may continue this way. We were told by a good many of our German barbers, that last Sunday was the first time in ten years that they had a chance to go to church in the forenoon, they are all (with the exception of one or two) very glad, and thank Mayor Harris for the favor he has done them, and hope he will act to their wish in the future. Last fall the barbers requested the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to do them his favor, but they would not be bothered with the poor barbers of Memphis, and laid the petition, which was signed by most every barber (white and negro) on the table.
Rally to get yourself shaved on Saturday, and give our barbers a day of rest, and think of the third commandment where it says: "Thou shalt keep the Sabbath." Do not tempt a man to perform on Sunday morning.
Memphis Bulletin, September 1, 1864.
 Not found.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214