Thursday, October 31, 2013

10/31/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

31, Destruction of Confederate Quartermaster supplies and Lizzie Whitehouse's bordello

Two Great Fires! Commissary and Quartermaster's Stores in Danger! A House of Crime Destroyed!

At half-past eleven o'clock, smoke was observed issuing from the basement of the furniture establishment on Main street, east side, between Main and Court streets, occupied by Messrs. Churchill & Winston. The stock of furniture being owned by M. L. Duncan, a resident of Cincinnati, it had come under the notice of Mr. Jackson, the receiver of the Confederate States….

The wind blew a moderate breeze; it was unsteady, and sometimes directed the flames and flying masses of fire towards the Confederate States quartermaster's premises in the DeSoto Block, on Madison, then in the direction of Specht's confectionary and other stores on the south side of Madison street. Men were soon on every roof both on Main and Madison streets, and at the various windows, keeping shingles and framework from catching fire. At one instant the house on the corner of the alley below Madison on Main, was on fire in the roof, from the flying fragments, but a timely application from an engine stream saved it. The fire had now spread to the large hardware establishment of McCombs & Co., at the corner of the street, and to the auction rooms of Gilbert, Andrews & Co. next door north. These three houses extended clear back to the alley, and though much effort had been made in getting out goods, yet some $50,000 of stock remained in the hardware store, while the auction store, in which were many sewing machines, was so far cleared as to reduce the loss to probably $1,000.

Above these stores were Norman, Wilson & Co.'s office, a daguerreotype establishment, and other rooms and offices. The whole was one mass of building, owned by Mr. Brinkley, and uninsured. These were the very first large business houses ever erected in Main street, and their erection was regarded as an improvement of a very enterprising character. The whole corner of Main and Madison streets was now a mass of towering flame, so hot that it was impossible to stand opposite to it in Main street, and the windows of the quartermaster's room and the rooms above, in the DeSoto Block, were all on fire…So dangerous, however, appeared the situation of the whole of the Court Square and all that portion of Main street corner than every article of furniture and business was moved from the following places.

[list with losses follows]

On Madison street the stores in the quartermaster's office, the effects in O. C. Boone's cotton factor's office, the President and Treasurer's offices of the Little Rock railroad, were wholly or partially removed, but the gallant exertions of the firemen, as remarked above, saved the building….

When the fire had so far got under as to prevent any great fear on its spreading further, a shout was suddenly heard among the already excited people: "Howard's Row is on fire!" For a moment the news appeared to stun the immense crowd of people. There was an absolute silence, arising from doubt and astonishment. During this moment of silence the fire bells struck up a new alarm. Immediately the crowd took up the cry, "Howard's Row is on fire," and hundreds broke into a run for that spot.

Another fire, and a very formidable one, was indeed found to be raging in the rear of Howard's Row. The entire upper story of the building, the property of Isaac Bolton, and formerly occupied by him as a slave jail and mart, but for some time kept by "Lizzie Whitehouse" as a house of ill fame, was a mass of devouring flame. Next door to this house was the tenement formerly occupied by A. H. Hise as a hide and flour store, but for some months used for the storing of C. S. commissary stores. Large amounts of sugar, flour, biscuit, bacon, meal, and other articles, were in store. The upper story contained some ten thousand boxes of candles. The excitement among the crowd became greater than ever. The first fire was near the C. S. quartermaster's office; this was next door to the C. S. commissary's store house. Could these coincidents happen without design? Such was the question asked in the crowd. There appeared to be no desire to save the house, where the fire was devouring, as a fiend swallowing up his prey. It was an abode of evil, a habitation of crime. Blood stained its walls, and guilt was connected with its every memory. There McMillan, six years ago, had met with a bloody death; there pollution, that shuns the day had, since that time, celebrated its orgies. "Let it burn," was the voice of the people; but a great desire existed to save the food of our brave soldiers that was lying in the next house. It was resolved it should be saved. As if by one impulse, merchants, draymen, bankers, deck-hands, lawyers, laborers—men of all degrees of social life—impulsively rushed into the building, and soon reappeared, carrying boxes of candles, sacks of meal, sides of bacon, and rolling tierces of rice and hogsheads of sugar. It was a sight to see and remember—hundreds toiling until the perspiration rained down their faces. When a large portion of the stores had been removed the roof of the burning house fell in. this brought the level of the flames below the roof of the storehouse, and as there were two brick walls between the inside of the burning house and the commissary stores, the danger was at an end and the work of removal ceased. Without a stream of water or a hand to hinder their progress, the flames were left to consume the house of lust and crime. The blackened and tottering walls alone remain….It is with great thankfulness we say that among the roaring of the flames, the fall of articles thrown from windows, the crash of falling walls, the rush of the crowd, and the rapid movements of the engines, we did not hear of one serious accident.

Memphis Daily Appeal, November 1, 1861.



31, The trial of Mrs. Buchanan, Miss Winnie Buchanan, James Buchanan, and William Buchanan in Nashville

Recorder's Court.

The most important feature of yesterday's proceedings was the trial of Mrs. Buchanan, Miss Winnie Buchanan, James Buchanan, and William Buchanan, "charged with disturbing the peace of one Mistress Doyle, by violent and abusive language and words calculated to provoke a breech of the peace." M. M. Brien, Esq., appeared for the defence, and the City Attorney conducted the prosecution.

The first witness called was Mrs. Nicholas Doyle, who said she lived opposite the barracks on College Hill, and testified that on Sunday evening, about three weeks ago, the above-named defendants hurrahed for Jeff. Davis, and said that Col. Morgan was to be made Governor of Kentucky—that she (the witness) was to be tarred and feathered and ridden on a rail—that witness replied she would not be tarred and feathered so long as Governor Johnson was here—that they replied that "Governor Johnson was played out," and that one of them was to kill Governor Johnson—that Mrs. and Miss Buchanan called her a d____d Union woman—that one of the boys waved a rebel flag in presence of all the defendants, etc., etc.

Mr. Nicholas Doyle being called, testified in substance the same as his wife, and in addition that they had called him a d____d Union pup, and his wife a d____d Union slut, threw rotten apples at them, and threatened violence toward them, unless they would leave the place, because of their Union sentiments.

Several witnesses were examined for the defence, who testified that the defendants had removed from their residence near Doyle's three weeks ago on Tuesday [October 28]; that witness (William Gallimore) was raised in the family, and had never seen a flag of any description in the house, or in the hands of Mrs. or Miss Buchanan; never heard Mrs. or Miss Buchanan swear or use language such as that imputed to them by witnesses for the prosecution; never saw apples thrown by any one at the house of Doyle.

Lieutenant Buchanan, an officer in the Federal army, testified that he had made the acquaintance of Mrs. Buchanan and family some two months ago, and had visited them frequently, spending an hour or more at each visit. Gave them an excellent character; believes them to be all Union people; can tell a Union lady when he meets her in the street; they appear more sociable and agreeable than secesh ladies.

Mr. Brien asked permission to examine Miss Winnie Buchanan. Mr. Smith objected. Recorder overruled the objection.

Miss Winnie testified that she had never heard her mother use such language as that imputed to her; denied the expressions imputed to others in her presence, and denied that a rebel flag was ever seen in her hands, or waved by any of the persons named, in her presence.

Marshals Chumley, Wilkinson, and Steele, were examined, and testified that they had known the defendants many years, and had always considered them quiet and orderly people—unusually so.

Mr. Smith submitted the case without argument.

Mr. Brien insisted that the witnesses for the prosecution could not be believed on account of their contradictions—that they were evidently angry with defendants, and desired to persecute them. After some further remarks, he submitted the case to the judgment of the Recorder, who discharged all the defendants….

Nashville Dispatch, November 1, 1862.



        31, Federal Foraging in Bledsoe county; and entry from the diary of John Hill Ferguson, 11th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Fitts Crossing Bledsoe County, Pikeville, co Seat Saturday 31st

Last night was wet cold and rainy all night until light this morning it cleared of[[f] and today was pleasant The trees on the mountain were white this morning suposed [sic] while it was raining in the valley it was snowing on the mountain but dureing [sic] the day we learned that it sleeted [sic] on the mountain the most of the night, and froze on the trees which resembled snow.

About 10 o'clock A. M. the teams were hitched up and we started out to hunt forage. Leveing [sic] our things in camp and some of the boys back to guard them about 5 miles up the valley[1] we came to a house belonging to one Mr. Robinson, a reb, at least he was said to be my his neighbors

Robinson was not at home. And as he was a batchler [sic] of corse none of his family were there. Only quite a number of mulattos said to be his children they were living with the darkies [sic] in Logg [sic] huts. One a young wemen [sic] of 20 or 21 said to be his daughter was remarkable [sic] good looking and intelegent [sic]. I inquired of her where Mr. Robinson was. She said he had moved away up north and took his furnatur [sic] with him and left the darkies to take care of his things I inquired whither [sic] he was a Secesh or a Union man She said she would leve[sic] that for us to judge that made me satisfied that he was a reb So I had no simpithy [sic] for him or his property. When we first stoped [sic] we only found one crib with about 3 waggon loads of corn and plenty of hay stowed away in different places on exemining [sic] the house we found 200 or 300 bushels of corn stowed away up stayrs [sic]

While some of us were loading up the Waggons [sic] the balance [sic] of our co. and those belonging to the 60th went down and katched [sic] all the chikins [sic] and gees [sic] and shot the ginney [sic] hens and killed about 30 head of Big Hoggs and some sheep. I do not think there was much left on the place

We did not see but one horse on the place and that was stiff one of the darkies claimed it as his and said it wag given to him by one of our cavalry the wagon master took it and tied it behind one of the wagons and brought it along also

The neighbors around said that Mr. Robinson had not moved away, but was around some where not far  & concealed and he had also concealed his horses waggins [sic] farmuter [sic] in some out of the way place where we would not be likly [sic] to finde [sic] it

We got back to camp a little before dark and skinned [sic] 2 hoggs [sic] in our mess we had 3 but give the poorest one away to the teamsters ass [sic] they had no chance to get any for them selvs [sic]. as we are going to start early in the morning to our regt we have sit up and fryed [sic] a good suply [sic] to take  in our havor sacks tomorrow I might say before closing that there are several family by the name of Robinson around close in the same neighborhood all kinsfolk and all welthy [sic] and secesh to the back bone although [sic] this country is mostly union there are no scools [sic] there children has to send them of[f] to some city

John Hill Fergusson Diary, Book 3.



31, Destruction of U. S. S. Dave Hughes and barge on Cumberland River

CLARKSVILLE, November 1, 1864.

Steamer Dave Hughes, with barge loaded with Government stores, was burned yesterday afternoon 15 miles above this post by guerrillas,

I. P. WILLIAMS, Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.

Lieutenant S. H. STEVENS, Acting Assistant Quartermaster, Nashville, Tenn.


The Dave Hughes was a light-draft boat, valued at $5,000 to $7,000, and was chartered by me some time since.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. H. STEVENS. Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Quartermaster.

Very respectfully,

J. L. DONALDSON, Brevet Brig. Gen., Chief Q. M., Department of the Cumberland.

Brigadier-General WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.

Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 26, pp. 604-605.

[1] Probably the Rabbit Valley, Hamilton county.

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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