Tuesday, November 12, 2013


November 12, 1860, Minute Men form in Memphis

A company of Minute Men has been organized in Memphis. On Monday [12th] night a meeting was held and addressed by Mr. Haskell of South Carolina. On motion, after the address of Mr. Haskell, it was ordered that the roll for membership be opened, and many of the parties enrolled their names.-The blue cockade was adopted as a badge.

Semi-weekly Mississippian, November 16, 1860. [1]



        12, 1862 -  "To the People of Tennessee....If you fail to respond to this appeal, I shall be compelled...to disband these regiments of brave soldiers and call you who have arms into service as militia."

The State must, and, to the full extent of its resources, shall be defended.-Threatened with invasion, all good citizens will regard it as a patriotic duty to make any reasonable sacrifice to repel the invader. Regiments are now in camp and organized, while others are ready to organized, but for want of arms are not prepared to take the field.

Prompted by the noblest impulses of patriotism, these brave men are ready to take the field to defend you homes, and to prevent the theater of this cruel and vindictive war being brought within our borders. They appeal to you, who quietly remain at home, to place arms in their hands, that they may give you protection and security.

If you fail to respond to this appeal, I shall be compelled by the sternest convictions of duty, charged as I am with the responsibility of seeing that the State is defended, to disband these regiments of brave soldiers and call you who have arms into service as militia. [2]

I earnestly entreat that the people will bring forward and deliver to the Clerk of the County Court of the respective counties, or to such other agent as I may sent to the various counties, every effective double-barrel shot gun and sporting rifle which they have, to be immediately shipped to the Arsenal at Nashville, Knoxville or Memphis, where the same will be valued by a competent ordnance officer, and the value paid to the owner by the Confederate Government.

I urge you to give me your aid in the important work of arming our troops, with which we can repel the invader, but if you refuse, prepare to take the field, for I am resolved to exhaust all resources before the foot of the invader shall pollute the soil of Tennessee.



Nashville, Nov. 12, 1861

Clarksville Chronicle, November 22, 1861.[3]



        12, Skirmish at Hartsville

HDQRS. LEFT WING, ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, Silver Springs, November 12, 1862-8.30 a. m. Lieut. Col. ARTHUR C. DUCAT, [Acting] Chief of Staff:

COL.: My command reached this point last evening; our supply wagons came up through the night....

* * * *

Col. Kennett reports that he entered Hartsville yesterday morning, driving out some 150 cavalry, captured 20 prisoners, 100 mules, 5 mule teams and wagons, many bags of oats, not counted, &c.

* * * *

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. L. CRITTENDEN, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 20, pt. II, pp. 37-38



        12, The General and the Judge, a lesson in nullification of Federal laws

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS, Memphis, November 12, 1862-11 p. m.

Hon. JUDGE SWAYNE, Memphis:

SIR: You exposed yourself hurt this morning at the severe terms in which I indulged in commenting on the charge you made the grand jury. It is now late at night, and I am worn out with writing purely official matter, and now, hastily and candidly, wish to convey to you my serious thoughts.

I concede to you the highest order of personal character, talents, and education, and will not pretend to argue with you constitutional or legal questions. I have repeatedly asserted, and now repeat my belief, that you are honest in your opinions and practice, but must say that, in my judgment, you are unintentionally drifting your country and people to ruin, misery, and death. In the first place, I regret that, in preparing your opinion or charge to the jury, the main part was omitted and only that part published to the world which treats of the sworn duty of the grand jury to find bills under the enumerated laws of Tennessee touching slaves, utterly ignoring the laws of Congress and the state of war.

Thus take the statutes you quote, Nos. 26, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 82, &c. How can any one of them be executed here without an absolute relinquishment of all that has been done in this war? Will the United States stultify herself by allowing a criminal court of a county to nullify the acts of the Congress and of armies raised at the expense of the blood and treasure of the nation? What is the law of Congress on this point?

ACT No. 160.-AN ACT to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes.

* * * *

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall, after proclamation giving sixty days' notice, be engaged in rebellion against the Government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army, and all slaves captured from such persons, or deserted by them and coming under the control of the Government of the United States, and all slaves of such persons found or being in any place occupied by rebel forces and afterward occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be for ever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.

SEC. 10.

* * * *

And no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretense, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.

Approved July 17, 1862.

Such is the law of the Congress of the United States, which I caused to be published many successive days in all the newspapers of Memphis as soon as received; and yet you made no mention of it in your charge to the jury. Certainly you must admit a state of war; that Memphis was a place held by the Confederate troops in June last and now in our military possession, and that during the pendency of war I am held by our Government as responsible for all that occurs in this district, and as much accountable for acts done by persons subordinate to my authority, as though done by myself. Therefore, in charging the jury, you could not but have foreseen it would raise a direct conflict. I admit that in our conversation you contended that your high sense of the character of a judge demanded you should announce the law, but that in doing so you qualified it by the expression-

If in regard to the slavery laws of the State, or any of the recited or other statutory or common law offenses, the jury should find themselves physically prevented by the circumstances about them--in other words, by the insufficiency of the power of the county--from the performance of their high duties as defined by the law, in that case their failure to perform these duties will be no dereliction on their part.

Now I hold, and so will every reader of your charge infer, that the jury is bound to hear and, on their oath, find bills against every person who has received, harbored, or employed a fugitive slave. No physical power will hinder them from finding such bills any more than it did you in making your charge; on the contrary, I would look for discreet action and a full and comprehensive laying down of the law to the learned and intelligent judge rather than the jury who are bound to receive the law as he gives it to them to apply to the cases that may come to their hearing.

I say the grand jury are bound to indict every man, woman, or child in the county of Shelby who has been governed by the laws of the Congress of the United States, instead of those of the State of Tennessee, late in open rebellion to the mild and generous sovereign of the whole country. Thus I contend that, when your community is already bound down by the afflictions of stern war, you have insisted, from what I deem a too delicate sense of your official obligations, in bringing a direct conflict between the State and National authority. I had in my former conversations with you expressed an earned desire that, while armed thousands of strong men were arrayed against each other, ready at any moment to engage in deadly struggle, the common machinery of Government might be preserved, to protect the old and young, feeble and helpless, against the murderous rubbers, thieves, and villains that are sure to take advantage of the complications of war to do their hellish work. I wanted of all things the criminal court of Shelby County to meet and punish crime--that class of crime known all the world over as malum in se, common to the codes of all civilized people--and reserve this question of slavery, this dire conflict between National and State authority, to be fought out by the armies now arrayed for that purpose. Personally, I have no hostility to slavery or any of your local laws. I would they had never been disturbed; that Federal and State authority had been mutually respected by the parties to this strife; but this event almost convinces me that they are utterly irreconcilable, when Judge Swayne, with the din of arms in his ears, with bayonets glistening at each street corner, with messengers coming and going with the cruel news of the mangling of hundreds and thousands of our common citizens in deadly strife, charges a grand jury under the old law of Tennessee as though there was no war, and utterly ignores the laws made by the Congress of the United States. I wanted, and still want, you to hold your court and punish the many malefactors that infest the country, but you must respect the laws of our common Government.

I do not want to dictate to you; I appeal to your reason. You cannot administer the laws you quote, but there is plenty you can do, and, to make the matter emphatic, I have instructed my provost-marshal and officers that if the criminal court of Shelby or any other county attempts by writs or otherwise to enforce those State laws, in contradiction with the plain laws of the United States, they must treat the sheriff or constable as in "contempt." I admit there is a direct issue between the United States and the State of Tennessee in this matter; but a county criminal court is not the place to adjudicate it. There is a tribunal provided by our fundamental law-our Constitution-viz.,: the Supreme Court of the United States, fit and proper to pass on such momentous issues. Until that tribunal makes its decision, I shall obey the plain law of Congress and the order of the President of the United States under it, and my army shall be used to enforce it.

I wish I had seen your charge before it was delivered, as I believe you would have modified it; at all events, that you would not have given such prominence to the impracticable statutes you quote. I wish to repeat that I appreciate the sense of duty that actuated you to assert what you believed to be the only law, and I hope you will award to me similar zeal when you allow for the sudden and stern conclusions to which military minds sometimes attain by a rapid intuition or judgment.

I also repeat that I am still anxious you should continue your court, and constitutionally and judiciously enforce the law against the many mischievous persons that infest your community. For God's sake, don't let this accursed question of slavery blind your mind to the thousand other duties and interests that concern you and the people among whom you live.

As you can perceive, I throw off these ideas, leaving you to fill up the logical picture. In my seeming leaning toward men of your character, I have risked my reputation and ability for good. Do not force me to conclude the conflict to be "irreconcilable," as you surely will if you or your grand jury or the officers of your court insist on enforcing the statutes of Tennessee touching negroes [sic] at this terrible crisis of our history.

With much respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, pp. 863-865.



        12, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 67, Federal foraging and anti-guerrilla policy in Middle Tennessee

HQ, Left Wing, 16th Army Corps, Pulaski Tennessee, November 12, 1863.

The Federal Army being now in possession of that portion of Tennessee and Alabama from Columbia to Decatur, and no Confederate force occupying any portion of Middle Tennessee, the following policy will be pursued by my command:

First. Citizens who have a surplus of corn, wheat, fodder, cattle and hogs, by bringing it to the different posts along the railroad from Columbus to Decatur, in sufficient quantities to supply the command, will receive vouchers upon which they can obtain money. Unless this is done, foraging trains will necessarily be sent out, and what we need be taken and certificates only given.

Second. As long as people maintain quiet in the country, put down guerrillas and robbers, they will be protected, their produce paid form and treated in all respects as loyal citizens. Otherwise the will be levied upon to support the army and treated as enemies.

Third. Citizens in the adjoining counties are invited to take such measures as they see proper to comply with this order, and every assistance and encouragement will be given them by the commanders at the different posts.

By order of Brig. Gen. G.M. Dodge

OR, Ser. 1, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 132.



12, Life in Chattanooga according to the Louisville Journal

Chattanooga.—The Chattanooga correspondent of the Louisville Journal of the 12th says that Chattanooga is a very uncomfortable place when our Lookout batteries begin to play. Hunger pinched children go about the streets of Chattanooga picking up the crusts thrown away by Federal soldiers. The citizens are all to be sent North to shift for themselves.

Savannah [Georgia] Republican, November 24, 1863.[4]



    12, Tar Heels and hog wars in Cocke and Greene counties


Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: I beg to inclose you my brother's letter, which will explain his situation better than I can. With about 300 troops and some militia, he is succeeding well in getting our pork from East Tennessee, and I would most respectfully urge the increase of his command if possible. A vast amount of provisions could thus be saved to the Government, which, I fear, will otherwise be lost.

Most respectfully, yours,



HDQRS., Paint Rock, November 12, 1863.

His Excellency ZEBULON B. VANCE, Raleigh, N. C.:

DEAR BROTHER: I have raided Cocke County and a part of Greene, pretty thoroughly, and brought out safely 800 hogs and some horses and cattle.

On yesterday [11th] I started to Greeneville, but was overtaken by a courier stating that 300 Yankees had attacked Lieut. Richie and took 100 hogs from him. I immediately tacked about with 60 men and made after them. We met them, 200 strong, 5 miles of Newport, and had a brisk fight, driving the enemy back several hundred yards. We had 2 men wounded, 1 of whom is at Hawk's house, the other here. The enemy's loss, 1 captain killed and 2 men wounded. My men fought well. The wounded are of Capt. Boykin's company, South Carolina cavalry. My hogs (800) are all above the springs. Col. Mallett has ordered Capt. McRae back, and I will not let him go; it is impossible to do without him, and I wish you to lay the facts before the War Department. I am not only saving property for the Government, but threatening the enemy on his lines, and keeping him uneasy, and drawing some of his force away to watch me. Please haste to lay this matter before the authorities. The enemy went to mouth of Chucky last night. No other news excepting that heavy cannonading was heard toward Rogersville yesterday.

Your brother,

ROBT. B. VANCE, Brig.-Gen.

P. S.--I had to let Capt. Boykin go home this morning; this shears me of a good portion of my strength. Why can I not get some of Gen. Hoke's men, or him and his whole command? The field is so inviting and I am so anxious to do something. There is also Col. Williams' regiment at Greenville, S. C. Let it be understood at Richmond that I ask for men not to defend North Carolina simply, but to work for the Government in East Tennessee.


NOVEMBER 23, 1863.

I hope Gen. Lee will be able to spare Hoke's remaining men to this service. The recommendation of Gen. Vance to that effect has been commended to his favorable consideration.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 29, pt. II, pp. 836-837.



[2] Either the people of Tennessee were reluctant to give their shot-guns and sporting rifles to the State, or there were no more to hand over. In either case even the Governor appears to looking for a way to assuage anxieties he may have felt as a result of not being able to procure arms for all the volunteers who had no weapons. Judging from the tone of his speech in Memphis, February 20, 1862, it seems he was looking for a way to blame others for his own ineffectiveness in preparing the state for secession and war.

[3] See also: Memphis Daily Appeal, November 15, 1861.

[4] As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts.

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