Saturday, November 16, 2013

11/17/13 Tenn. Civiil War Notes

        15, Dispersion of Unionists' Camp near Chattanooga[1]

CHATTANOOGA, November 17, 1861.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: The undersigned has the honor to report that he was ordered to this place on last Monday, the 11th instant, by Maj.-Gen. Bragg, with eight companies of his command, the Seventh Regiment of Alabama Volunteers left Pensacola at 4 o'clock Monday; arrived at Chattanooga at 5 o'clock Thursday afternoon. I arranged by telegraph with Col. William B. Wood, of the Sixteenth Alabama Regiment, who had come from Knoxville to Athens, to make a simultaneous movement across the Tennessee River--he from Cottonport by way of Decatur and the Seventh Regiment from Chattanooga. I also ordered Col. Gillespie and Col. Tibbs, who were at the head of 300 mounted Home Guards, to cross in two parties of 150 each, on the right and left of the place where my regiment would land on the north side of the river, one party 8 miles above, the other 8 miles below me; and then all the different commands to move at daylight Friday morning from the Tennessee River to the supposed encampment of the enemy on Sale Creek.

The Seventh Regiment, under the immediate command of my lieutenant-colonel (Coltart) were put on a steamboat, as soon as they could cook their rations for four days, about 12 o'clock Thursday night, and just at daylight were landed 27 miles from Chattanooga, within 9 miles of the camp of the insurgents. I accompanied this part of the command. A column was formed, skirmishers thrown out, and every man and woman and negro detained as we advanced. We reached the camp ground about 11 o'clock, where about 300 of mounted Home Guards from Rhea County had arrived about five minutes in advance. Our skirmishers ordered them to halt as soon as we met, and, as they failed to do so, five guns were fired upon them as they rode off. One man slightly wounded. They then saw our flag and bayonets, and, recognizing us, halted partly, and we soon knew each other. The insurgents dispersed the night before we arrived, after holding a council of war, in which they undertook to determine what they should do. They voted upon three propositions, there being about 200 present:

1st. Should they stay and fight? Ayes, 4--Col. Clift, Lieut.-Col. Shelton, Mr. Pearson, and another.

2d. Should they endeavor to reach Kentucky? Nearly 100 voted to do so.

3d. The others voted to disperse.

In the night they all broke up, about 10 or 12 going with Col. Clift, who is now hid in the mountains; 65 with a Capt. Sullivan, who marched toward Kentucky, but who is probably still in the hills. The others fled in every way, and are hid about their respective homes or at work, denying that they had any share in the matter. I have about 12 prisoners--some of them found on their way to Sullivan, with arms, and rations cooked for six days. I ordered Col. William B. Wood back to Knoxville. The mounted men are all still scouring the country.

I have returned with my regiment to this place. I agreed to pay the steamboat $100 for the two days trip and carrying 650 men.

I find on my return to this place Gen. W. H. Carroll, with three Tennessee regiments and a company of artillery with guns. In my opinion 500 infantry or one regiment here for instruction, encamped at Tyner's, 15 miles from the City, where two bridges were burned on the railroad, and where the soldiers will get no whisky, and one company of good mounted riflemen, can keep this part of the country perfectly quiet. They can also guard the Government provisions at this point.

Gen. Carroll has just informed me that he will move a part of his command over to Sequatchie Valley and make a demonstration there, and then move on with all but one regiment to Knoxville. I most respectfully suggest that, if not needed here any longer, my regiment may be ordered back to the command of Gen. Bragg, or I may be placed in charge of this post, with some rank and instructions that will enable me to control matters at this point for the interest of the Government. I have the honor to refer to an application I have made to the War Department. I find the citizens here have confidence in my movements, and I also find, with great respect for the present superior officers, that I have been much longer in the service and have been trained in a different school from any of these men. I am now really the commander of these forces, and refer to the recommendation of Gen. Bragg in sending me here, and to what you will hear from him in a few days as to my qualifications.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

S.A.M. WOOD, Col. Seventh Regiment, Alabama Volunteers.

When writing to General Braxton Bragg on the same day, Colonel Wood reiterated the day's victory over the "Cliftonites" and had a few less than courteous things to say about Brigadier-General W.H. Carroll of Memphis.

CHATTANOOGA, November 17, 1861.

Maj.-Gen. BRAGG, Pensacola, Fla.:

DEAR SIR AND GEN.: I have the honor to report to you for your information the following with regard to the Seventh Regiment:

We arrived at this place on Thursday, at 5 o'clock. I came through and arrived on Thursday morning, but the burning of the bridge forced the regiment around by Cleveland, where I met it at 11 o'clock, and came down with it. At Cleveland I arranged with Col. W. B. Wood by telegraph to make a joint movement on the forces of the insurgents, and ordered him to proceed by way of Cottonport and Decatur to their camp ground on Sale Creek. I also ordered 300 mounted Home Guards, under Cols. Gillespie and Tibbs, accompanied by a lieutenant of my command, to move in two parties across the river, one to cross at daylight Friday morning 8 miles above where my regiment would cross and the other 8 miles below me. Between sundown and 11 o'clock Thursday night the Seventh Regiment prepared rations for three days, and I chartered a steamboat for three days for $100, and put the whole regiment on it. At daylight we landed 27 miles from this place and 9 miles from the camp of the traitors. Column was formed, skirmishers thrown out, and we marched through, detaining men, women, and negroes [sic], as we went on, to prevent any information to the enemy. We arrived at the camp ground (formerly a Cumberland Presbyterian camp meeting place) at 11 o'clock. A body of 300 mounted Home Guards reached the camp ground from Rhea County five minutes before us, and had advanced 200 yards towards us in a lane. In some houses near there a large number of women, seeing our approach, were screaming, and one or two Lincolnites were trying to escape--one on foot we had just captured. Our skirmishers surrounded the house, which increased the noise, and commanded the horsemen, now forming line of battle, to halt, but they turned and fled. Five shots were fired at them, wounding slightly 1 man in the foot, and 1 of their horses; also wounding a Lincolnite, who was flying about 200 yards beyond them, in the shoulder. The whole squadron was then soon out of sight at a fierce gallop. Their captain caught sight of our banner and returned, and we found them friends. The Lincolnites [sic] number 300; had met the night before our arrival, and voted on three propositions:

1st. Should they fight? Ayes 4, noes 296.

2d. Should they go to Kentucky? Ayes 65, noes all the others.

3d. Should they disperse? Ayes about 230, noes about 70.

They then all fled the camp, the 4 fighting men going with the colonel, named Clift; the 65 towards Kentucky, with their major, named Sullivan; the others, with the lieutenant-colonel, scattering to their homes and the mountains.

Col. William B. Wood was now within 7 miles of me. My mounted men had not come up. I ordered Col. Wood back to Knoxville, and I ordered all the mounted men to pursue and capture the 65 going to Kentucky. Staid all night at the camp ground. Many good citizens, who had been robbed of their guns and property, came to see us. The next morning took a different road to return, ordering the steamboat up the river. Arrested about 12 traitors, 5 with guns and knives, bound for Sullivan's camp. They are the most miserable, ignorant, poor, ragged devils I ever saw. Reached the boat at 11 o'clock; came down 16 miles, landed, and sent out two companies under Maj. Russell (I accompanying them) to visit the house of Col. Clift. He was not there. His house looks as if it belonged to some crazy man--a large two-story frame building with half the windows out; no furniture, and all in decay. Found a letter from him to Shelton (lieutenant-colonel), dated November 6, giving the place of the rallying. Returned, and reached this place at 9 o'clock at night. This morning have moved the regiment out to the burned bridges, 15 miles, so as to get out of the way of whisky, and to encamp among the Lincolnites. When I arrived Col. Leadbetter was not here. A Tennessee regiment without arms was just arriving. All in confusion; a general panic; everybody running up and down, and adding to the general alarm. I issued an order taking command; put the town under martial law; shut up the groceries; forbade any exit, by railroad or otherwise, without a permit from provost-marshal; had every avenue guarded; arrested about 12 persons who were talking Lincolnism before I came. Arrested a man myself on the cars as I went to Cleveland, and brought him back. Found him one of their traveling agents, going off with the news of my arrival. I have relieved all our friends in this country. All were alarmed; all are now resting easy. I have run all the Lincolnites [away].

Upon my return here I find that Brig.-Gen. Carroll of the Provisional Army, formerly postmaster at Memphis, Tenn., is here with two more Tennessee regiments and one company flying artillery. Gen. Carroll has just been appointed. He has been drunk not less than five years. He is stupid, but easily controlled. He knows nothing, and I believe I can do with him pretty much as I please. He is going to send two pieces of artillery and 500 men to march up and down Sequatchie Valley--a useless expenditure of money. The presence of so many troops here is wholly unnecessary. He has, however, only 800 stand of arms. What the others will do I do not know. He speaks of going to Knoxville in a few days. Gen. Hardee is now moving to Eastern Kentucky to join Zollicoffer with 13,000 men. Col. Leadbetter telegraphed me from Bristol to disperse the traitors, station guards at bridges, and move on to Knoxville, but if I station guards my regiment is all gone. I am now dispersing the insurgents, and shall keep at it from this point until I hear from the War Department or you, or again from Col. Leadbetter. Gen. Carroll will not detain me. I refer you to a letter inclosed for some of my private views. I desire, unless I can get some command here, to come back to you. If I cannot order and have the some discipline, then let me come where I will find it.

I write this that you may know what they have set me to doing. I would have been gratified could you have seen our 9-miles march. I believe you would have been satisfied with the closed ranks, the silence, the activity, and great desire of the men for action.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

S.A.M. WOOD, Col., Comdg. Seventh Regiment Alabama Volunteers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 4, pp. 248-250.



        17, Major-General William T. Sherman's assessment of Memphis as a Federal supply center and suggestions for future initiatives

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS, Memphis, November 17, 1862.

Maj.-Gen. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief:

GEN.: Of course I know that officially and privately you have more than your share of work. Though silent I have not been idle this summer. I think Memphis is now the best and most complete base of operations on the Mississippi. The fort is admirable; twenty-eight heavy guns in position with good magazines, shot, shell, and canister piled alongside and men instructed for the guns. My old infantry division now forms a good basis for the new levies, of which fourteen infantry regiments are already come and more en route. I shall form them into two divisions of twenty-four infantry regiments, with a reserve of five to be left here to occupy Fort Pickering. My field artillery, nine good batteries, are in good drill, horses in good order, all well provided with ammunition. I have but one cavalry regiment, ten companies of the Sixth Illinois, and two of Thielemann's; but am advised that three more cavalry regiments will come to me. I am ready to move inland, down the river, or anywhere. At Memphis, troops can be raised, organized, fed, and equipped better than at any place I have ever seen. There is abundance of corn throughout the country, but all else has to come from above.

We have roused, also, the Union element, and our enemies, having burned cotton, taken corn, fodder, and supplies from the country people, have shaken their faith in the secession authorities; so that we have really a substantial beginning of the conversion of the people to our cause.

The new troops come full of the idea of a more vigorous prosecution of the war, meaning destruction and plunder.

I take brick from kilns, lumber from piles, wood, corn, &c., giving brigade quartermaster's receipts, to be settled at the termination of hostilities on proof of loyalty, claims not transferable; but I do not permit any one below the rank of brigadier to presume to take and appropriate private property.

The quartermaster's department here has possession of over 600 houses, some of which are used for public purposes and the balance are rented out, bringing over $12,000 a month income. I mention these facts to interest you in your future plans in this quarter of the world. I expect very soon to move inland to report to Gen. Grant. The enemy is now behind the Tallahatchie, and West Tennessee is free of the enemy, save very small bands of guerrillas, whom the people will soon dispose of rather than feed and submit to….

*  *  *  *

With great respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen., Comdg. District.

P. S.-The old navy-yard here was used by the Confederate authorities for founding cannon, construction gun-carriages, transportation wagons, and all sorts of military stores. Though donated by Congress to the city of Memphis, I think it is fairly liable to confiscation, but I have only taken certain parts of it for necessary workshops, taking accurate inventories of tools and materials. I am making a kind of pontoon train for Gen. Hovey at Helena and another for myself. Indeed, these shops are admirably adapted to Government purposes.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, pp. 351-352.



        17, "Officers Dismissed from the Army of the Cumberland.-General Order[s,] No. 253"

Army of the Cumberland, names a large number of officers who have been dismissed from the service by Gen. Thomas. Among them are, Lieut. John S. Wood, 1st Middle Tennessee, for disobedience of orders; Maj. Kallus and Lieut. Lanshaw, 15th Kentucky, for tendering their resignations accompanied by "sentiments which only a traitor and enemy to his country could harbor;" Capt. Bartholomew Scanalan, 7th Pennsylvania cavalry, for "immorality and gross conduct;" Lieut. H. M. Peck, 3d East Tennessee, "for giving himself up to the enemy." Among the reinstatements by the same order we notice the name of Lieut. H. N. Shipp, 1st Middle Tennessee, dishonorably discharged some time ago; the charges against him being satisfactorily disproved.

Nashville Dispatch, November 17, 1863.



        17, Andrew Johnson's alcoholic son tenders his resignation

Nashville Nov 17th 1863

To His Excellency, Gov. Johnson


Herewith enclosed please find my resignation as Colonel of the 1st Regiment Tenn Cavalry, which you will, I hope accept – as I understand you [sic] desire it—

If necessary & desired by you, I will resign the position authorized by the Secretary of War, to raise and organize a Brigade of Cavalry, under your direction— And perhaps, I can in some other field of duty, make amends for the past, and gain that Character that I deserve, and which I will win, at all hazards[.]

Respectfully I am Yours, &c

Robt Johnson

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 480.



        17, "…put the laboring white man on the top, and the indolent traitorous man of wealth where he ought to be-under the bottom." The Political Aims of the Nashville and Knoxville Conventions

The Nashville and Knoxville Conventions-Calls of the East Tennessee Executive Committee

We publish this morning two very important papers[2] from the Union Executive Committee of East Tennessee. It will be seen that the committee concur in the programme which we have urged, and the practicability of which we have attempted to elaborate for some time past. We are not surprised at this, for there is no other plan which is in any degree feasible. It is the only way in which a full Convention can ever be elected by the people of Tennessee, for there are certain to be portions of the State wherein a free and loyal election cannot be held.

The call for the Convention on the 19th prox., sufficiently explains itself. It needs no elucidation. Nothing that we can say can add additional fight on the subject. But we may be excused in suggesting to the people that they have no time to lose in preparing to attend this Convention. Its chief duty will be the selection of candidates for the Convention which will be called in a few days, and every loyal man has an interest in the nomination of the men who are destined to be the instruments in the hands of the people to remodel our local institutions, and remould society in such a manner as to put the laboring white man on the top, and the indolent traitorous man of wealth where he ought to be-under the bottom. In that Convention the people will need men of nerve-men who have no old rebel friends in favor-any old political debts to pay-no any enemies to punish save the enemies of the country. We hope to see a large Convention, an immense body of men whose garments have never been stained by the blood of the country-men who have never lagged on the march or straggled in the fight. This is what we hope to see, and it will be men if only the people will only resolve to take a band in all measures in which their own rights and privileges are involved. If the people do not attend them there may be political manipulations which may corrupt the very fountains of orthodoxy and entail on the State and people a set of fossils which have already well-nigh destroyed the Republic. If the people stay away and permit the evils we have hinted at, they will have themselves to blame.

As to the to the Convention of Knoxville on the 5th, we do not see its great importance-that is, if it had not been called, we could not, with the lights before us, have appreciated the necessity for its assembling-but now that such a meeting has been suggested we hope the people will make  appoint of being there in force. We have no doubt that the Executive Committee have  good and sufficient reasons which have not occurred to us and of which we have not heard for their action; and we cheerfully abide their decision and earnestly urge the people to make it convenient to be on hand. There are some so-called Union men in Knoxville whose avowed principles and teachings will chill anything short of a rousing crowd of the true men of the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee. Then let the latter be here and whoop the fossils-just a little bit.

Chattanooga Daily Gazette, November 17, 1864. [3]

[1] Pacification of indigenous populations is an activity not frequently associated with the Civil War in Tennessee, or if it is, seldom is it tied to the Confederacy. However, Colonel S.A.M. Wood report on what has been called "Clift's War" clearly shows, force was resorted to so as to subdue any opposition to the Confederacy in Hamilton County and the Sequatchie Valley.

[2] Not found.

[3] GALEGROUP - TSLA 19TH CN The rest of the story is thus far unknown.

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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