Saturday, December 14, 2013

12/14/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

14, "Strike."

The Typographical Society of this city have struck for a large advance of wages, which the Publishers have decided they are not able to pay, as they are paying more for paper and ink now than ever before, and the subscription price of their papers being the same. Will our friends make enquiries for us and send us four type setters, at the regular prices 3 1/3 cents per thousand ems.[1]—Come on old type setters—come on and brighten up and help out. Fifty printers are wanted in the city now.

Tennessee Baptist, December 14, 1861[2]



14, "Our New Congressional Delegation."

The members elect to the First Congress from our State will compare most favorably with any delegation of the Confederacy. They embrace some of the finest men in the country. Tennessee may well feel proud of them whilst the nation may rejoice in so noble a delegation. In the first district we have Joseph B. Heiskill,[3] an able and profound lawyer, sound, honest, politician, and a true patriot. He will make a most valuable and efficient member.

W. G. Swan[4], one of the shrewdest and best informed men in the State, a man of fine ability, untiring energy, and unshaken devotion to the South, is a [reliable?] and efficient member from the Knoxville district. He will look well to the interests of his State, and his country; and we predict for him a brilliant and useful career. He is a man for the times.

Judge Gardenhire[5], from the Sparta district, is a man well known in the politics of this State. He is a man of [illegible], and will make a good member.

For the Bedford district, we have the [illegible] and gifted Meredith P. Gentry[6], one of the noblest, as he is one of the first statesmen in the South. In the old Congress when a member, he stood acknowledged head of that body when there were giants in it; and it will be no disparagement to our new Congress to say he will stand in the front rank of the first men that compose it. As a statesman, he is far-seeing, wise and patriotic; as an orator he has no superior on the continent; he is a bright and shining ornament to our Congress, and an honor to human nature. It is indeed good for our new republic that we have the benefit of his wise counsels and the advantage of his patriotic and enlightened services.

From the Lincoln district, we have the sterling patriot, George W. Jones,[7] who so long and with so much honor to himself and satisfaction too his people, represented his old district in the U. States Congress. He will make an able and useful member. His district sent her best man. The State and Confederacy should alike feel proud of him.

Gov. Henry S. Foote,[8] of world-wide fame, represents the Nashville district. All men and all nations know him. It is needless for us to add a work in his praise. We could not, by so doing, add an inch to the stature of his well-earned fame.

Gen. J. D. C. Atkins[9] who was formerly a member of the old Congress, represent the Paris district. He is a good man, a sterling patriot, and will make an efficient member.

The gallant Col. John V. Wright has been transferred by his constituents from the command of a regiment on the tented field, to a seat in Congress from the 10th district. He is a rising man – a man of talent and worth, and will prove an able member.

Hon. D. M. Currin[10] was returned from his district. He deservedly ranks highest as a politician and is as disinterested a patriot as lives. He is a man of good ability and will make a worth, active and efficient representative.

Where is the State that can present such an array of talent, statesmanship and patriotism in her congressional delegation? Well may Tennessee be proud of so able, gallant and noble a representation.

Nashville Daily Gazette, December 14, 1861.



14, Continued Confederate efforts at the pacification of East Tennessee Unionists

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE, Knoxville, Tenn., October 14, 1862.

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

*  *  *  *

Besides the military duties of the department, including the enforcement of the conscript law, I am endeavoring to bring about a better state of feeling toward the Government than has heretofore existed in East Tennessee, and I have strong hopes of succeeding. I informed you of my interview with Mr. Nelson, which resulted in his publishing an address to the people, a copy of which I inclosed to you. Since then I have had interview with other gentlemen, who have heretofore been firm supporters of the old Union, and am encouraged to believe that the most prominent men of the party will soon give public and cordial support to the Government. I send with this copies of letters from Judge Lucky and Mr. N. G. Taylor, both of whom were represented to me as possessing great influence, which they have used to the prejudice of the Government. To-day I had a most satisfactory interview with John Netherland, esp., a prominent and influential politician of the Union party. He is prepared, I believe, to support the Government cordially. I am told that he and Mr. Nelson are the most influential men in East Tennessee, and I have good reason to believe that in a few days they will both be addressing the people in public meetings in various places, urging them to give their hearty and active support to the Government. In my conversation with Mr. Netherland I took occasion to say that I thought the time had passed when such an organization as a Union party could be tolerated in this country. He admitted it without hesitation.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

JONESBOROUGH, TENN., October 11, 1862.


DEAR SIR: In a pleasant and free conversation with you a few days since on the state of the country, and more especially the condition of things in East Tennessee, among other topics the recent proclamation of President Lincoln came under consideration. I remarked that I thought the act of Congress on which it was precidated and the proclamation itself were totally unconstitutional, and equally abhorrent to my feelings and judgment as they were illegal and mischievous in their design and tendency. I have uniformly entertained and expressed the opinion that it was the duty of our citizens to yield obedience to the constituted authorities of the country. This sentiment I have repeated to all with whom I have conversed. I need scarcely say that the recent act and proclamation of the Federal authorities give additional force and emphasis to these opinions, and that all good citizens should cheerfully yield their support to the Government under which they live and offer no factious opposition to the constitutional enactments and laws of the Confederate authorities. The peace and security of person and property require this of every one.

I am gratified to learn that, while you are exercising the high authority as commander of the Department of East Tennessee, in enforcing the laws of the land it is your purpose to protect every class of citizens with energy and promptness from oppression and wrong. I believe a just and firm administration of the laws upon every one will soon produce a tranquil state of feeling in the public mind.

Should the opinions I have expressed in this brief note be esteemed of any value in aiding you in restoring harmony and quiet you are at liberty to use it in any way you may choose.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


[Inclosure No. 2.]

KNOXVILLE, TENN., September 24, 1862.

Hon. NAT. [G.] TAYLOR:

MY DEAR FRIEND: According to promise I pen you a few lines. Your character and position in East Tennessee are now and have been for a long time such as to awaken the liveliest solicitude among your numerous friends that your influence as a Christian minister, a patriot, and a statesman should promptly and publicly be thrown on the side of our oppressed and insulted country. In claiming you to be thoroughly Southern in heart and soul will you assure me in your response that I truly represent you?

Very respectfully, I am, dear brother, yours,

F. E. PITTS.[11]

[Inclosure No. 3.]

HAPPY VALLEY, TENN ., October 2, 1862.

Rev. F. E. PITTS:

DEAR SIR: Your brief note of the 25th [sic] [24th] ultimo was received yesterday. Having assured me you would write me from Greeneville or Knoxville I expected to hear from you, but had hoped to hear something of as well as from you, and that you would have devoted a portion of your letter to yourself and not all of it to me. Protecting that you place a much higher estimate upon the influence I have among my numerous friends than I merit or claim and regarding brevity as the soul of emphasis, I hasten at once to respond to the one solitary question you have propounded to me as clearly, concisely, and comprehensibly as I can. You say, "In claiming you to be thoroughly Southern in heart and soul will you assure me in your response that I truly represent you?" I answer, in claiming me to be thoroughly Southern in heart and soul you do truly represent me and only do me simple justice.

I am, yours, very respectfully,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 945-947.



14, Capture of Union wagon train near Clinch Mountain Gap[12]

DECEMBER 14, 1863.-Capture of Union Wagon Train, near Clinch Mountain Gap, Tenn.

Report of Col. Thomas J. Brady, One hundred and Seventeenth Indiana Infantry.

BLAIN'S CROSS-ROADS, December 21, 1863.

LIEUT.: I would respectfully report to you that, the 14th December, while carrying out Col. Mahan's instructions respecting the improvement of the road through Clinch Mountain Gap, I was alarmed just at sundown by the repeated report of musketry, and information was brought me that the train just corralled at the opposite foot of the mountain was attacked. I immediately dispatched Capt. Braxton with three companies to its defense. Shortly after I learned that the force attacking was larger that first supposed, and immediately led five other companies to its relief. Half way down the mountain the firing ceased, and knowing from the cheers that followed that the train was captured. I entertained the idea of attempting its recapture. At this time Capt. Braxton returned, the train having surrendered before he could reach it. Making what dispositions I thought necessary for the attack, I had barely given the orders to advance, when informed the enemy was marching up the eastern hill and upon my right flank, seemingly regardless of my presence, and a few shots fired not causing him to pay us equal attention, I withdrew to the gap and dispatched a company (Capt. Woodmansee's) to the aforesaid hill. The captain most gallantly repulsed his four several attempts [sic] to possess it.

Night had already set in, and my attempt to communicate with Gen. Shackelford at Bean's Station proving futile, and learning from scouts sent out that the enemy in my rear was in force, and perceiving the fact from his numerous camp fires, I adopted the only alternative left me--to retreat. Accordingly at 9 p. m. camp was abandoned, and we took up our line of march over the crest of mountains toward Rutledge. The night was dark and cold our route pathless and very rough, while the enemy was on either side of us, his pickets extending far upon the sides of the mountain, but all were impressed with the danger attending the movement and marched in silence. All night and the next morning until 10 o'clock we kept the mountains [sic]. At that hour the sound battle below us drew our attention to the south valley, where we could easily discern the contending forces. Glad to leave our elevation, I marched below and reported to Gen. Hascall for duty, and was quickly placed in position to avenge upon rebel heads our night's hurried march. From him I received orders to report to Col. Graham, and was put in position upon the ground occupied by Fifth Indiana Cavalry (which moved farther to the right), near the right center. In from and to our right was a heavy wood. By order I dispatched a company (B, Capt. King) as skirmishers, with instructions to gain a fence skirting the woods immediately to our front.

The position was gained with scarcely any opposition, upon the first appearance of the enemy's skirmishers the company withdrew in disorder. I immediately called upon Capt. Braxton, Company H, to regain the fence at any cost. Most gallantly was the order obeyed and under a heavy fire, while the captain held the position until withdrawn. In the meantime, the enemy had succeeded in planting batteries upon our right flank, and shot and shell flew thick and fast over us, but the position assigned us by Col. Graham was held until night set in. In the meanwhile, I had been ordered to report to Col. Gilbert, and by him to Col. Reilly, from whom I received instructions to withdraw in silence when night had fairly set in. This I did without creating alarm and without loss, and marched 3 or 4 miles south of Rutledge, where we bivouacked for the night. Starting the following morning at 7 a. m. we came these cross-roads, where we for the first time since leaving the gap, received something to eat.

Our transportation, camp equipage, the and greater portion of regiment and camp property, and books and papers were lost.

To Capt. Wooddmansee, for his gallant conduct in repulsing the enemy, to Capt. Braxton, who led the advance over the mountain and who distinguished himself as commander of skirmishers, to Lieut.-Col. Sayles and Maj. Bryant for hearty co-operation, and to the regiment for good conduct, I am under obligation. Commissary Sergeant Kesler and Private Lawton, Company B, were indefatigable and fearless in their efforts to trace the enemy's line below in the valley.

Sergeant McGinnis, Corporal Rawlins, and Private Carlton, Company I, discovered the forces and positions of the enemy at the foot of the mountain and to rear of us and while doing this Carlton was captured, but finally overpowered his guard, escaped, and rejoined us.

First Sergeant O'Haver, Company B, acting lieutenant, commanded pickets during the night the night, and only withdrew at dawn, when the enemy prepared to assault.

I am, with respect,

THOS. J. BRADY, Col., Cmdg. 117th Indiana Infantry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 605-606.



14, An excerpt from a Maury County plantation owner's diary relative to conditions in Middle Tennessee prior to the battle at Nashville

Southern troops are all around Nashville, the scouts and pickets are fighting every day. We are trying to get straight after the visit of the Southern army, which we entertained. We are trying to haul up some wood, working the black mule in the 2 horse wagon, which is all that was left us [by the Southern army]. The [Southern] soldiers are all through our place, so it is hard work to keep even this mule.

Confederates are conscripting all between 18 and 45, they having employed substitutes is no excuse. The next call will be between 16 and 50. They may get me yet.

Diary of Nimrod Porter, December 14, 1864.



        14, JohnWatkins, 19th Ohio Battery, letter home with comments about the battle of Nashville, prostitution and race relations in Nashville

Nashville Tennessee Dec 14, 1864

Friend John,

It is almost imposible [sic] for me to do anything else this morning and for that matter all day but sit in my tent. I have concluded to sit down and write you a few lines. for [sic] it will help pass away the time and it is plenty warm enough to write this morning. we [sic] are in camp on the south side of town and hardly 15 minutes walk from the Capitol and less than 1000 yds [sic] from the line of works held by our troops on this side of town. Since [sic] we have been the rebels have made no serious moves towards our lines. they [sic] moved up and established a line in front of us. but [sic] almost out of reach being miles off. But within reach of the 30 pdr Parrots in Fort Naglee [sic]. farther [sic] to the right of us they established there [sic] line within 1000 yards in some places of our line. and [sic] once opened a Battery [sic] but they were speedily hushed up and since then have remained remarkably quiet. Fort [sic] Naglee [sic] is one of the most important works erected to defend this place [sic] there are a present 7 – 30 pdr Parrots 4-3 inch guns 4 or 6 Napoleon guns some 24 pdrs howitzers and above all 1 large 7 inch swivel gun, rifled and there is but very little of the ground near the fort that some of those guns do not cover. and [sic] there [sic] Batteries [sic] stuck along the breast works that it seems as though nothing can approach them. Yesterday I was up at the fort to see what was the occasion of such much musketry. while [sic] there [sic] I saw three of four lines of battle advancing toward the rebel lines [sic] and in a piece of woods in the advance of them the skirmishers were having a lively little time. But [sic] I could not learn the results of the movement. it [sic] has been reported that the rebels were moving and the bulk of there [sic] army is gone. and [sic] I suppose the movement was to ascertain what force there was there. the [sic] troops were mostly negroes [sic]. for [sic] a few days back the Johnnies have been coming in pretty lively with frozen feet and toes. They [sic] are without blankets and many of the without shoes. and [sic] the late cold weather has been severe on them. last [sic] Sunday was a very cold day a piercing cold wind blowing all the time and that night it froze up hard. Monday the wind subsided and it was not quite so cold. yesterday [sic] it was a little warmer. Thawing [sic] all day and night [sic] last night [sic] with a little rain. and [sic] this morning the frost is almost all out of the ground and there is mud almost bottomless. yesterday [sic] morning we were expecting to move. but [sic] for some reason or other the order was countermanded and I was gland of it. Of [sic] all the nasty muddy places [sic] when [sic] it is muddy these large Military [sic] posts heart all [sic] the [sic] immense amount of business down here keeps all the streets crowded all the time [sic] but [sic] in more than one respect I think is decidedly the worst place in the country [sic] there [sic] is more black legs and thieves than I had an idea there could be in one place and prosper [sic] and [sic] when we first came here there was not a night but someone was killed. I have been woke up several time by the firing of pistols. our [sic] fort that we first went in was in an abandoned part of town given up most entirely to prostitutes. and [sic] there is hundreds of them and I hear they have licensed [sic] houses, [sic] when we were in Lexington I thought there was a good many there but this place is ahead of anything I ever saw. It seems though there was nothing else here. for [sic] they monopolise [sic] everything. all [sic] the public hacks and drives. The [sic] front seats of all places of amusement [sic] I have seen 6 & 8 in a carriage driving by drinking and carousing singing and hollering like so many drunken men. they [sic] are dressed up in the height of fashion all the time. And [sic] it is out of the question for a man to go anywhere with me meeting some of these painted sephubcres.[13] and [sic] U. S. officers [sic] are there principle maintainers as [sic] a matter of course a great many of the night brawls and fights that very neighborhood [sic] and the first thing resorted to is the pistol. and [sic] the quickest man is the best [sic] but [sic] the private soldiers are a great many of them but there [sic] wages does not carry them far [sic] there [sic] was one spell that the 15th regulars [sic] doing provost duty got down on the negroes [sic] soldiers [sic] and most every night killed some of them. the [sic] night we came here Any Johnson made a speech to the black soldiers and in the course of the evening they had a torch light procession [sic] one [sic] of those 15th soldiers was drunk and kept following them around and hurrahing for McClelland [sic] calling Johnson and Old Abe h------b[14] and everything else they could think of [sic] finally [sic] he struck one of them and then they shot him without any ceremony right in front of Johnsons [sic] house putting 17 balls in him [sic] I believe that vexed the regulars so that [they] resolved to kill every nigger [sic] they could. but  I guess it all stopped now for I have not heard anything of it lately-----[sic] but I must bring this to a close. hope [sic] you will soon be able to get around and all of you get well. I suppose you have heard before now that Bud Carter is at home. I am enjoying good health as usual my [sic] respects to all. the [sic] same to yourself and wife

John Watkins

John Watkins Collection, University of Tennessee Library


[1] The width of a square or nearly square piece of type, used as a unit of measure for matter set in that size of type. Ussually the capital letter "M."

[2]As cited in:

[3] Served in the State Senate, 32nd General Assembly, 1857-1859, representing Hancock, Hawkins, and Jefferson countries, a member of the Whig Party. He was elected twice to the Congress of the Confederate States, and was captured by Federal soldiers in 1864. He was incarcerated and remained in prison until the end of the war. After the war he established a practice in Memphis and was active in local politics. He died in 1913. See: Robert M. McBride and Dan M. Robinson, eds., Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Volume I,, 1796-1861, (Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Tennessee Historical Commission, 1975) p. 354-355. [Hereinafter cited as: Biographical Directory, Vol. I]

[4] William Graham Swan, (1821-1869) Born in 1821. Tennessee state attorney general, 1851; mayor of Knoxville, Tenn., 1855-56; served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War; Representative from Tennessee in the Confederate Congress, 1862-65. Died April 18, 1869. Interment at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn. As cited in:

[5] Erasmus Lee Gardenhire, 1815-1899. Served in the 28th General Assembly, 18849-1851 representing White, Fentress, Jackson, Overton, and Van Buren counties, and in the House, 39th General Assembly, 1875-1877. Elected to the First Confederate Congress. See: Biographical Directory, Vol. I, p. 275.

[6] Meredith P. Gentry Served in the House in the 21st and 22nd General Assemblies, 1835-39, representing Williamson county. He was elected to the 1st Confederate Congress on February 18, 1862, to February 17, 1864; may not have attended the 3rd and 4th sessions of the congress; was not a member of the 2nd Confederate Congress. He was captured in Middle Tennessee in 1864 and requested President Lincoln to send him south because of ill health; the request was granted. He died in Davidson County on November 2, 1866. See: Biographical Directory, Vol. I, p. 279.

[7] George Washington Jones, a Democrat, served in the House, 21st and 22nd General Assemblies, 1835-1839, representing Lincoln County; served in the Senate, 23rd General Assembly, 1839-1841, representing Lincoln and Giles counties. Elected to the First Confederate Congress from February 18, 1862, to February 18, 1864. He was not a candidate for reelection. He died in Fayetteville, November 14, 1884. See: Biographical Directory, Vol. I, pp. 413-414.

[8] Henry Stuart Foote, a Senator from Mississippi; born in Fauquier County, Va., February 28, 1804; pursued classical studies; graduated from Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), Lexington, Va., in 1819; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1823 and commenced practice in Tuscumbia, Ala., in 1825; moved to Mississippi in 1826 and practiced law in Jackson, Natchez, Vicksburg, and Raymond; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1847, until January 8, 1852, when he resigned to become Governor; chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations (Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses); Governor of Mississippi 1852-1854; moved to California in 1854; returned to Vicksburg, Miss., in 1858; member of the Southern convention held at Knoxville in 1859; moved to Tennessee and settled near Nashville; elected to the First and Second Confederate Congresses; afterwards moved to Washington, D.C., and practiced law; appointed by President Rutherford Hayes superintendent of the mint at New Orleans 1878-1880; author; died in Nashville, Tenn., on May 20, 1880; interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery. As cited in:

[9] John DeWitt Clinton Atkins, served in the House in the 28th and 29th 1849-1853, representing Henry County. Served in the Senate during the 31st Assembly, 1855-1857. A member of the Democrat party. He served in the Confederate army, joining at Paris May 20, 1861 and rising meteorically to lieutenant-colonel of the 5th Tennessee Infantry; resigned less than two months later, on August 7, 1861. Elected as a representative from Tennessee to the Confederate Provisional Congress to February 1, 1862; member of the House of Representatives of the 1st and 2nd Permanent Confederate Congresses, 1862 to the end of the war. Elected to the 43rd-47th U. S. Congresses March 4 1873-March 3, 1883. Served as U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1885 to 1888. He died at Paris on June 2, 1908. See: Biographical Directory, Vol. I, pp. 20-21.

[10] Served in the House in the 29th General Assembly, 1851-1853, representing Fayette, Hardeman, and Shelby counties; he was a Democrat. Born in Murfreesboroi in 1817, he was elected to the 1st and 2nd Confederate Congresses, and continued serving until his death in Richmond, Va., on March 25, 1864. See: Biographical Directory, Vol. I, p. 184.

[11] The Rev. Pitts was the author of A Defense of Armageddon, or, Our Great Country Foretold In The Holy Scriptures, (Nashville 1857).

[12] This was a skirmish according to Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee.

[13] Ed. note. The editor of this collection believes the author may have meant "sepulchres," i.e. painted tombs. He may likewise have meant succubus, a demon in female form supposed to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep.

[14] Perhaps Watkins meant "humbug."

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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