Saturday, December 21, 2013

12/21-25/2013 Tennessee Civil War Notes

21, The character of war in East Tennessee and resistance to the Confederate draft in Nashville

From Tennessee.

Intestine [sic] war, with savage ferocity on the part of the rebels, now rages in Tennessee. The statements are confused and doubtless exaggerated, but too much is true.

The city of Nashville was in high state of excitement on the 6th, and on the following day an attempt was made to draft the citizens into the army. The indignation of the people was intense. A riot broke out in the Fourth ward. Four policemen were shot dead. The mob rushed to the Capitol to attack Governor Harris, who fled to Memphis. On the same day, 2,500 men from Louisiana passed the city for Kentucky, carrying a black flags embellished with a skull and cross bones. They were mostly armed with shot guns.

On the 1st of this month a band of Union men from Williamsburg, Kentucky marched.

Atlanta Democrat, December 21, 1861.



21, Confederate States Commissioner's Court in Knoxville

At the session of the Confederate States commissioners court at Knoxville on Tuesday last, several gentlemen voluntarily came forward and took the oath of allegiance to the  Confederate government. Among them, we learn,, were Alfred Cross, formerly clerk of the court of Anderson county, and Col. Whitson, late postmaster at Clinton, in the same county,. The Register says that many of the Union men have declared that when it came to be a war between the North and the South, for the fanatical purposes on the part of the northern government of carrying out the abolition doctrines of Hale, Sumner, Horace Greeley, and old John Brown, they would be found among the foremost in the ranks to defend the South.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 31, 1861. [1]



        21, Report of attempted smuggling by a pro-Confederate woman

Breach of Faith.—We were yesterday officially informed of a violation of her word on the part of a lady who recently applied to the military authorities for a pass to go beyond the Federal lines. The lady represented herself as the wife of a Confederate officer who was stationed at Murfreesboro', and said she desired a pass with the view only of seeing her husband, as it might be a long time before she would again have an opportunity. The authorities at first declined to give the necessary permit, but the lady pleaded, and pledged her honor not to take with her anything but her own necessary clothing, and give no information. On these conditions the pass was given, and the lady accompanied beyond the lines, when suspicion was aroused that all was not right, and a lady and gentleman were sent after her; the party entered a dwelling-house on the roadside, where the lady's baggage was searched, and was found to consist of numerous pairs of boots and shoes, blankets, seven dress patterns, and other contraband articles. The lady was then accompanied to a private room by the lady official, and her person searched, when a large number of letters were found concealed in her under clothes around her waist. After taking from her the letters and contraband clothing, she was permitted to depart. We regret much that any lady should be even suspected of such conduct; it is calculated to do much harm, and cannot be productive of any good. A word of honor should be kept inviolate.

Nashville Dispatch, December 21, 1862.



        21-22, Advance and Retreat: Federal Foreces at Rutledge; Blain's Cross Roads, Tenn. "I never felt such cold water…but after I got used to it I got through first-rate. "

Mon. Dec. 21st 1863

…I will try to give you some idea of what we have been doing since the rebels left us at Knoxville. We left that place on the 7th of this month. The 9th Corps taking the Rogerville Road & our Corps the road toStrawberry Plains. We left Knoxville about noon, the weather was very pleasant for marching, the road was frozen & we made pretty good time till we came to the Holston River about the middle of the afternoon. There was a good ford & there was no choice to cross but to wade. This wasn't a very delightful job you may know, with the thermometer near 0 and nearly ¼ of a mile to wade with the water nearly to our belts in some place. There was no help for it however & the boys stripped & plunged in. I never felt such cold water…but after I got used to it I got through first-rate. The current was very swift but the crossing was made without any accident I believe & when we reached the opposite bank we started again without drying our clothes but we soon got warmed up and by night we were all right again….Next morning we resumed our march & reached the Plains about noon. The rebels had burned the railroad bridge, so that the cars could not cross in single file. It looked a little risky & some of the boys would not undertake it at all, but preferred walking 3 miles down the river to a ford. We were 2 or 3 hours crossing but all got safely over & marched about 3 miles where we caught up with our advance & went into camp…Next morning we started again & marched pretty hard till the middle of the afternoon. We came up to the 9th Corps & went into camp 2 miles from Rutledge, where we laid for several days…marching orders came one night 11 o'ck…The mud was deep & it was so dark that we couldn't see to pick our way at all. As soon as we halted, we unstrung our knapsacks and went to work carrying rails and building a barricade across the valley. We finished it by daylight and after breakfast we were ordered out to the front. Our Brigade-the 44th & 104th Regiment, 14th Battery were stationed on the right of our line in a large cornfield. We built another line of railworksby piling rails on the fence with one end on the ground. We were drawn up in line of battle behind this & had hardly fixed ourselves when our advance line of battle on the left held their ground in spite of all the efforts of the Johnny's to drive them. They were drawn up across a level field in fair view from where we were and you can't imagine how anxiously we watched them as the rebs charged on them-time and again without breaking their line. They were armed with 5 shooters & kept up a continual volley, which forced the rebels to retreat without accomplishing their object. I forget what regiment it was, but I think it was an Indiana Regiment. They were brave fellows at any rate. After this, they fell back, though they kept up a lively firing all day. We laid quiet till evening. The rebels got a battery in position on a hill to the right of us & commenced shelling us. They were in good range & made us dodge for a while but we soon got pretty well used to it and didn't mind them at all. We were rather too low for them to do us much damage or else they didn't want to drive us out till morning, which is most probable I think, for none of the shells bursted. I suppose they were only trying the range & expected to give us fits next morning but our old Gen. was too sharp for them. After dusk we were ordered to build good fires as though we were going to stay all night & we slipped off quietly & marched back to Rutledge. We reached there about midnight and laid down in the mud & tried to sleep but it was so cold that most of the boys preferred staying up by the fires. Next morning we started again & reached this place about noon. We got dinner and a little mail, the first we had seen since thesiege commenced…

Bentley Letters.




The following communication from a Memphis lady, is clipped from the Bulletinof a recent date:


The president of the United States has set apart to-morrow as a day of thanksgiving for our great success. We in our simplicity, supposed that the loyal people of Memphis would be pleased to participate in such a service, and so suggested. This mere suggestion has called forth the following significant epistle, which we subjoin without comment:

Editor Bulletin: You call attention to Lincoln's appointment of a day of thanksgiving for the successes which have blessed our cause, and you hope the day will be properly observed. By "our cause," you mean the Union cause.

I wonder how you think the people of Memphis can thank God for the successes of the Union Abolition cause. You pretend to think that a great Union sentiment has sprung up in Memphis, because you say that upward of 11,000 [?] persons have taken the oath of allegiance. Let me tell you, if they have taken it, they did not do it of their own free will and they don't feel bound by it; they had to take it under a military despotism; and don't feel bound to regard any oath forced upon them in that way.

Do you believe that any preacher in Memphis will appoint service in his church at Lincoln's dictate? Let one dare to try it, and see how his congregation will stand it. They know better. They know [illegible] the people of Memphis give thanks [illegible] [illegible] disasters with sincere hearts. I [illegible] don't rejoice at Union victories, as they call them. The women of Memphis will stick to the Confederate cause like Ruth clung to her master in love, and say to it "where thou goest I will go. Where thou live I will live, where thou does I will [illegible] of there will I be buried.

But where are your great successes. Your own papers say that Lee brought off a train of captured spoils twelve miles on, and that Morgan destroyed seven or eight million dollars worth before all Ohio and [illegible] could stop him. Pretty dear success, this. Still I won't rejoice over it at Lincoln's dictation. But wail President Davis' day comes round. Perhaps by that time Meade may get another whipping, and if you don't see rejoicing and thanksgiving, then you may well declare that you and you officious local fail to accede [?] that it exists in Memphis. Now you won't publish this, perhaps because it don't suit you. You can say the reason is because I don't put my real name on it. You can do as you please about it. I choose to sign my name:

Mary Lee Thorne

Staunton (Virginia) Observer, December 22, 1863.[2]


        22, Nathan Bedford Forrest's situation report

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Jackson, December 22, 1863.

Maj. Gen. S. D. LEE, Cmdg. Cavalry, Army of Mississippi:

GEN.: I am perfectly satisfied that the enemy will move on me with a large force in a few days. I do not think it will be more than three days before they will begin their programme, which is not yet fully developed.

My opinions is (from all reports) that they are concentrating at Corinth and LaGrange, on the railroad, and at Fort Pillow and Union City. I write, therefore, to ask you to be prepared to aid me at short notice, and when they move on me, to have you move on them on the railroad. I will move round them and join you in the destruction of the road, and will drive out cattle sufficient for our use. I have only about 3,000 armed men, and they, in gathering up the balance of commands, are much scattered. I will gather up everything possible and be prepared for the moment.

I have 1,200 men now out in Mississippi after arms. I hope they have gotten them and that they will be here in a day or two. I have arranged to send communications to you through Capt. Higgs, commanding my scouts. Would be glad to know when you can make a stand of couriers so that I can communicate with you promptly. I suggest some point at or in the neighborhood of Salem.

In view of the present condition of affairs, I respectfully suggest that you be prepared to move at once or as soon as you are advised of any movement from the railroad in this direction, if you have not already done so, in accordance with my previous requests.

I have been anxiously expecting a letter from yourself or from Gen. Johnston for some days, and ask that you will write me by return courier, so that I can know exactly what do depend on. I still think that if you and Roddey would move in here, we can whip anything they may send against us, and I hope that you will come; at any rate, I shall confidently rely upon your co-operation against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

Will dispatch Gen. Roddey again; have already done so, and rely upon his joining me.

I have instructed the courier if he finds any of your command, to forward this dispatch and remain at Salem for an answer. If he finds none, he will go with it to your headquarters. I will order a guide for your courier to Salem, to remain there for your answer, and suggest that you duplicate your dispatches, sending them by different men, so as to insure my getting one of them.

Have ordered Capt. Higgs to send one of his best scouts to Salem, to remain there for your reply. If you can possibly come and aid me in breaking up this move of the enemy, it will give us 10,000 men, infantry and cavalry, by the 1st of April. You are aware that with my force of raw, undrilled, and undisciplined troops it will not do for me to risk a general engagement with a superior force. I have been gathering up the cattle and will, I fear, have to abandon them unless I can get your assistance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

One courier will deliver this; another will be at Salem to receive a reply. I suggest that your answer be duplicated, one of which send by the bearer of this, and the other forward by your own courier to the man waiting at Salem. Between the two we shall be certain of a reply.


N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, pp. 853-854.



        22, 1863 - Brief summation of the Battle for Knoxville, East Tennessee under occupation; letter of Oscar D. Allen

Knoxville, Tenn, Dec. 22, 1863

Dear Cousin it is with grate pelasure that I seat myself to try ao write you a few lines I recived your letter Sum time ago and was glad to hear from you I will tell you the reason I did not write sooner We was cut off from Communication 20 days and it was no use to write

We have had a heavy old time with the rebs but we Cleand them out and left a good many of them in the ground at the Battle of Knoxville the rebs made a Charge on Burnside and our men throed Shels on them with there hands and kild about 200 rebs or more in 15 minits and we only lost one or two the blood stood in great pudels on the ground

Well Hetty East Tenn is just blue with yankes We are living Sum better now but I did see the time when brand bread went buly The rail road is open now and we can git pelnty of evey thing that we want Well Hetty I have a notion to join the reglars for three years longer they git $400.00 but I belive I wonte for this is reglar anuf for me and to mutch so O I all most forgot to tell you that I am well except for a bad Cold We was payed the other day and I sent Sixty dollars home by the state agent Well I must close and go and git my grubyours with respect

Direct to Knoxville, Tenn. Oscar D. Allen

Co. I 118th Regt. OVI

1 Brig 2 Division 23st A.C.

Write Soon Good By for this time

Brackney Family Papers



        23, Federal logistic and patrol difficulties on the N&C Railroad

NASHVILLE, December 23, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. WHIPPLE:

The roads has [sic] failed me for the last three days, in consequence of accidents; forage is short in front; sent 4,000 sacks to-day. Torpedo taken up last week on the road, which fortunately did not explode, but one of our best engines thrown off the track yesterday near Decherd by rail being taken out. The road is not sufficiently patrolled, and especially between this point and Murfreesborough; men from station to station should meet every two hours.

J. L. DONALDSON, Quartermaster.

CHATTANOOGA, December 23, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. SLOCUM:

Direct patrols along the railroad to be more vigilant and meet between posts every two hours; accidents are getting numerous; one of our best engines thrown off track yesterday night near Decherd by rail being taken out. Torpedo taken up last week, which fortunately did not explode.

W. D. WHIPPLE, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p. 474.



        23, "The Price of Milk"

The military order fixing the price of milk is likely to deprive us of this important article entirely, unless our dairymen are allowed to receive at least as much for their milk as will enable them to pay expenses. We respectfully submit the following facts given us by one of our leading dairymen, to the consideration of Gen. Miller and the Military Board. Before the war, the price of milk was forty cents a gallon, the price of feed being from $3 to $15 per ton. The price fixed by the Military Board, is 60 cents per gallon, while the price of bran per ton is $60, oats and hay scarcely to be had at any price. The dairyman alluded to above has thirty cows, which at this season of the year yield less than twenty gallons of milk per day, the actual product of last week being $70, while the actual cost of feeding amounted to $85 to say nothing of labor, board of hands, wear and tear of materials, etc. Unless the Board make some change, we are informed that dairymen will be compelled to sell out their stock, and retire from the business until feed can be procured at more reasonable prices.

Nashville Dispatch, December 23, 1864.



        24, Merger of Southern Mothers' Hospital and Overton Hospital in Memphis

Overton Hospital.—The southern Mothers' hospital was yesterday joined with that of the Overton, the latter building now containing the whole of the patients of the two institutions. Dr. Currey, of the Southern Mothers, continues to perform his duties at the Overton. The consolidation was made by order of the general in command, and was effected under the personal superintendence of Dr. C. H. Martin, the supervisor of hospitals. The ladies will give their kind aid as before the change.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 24, 1861.



        24, Christmas Eve Dance and Military Executions in Confederate Murfreesboro

An Account of Two Very Different Scenes—A Ball and an Execution.

A letter from Murfreesboro', Tenn., dated the 26th ult., gives an account of two scenes of camp life—a ball and an execution. The writer says:

On Christmas Eve [1862] the officers of the First Louisiana and Second Kentucky regiments gave a ball at the Court House in Murfreesboro', which proved a magnificent affair and complete success. The beauty and fashion of this little city and many distinguished officers were present. The decorations were exceedingly handsome. Among them I noticed four large "B's" constructed of evergreens: "Beauregard and Bragg, of La.;" "Buckner and Breckinridge, of Ky." Over the windows were the names, "Pensacola," "Donelson," "Shiloh," "Santa Rosa," and "Hartsville," all enwreathed with cedar. Conspicuous were numerous United States flags—Union down—trophies belonging to Gen. John H. Morgan, furnished for the occasion by his lady. New Year's Eve will be celebrated by another ball to be given by the officers of the 9th and 9th [sic] Kentucky regiments and Cobb's Battery. Truly the grim soldiers feel fond of laying aside their stern occupation for the smiles of fair ladies. I hope they may not experience another Waterloo; but instead, when begins the "sound of revelry by night," may the beauty and chivalry enjoy themselves without interruption from the cannon's opening roar.

In strong contrast with such scenes comes the announcement of five military executions in one day—one by hanging, the rest by shooting. The first was a spy, a traitor, and a thief, named Gray. The crime committed by the other four was desertion. It was my duty to witness the execution of one of the latter. As the brigade was being formed on three sides of a square, the clouds grew dark and heavy as if the very heavens frowned upon the bloody deed about to be enacted. The troops remained in one of the heaviest rain storms I ever remember, until the prisoner was brought in the centre of the square, riding in a wagon, followed by a hearse. After bidding a few friends adieu, he, with a firm step, without kneeling or being blindfolded, faced the firing party composed of one lieutenant, one sergeant, and fifteen men—twelve of the guns were loaded with balls and three with blank cartridges. At 12 o'clock Lieutenant B. gave the command "ready!" "aim!" "fire!" when the prisoner fell dead, pierced by eleven balls. Some of these men were arrested after an absence of six months. I would advise all deserters who may be skulking around the cities of the Confederacy, to return while Gen. Bragg offers them pardon.

Savannah [Georgia] Republican, January 10, 1863.[3]



        24, "Nothing is safe, no help is anywhere…" the emolument of war in Maury County, an excerpt from the diary of Nimrod Porter

Gen. Croxton's headquarters is in our house, with his whole brigade camped all over out yard, lots, lane and everywhere they can get near enough a fence to keep them in wood. With reluctance the Gen. Ordered the provost guard to station out their guards all around the house, but it only gave the guards a better opportunity for marauding than the common soldiers, and they made the best of it. They took all the apples out of the cellar. They broke the weatherboarding [sic] off the house for fires, burnt the yard fences, went in our smoke house and took the meat. They cooked the last old gobbler and all the chickens over a fire in the yard.

They even took the boots off the blacks [i.e., slaves]. Considerable fuss over that. They should not rob the blacks.

Last night they took all black Sukey's[4]money, all my corn and what little oats I have left.

There is great tribulation in the country, stealing horses, mules, hogs, breaking in houses. The soldiers are very insulting and impose on everybody, stealing and encouraging the blacks to steal and do every manner of rascality. Nothing is safe, no help is anywhere for our unfortunate condition. All, all that we have is nearly gone. How will we live? What will we eat?

I wish there was a river of fire a mile wide between the North and the South that would burn with unquenchable fury forever more and that it could never be passed to the endless ages of eternity by any living creature.

Is there no hope for this dying land?

Tomorrow is Christmas day, a bitter one for us, black or white. A grey fox ran under the kitchen walk. I shot it for dinner. We have a little parched corn.

Diary of Nimrod Porter, December 24, 1864.



        25, Memphis churches on Christmas day

The Churches.—The adorning of the churches with evergreens has not been done to the same extent this year as it was last. Grace church, Episcopal, on Hernando street, makes the best appearance. The altar window is surrounded with green, and a cross hangs in the window. On each side the altar is a large shrub. The altar rails are wreathed, and the font and reading desk are very gracefully decked with wreaths of green, intermixed with scarlet berries. The front of the gallery is decked with festoons and garlands, and the pillars with wreaths. The fair ladies of Grace have displayed much taste. Calvary church, Episcopal, has a large shrub on each side of the altar. The altar rails are handsomely festooned, the crown of each festoon being of magnolia leaves. The font and reading desk are very tasteful, being of ivy intermixed with berries. There is not a large amount of adornments, but what there is, is attractive from the good taste and gracefulness displayed. At the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Roman Catholic, we found no other Christmas ornament than a simple wreath of green, suspended in artistically arranged curves above the grand altar.

Memphis Daily Appeal, December 25, 1861.



        25, Citizens of Savannah fend off Confederate guerrilla attack

CORINTH, December 26, 1862.

Maj. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Holly Springs:

My scouts are in from east of Tennessee River; left Waynesborough and Clifton yesterday. At former place are about 500 Mississippi cavalry; at Clifton, about 100. At Old Town a large lot of hogs are collected in charge of Robertson's cavalry. Yesterday the citizens at Savannah had a fight with some of Robertson's company; wounded 2 and took 6 prisoners, which the scout brought here. Some of my cavalry crossed to-night to help through. In Wayne County are some 200 armed Union men, whom the Mississippi cavalry have been sent to put down. At Old Carrollsville Forrest has his trains and what he has captured. A good regiment of cavalry could capture the lot, or a force up the river from Fort Henry could catch then. Men from Clifton who saw Forrest cross say he did not cross over 3, 500 men. No movement of Bragg that I can discover. Jeff. Davis in Chattanooga last Sunday; Johnston with him.

G. M. DODGE, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. II, p. 488.



        25, "The SOthern [sic] girl with Homespun Dress:"


O yes I am a Sothern [sic] girl, and glory in the same

And boast it with far grater [?] pride than glittering wealth [?] her fame

I envy not the northern girl, her robes of beauty rare,

The diamonds grace her snowy neck and pearls bedeck her hair



Hurrah, hurrah for the sunny south so dear,

Three cheers for the homespun dress the sothern [sic] Ladies war [sic]


This homespun dress is plain, I know

my hat palmetto too

But then it show what sothern [sic] girls

For Southern rights will do

Wee [sic] sent the braves of our land to battel [sic] with the foe

And Wee [sic] would lend a helping hand

We love the South you know





Now northern girls are out of date

And since old Age's blockade

We Sothern [sic] girls can be contented

With goods at sothern [sic] made,

Wee [sic] scarce to wear a bit of silk

A bit of northern lace

But make our homespun dress

And wear them with warm [?] grace.





This southern [sic] land [is] a glorious land

And is a glorious cause

So hear three cheers for southern rights

And for the Southern boys

We've sent out sweetheart to the war

But dear girls never mind your soldier lad will not forget

The girl he left behind




A soldier is the lad for me

A brave heart I adore

And when the sunny earth is free

And fighting is no more

I'll choose me then a lover brave

from out the gallant band

And the soldier lad I love the best

Shall have my heart and hand




And now, young man a word to you

If you should win the fair

go to the field where love calls

And win your lady there

Remember that your brightest smiles

Is [sic] for the true and brave

And that our tears fall for the one

That fills a soldier's grave



Chattanooga Army Bulletin December 25, 1863.


[1] As cited in PQCW.

[4] Unidentified.

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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