Saturday, December 28, 2013

28, Desperate need for weapons at Fort Donelson

HDQRS., Fort Donelson December 28, 1861.

His Excellency President DAVIS,

Richmond, Va.;

SIR; This will be handed you by Col. Bailey, of one of the Tennessee regiments stationed at this post. The exposed position of this command and the impossibility of obtaining arms here has induced us both to make an effort to secure them at Richmond. Knowing the difficulties we all labor under on this score, permit me simply to state that I feel deeply solicitous about our condition on the Tennessee and Cumberland, and believe that no one point in the Southern Confederacy needs more the aid of the Government than [these] points. Col. Bailey will be presented to you under such auspices as will, I am sure, command for him your especial consideration.

With every assurance of the highest consideration, and the hope that a complete restoration to health will enable you to meet the heavy demands on your time,

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,

LLOYD TILGHMAN, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Cmdg. Defenses Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

OR, Ser.. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 245-246.



        28, A tête-à-tête between enemies prior to the battle at Stones River

An Incident of the Battle of Stone's River.

Correspondence of the Nashville Dispatch.

Camp at Murfreesboro', Feb. 9, 1863.

I was thinking every scene of the late tragedy played by the armies of the Cumberland and Mississippi had been shown in some way or other; but there remains one to which I was an eye witness, that gives distinction to no particular character; yet, for its novelty, (as such is generally a constituent of tragedy,) is somewhat interesting. On the 27th of December, our army arrived at Stewart's Creek, ten miles distant from Murfreesboro'. The following day being Sabbath [28th], and our General being devout, nothing was done, except to cross a few companies on the left as skirmishers, our right being watched by the enemy's, as well as ours; both extending along the creek on opposite sides. Despite of orders, our boys would occasionally shut an eye at the Confederates, who were ever ready to take the hint. This was kept up until evening, when the boys, finding they were effecting nothing at such long range, quit shooting, and concluded they would "talk it out."  When the following occurred:

Federal (at the top of his voice)—Halloo! boys, what regiment?

Confederate—Eighth Confederate.

Fed.—Bully for you.

Confed.—What's your regiment?

Fed.—Eighth and twenty-first Kentucky.

Confed.—All right.

Fed.—Boys, have you got any whisky?

Confed.—Plenty of her.

Fed.—How'll you trade for coffee?

Confed.—Would like to accommodate you, but never drink it while the worm goes.[1]

Fed.—Let's meet at the creek and have a social chat.

Confed.—Will you shoot?

Fed.—Upon the honor of a gentleman, not a man shall. Will you shoot?

Confed.—I give you as good assurance.

Fed.—Enough said, come on.

Confed.—Leave your arms.

Fed.—I have left them. Do you leave yours? 

Confed.—I do.

Whereupon both parties started for the creek to a point agreed upon. Meeting almost simultaneously, we (the Federals) were, in a modulated tone, addressed in the usual unceremonious style of a soldier, by [:] Confed.—Halloo, boys!  how do you make it?

Federal—Oh! bully, bully!

Confed.—This is rather an unexpected armistice.

Fed.—That's so.

Confed.—Boys what do you think of the Proclamation?

Fed.—We think it will suit a nigger and an Abolitionist, but not gentlemen.

Confed.—Now your heads are level.

Fed.—Boys, are you going to make a stand at Murfreesboro?

Confed.—That is a leading question; notwithstanding, I will venture to say it will be the bloodiest ten miles you ever traveled. 

Thus the conversation went on for some time, until a Confederate Captain, (Miller, of Gen. Wheeler's Cavalry,) came down, requesting an exchange of papers. On being informed we had none, he said he would give us his anyhow, and wrapping a stone in the paper, threw it across. Some compliments were passed, when the Captain suggested, as it was getting late, we had better quit the conference; whereupon both parties, about twenty each, began to leave with, "Good by, boys;" "if ever I meet you in battle, I'll spare you."  So we met and parted, not realizing we were enemies. My God, when will this unnatural war have an end!—when shall friend cease to seek the life of friend, and mankind once more realize the blessings of peace?

Eighth Kentucky.

Nashville Dispatch, February 21, 1863.



        28, C. S. A. attack on Federal wagon train between Knoxville and Chattanooga

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division (Army of the

Cumberland) From return for December 1863, the Ninety-eighth Illinois, Seventeenth Indiana, and detachments of the Fourth Michigan and Third U. S. Cavalry Regiments were attached to this command, Col. Eli Long commanding, relative to the attack on a Federal wagon train, December 28, 1863:

* * * *

December 28, Gen. Wheeler, with 1,500 rebel cavalry and some artillery, attacked a wagon train, moving to Knoxville from Chattanooga, and escorted by infantry, convalescents, &c. Col. Long at once mounted the small portion of his command not on duty (less than 150 men) and charged the enemy, whose ranks had been broken by the infantry escort, scattering them in every direction. Pursued one column of 400 or 500 men several miles and captured 121 prisoner, including 5 officers and many stand of arms. Wheeler lost several killed and many wounded; among the latter, 2 colonels.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 435.


"Wheeler's men had said while going up that 'Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons' and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had."

Courier Station East Tennessee

January 1st 1864

Dear Father

I am still doing courier duty and am as well as usual --- it is a clear cold and windy day --- The ground is frozen quite hard….I have been out to the wood pile chopping wood. I came near freezing my ears off, too. The people in this country use fireplaces altogether -- don't know what a stove is hardly, they are about 50 years behind the times-but they are clever and hospitable and UNION [sic] through and through. A man by the name of Burton brought us a basket-full of cold chicken biscuit, cake and pies this morning as a present. It came very acceptable to the boys -- we gave him a lot of coffee and sugar a great handy [sic] for a person to have in this country. Some families here have a son in the Federal Army and one also in the Rebel Army. It is no uncommon thing to see a father staunch Union and a son a strong rebel. It is a bad thing to make the best of it, when one army holds the country awhile and then the other. It gives the little neighborhood jealousies and spites a chance to revenge each other. Great time to settle old scores. There are always enough mean ones you know to take advantage of such things on both sides. Makes a very unpleasant State of Society. We have not been disturbed yet at our station. There was a large train of wagons went up the valley to Knoxville last Sunday.[2] Wheeler, who has been raising "ned" with us all the time at Cleveland, heard of it and the wagons were only guarded by about 250 infantry, thought he would have a Nice Time [sic] and get some sugar and coffee for his boys. So he came on after it with about 1500 cavalry and 3 pieces of artillery. The train passed on the same road as the courier line is on, but Wheeler came up the valley road east of us about 1½ miles only. Two little boys from that valley came running over early Monday morning to tell us that the rebel were swarming up the valley (it's a good thing to be among your friends) We saddled up and moved upon a hill nearby where we could see a ½ mile in any direction and staid there all day expecting every minute to see a company of Rebels come dashing after us. We didn't ask any odds of them. They couldn't catch us anyhow-but they didn't come-for they had plenty of fish to fry. Instead of 250 men with the train we happened to have between 4 and 5000 and Col. Long[3] at Calhoun had 500 Cavalry. A dispatch had gone thro' telling him Wheeler was coming. So they were ready for him. Wheeler's men had said while going up that "Wheeler was H-ll on Wagons" and they would get all the sugar and coffee we had. Well-when about 2 miles from Charleston Wheeler saw the train and ordered a charge, the Rebels yelled and plunged forward each man trying to be first. But presently crack! crack! whiz! bang! A line of smoke 200 yds long rises from the grass on their left and the cedars on their right-ah! my boys what makes you falter! Why don't you go on and sweeten your coffee-they halted amazed, fired a few shots, whirled their horses, run back a quarter of a mile, and formed in line of battle. Their Artillery they thought would be up soon and the wagons would be theirs-but Fate was against them. The artillery was stuck in the mud and didn't come at all. The infantry were moving slowing upon them and at that moment Col Long with his gallant little 500 were seen with sabres drawn-coming up like the wind-at the command Charge! Boys Charge! The Infantry gave way and Long was upon them like an avalanche, cutting thro' their line and in their rear the work of death commenced, in 15 minutes we had 140 prisoners and had killed 30. The rebels were flying from the field in every direction terror stricken and helpless they threw away over 400 guns. Wheeler only had 40 men with him when he went back, the rest were scattered. He was never so badly whipped before or so badly misinformed-in fact he got his foot in it sure. Prisoner say he is superseded-they haven't bothered us since….

Potter Correspondence.



        28, Duel North of Memphis

Fatal Duel.- The Memphis Argus, of the 29th [December 1864] has the following:

We learn from a very reliable source, that yesterday morning (28th) a duel was fought about three miles from the city, the principals in which were gentlemen well known to our citizens as worthy gentlemen. The origin of it we cannot give. We have been put in possession of three or four reports concerning it, any of which may be true: we, therefore refrain from giving any. The fight took placed on the Randolph road, three miles north of the city, and the weapons used were shot guns at twenty paces. Mr. James Simpkins and Mr. James Stutts neighbors of many years standing, after stepping off the required distance turned and fired simultaneously with fatal effect. The first named received four buckshot, the second twenty-four, causing death to ensue for both almost instantly. Both the gentlemen were looked upon by their neighbors as excellent citizens and loving husbands and kind and indulgent parents. The sad event shrouds the neighborhood of its occurrence and gloom and brings mourning to families among whom for years all has been happiness and joy. Mr. Holst of the firm Holst & Co, of this city, went out with the necessaries for their internment last evening.

Daily Picayune, January 4, 1865.

[1] Meaning unknown.

[2] This was the 27th of December, 1863. Whether or not Colonel Long or Lt. Potter had the date wrong is not known. Long's report was closer to the event than Potter's letter, thus giving greater credibility to the 28th as the date of the affair.

[3] Eli Long.

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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