Sunday, January 12, 2014

1/12/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        12, Former Tennessee Governor Neill S. Brown warns of railroad rolling stock shortage in Confederate Tennessee

NASHVILLE, January 12, 1862.

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

SIR: I hope you will excuse me for pressing upon your consideration a matter of high importance to the future operations of the Government in the present struggle. I refer to the rolling-stock upon the railroads. Under the enormous pressure of freight the locomotives and cars are rapidly wearing out, and the period is not distant when transportation upon the roads will be exceedingly difficult, and on many routes impossible. I do not pretend to know the capacity of companies at a distance from this point in this respect, but I suppose it to be limited; and I am not aware of any means on foot to supply any accruing deficiency. As these roads are either under the direct control of the Government, or for the time being in its special use, would it not be wise for the Government to induce, by negotiation with several of the strongest companies, the speedy creation of establishments adapted to the manufacture of both locomotives and cars? This might be done by the advancement of money upon mortgage or other security, to be refunded in freight or paid at some stipulated time. The companies have a permanent and ordinary interest in the question, which it seems to me might be easily enlisted, while the Government has a present, pressing, and vital interest which will admit of no delay or evasion.

If some such arrangement cannot be made, then will not the Government be forced to organize some one or more establishments of its own to meet the emergency? To keep up the roads is now a means of defense second in importance only to supplying munitions of war. The policy of a Government establishment I know is objectionable for many reasons, not the least of which would be its cost. It may be that independent private enterprise might be prompted to undertake the work upon a liberal advance. The subject has for some time forces itself upon my observation and I had hoped to see private capital volunteer in the cause. This, however, has not been done within my knowledge, and I fear, from the continual depression in monetary affairs, will not. Unless something is done, and that speedily, there is much cause to apprehend a failure on many of these thoroughfares in the means of transportation. I know that the roads which converge at this point are deficient in this respect and incapable of furnishing prompt transportation for troops and munitions, to say nothing of ordinary supplies.

You may, perhaps, have been troubled with this same question from other quarters. If so, you will excuse, I hope, this intrusion.

Very respectfully,


OR, Ser. IV,Vol. 1, p. 839.



        12, "…we have marched nearly three hundred and fifty miles…." Frank M. Guernsey's letter home

Camp at Jackson, Tenn.

January 12th/63

I am very comfortably situated in my tent this evening with the front of my tent thrown open to admit the warmth of a good fire which I have burning here.

I seemes [sic] more homelike to night that it has for some time, our baggage train (which we left at Grand Junction when we started on our last march) containing all our tents came up to day, so that tonight for the first time in nearly three weeks I shall enjoy the luxury of a tent to sleep in, we have had to sleep out doors rain or shine with no covering save our blanket and the broad blue sky above us, yet for all the hardships, we have to endure [sic], this mood [sic] of life is not without its pleasures.

Fannie I had a rare treat yesterday, what do you think it was? It cam [sic] in the shape of letters to the round number of ten, five of which five were from your own deal little self, also a paper. I knew that all the time I was waiting so patiently to hear from you, you were writing me regularly, and that the fault lay in Uncle Sam's trains which have been badly broken up of late. I tell you Fanny it was a treat to read you letters for I had not heard from you since I left Memphis. It was dark and I was sitting by the fire reading and was interested that I did not notice that the fire as getting to [sic] warm for comfort until I got through when I went to take off my cap I found that the front piece has been burned to a crisp while on my head, and I knew nothing about it. I received a letter from Sister Teen with the rest and it was a good one I tell you such as she always writes.

I guess that hereafter we shall get out mail more regular as the prospects are that we shall stay in our present place of abode for some time perhaps all winter as there appears to be little use of chasing the Rebel Cavelry [sic] with Infantry troops, since leaving Memphis we have marched nearly three hundred and fifty miles and have not had a sight of them yet, but it is late so I will bid you good night and pleasant dreams.

Wednesday eve. It is rather late in the evening but I do not when I shall be able to finish this if I do not do it this evening, they keep me so busy most of the time that I don't have time to write many letters so that those I do write of course has to be my most intimate friends. We have been very much since we came into camp, our tents had to be pitched with a great deal of ___________[sic], the grounds cleared of and everything fixed in good order for (as I think) a permanent stay. I am rather afraid that it will make us sick if we are allowed to stay here long as we are used to marching and when there is any of that to do the 32nd has to do it as a matter of course. Fanny you spoke of the hollidays [sic]. I hope you enjoyed them. I should liked [sic] to have spent time with you right well I assure you, Christmas I spent at Grand Junction in the rain by the side of a poor fire whose every effort to burn and give comfort seemed its last. I had to dispense with the roast turkey this year, and make my Christmas dinner of hard bread and bacon. New Years we were on the march until late so that my hollidays [sic] were spent with a very small degree of pleasure.

* * * *

Fanny you gave me some good advice in some of your letters for which I am much obliged you need never fear giving offence from any such cause as that for if there ever was a place under heaven that a man needs good advice it is in the army and than he must be a saint to escape untainted, the temptation are so great and in many instances the associations so corrupt that a person becomes influenced before he is aware. Our Chaplain who is now setting beside me has just returned from Oskosh, Wis., he says that the public sentiment at the north is so strong for peace that some terms will be entered into before long or there will he a counter rebellion. I do not want any dishonorable terms submitted to by the North. I had rather stay and my three years [sic] and endure the privations of a campaign than to consent to such a thing, but I do want these troubles settled if it is a possible thing. I tell you Fanny some of our leading officers will have an awful account to settle if there is a place in this world or the next where justice is meeted [sic] out. I am afraid dear Fanny you would make a poor hand to change places with me and let me rest. After about three days I am afraid I should have no Fanny to love [sic] and I guess if you could see me you would think that might stand it. I believe I never enjoyed better health in my life. Mrs. Richmond in her letter inquired very particularly after you. She is a good sister if there ever was one. I intend to make her a visit as soon as I get through soldiering and Fanny I want you to go with me. I guess you would enjoy the visit. I will assure you of a warm reception and a sisters [sic] love. I presume you will hear from her before long, but I see that I must close am my sheet is nearly filled. G. says give my very best respects to Fanny and tell Nelly that I am well. Good by. My love to all

Yours affectionately [sic] Frank M. G.

P. S. Tell Sarah that our ducks will have to get fat for next New Years as I intent [sic] to be home by that time sure.

Guernsey Collection.



        12, First Lieutenant Robert Cruikshank, 123rd New York Infantry Regiment, letter home to his wife Mary, describing Elk River country, camp life and Tennessee women

Elk River, Tenn.,

Jan. 12, 1864.

Dear Wife,-

I wrote you yesterday but have a little time today and will start on another letter and finish it when I can. Elk River was a small settlement before the war and a cotton factory of some sort was near the bridge, but it has been destroyed by fire. The foundation of the factory still remains, also the foundations of several dwellings which have been burned. The iron gearing is in the ruins.

I am nearly settled in my new quarters and am well pleased with them and the situation that we are in. I expect to be busy now. We have an addition of twenty-nine men to our company, a transfer from the 145th Regt. [sic], N. Y. S. V. which has been disbanded on account of incompetency of the officers. They have been discharged from the service and gone home. They are from New York City and Brooklyn. I have in the Company present at roll-call seventy-four (74) non-commissioned officers and privates to look after which is no small task. I have more present than ever in the Company since leaving Salem. I wish Captain Culver would return and take command, it would be so much responsibility off my shoulders. Lieutenant Robert B. Beattie expects to go home on recruiting service and then I will be the only officer left in the Company.

You speak in your letter of the Alabama and Tennessee ladies. Ha, ha, I wish you could see the Alabama and Tennessee girls! (We do not call them ladies, there is such a contrast between them and our Northern women.) They all chew snuff and tobacco and smoke the pipe and cigars when they can get them. Chewing snuff is the filthiest of all habits and many refined women form the habit here. It is disgusting to me to see fine looking young women with snuff sticks in their mouths and the snuff or tobacco juice running from each corner. Had I not been reared in a country where women are all ladies I should almost hate them.

You write that the time passes slowly to you. You should go from home more or do something for a change of thought. With us, we do not have time to think only of the present, which makes the time pass very rapidly. There are so many changes. I think these changes are a good thing for us. It keeps the mind from getting dormant. No matter how comfortably we are situated, when we get orders to move the men go to their work with a cheer, pack up, take their bed, board and house on their back and are away to some other place. When it is known we are to stop for a time, soon the sound of many axes is heard, good quarters are soon up, and all are comfortable again.

Since writing the above I have been out into the country about one and one-half miles to see some mineral springs. One of them is strongly impregnated with sulphur and the other with copperas (sulphate of iron). The water of the sulphur spring looks black and is within two feet of a soft water spring. The copperas spring water is of red color and is within ten feet of a soft water spring, and people from all around this vicinity send to get water for the sick. The place is called Estell Springs.

Company E, Hebron Co., Captain Geo R. Hall, is stationed there. When it went there it broke up our mess. Now I board with Company A officers and pay four dollars a week. This price is the lowest I could get.

I have just received word that Wm. J. Orcutt, a member of our Company, died at the Regimental Hospital at one o'clock this afternoon. He had congestion of the lungs. his home was at Shushon, N. Y. The Company has not lost a man by death from disease in ten months which speaks well for the health of the Company. They know how to take good care of themselves.

I think we are now located in a healthful place but cannot tell how long we will remain here. I hope until the winter is over. We are having some warm, pleasant days now. The ground has been frozen about two weeks but has thawed now and is quite muddy.

I must close this long letter or I will not have anything to write about next time.

With love to all

R. Cruikshank.

Robert Cruikshank Letters.



        12, "…the brown semi-liquidity which, at the present moment, is so abundant a 'product' in our city streets, was known by the classic appellation of 'Lollypop.'" A public health problem in Memphis

In ancient times, before the war...the brown semi-liquidity which, at the present moment, is so abundant a "product" in our city streets, was known by the classic appellation of "Lollypop." Certain vain believers in the unlimited progress of the human race, among other Utopian speculations, imagined that when the streets were founded up and graveled, lollypop would cease to be a Southern product, so far as Memphis was concerned. Experience...has refused this...notion. It looked fair to presume that when the streets were raised in the center, so that the water falling...would naturally flow to the gutter. As the centrifugal is opposed by the centripetal, so the progress of liquids to the gutters is opposed by an ingenious resource resorted to by the directors of street regulations in Memphis. Some weeks ago, each householder and property owner in the city was ordered to clean the dirt out of their gutters. This was done in lines along each side of the street. There it now lies, obstructing the flow of water from the center to the gutter, thus favoring the production of "lollypop." This product is an excellent renewed stock of the material from whence, next summer, the dust will arise, that forms so useful a defense against the heated rays of the ...sun....

Memphis Bulletin, January 12, 1865


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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