Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1/14/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        14,   "A detective police, properly organized, and conducted upon correct principles, might do some good…." Military Governor Andrew Johnson on the Army of the Cumberland's police operations

Nashville, January 14th 1864

Maj. Genl. Rosecrans,

Commanding Dep't of the Cumberland.


I would respectfully call your attention to a matter which, I think, on the mere suggestion, will receive your favorable action.

I do not write in any spirit of fault-finding, not do I wish to be regarded as objecting to any proceedings, on the part of any person or persons claiming to act here by your authority, that have been in accordance with the requirements of civil and military law; but, General, since you left Nashville, the proceedings has by the Detective Police & "Provost Court", connected with the army (and who assume to act by your authority) have been of such character, I am constrained to say, that, in my opinion, they not only fail in what I suppose to have been the object had in view by their location at this Post, but have done and are still doing great damage to our cause, and the effect of their operations is most decidedly averse to a restoration of a correct public sentiment.

A detective police, properly organized, and conducted upon correct principles, might do some good in connection with the interests & movements of the army, but I am compelled to say that the Provost Court and Detective Police here, by extensive jurisdiction assumed and the summary manner in which they undertake to dispose of the persons & property of citizens, have not only excited a feeling of indignation among the more conservative portion of the community, but have greatly impaired the confidence of the loyal men, that class to whom we look for active support, in the correct intentions of the Government, it being held responsible for the unjust acts of its reputed agents.

We have here a United States Court, a U [sic] S. Attorney, and a U. S. Marshal for the District of Middle Tennessee – all the machinery necessary for the execution of the laws of the United States in the portion of this District restored to Federal control. There are for the Government of this city a Mayor and Boards of Aldermen and Council, a city Police, and Recorder's court, efficiently performing their respective functions; while the Commandant of the Post, and a Provost Marshal are here to execute and carry out all proceedings by military authority.

If, notwithstanding these facts, the necessity for the continuance of the "Provost Court" and Army detective police at this post still exists, I do sincerely hope, General, that, for the single purpose of promoting the public good and restoring, as far as we can, the law and the Constitution, they may be restricted, in their operations, to that which pertains exclusively to military affairs and is authorized by military law.

I believe that common justice to this community requires it, and in asking it, I but express the sentiments of the union men of this city & vicinity. Without undertaking to enumerate cases, I will state that the complaints against these parties have become so loud and so numerous that justice to them as well as to the public would seem to require that an examination into their proceedings would be offered.

With great respect, Your Obt. Sert.

Andrew Johnson Mil. Gov'r.

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 118-119.



        14, 1864 - Marriage on the Border Line

From the Memphis Bulletin, Marrying Under Difficulties.

Not long since a Confederate soldier returned from the war to his home near the State line dividing Kentucky and Tennessee. The first business he attended to was that of marrying the girl he had left behind when he first started out to seek the bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth. A large party were gotten up by the bride's family, and a man who was conceded to be a justice of the peace, because he had held the office for twenty years before the cruel war had commenced, performed the ceremony that united two loving hearts that had but a single thought. After these rites had been observed, there was a feast of hog and hominy, roast turkey, pumpkin pies, &c., and several gallons of forty rod whiskey to be dispensed. In the course of human events the newly wedded pair were put to bed, according to the custom still in vogue among the rural population.

They had scarcely began to realize the "situation" before there was a great rattling at their chamber door, and an imperative demand for them to arise. Some prying people had just discovered that the magistrate was not a regularly elected officer, and was not a justice at all. Alarm took them all, and another justice was sent for who lived some miles distant. Before midnight the knot was tied again, and the anxious couple were suffered to retire for the second time.

The first contretemps was discussed freely by those who had not gone home, and the various contingencies of the matter investigated thoroughly. All at once it was found out that the last justice lived in Kaintuck [sic], while the ceremony had been performed just over the line in Tennessee. There was a hurried rush up stairs, and another arousing of the bride and groom. They came down stairs somewhat dissatisfied with the turn matters had taken, and then the whole party went down the road three-quarters of a mile till they got into the State where the squire lived, and there the wedding rites were performed for the third time. The bride's mother, not satisfied with all this comedy of errors, had, sometime before, despatched [sic] a swift messenger for a stated preacher, and when they got back to the paternal mansion, to make all things safe, the knot was tied for the fourth time by a man of God. By this time the first glimpse of daylight was streaking the eastern sky.

Wearied out by the experiences and anxieties of the night, they were at last suffered to retire in peace.—Half an hour had not elapsed before there was another confusion in the House. A thundering knock at the chamber door of the young couple made the groom thoroughly mad. He told whoever it was that it was "too late," and swore he would not get up again for all the mistakes in the world. He would whip the first man that disturbed him again, he didn't care who it was. A gruff demand to open the door if he did not wish to have it beaten down, and the rattle of a musket, decided him once more to submit to the imposition.

On opening the portal, he was confronted by a Federal soldier, and the words, "you are my prisoner, come along with me."

Vainly did he plead to have the privilege of giving bail for his appearance, and all his offers of bribes were as useless as the idle wind. The officer charged with his arrest was inexorable, and now the chap is spending his share of the honeymoon at Columbia, in the guardhouse, while the disconsolate maid, his bride, weeps for him at home.

Richmond [VA] Whig, January 14, 1864. [1]



        14, 1865 - Abolition and guerrilla eradication called for by State Convention


Slavery Declared Forever Abolished-Parson Brownlow Nominated for Governor.

Cincinnati, Saturday, Jan. 14.

The [Cincinnati] Commercial has a special dispatch from Nashville, which says:

"The Tennessee State Convention have unanimously passed a resolution declaring slavery forever abolished, and prohibiting it throughout the State.

The convention also passed a resolution prohibiting the Legislature from recognizing property in man, and forbidding it from requiring compensation to be made to the owners of slaves.

A resolution was also accepted abrogating the declaration of State independence, and the military league made with the Confederate states in 1861; also abrogating all the laws and ordinances passed in pursuance hereof;

All the officers appointed by the acting Governor since his accession to office were confirmed.

The proposition of the convention are to be submitted to the people for ratification on the 22d of February, and on the 4th of March an election is to be held for Governor and members of the Legislature.

Nearly three hundred delegates participated in the proceedings of the convention, and the greatest harmony and good feeling prevailed.

Parson Brownlow is the unanimous choice of the convention for Governor."

Nashville, Saturday, Jan. 14.

The Tennessee Union State Convention, in its session to-day, nominated Parson W. G. Brownlow for Governor by acclamation.

A delegated asked if he would accept, whereupon he responded in the following language:

Gentlemen: I settle the controversy by assuring you that I will accept. (Applause.) I cannot be expected to do anything more, and I certainly ought to do no less than tender to you, as a convention, my sincere and unfeigned thanks for the honor and distinction you have conferred upon me. I will not speak to you at length now, gentlemen, but what I lack in speaking. If the people should ratify the nomination made by you, I will try to make up in deeds and acts; and, God being my help, if you will send up a Legislature to reorganize the militia and pass other necessary business, will put an end to this internal system of guerrilla fighting in the State, in East, Middle and West Tennessee, if we have to shoot every man concerned in such business. [Loud and long continued applause, amid which the Parson retired.]

The convention are nominating members of the Legislature to-night.

*  *  *  *

New York Times, January 15, 1865.


[1] As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts

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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