Saturday, January 18, 2014

1/18/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        20, …"I trust every citizen would fire his home and fall arms in hand with the Southern banner waving from every house…."One Nashville woman's anxieties about war.

Nashville Jan 20th/62

My Dear Sister

It has been two weeks since I had a letter from you--I am afraid either you or the children are sick but I hope not, but that the delay may be attributed to the irregularity of the mails. But I must tell you of my beautiful, beautiful birthday present. It is from Mr. Sehon and is a Set of jewelry made of his hair, breast pin, ear rings, bracelet and necklace. It is what I have wanted and wished for so much, & nothing would have been so acceptable. It was my twentieth birthday--out of my teens and 20 years old! The thought makes me feel quite aged. Yesterday we attended the funeral of Men Nichol, Son of James Nichol. You probably remember him, he was a clerk in Mr. McNairy's store. Father preached his funeral by the request of his family, although they are all Presbyterians. Do you remember Bettie which hymns and chants were Sung at Henry's funeral? Please tell me in your next letter. When I die I wish the same exactly sung over me and would like to have the same over every member of the family. I like the same chants over every member of the family that are sung over one. They thus become peculiarly expressive, and beautiful to those left behind.

For the last two weeks the weather has been like the times, exceedingly gloomy. Thus far we have had no winter, until within the last two weeks we have had almost entirely the most beautiful balmy spring weather, the brightest sunshine and clearest skies. I think it the peculiar blessing of God upon our Southern troops. Accustomed to a warm climate, particularly those from the very far South, they could not bear up under a severe Winter campaign as could the hardier Northerners. The last two weeks have, however, been all rain and so warm fires have often been oppressive and winter wrappings entirely given up. The political excitement now is very great. An attack was made a few days ago on Fort Henry twelve miles from Frank[1]. Our leaders seem to think we have the force to meet them, but I am anxious, fearing Frank's company may be called for to aid them. The attack is considered a flash from the fire, it is believed the Northern plan was to attack these forts, Bowling Green, Columbus and the Coast simultaneously, but they are afraid to advance upon Bowling Green, we are there fully prepared for them and are anxious for them to attack, so the South may See another gymnastic feat in a Bull Run. O for peace, peace! What wouldn't I give to hear it proclaimed! George is now in the most delightful portion of Virginia and under a fine leader Stonewall Jackson--I am looking now to hear of him distinguishing himself, where he is now I think he will have an opportunity. Mr. Sehon received a letter from his partner a day or two ago, saying in the late engagement at Bath, George said to Jackson, though his men had been a day without any thing to eat, they were not willing to stop to get any thing but desired unanimously to be placed in the front rank. But they were not in the engagement, why I do not know. Col. Taylor is now here from Virginia and will I have no doubt be lionized considerably. Will is well and still at the [Cumberland] Gap. Frank I suppose is also well. The young people of Nashville Mr. Alex Porter & others have gotten up a fancy ball to come off next Thursday to which Mr. & Mrs. Sehon have received two invitations, but we will not be present. I don't know how any one can enjoy such gaiety or participate in it, when we know not what moment may bring tidings of friends who have fallen. Since the attack on Fort Henry, some are alarmed for the safety of Nashville, but I have no such fear. Though I read constantly the confident expectation of the enemy to possess Nashville, I can't realize that it is possible. But we will never give it up, we will defend it as long as possible--rather than yield we will not leave one stone upon another. Should they come (but I know they never will, never can) I trust every citizen would fire his home and fall arms in hand with the Southern banner waving from every house as long as they stand. But I must now close, as I have but a short time to write to Will by a gentleman going in two hours. Give best love to Mr. Kimberly with a thousand kisses for the little darlings and love to all the servants.

Annie M. Sehon

Kimberly Family Correspondence.[2]



        18, "General Grant and the Jews."

One of the deepest sensations of the war is that produced among the Israelites of this country, by the recent order of Gen. Grant, excluding, as a class, from his Military Department. The order, to be sure, was promptly set aside by the President, but the affront to the Israelites, convey by its issue, was not so easily effaced. It continues to rankle, and is leading to sharp controversies and bitter feuds in the ranks of the Faithful. It seems that a committee of Jews, in this City, took it upon themselves to thank [sic] the authorities at Washington for so promptly annulling the odious order of Grant. Against the conduct of this committee the bulk of the Jews vehemently protest. They say they have no thanks for an act of simple and imperative-but grounds for deep and just complaint against the Government, that Gen. Grant has not been dismissed from the service on account of his unrighteous act. The matter has been to assume an importance that requires a mention of it in our columns, as constituting an exciting chapter in our current history. We therefore present the order of Gen. Grant, that the public judgment in the premise may rest on a clear perception of the facts:

Headquarters Thirteenth Army Corps,

Department of the Tennessee

Oxford, Miss., Dec. 17, 1862.

General Orders, No. 11.-The Jews, as a class [sic], violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, also Department orders are here expelled from the Department within twenty-our (24) hours from the receipt of this order by Post Commander.

They [sic] will see that all this class of people are furnished with passes and required to leave, and any one [sic] returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them [sic] out as prisoners, unless furnished with permits from these headquarters.

No pass will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits.

By order of

Maj.-Gen. Grant

John B. Rawlins, A.A.G.

Official-J. Lovell, Capt. And A.A.G.

It must be admitted that this order is open to severe criticism in more respects than one. The first and mildest objection we see, is its atrocious disregard of the simplest rules of English composition. To be dealt harshly with is bad enough, but to be vilified in execrable English cruel, if not unusual, punishment. But if the execrable English of the general excommunication from Grant's attractive Department is very objectionable, the mockery of the allusion to special exemptions is utterly unworthy. "Any one" [sic] (any Jew) "returning" after a notification to leave, they [sic] will be sent away as prisoners, "unless furnished with permits from these headquarters." But "no pass will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of getting permits." Such is the substantial and almost literal conclusion of Grant's order. It is mortifying to know that such a jumble of bad writing and worse logic should emanate from the headquarters of a Major-General commanding a Military Department of the United States.

As to the odious principle of Gen. Grant's order, there can be no doubt whatever. To condemn any religious body, as a class, and by wholesale, is contrary to common sense and common justice-contrary to Republicanism and Christianity. Gen. Grant may have been harmed by hangers-on of his army, who were swindlers and extortionists. It was desirable that he should be rid of such. But will he say that all the swindlers that best him are Jews? We are of [the] opinion that there are degrees of rascality developed by the war that might put the most accomplished Shylocks to the blush. We have native talent that can literally "beat the Jews." Gen. Grant's order has the demerit of stigmatizing a class, without signalizing the criminals. All swindlers are not Jews. All Jews are not swindlers. Gen. Grant assumes that the reverse of this latter proposition is true, and he expels the Jews, "as a class," from the Department. That carries women and children-women at home and children at the breast. A number of Jewish families that had been quiet, orderly and loyal citizens of the town of Paducah for years, hurriedly packed up their goods, and left their homes, under this cruel order. They had had nothing whatever to do with Grant or his army, but they belonged to the "Jews, "as a class," and were denounced and expelled. Their situation must have revived the history of their unfortunate people during the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when England, France and Austria successively followed each other in decrees against them of banishment and persecution. And it is a humiliating reflection that after the progress of liberal ideas even in the most despotic countries has restored the Jews to civil and social rights, as members of a common humanity, it remained for the freest Government on earth to witness a momentary revival of a the spirit of the medieval ages.

If we take a merely selfish view of Grant's treatment of the Jews, it will appear in the highest degree impolitic. Persons "of this class" have come to hold high positions in the leading Governments of Europe, whose good opinions we cannot afford to despise. M. Fould, of Louis Napoleon's Cabinet, is a Jew, and his voice might, in the possibilities of things, go far to decide the fate of the American Union. The Rothschild's wield a power in the financial world that is well nigh omnipotent to raise or destroy the credit of any nation. We may find it better to have their friendship than enmity.

But, rejecting all such considerations, we rely on the general principles of republican right and justice for the utter reprobation of Grant's order. Men cannot be condemned and punished as a class, without gross violence to our free institutions. The immediate and peremptory abrogation of Grant's order by the President saved the Government from a blot, and redeemed us from the disgrace of a military assault upon a people whose equal rights and immunities are as sacred under the Constitution as those of any other sect, class, or race.

New York Times, January 18, 1863.



        18, Confederate Soldiers in Yankee Uniforms

Bloody Works in Tennessee.-In its news from Longstreet's command, the Atlanta "Confederacy" has the following:

About four or five days ago a squad of our men, ten or twelve in number, captured a lot of Yankee clothing, and were in the act of draping themselves in their captured property, when they were recaptured by the Yankees, who finding them in Yanking clothing, contrary to their published orders,[3] led them out for the purpose of shooting them. Just at this time the 4th and 7th Alabama regiments of cavalry arrived upon the spot and charged them but not in time to save our men, who were shot down in cold blood the ruthless villains escaping. A few days afterwards the regiments above alluded to caught 15 or 20 yankees and shot them in retaliation.

Fayetteville (NC) Observer, January 18, 1864[4].



        18, Unpaid bill in Memphis; the story of a carnal Confederate deserter

T. B. Johnson, a recent Confederate deserter, found himself at the Recorder's Court. Maggie Montgomery "a lady of easy virtue" testified that Johnson had:

called at her house on a recent occasion, drank wine, and shared her bed, and departed without paying her claim for services rendered. She claimed that inasmuch as houses of the stamp kept by her are licensed by the city, it is the duty of the city to prevent and punish imposition on the keepers of said housed, as practiced by the defendant, and she therefore looked for redress....His honor, however, failed to see the case in that light, and informed the exasperated nymph that it was not within his jurisdiction.

That being the case Ms. Montgomery preferred charges of drunkenness and disorderly conduct against Johnson. The judge fined him $18.00, and he was happy to have an end to the affair. It was rumored also that Johnson had not paid the hack who took him to and from Montgomery's bordello.

Memphis Bulletin, January 18, 1865.

[1] Annie's and Bettie's brother, serving at Fort Donelson.

[2] As cited in:

[3] Actually it was not contrary to Federal orders, which were quite specific calling for the summary execution of any Confederate soldier found in Federal uniform.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 7. HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, Tenn., January 8, 1864.

Our outposts and pickets posted in isolated places, having in many instances been overpowered and captured by the enemy's troops, disguised, as Federal soldiers, the commanding general is obliged to issue the following order for the protection of his command, and to prevent a continuance of this violation of the rules of warfare:

Corps commanders are hereby directed to cause to be shot dead all the rebel officers and soldiers (wearing the uniform of the U. S. Army) captured within our lines.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Foster:

HENRY CURTIS, JR., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. III, Vol. 4, p. 54.

[4] As cited in PQCW.

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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