24, J. G. M. Ramsey's complaints and advice to Confederate President Jefferson Davis
KNOXVILLE, TENN., January 24, 1862.
Hon. JEFFERSON DAVIS,
DEAR SIR: When I wrote you a few days since, amongst other things I told you of simultaneous stampedes of the Union men in the direction of Kentucky. I thought at the time that they had news from that State of which we were entirely uniformed, and forewarned our bridge officers of the necessity of increased vigilance and more guards at the exposed points on the railroads and the provision store-houses, and even suggested the removal of the stores to places of greater security. Large numbers of Tories unarmed and on foot have stealthily withdrawn from nearly all East Tennessee, and are no doubt in the enemy's service, and if the invasion of the border counties is prosecuted further these refugees will come against us; and acting as pilots through that mountain region will endanger several important points. The disaster to Zollicoffer on last Sunday you have already been informed of. The disaster of our forces engaged in that fight are returning home one by one in rapid succession, and from many of them I hear that Crittenden's whole army is perfectly demoralized and refused to serve under him, imputing to his constant inebriation the unfortunate advance of Gen. Z[ollicoffer], and against his own earnest protest. Imputations of a graver character against the loyalty of the Commanding officer are freely spoken of in the camp and believed. I hope this latter is without foundation, but the soldier believe it and assert it, and whether true or false, its effect is the same. His army is disaffected, mutinous, and will never be reorganized under him. And yet these men are brave, patriotic, and loyal, excepting always those of them late Union men and recruited from that party. These can never be trusted till they are subdued. But I fully believe if an officer could be sent here at once in whose experience, loyalty, and freedom from Union associations and sympathies they can repose implicit confidence, the army can be organized and the invasion repelled. I fully believe that this will have to be done or East Tennessee will be invaded and held, the bridges burned again, and our territorial disintegration temporarily effected. Let a competent man be sent here from beyond the influence of Tennessee politic, known to us as of unquestionable loyalty-one who is perfectly sober, who has had experience in arms, who has enterprise as well as courage-and these Tennessee troops now mortified and chagrined at the late disaster and anxious to wipe out the accidental disgrace will rally to his standard and not stop this of the Ohio. Had Zollicoffer not been ordered to make that unwise advance all would have been now right. We should first have a new commander, a stranger to our people by any antecedents and political sympathies with reconstruction, &c., who hill reassure our soldiers, stimulate the efforts of our own people, and impart to them a new vitality, and the late defeat will be converted into victory. If you have not yet accepted the resignation of Pillow he will be ale to restore order out of this chaos; but I do not presume to suggest for you or the Secretary of War, but I think it no presumption in my to give my opinion that the necessities of the occasion demand the transfer of Crittenden to another field. I would have also suggested Gen. Elzey, with the hope of getting, Col. Vaughn (who is under him) on our frontier. But I hear, too, that he is not sober, and besides you may not be able to weaken your Potomac line. Many of our friends will telegraph you to-day on this subject.
J. G. M. RAMSEY.
P. S.--I understand that Gen. Caswell, of this city, is an applicant for the position of brigadier-general. He does not equal in his claims either Col. Vaughn or Col. Cummings, both of whom have experience and capacity, and are original State's- rights men, and are entirely temperate. Floyd or Pillow I think should come here at once.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 256-257.
24, "The unchecked spread of this disease necessitates this regulation, which will be strictly enforced." The U. S. Army takes the public health initiative anddfights small-pox
General Orders, No. 4
Headquarters U. S. Forces
Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 24, 1864
I. *** All cases of small-pox, citizens or soldiers, will be promptly reported to Acting Assistant Surgeon A. D. White, at his office, in the Bostick house, a large brick building on the Charlotte Pike, by whom they will be conveyed to the small-pox camps and treated.
The unchecked spread of this disease necessitates this regulation, which will be strictly enforced.
Commanding Officers and Surgeons of Regiments will be held responsible for its execution in their regiments
By command of Brig. Gen. R. S. Granger
Nashville Dispatch, January 29, 1864.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214