Saturday, January 25, 2014

1/25/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

25, "…nothing left but 16 hogs and 25 bushels of corn." Crushing the Unionist Rebellion in East Tennessee

From East Tennessee-Lincoln Camp Broken Up.-From 300 to 500 Lincolnites of Carter county, encamped about six miles from Elizabethton, dispersed on the approach of Confederate troops.

The citizens of Hawkins, Sullivan and Washington counties, to the number of about 500, turned out on the news of the bride-burning, and organized themselves into a regiment. Hon. Joseph B. Heiskell, member elect of C. S. Congress from the 1st Congressional District, was elected Colonel.

This regiment, with Col. Stovall's battalion, numbering 500, including a battery of flying artillery of four guns, found the Lincolnite camp deserted, and nothing left but 16 hogs and 25 bushels of corn. From 25 to 20 prisoners were arrested in the knobs, each armed with a gun, pistol and bowie knife, and taken to the Watauga bridge. They will probably be brought to Knoxville during the week, to be tried before the Confederate Court. The rebellion in Carter and Johnson counties may be said to be crushed out.

Arrival of Prisoners.-Some forty prisoners of Clift's traitor hand, from Hamilton, Rhea and Meigs, including a Lieut. Colonel and a commissary, were brought up on the train last night and marched through our streets to the jail. A number of arms were taken in their possession. Their condition, criminal as they are, excited the communication of our citizens, and in the crown that accompanied them to their dismal quarters, we heard by one expression of indignation against the unfeeling and unscrupulous demagogues, who deluded into there unfortunate condition, and then deserted them.

Knoxville Register, 19th.

Fayetteville Observer (NC), November 25, 1861. [1]

25, "An address was issued calling upon our sister States to send forward Men and guns for the defence of the Mississippi Valley." Confederate Paranoia in Memphis

Exciting from Tennessee.-MEMPHIS, Nov. 20.-Great apprehensions are felt of an attack upon Columbus. A public meeting has been called to take place to-day, to devise measures of defence. The Federals are concentrating an in immense force at Cairo, and an attack at Columbus is hourly expected.

Gen. A. S. Johnston, in view of a threatened invasion, has called on Gov. Harris to send such a force to the field as can be armed by the State. In obedience to this requisition, and to repel the invaders, Gov. Harris has this morning issued his proclamation, calling out thirty thousand of the militia from Middle and West Tennessee.

The threatened Descent on Columbus and Memphis.-MEMPHIS, Nov. 21.-A public meeting was held here on yesterday, and the people resolved to send men and money to Columbus, Ky. An address was issued calling upon our sister States to send forward Men and guns for the defence of the Mississippi Valley. The address says: "The long threatened invasion is at hand, and the enemies our rights and liberties are moving upon us by land and water in overwhelming number. It the next five days a great battle will be fought at Columbus, and if the Confederates are overpowered, Memphis is lost to the South, unless Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana ad surrounding States help us. Our friends in the surrounding States must look the facts sternly in the face before it is too late.

Fayetteville (NC) Observer, November 25, 1861.



25, "From Fort Henry."

Fort Henry, Jan. 25, 1862

Dear Chronicle:-Since my last letter we have arrived here, and are now camping in our tents again, and as the weather has been very cold for some time, we miss our comfortable cabins very much. Our company (A) of Col. Bailey's Regiment, and one from Col. Sugg's (formerly Stacker's) Regiment are now encamped here together.-Paddies Ticktacks [sic]: Since our arrival we have been furnished with side arms-spades and shovels [sic] and are now drilling in that manual. Our boys were greatly disappointed at not meeting the enemy here, and now feel that they have been badly sold, or taken in-to the ditches [sic]-instead of among the enmy [sic].

The day after our arrival, the gunboat "Conestoga" chased the steamer Dunbar [sic] 14 miles up the river until within sight of the Fort, and then fired her seventh shot and ran up behind the Island, two miles below the Fort. She afterwards fired three shots at the Fort and meeting no response, she retired with a white flag flying to the breeze. No damage was done by her shots as they all fell short. However, she again made her appearance with the stars and stripes flying and opened fire on the Fort. As soon as the first shot was fired by her the Confederate flag was raised in the Fort, and we all expected to have a brush with the "Feds," but as soon as we fired one shot, she responded with a shell (which burst some yards below the Fort,) and retired behind the Island. Nobody hurt.

We are now under command of Lieut.-Col. Sugg -- Col. Stacker having resigned the command of the 50th Regiment.

The enemy are reported to be 15,000 strong at Highland (KY), 35 miles below here. They were 16 miles from here a few days ago, but are now falling back. Little prospect of a squirmish [sic].

Clarksville Chronicle, January 31, 1862.



25, Concerns expressed in Confederate-occupied Chattanooga about speculators in a newspaper editorial titled "The Extortioner."

[The Extortioner] is not a thief [sic] because all his transactions square with the law. He is not a murderer or highway robber...yet he is a villain, possessing the will to rob, or steal, or murder, or do what not for money....He is in time of war, not only the spoiler of the poor, but traitor to his country. The conduct of Judas Iscariot squared with the maxim of commerce...[but] there is a day of revolution. He will be an outcast from the new order of society....He will them be marked with scorn and hunted from the ease of his riches and the peace of mind, and will transmit the brand of infamy to his posterity."[2].

Chattanooga Gazette and Advertiser, January 25, 1862.[3]



25, Skirmish near Mill Creek, near Murfreesborough

JANUARY 25, 1863.-Skirmish near Mill Creek, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. John M. Harlan, Tenth Kentucky Infantry, commanding brigade.

No. 2.-Lieut. Col. Christopher J. Dickerson, Tenth Michigan Infantry.

No. 3.-Sergt. Thomas Branch, Company I, Tenth Michigan Infantry.

No. 1.

Reports of Col. John M. Harlan, Tenth Kentucky Infantry, commanding brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, La Vergne, Tenn., January 25, 1863.

MAJ.: I hereby submit a copy of the report of Capt. [V.] Cupp, First Ohio Cavalry, commanding detachment of cavalry at this point, containing all the information gained by his scouts with regard to the enemy in this vicinity:

LA VERGNE, January 25, 1863.

A train of cars were attacked one-half mile this side of Antioch this morning. Two cars were burned; 55 prisoners captured and paroled by the enemy-a cavalry force under command of Forrest. The force at Mill Creek Bridge came to relieve the train, and succeeded in saving the locomotive and several cars. This force is estimated at about 2,000, and it is supposed that they have returned toward Franklin.

[V.] CUPP, Capt. First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

As soon as I heard that the enemy were in this vicinity I ordered all the trains on the road to Nashville to halt here until I had ascertained the facts in the case. Brig.-Gen. Stanley came here about 12 o'clock m., and, on consultation with him, permitted the trains to proceed on their way to Nashville, first, however, causing the men who were riding in the wagons to get out and form in the front, rear, and center of the trains. In addition to this guard, I sent one regiment and one piece of artillery from my command to escort them 4 or 5 miles, and return to-night. Everything indicates that the enemy have gone in the direction of Franklin.

I am, major, very respectfully, yours,

JOHN M. HARLAN, Col., Cmdg. Second Brigade.

LA VERGNE, January 26, 1863.

SIR: At daylight this morning I left here with three regiments of infantry (Fourth Kentucky, Tenth Kentucky, and Seventy-fourth Indiana), a section of Southwick's battery, and the cavalry detachments sent from Murfreesborough last night, increased by Capt. Cupp's company, First Ohio Cavalry, on duty here, and marched toward Concord enemy was found. I halted the infantry at the church, and sent the cavalry down the pike to Nolensville. No enemy was found there, and I do not believe that there is any enemy at this time within reach.

Upon their trip of to-day I ascertained the following facts, upon which, I think, you may place reliance, viz.,: Saturday night two brigades of rebel cavalry, numbering between 3,000 and 4,000 men, with eight pieces of artillery, came from the direction of Franklin, and halted at Concord Church. The force was Wheeler's old brigade and Forrest's old brigade, temporarily under the command of [James W.] Starnes. I saw where the whole force encamped. During the night a force was detached from the main body of the enemy, not exceeding 1,000 and not less than 500, and sent to Antioch, near the railroad, where a small construction train was attacked and about 25 prisoners taken; but little damage done to the train; the locomotive and the main body of the cars were not hurt. The remainder of the force at Mill Creek Bridge, No. 3, came out of their stockade and went to the assistance of the small party with the train. The enemy retired in some haste.

It so happened that on yesterday [25th] I ordered the small cavalry squad here to be divided, and sent at daylight on all the different roads leading to the Nolensville [pike]. Those patrols came upon the flankers of the force going to Antioch at several points, fired upon them, and this probably induced the enemy to believe that a force was getting into their rear, and hence their sudden exit. The rebels who attacked the train returned to Concord Church by 9.30 or 10 o'clock in the day, and the entire force here immediately left, went to Nolensville, and from that point, it is believed, went in the direction of Shelbyville. They had all left Concord Church by 11 or 12 o'clock in the day.

The train attacked seems to be a train which stays this side of Mill Creek Bridge, No. 3; was cut off from Nashville by the destruction of that bridge, which is not yet rebuilt.

The force which came out from Nashville last night returned early this morning. I do not return to camp until late this afternoon.

Some of the rebel officers and men were heard to say upon heir arrival at Concord Church that they were en route to attack La Vergne. If they entertained such a purpose it was abandoned from some cause; probably because they learned that we were to some extent entrenched here.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

JOHN M. HARLAN, Col., Cmdg. Second Brigade, Third Division, Center.

No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. Christopher J. Dickerson, Tenth Michigan Infantry.

HDQRS. TENTH REGT. MICHIGAN VOL. INFANTRY, Nashville, January 30, 1863.

COL.: In accordance with order previously received, there have been detailed from this regiment 25 privates, 2 corporals, and 1 sergeant, who are stationed at Bridge No. 3, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, about 9 miles distant from this City. On the 25th instant, about 10 a. m., an engine, with a number of cars attached, was started from Bridge No. 3., in the direction of La Vergne, having on board the train between 25 and 30 men, acting as a train guard. After moving out about 1 ½ miles, the cars were suddenly thrown from the track, in consequence of one of the rails having been slightly removed from its place.

An attack was immediately made upon the train by a band of guerrillas, numbering from 100 to 150, said to be a part of Dick McCann's force. The train guard was captured and an effort made to burn the cars and engine. Sergt. Thomas Branch, with his squad of men detailed from this regiment, hearing firing in the direction of the train, quickly started with his men to relieve the train, if possible. Upon arriving in sight of the train, about 40 rebels were observed in the act of setting the cars and engine on fire with some rails which they had collected for that purpose. Sergeant Branch, getting his men into position, moved up near the train and fired a volley at the car-burners, who immediately broke and ran for their horses, which were hitched to a fence a short distance off. After recapturing the train and driving the enemy for some distance, the engine and cars were run back to Bridge No. 3.

Sergeant Branch and the men under his command are entitled to much credit for the manner in which they behaved on this occasion.

They accomplished what a much larger force have often failed to accomplish under more favorable circumstances. Inclosed I forward a copy of a report made to me by Sergeant Branch.

Respectfully submitted.

C. J. DICKERSON, Lieut. Col., Cmdg. Tenth Regt. [sic] Michigan Infantry.

No. 3.

Reports of Sergt. Thomas Branch, Company I, Tenth Michigan Infantry.


COL.: In accordance with your order, which I received this day, I will proceed to write a statement of facts relating to the skirmish which took place near here on the 25th instant.

The engine, with a number of cars, started in the direction of La Vergne. There were from 25 to 30 men on the cars, acting as a train guard. In a short time after the train moved, I heard firing up the track supposing it to be an attack on the train, I ordered my men to fall in. In three minutes we were moving on a double-quick up the track.

We soon came upon a rebel mounted picket, who ordered us to halt. We replied by sending a number of shots after him. He ran, and we saw no more of him.

I now ordered 12 men to move forward as skirmishers until they came opposite the train, the rally and move toward the road. The balance of my men moved up toward the track on the right of the skirmishers. When we came within a few yards of the train we could distinctly hear the rebels at work burning the train. Some one hallowed, "Tom, hurry up; the devils are burning the train!" We were now opposite the train, and I gave the command, "Rally on the right file." We soon got into line and moved up within range, when we gave them a volley. They jumped from the cars and ran for the their horses, which were tied to a fence about 60 rods from the train. We gave one yell and charged on them, or I should say after them, for they had got quite the start of us. We drove them into the woods, until we saw at least two companies of cavalry in line waiting for the car-burners, who were about 40 in number. They retreated over a hill and we left them.

We now devoted our attention to putting out the fires which they had kindled on the train with rails. Some of the fires had got pretty well to going, and one car was partly burned up. After putting out the fires, we ran the train into our camp.

We captured two horses, with equipments, and several guns. How many we killed I know not. The paroled prisoners who were captured on the train say they know we killed 2 and wounded a number. These are the facts, as near as I can state them.

THOMAS BRANCH, Sergeant Company I, Tenth Michigan Infantry,

Cmdg. Guard to Construction Train on Nash. and Chat. R. R.


HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, February 4, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded.

Sergeant Branch acquitted himself with a great deal of credit in this spirited affair he so modestly details. Many officers of a much higher grade would not have done as well. By his courage and coolness he not only drove away the enemy, but saved to the Government valuable property. He ought to be promoted.

JAMES D. MORGAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

HDQRS. UNITED STATES FORCES, Nashville, Tenn., February 4, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded to department headquarters.

All reports concur in attributing officer like qualities to this soldier. I respectfully recommend his promotion.[7]

ROBT. B. MITCHELL, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, 23, pt. I, pp. 20-24.



25, Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow's report on Confederate conscript sweeps in Lincoln, Bedford and Marshall, Franklin, Williams, Maury, and Giles counties

HDQRS. VOLUNTEER AND CONSCRIPT BUREAU, Shelbyville, January 25, 1863.

Col. BRENT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

To-day I have worked through six brigades; will continue the work to-morrow. Col. Biffle's regiment has moved north in the field work, and will to-morrow rake this county from near the enemy's lines south. I have made provisions with Gen. Wharton to cover the movement and protect the command. Gen. Forrest is present and informs me that Dibrell's regiment is on the way through Marshall County to Fayetteville. I have sent a courier for him and will order him directly to the starting-ground to sweep the four corners of the counties referred to in my dispatch yesterday. I will then sweep over Williams and Maury. I applied to Gen. Cheatham for an officer to carry forward my instructions to Tullahoma and place the details from that corps under working orders, but he declines allowing even for that temporary service any officer that I think equal to the work. I cannot put that duty on one in whom I have not full confidence. I see no alternative but to come forward myself, but it would have greatly advanced my work if he would have allowed me the use of a satisfactory officer. If I had the corps of Lieut.-Gen. Hardee under working orders I could see my work going on satisfactory. The general may rely on my doing all that it is possible to accomplish.


GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, and Chief of Bureau.

OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, p. 371.

HDQRS. VOLUNTEER AND CONSCRIPT BUREAU, Shelbyville, January 26, 1863.

Col. CAMPBELL, Principal Assistant for Middle Tennessee:

Col. Avery has instructions to sweep[8] the county of Lincoln, arresting stragglers, absentees, deserters, and all men liable to the operations of the conscript law and bring them in to you. Having performed that duty, you will hold him in hand and use his command as actively as possible in gathering up stragglers and conscripts in the counties of Franklin, Lincoln, Giles, Lawrence, and in that portion of North Alabama laying along the Tennessee line within the counties above indicated. I will put a working force in the other counties myself....

* * * *


GID. J. PILLOW, Brig.-Gen., C. S. Army, Chief of Bureau.

OR, Ser. IV, Vol. 2, p. 374.



25, "Guerrillas on the Cumberland."

We learn that the up-river fleet was fired into at Gainsborough on Monday, [9] and compelled to return to Carthage, the Newsboy coming down to Nashville for reinforcements. The river will probably be opened today. Rumor said one boat had been sunk, but we believe no damage of consequence had been done.

Nashville Dispatch, January 28, 1864.



25, ''… there was Rebel Cavalry force made a dash on some of our men last night about 4 miles from here and took in eleven of them They were Michigan men...These are nice nights for raids the moon shining so bright I don't want the Rebel devils to get me….''

Jan 25th /64

Knoxville Tenn.

Friend Jennie,

It has been some time since I have had the pleasure of conversing with you by letter as this is my first opportunity since Jan. 1st Jennie dont think it is neglect for it is not we have been either retreating or advancing or skirmishing every day and night since I last wrote --- we are now stationed 4 miles north of Knoxville we are ordered to turn over all our mules wagons and Horses and go into winter quarters and recruit up our Regt a little rest for since they crossed the mountains they have drew but 1/4 rations and have been on the move all the time out Regt begin to look small when we left Ky it mustered nearly 900 men, it now musters nearly 500 men quite a decrease as yet I have been well --- Rarrie is in Hospital I think Anderson will be home as soon as he is able to ride he is in good spirits and is mending fast We have been having quite exciting times here for last two or three months how we will get through I cant tell but I hope all right I dont think this cursed Rebellion can hold out much longer I think they have about played out there was Rebel Cavalry force made a dash on some of our men last night about 4 miles from here and took in eleven of them They were Michigan men they got These are nice nights for raids the moon shining so bright I don't want the Rebel devils to get me I assure you Jennie what is the reason I cant hear from you I have recieved but three letters from you since I left one dated Nov. 16th one Nov. 25th the other Dec. 1st I have recieved but one from home that was from Ham dated Dec. 16th and two from Oscar The last one was written Jan. 1st he said the folks were all well and that Jennie had vacation dancing out the Hollidays we have a ball here every few days but they are leaded balls dont dance very much Oscar says about all the compliments he can pay on Jennie is, she is a mighty enticing little girl and if I want to will her away I shall will her to him but unless I hear from you before long I dont known what I might do I might come home to see what's the matter I hav'nt got a letter from you 5 weeks but I am bound to live in hopes now Jennie write as often as you can and I shall do the same

No more but remain yours

I.B. Conine

Ira B. Conine Correspondence.[10]

[1] As cited in PQCW.

[2] There followed a biblical quotation: "Amos 8, 4-16," yet there are but 14 verses in this citation.

[3] As cited in PQCW.

[4] There is no Dawson County in Tennessee or Kentucky. It is hard to know what Colonel Wood was referring.

[5] Guns don't kill people; large, gaping holes in vital organs kill people.

[6] Meaning not known.

[7] There is no information in the OR to indicate that Sergt. Thomas Branch was promoted. He was, at least, the first on the Army of the Cumberland's "Roll of Honor," by command of Major-General Rosecrans:

SPECIAL FIELD OFFICERS, No. 33. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 5, 1863.

* * * *

XVII. The general commanding feels great pleasure in announcing as first of his company upon the Roll of Honor of this army, Sergt. Thomas Branch, Company 1, Tenth Michigan Volunteers. In command of a squad of 25 men, Sergeant Branch, on the 25th of January, hearing the firing of the rebel guerrillas on the construction train on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, disposed his men in an admirable manner, moved them at double-quick to the front of attack, and charged upon a force more than double his own numbers, and supported by still larger reserves, put them to flight at the point of the bayonet, and then recovered and brought back with him the engine and cars, which had been thrown from the track and set on fire. It is such conduct as this that makes men soldiers, and that the general commanding is proud to honor.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 48.

[8] Emphasis added.

[9] This attack is listed in neither the Navy OR nor the OR.

[10] Correspondence of Ira B. Conine, 118th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Letter of February 12, 1864. MS 673, [Hereinafter Ira B. Conine Correspondence.]

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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