Monday, January 27, 2014

1/26/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        28, "It was plainly visible that the Union men were so elated that they could scarcely repress an open expression of their joy."

HEADQUARTERS, Knoxville, October 28, 1861.


GEN.:… The news of your falling back to Cumberland Ford[1]  has had the effect of developing a feeling that has only been kept under by the presence of troops. It was plainly visible that the Union men were so elated that they could scarcely repress an open expression of their joy. This afternoon it assumed an open character and some eight or ten of the bullies and leaders made an attack on some of my men near the Lamar House and seriously wounded several. Gentlemen who witnessed the whole affair say that my men gave no offense and were not at all to blame. The affair became pretty general and couriers were sent to me at my camp of its existence. I immediately marched Capt. White's cavalry and 100 of my men into the town to arrest the assailants but they made their escape. The Southerners here are considerably alarmed believing that there is a preconcerted movement amongst the Union men if by any means the enemy should get into Tennessee. J. Swan told me to-night that he heard one say this evening as Capt. White's cavalry rode through town that "they could do so now but in less than ten days the Union forces would be here and run them off." I cannot well tell you the many evidences of disaffection which are manifested every day and the increased boldness that it is assuming. I deem it, however, of sufficient importance to be on the alert and as there are no other forces here now but a part of my regiment and Capt.'s Gillespie's and White's cavalry I think I had better keep my men there until others arrive.


The town is quiet this morning. The men who committed the assault on my men yesterday have left town I am informed. The cannon and ammunition start this morning with orders to push on as rapidly as possible.

Very respectfully, our obedient servant,

W. B. WOOD, Col., Cmdg. Post.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 1, pp. 835.



        28, Brigadier-General Forrest ordered to conduct hit and run missions

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from GENERAL ORDERS, No. 2. HDQRS. ARMY OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE, Murfreesborough, Tenn., October 28, 1862.

* * * *

II. Brig.-Gen. Forrest will take command of the cavalry and two batteries to be assigned to him by the chief of artillery. He will observe the approaches to this point from Nashville, throwing his command as near the latter place as possible, striking and harassing the enemy as opportunity offers, sending also small detachments and taking such steps as he deems best to ascertain the approach of the enemy from the north to Nashville, or toward our lines from any point east or west of Nashville, or from the direction of the Tennessee, River.

* * * *

By command of Maj.-Gen. Breckinridge:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, pp. 980-981.



        28, Feminine Grace Under Fire at the Craven's House on Lookout Mountain

Special Correspondence of the Memphis Appeal.

Army of Tennessee, Wednesday, October 28, 1863.

You will remember that in a former letter I described the successful manner in which our sharpshooters on the other side of Lookout mountain, and some eight or nine miles distant from Chattanooga had blocked up one of the important roads by which the Federals received their supplies….Annoyed by this presence of Confederate troops, the Federal commander on Monday night, by means of some fifty boats suddenly crossed the river, drove in our thin line, and obtained a foothold on this side….During the affair, Moccasin battery, at the base of Lookout Mountain, was busy with its "thunder tongues," and, for three or four hours in the morning, the shelling was, at times, incessant. Several of our guns replied, and, it is believed, not without effect. Much of the Yankee ammunition was expended in firing at Craven's house on Lookout mountain and the road which runs across the height in front….The occupants of Craven's house are mostly females, and, although the place has been persistently shelled since the Federals opened fire, and from ten to fifteen projectiles have passed through the premises, the ladies have determined not to budge an inch; and you know the couplet--

When a woman will, she will, depend on't,

And when she won't, she won't, and that's the end on't.

In this case "she wont." Yesterday while the shelling was heaviest, and our "men were skedaddling" across the line of fire as industriously as their locomotive apparatus would permit, the ladies were coolly preparing for dinner. One of the surgeons who was in the house, says that while he was there a fragment penetrated one of the rooms. Without being in the least disconcerted, the Tennessee matron spoke up in a tone very much like that in which she would reprove a servant for breaking china plate. "Eliza go in there and see what's damaged this time."

Think of that, ye weak legged, faint hearted owners of corduroy and Confederate rages, who dodge like "dancing jimmies" every time you hear the shriek of a shell, and take pattern after this brave, undemoralized, impregnable, bob proof western mother, and don't get "frightened before you're hurt." . . . Quel Qu'un.

Memphis Appeal [Atlanta, Georgia], November 2, 1863.[2]



        28, Skirmish, Russellville

Report of Col. John B. Palmer, Fifty-eighth North Carolina Infantry (CS), commanding Mountain District of North Carolina, relative to the skirmish at Russellville, October 28, 1864.


MAJ.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the recent operations of the force under my command:

* * * *

On October 21 I formed a junction with Gen. Vaughn at Bull's Gap. During the night of that day I moved to Russellville, and having effectually destroyed the railroad in that vicinity and collected and secured the telegraph wire, I, by Gen. Vaughn's directions, returned to Bull's Gap.

On the 27th of October I proceeded, by directions of Gen. Breckinridge, to Morristown for the purpose of conferring with Gen. Vaughn, whose forces I found skirmishing with the enemy. That night my mountain howitzer was ordered forward. I inclose Sergeant Byrd's report, showing the manner in which it was captured by the enemy. Gen. Vaughn requested me to send back to Bull's Gap and have my command in readiness to move the next morning at 6 a. m. to Russellville, should he so order. This I did. Early on the morning of the 28th I addressed a note to Gen. Vaughn to know if my command had been ordered up during the night, in order that if it had I might go back and place it in position at Russellville; or if it had not, that I might go to his headquarters and hold a conference with him as directed by Gen. Breckinridge. I received the following reply from Gen. Vaughn's assistant adjutant-general:

HDQRS. CAVALRY, &C., Morristown, October 28, 1864.

Col. PALMER, Cmdg., &c.:

The general directs me to say, in reply to your inquiry, that your command was ordered to Russellville last night. Enemy are still in our front. Some skirmishing this morning.

Respectfully, &c.,

BIRD G. MANARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

I notified Gen. Vaughn that I would place my command in position at Russellville, and immediately returned to that place, in the vicinity of which I found my command had arrived a few moments before. I selected a line about one mile in advance of Russellville, on the Morristown road, and was moving my command into position when Gen. Vaughn's staff officer arrived from the front and requested me to form my line in rear of Russellville, on the Bull's Gap road. I faced the column about and was marching it to the new position when Gen. Vaughn's retreating cavalry swept by my men in the wildest disorder. My men were hastily thrown across the road and an ineffectual attempt made to stop the fleeing cavalry and induce them to form a line. The rear of Gen. Vaughn's baggage and supply train had just reached my line when the pursuing enemy entered the town on its opposite side. Skirmishers were immediately thrown out from my command on the left and engaged the enemy, while my artillery opened from a slight elevation in rear of my right, effectually checking the enemy's advance and enabling Gen. Vaughn to rally from 150 to 200 men in rear of my line. The enemy made no farther advance, but fell back to Morristown, stating that they had encountered at Russellville the whole of Breckinridge's corps. I had with me not more than 600 men, the balance having been left at Bull's Gap by direction of Gen. Vaughn. From this position I was ordered back to Bull's Gap, and from thence to Greeneville, I protesting against both movements. From Greeneville Gen. Vaughan fell back to Rheatown, and by his directions my command returned to this district.

* * * *

J. B. PALMER, Col., Cmdg. District

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 852-857.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EAST TENN., Wytheville, Va., November 29, 1864.

COL.: When Brig.-Gen. Vaughn met a reverse near Morristown, Tenn., toward the last of October, he fell back to the east bank of the Watauga and the enemy made a corresponding advance. Thinking the enemy too close to Bristol, I collected a miscellaneous force, composed of Vaughn's and Duke's cavalry, some dismounted men of Cosby, Duke, and Giltner, and a few niter and mining men and East Tennessee reserves, amounting to about 1,800 men, with four 12-pounder and two 6-pounder howitzers, and moved forward to meet him. Col. Palmer, from Asheville, N. C., afterward joined me with a mixed force of some 600 men. The force of the enemy was about 2,500 strong, with six pieces of artillery and a large wagon train. He retired before us to Lick Creek, and on the evening of the 11th of November, after a short engagement, his rear guard was driven by Duke's command into Bull's Gap.

An attack from the next morning was arranged as follows: The artillery under Maj. Page, with some dismounted cavalry as a support (the whole under command of Col. George B. Crittenden), was to make a demonstration in front; Gen. Vaughn, with his command, was to attack in rear, while, with Duke's cavalry (dismounted) and a body of dismounted men belonging to Vaughn, Duke, Cosby, and Giltner, under Lieut.-Col. Alston, I was to ascend the mountain and moved on on the enemy's left. The plan was carried out with perfect exactitude, and the enemy actually attacked at the same time in front, flank, and rear. The force on the mountain succeeded in carrying a line of works, but the assault as a whole did not succeeded, most of the troops being unaccustomed to that mode of fighting.

The next day (13th) Col. Palmer arrived, and the same night I moved with Vaughn and Duke to turn the enemy's right, Col. Crittenden following with Col. Palmer's force, the artillery, and the dismounted men of the other commands. The enemy having foolishly withdrawn his pickets, we passed without opposition or notice through Taylor's Gap, about two miles and a half below Bull's Gap, and the enemy having evacuated the gap the same night, at one o'clock on the morning of the 14th, with Vaughn and Duke, I attacked his column near Russellville. The results of this night attack were a good many of the enemy killed and wounded, about 300 prisoners, and all his artillery, wagon trains, &c. This force was routed with much confusion, and few of them stopped this side of Knoxville.

Following to Strawberry Plains, I found strong works on the opposite side of the river, manned and furnished with artillery. The flanks of this position were well protected and it was quite unassailable in front by the troops at my command. The enemy received re-enforcements from the garrisons beyond Knoxville and probably a regiment or two from Chattanooga.

We had artillery firing and active skirmishing for several days, and Gen. Vaughn, crossing the Holston above, made a demonstration on their rear and burned the railroad bridge over Flat Creek, but I made no serious attack on the position.

The weather now became very inclement, the streams much swollen, and the roads almost impassable. I have left Gen. Vaughn with his command and a battery of four guns to hold the country, if possible, as far as the Plains, and have withdrawn the rest of the troops.

The enemy has been driven back nearly 100 miles, and I do not think he will attempt a campaign this winter in upper East Tennessee.

The troops bore with cheerfulness rather unusual exposure and privations, and I have to express my gratification at their general good conduct.

Brig.-Gen. Vaughn, Brig.-Gen. Duke, Col. Crittenden, Col. Palmer, and Lieut.-Col. Alston, commanding dismounted men, together with their officers generally, deserve mention for zeal and good conduct.

Maj. Page, chief of artillery, proved an efficient officer, and I am indebted for valuable services to Maj. Poor, Capt. Sandford, and Lieut. Clay of my staff.

Dr. B. C. Duke, acting chief medical officer, was active in attention to the wounded.

I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 892-893.




[1] Zollicoffer led an attack on October 21, 1861 against Union positions at Rock Castle, Kentucky. While he achieved his objective he was forced to fall back to Cumberland Ford, which emboldened the Unionists' activity around Knoxville.

[2] As cited in:

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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