27, William Driver & "Old Glory" - Nashville before & after its fall to the Union
A letter from a Salem Shipmaster at Nashville.
Rejoicings of a Staunch Union Man.
The following letter from an old Salem shipmaster to his daughter in that city, we copy from the Salem Register. The patriotic of the "old salt" so long held under, evidently boils over at the glorious advance of the Federal army:
Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 27, 1862.
Dear M.---Thank God! The flag of the Union now floats over our proud, deluded Capital. On Tuesday, the 25th, Brig. General Nelson's wing of the army, in fifteen transports, escorted by one gunboat came up to town without firing a gun. The Ohio 6th, the first to land, hoisted their beautiful flag on our State House. A few moments, or about an hour later, I carried my flag, "Old Glory" as we have been used to call it, to the Capitol, presented it to the Ohio 6th, and hoisted it with my own hands on the capitol, over this proud city, amid the Heaven shaking cheers of thousands-over this proud city, where, for the last eight months, I have been treated with scorn and shunned as one infected with the leprous spot.
My dear child! How shall I tell you all my sorrows during that fearful period? My soul filled with scorn while insult upon insult poured upon me. God of my Fathers! It was the desert passage of my life. No pillar of cloud by day, no fire by night to guide me, I groped along in anguish, in sorrow, but not despair. No! no! I always hoped, although against hope, that this hour would come. Again and again have I told these deluded men, in the hour of madness, "Gentlemen, I will yet hoist my flag, 'Old Glory' over your proud, fallen Capitol – then, gentlemen, I am ready to lie down with my Fathers of the Heroic Age." That hour has come! With my own hands, in the presence of thousands, I hoisted that flag where it now floats, on the staff which has trembled with the flattering of Treason's hated banner. My child! My loved one! and you my brothers and sisters. S___,T__,J___,G___, and H___, I am satisfied? I am now willing to go hence to God, for I know he is about to give my people rest.
For the last ten days I have scarcely slept at all. The Texan Rangers had been told I had a flag and intended to hoist it, and they swore to burn me in my house if I did not give it up: but a bunch of Union friends, and _____of our city watch, saved my house and flag. The later I had made into a comfort early in the insurrections, and have kept it on or under my bed ever since, no child of mine knowing where to find it.
I should have told you that Buell's pickets were within sight of our town two days before the arrival of Nelson's brigade.
So much for the surrender of the town. Would to God I could give some cheering report of its people-that I could tell you of the hopes of future love and peace-but I cannot. In all this vast city of 27,000 souls, but one Union flag waves. That is my own, "Old Glory." Mr. _____ hoisted one yesterday morning, but took it in before noon. Sullen silence and looks of hate are seen on almost every face. Our women are worse than the men. As I passed Zollicoffer's house, with a guard of the Ohio 6th, and my flag, one woman, a wealth one, called out "look at Old D., the traitor," and then went up a hiss and yell from a dozen more. I tell you, as I have often before, the Union men of the South are slaves without arms, and palsied with long oppression. The Government has no hope of help from them, as far as Middle Tennessee is concerned.
Buell's force has been crossing the Cumberland and moving on the Murfreesboro' road for two nights and days. The traitors are retreating Southward, cowed, half clad, half starved, and not paid at all: and yet, with all this, if they get a chance they will fight like devils. They make their track a desolation, burning every bridge, every tavern on the way. The two bridges on the Cumberland at our city, costing $600,000 dollars, are destroyed by Floyd's, the brigands and robber's order. Mad insane blind on rolls the retreating army of Bowling Green, a terror to friends more than foes. God knows where they will stop.
I must close for the present, as the boat leaves now.
Farewell, loved one! May God keep you, is the prayer of your father.
W. [illiam] D. [river]
Let my old town rejoice with us, fore we do rejoice.
New Hampshire Sentinel, March 20, 1862.
27, Frank M. Guernsey's letter to Fanny relative to sickness
Navy Yard Memphis, Tenn.
Feby 27th, 1863
My Dear Fanny
I have just received a letter from you of quite late date (Feby. 20th) and as I have not ambition enough to do any work, I will answer it. The Adjutant has gone away on an expedition against the Rebs [sic] and has left me chief cook and bottle washer, with lots of work on my hands.
I am taking things very easy however and do not intent to fret myself. I have been on the sick list lately; or at least very near so. I am around and doing duty simply because I will not give up and be sick. We have had very bad weather here lately, it has rained almost every day for some time excepting to day which is very pleasant, you may guess what kind of going we are having, the mud is a little less than two feet deep on a level, but I dont [sic] go out much so that it does not trouble me but very little.
There is very little news of any account here. Everything is very quiet, though our camp was somewhat excited this morning. We received orders to have part of our Regmt. [sic] fall in and proceed up the river to attack a camp of Rebels, we sent out three companies on board a tug boat. I was obliged to stay behind as I am hardly in shape to do much fighting. The boys were all very anxious to go, and have a fight. They may not meet the enemy but if they are to be found they will find them I commenced this letter yesterday but had not time to finish it so I will do it now. The expedition has returned. They found no enemy but captured a small quantity of medicine. They were rather disgusted with the way their fight turned out. Fanny if you chance to see Glen please tell him that Lieut. Patten was brought into camp last night by a file of soldiers. Patten was a Lieut. In our Regmt. [sic] but deserted some time since while we were on the march, he came to Memphis; and when next seen was with a band of Rebels that were captured yesterday. His punishment will probably be severe as he has not a friend in the Reg[iment]. We all feel that he has brought a disgrace on our Reg[iment]. and are perfectly willing that he should suffer for it. Fannie, I hope ere this reaches you that your Mother may have recovered from her sickness. I understand that it has been very sickly north this winter. The last I heard from Almond Sister Lottie and her little Cora were both very sick with the Typhoid fever. I have not heard lately how they are and am feeling quite anxious about them. I suppose they will write soon.
I am begining [sic] to get sick of this kind of a life, and am longing for spring to come so that we can go into active service in the field. This being cooped up here in the City with the same old routine of duty to do day after day, soon becomes irksome. There is a lack of excitement and every thing gets stale. I like the excitement of a brisk campaign (in good weather) chasing the Rebels or being chased by them, though it is the most please to chase them of the two.
Fannie wouldn't I like to just step in and receive that greeting you described so well in your last. I guess you would find one who could return in fourfold if I am not mistaken.
March 17, 1863
I guess Fannie you will be supprised [sic] in the difference of the dates on this sheet. The fact of the business is I have been pretty sick since the foregoing was written. I have had a run of the fever but am now convalescing. It has been only a day or two since I have been able to sit up much so you see I am very weak yet. I will write again in a few days. good by [sic], write soon, love to all and accept much yourself
Frank M. G.
27, Skirmish near Bloomington, on the Hatchie River
FEBRUARY 27, 1863.-Skirmish near Bloomington, on the Hatchie River, Tenn.
Report of Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF COLUMBUS, March 2, 1863.
GEN.: Col. Wolfe, commanding at Fort Pillow, reports that Capt. Moore, Second Illinois Cavalry, reached, on the 27th ultimo, at daybreak, with 200 mounted [men], the principal camp of the rebel Col. [R. V.] Richardson, in the neighborhood of Bloomington, on the Hatchie. The rebels, however, started on the previous day to the southeast, leaving only 8 men to guard the camp and collect conscripts. This guard was taken, with all the property in their charge, 27 horses and mules, wagons and commissary stores, and the camp, with several large buildings and comfortable quarters, entirely destroyed.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. I, p. 422.
27, A Concert at the Athenaeum, Columbia, Tennessee
Columbia, Tenn., Feb. 27, 1863,
A concert was given last night at the Atheneum [sic] for the benefit of sick soldiers, under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Smith, principal of the Young Ladies' Seminary of this place, and was attended by such distinguished guests as Generals Van Dorn, Forrest, W. H. Jackson and Frank C. Armstrong. Notwithstanding a heavy shower prevailing, the attendance was large and the Atheneum [sic] crowded. The programme was a selection of some of the finest instrumental and local music from the Italian and English. The "Bonnie White Flag"—a beautiful piece and piece of beautiful composition was freely sung and loudly applauded. Casta Diva, sung by Mrs. Leigh, from whose pretty lips the musical words flowed in perennial and entrancing strains, was one of the finest pieces it has ever been our lot to listen to. And Vivra, as sung by Mrs. Leigh and Miss Smith, (daughter of the professor) thrilled every bosom with quick and joyous pulsations, leaving [?] a harmonious chorus, drawing each bosom in consonance with the other by the "concord of sweet sounds," which enraptured every one present. The grand final chorus of "Hallelujah," by Handel, as performed by Miss Thomas on the organ, accompanied by their pianos, their harps, and several string instruments and cymbals, and sung by the whole coterie, was magnificently grand, and produced a fine effect.
The "Chevalier" and a Tribute to Gen. Sydney Johnston, original compositions by Lieut. Col. Hawkins, were admirably read by that gentleman and greeted with much applause.
The ladies who participated in the concert role were all dressed in most admirable taste and indeed with no little extravagance, and made the finest display of feminine apparel and attire we have seen in the South since the commencement of hostilities. Perhaps it is due to ladies further South to say that these fair belles of Columbus, have been enabled to dress better and more tastily than their Confederate sisters further southward, from the fact that they have been able during the Yankee occupation of their country, to select such articles of dress and virtue, as others were unable to procure on account of the blockade.
Most of the ladies who took part in the ceremonies were from the Ladies' Seminary of this place, under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Smith, one of the most accomplished and agreeable of gentlemen, and whose suavity of manner and perfect politeness we have never seen equaled. The Seminary is one of the first in the South, and is perhaps better filled up, more plentifully supplied with musical instruments, and more thoroughly adapted for the accomplished education of young ladies, than any now open in the country. It is a matter of great pleasure to us that the young ladies of this establishment pay much attention to that sweetest of instruments, the harp, which is rapidly taking the place in our households once occupied by the pianoforte. Miss F. F. Smith, one of the graduates of the establishment, and the daughter of the Professor, handles the sweet-toned instrument to perfection itself, and elicits from it such sweet and perfect harmony, as to draw the whole soul forth, and hold it entranced.
* * * *
Mobile Register and Advertiser, March 8, 1863.
27, Skirmish near Knoxville
Report of Lieut. Col. Benjamin P. Estes, Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry.
HDQRS. THIRTEENTH KENTUCKY VOL. INFANTRY, Five Miles from Knoxville, Tenn., January 28, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you that, on yesterday, January 27, at 2,30 p. m., a body of cavalry, supposed to be a full battalion, made a charge on my right, driving in my outposts and capturing 1 corporal and 4 privates, who are still in the enemy's hands. My reserves on the right and center were compelled to fall back; that on the right, resting between the Strawberry Plains and Miller roads, was driven within 200 yards of my camp.
In consequence of my isolated position, the like circumstance will occur so often as the enemy see proper to make an attack, unless cavalry patrols are sent out in my front on these roads to defect the advances of the enemy and warn me of their approach.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. P. ESTES, Lieut. Col., Cmdg. 13th Kentucky Vol. Infantry.
Report of Maj. William W. Wheeler, Twenty-third Michigan Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD MICHIGAN INFANTRY, Camp Pratt, January 28, 1864.
COL.: I have the honor to report that the picket of my regiment, stationed on the Strawberry Plains road, was attacked yesterday p. m. (27th) at nearly 2 o'clock by a cavalry force of the enemy, numbering between 150 and 200 men, and driving in with a loss of 1 man mortally wounded and 1 corporal and 5 men prisoners. The enemy was enabled, through cover of woods, to form line of attack very near to our advance sentinels without observation.
Four of the 6 prisoners lost by us were on post as sentinels, and as often as the enemy attacks so often shall we lose the greater portion of our sentinels, unless mounted men may patrol the roads to points beyond the view of infantry sentinels and patrols. A large force of the enemy, probably 400 or 500 men, was held in his reserve. Many of the enemy were carried back on the saddles of their comrades.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. WHEELER, Maj., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 151-152.
 As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214