3, "The most faithful of their faithful cannot be trusted." The work of the Army Police
Army Police Proceedings.
Before the Chief of Army Police, Nashville, March 2.
. . . In the course of investigations before the Chief of Police, it has come to light that the female members of a family in this city, of reputed respectability, are in the habit of exhibiting a bone of the human leg taken from the body of a Union soldier slain in the battle of Bull Run, as a parlor ornament. What a beautiful illustration of womanly instinct and delicacy! To what a height of moral purity and beauty would not these ladies elevate the race! Every feminine virtue recoils with horror at the bare thought of such a sacrilege. The English language does not furnish terms sufficient to express the deep detestation in which the act should be held. It has been supposed that only savages of the most brutal character suffered such practices, but it seems the refinement of the nineteenth century cannot be perfected without them. Ladies of position keeping a portion of the leg of a soldier constantly before them, upon their parlor table! Outraged decency cries shame! shame!! We will warrant that ghosts of deceased Union soldiers, in battalions, will haunt those women during the terms of their natural lives….
The secession women of the city are in a perfect whirlpool of commotion. That terrible Col. Truesdail is giving them a great deal of trouble. They say, "every thing we do and all our plans are carried right straight to him. Who can it be that does it?" In attempting to solve this mystery clique suspects clique, neighbor suspects neighbor. The dearest friends are falling out. The most faithful of their faithful cannot be trusted. How long this most unhappy state may continue, it is impossible to conjecture. An incident occurred a day or two since illustrative of their condition. A lady, who has never dreamed of being in the Police service, called upon the Chief of Police and informed him that certain ladies were accusing her of being one of his detectives, and remarked: "Col. Truesdail, you know that I have never said one word about them; what shall I do; can't you do something to counteract the impression?" The Colonel suggested that a charge of having contributed something to the cause of the Union was highly creditable to her patriotism, and should be to her a source of pride, but that the ladies she referred to were uncharitable enough to doubt his veracity and it would be useless for him to deny any thing. Other similar incidents might be given.
Nashville Dispatch, March 3, 1863.
James B. Jones, Jr.
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN 37214