Monday, March 10, 2014

3/10/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

10, A Capital Crime in Confederate Memphis

MURDER ON JEFFERSON STREET – Between 7 and 8 o'clock yesterday morning, Mr. Hite, who has a store on Jefferson street, south side, between Main and Second streets, entered the cigar sore of Mr. J. D. Bonneweld, next door, to get a key when he found him lying on his back in the doorway of the portion that divides a sitting room from the rest of the store. On examining him he found he was dead. He procured the aid of Policeman Viers, and an examination was made of the body and store. The body was found uninjured except on the neck, and there were some dark marks showing that death had been produced by strangulation. The opinion of the officer is that the deceased was strangled by means of the silk handkerchief he wore around his neck. The store door was unfastened and a cup of coffee stood on the table in the sitting room. On the store counter near where the body lay, stood a box of fine cigars open. It appears probable that the murderer or murderers entered the store and asked for cigars, that Bonneweld left his table where he was taking his supper to wait upon them, and that he was seized and strangled. The safe was found open with the key in it, and the money I had contained was gone. The amount believed by the neighbors and acquaintances of the deceased to have been not less than fifteen thousand dollars, and as he is known to have been buying gold for some time – having intention of returning to his home in Germany when the state of public affairs would permit - it is believed that amount was in gold. Mr. Bonneweld had an account at the Savings Institution on Madison street, and on Saturday last he drew out what he had on deposit and closed his account. The officers of the bank think some then thousand dollars was probably laid out fully wrapped up in some insurance papers, the declaration of the deceased of intention to become a citizen signed by Mr. Wheeler, clerk of the criminal court and dated 1857, and some other papers and two rings and a breast pin, were also found undisturbed. The money drawer had been taken out and the loose case carried off. Some money wrapped up in different papers were [sic] left behind. The pantaloon pockets of the deceased were turned inside out his watch guard was broken and the watch taken away. The deceased was seen about seven o'clock, and it is believed the murder was done between that time and nine o'clock.[1]

The deceased from the neighborhood of Hamburg, Germany. He was between fifty and sixty years of age. He was very conventional in his habits, tough doing a good business he spent very little money. The circumstances of the murder remind us of the murder at the bank in Jackson, Tenn., some time ago. Nothing is apparent[ly] known to [give a description] in any quarter. This occurrence confirms what we have said two or three times lately – that there are at this time in the city some, and not a few, of the worst villains of the Confederate States. Citizens cannot be too careful when out in the streets at late hours, and in attending to the safe fastening of their house doors and shutters.

Memphis Appeal, March 11, 1862.



10, On Island No. 10.

The Island is situated in the corner of that bend of the Mississippi river which touches the border of Tennessee, a few miles further up the river than New Madrid, although nearly southwest at that point. It is located about two hundred and forty miles from St. Louis, and nine hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans. The elevation of the river at this point is about two hundred feet above the level of the delta, or its mouth. The average depth of the water at this point is from ninety to one hundred and twenty feet, and the breadth of the stream from mainland to mainland about nine hundred yards. The current runs by the island at a moderately fast rate, and with the power of the three rivers.-Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio-combined. The island is near the southern, or what might be termed the eastern, bank of the river that at his point, the stream varies from its southern course and turns abruptly to the northwest, leaving this island about forty-five miles, by the course of the river, from Hickman. It is near Obionsville.

Louisville Daily Journal, March 10, 1862.[2]



10, 1864 - Bradley County Misery

Destitution in Bradley County.

Office of Public Charity,

Cleveland, Tenn., Feb. 29, 1864

Permit me, through the columns of your paper, and other Union papers in Tennessee, to call attention to the condition of families of Union soldiers in this county (Bradley).

On the arrival of the Detached Division of the 15th army corps, General Matthis, commanding, there was found to be the greatest destitution prevailing throughout this region of country. I was detailed, by the General commanding, to open an office in this place to receive and examine applications, and endeavor partially to relieve the universal want from our meagre [sic] supply of army stores. As the wants of the army had to be the first consideration, it left but little to relieve the wants of destitute citizens, but we have been giving them what little could be spared.

This country has been so completely ravaged by the rebels that those who were in good circumstances have nothing left with which to aid their needy neighbors--all are destitute.

Most of those who have been applicants for aid are females, and nearly all of them have husbands, sons or brothers in the Union army, either in Nashville or Knoxville, or in the vicinity of those places. For want of mail facilities or other means of intercommunication, they do not so much as hear from their friends in the army, and of course have received very little pecuniary aid from them.

But if they had money in the greatest abundance there is nothing to buy. If the little supply we are giving them is cut off, as it probably must be, very soon, I see nothing but starvation before many of these poor people. They cannot long live here, and my purpose in writing these few lines is to ask (unsolicited) if there cannot be some arrangement made by which the wives and children of soldiers in our army can be got to some place where remittances from their friends in the army can reach them, and where they can obtain at least a precarious living until these troublous times are over. Let me say that the Unionism of these people has been proved in the fire.

I am a perfect stranger to these people--have been among them but a few days, and expect to leave them to-morrow, probably never to see them again in this world. All that I have said for them is perfectly disinterested in me and unsolicited by them.

Yours, &c.,

W. G. KEPHART, Chaplain 10th Iowa Infantry.

Nashville Daily Union, March 10, 1864.[3]


10, Return of religious animosities between the Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations in Bolivar

To-day was the day appointed by our President [Jefferson Davis] as a day of fasting and prayer. I for one observed it, though perhaps not with the right spirit. All the animosity which formerly existed (but which we had hoped had completely died out) between the Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches seems with the last few days to have been revived. Everybody is talking of the [sic] church some think one some the other. Everybody is commenting on a book which the Episcopalian Minister is circulating by the name of "A Presbyterian Minister in search of The [sic] Church" which our pastor pronounced (also any good sensed person) a collection of falsehoods to deceive the ignorant. There is a class of young ladies who intend being confirmed, and this book is given preparatory to confirmation. How wrong to cultivate feeling so injurious to the cause of Christ and so unchristian like in their bearing, instead of cultivating feelings of goodwill toward all men in imitation of our gentle Jesus. The apple of discord has now been thrown among us. Father is divided against Son, Mother against daughter, all ties of Christian affection completely and perhaps forever surrendered....Yankees reported in eight miles of town this morning. At LaGrange this evening, also at Salisbury, I believe.

Diary of Sally Wendel Fentress, March 10, 1865.



10, Guerrilla Outrages in Tennessee

The Memphis Bulletin of the 4th prefaces another half column of guerrilla items with these remarks:

Very few persons have any idea of the reign of terror that exists just outside our army lines. The numberless rages, murders, robberies and conscriptions that daily occur are not, in most cases, known in the city until some days after the happen.

New Orleans Times, March 10, 1865.


[1] No record has been found to indicate that this crime was ever solved.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] As cited in:

[1] No record has been found to indicate that this crime was ever solved.

[2] As cited in PQCW.

[3] 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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