Saturday, March 15, 2014

3/15/2014 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        15, Committee established to investigate Memphis alderman on immoral conduct accusations

Aldermanic Expulsion.—At the special meeting of the city council, on Friday night [15th], according to the official report, "a quorum being announced, the chairman took his seat and called the board to order, when the mayor explained the object of the meeting to be for the investigation of charges of immoral conduct preferred against Alderman P. T. O'Mahoney, of the First ward. The opinion of the city attorney was asked in relation to the matter, who decided that the board could not, in its legislative capacity, take cognizance of any such acts as was understood to have been charged against the alderman from the First ward." Against the opinion of the city attorney we cite the authority of the city charter, Art. III, Sec. 3: "The Board may determine the rules of its proceedings, fine its members for absence or disorderly behavior; and with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elect, may expel a member." We presume the latter words must be construed to mean "may expel a member for cause," and the whole sentence evidently leaves the board the judge of what constitutes a cause sufficient for expulsion.

Memphis Daily Appeal, March 19, 1861.



        15, Letter of the brothers David & Darius Stoker to their parents; picket duty, capture of Federals and recapture, Morgan's men wearing Union uniforms, flag of truce, Generals Mitchell and Morgan

Camp Andrew Jackson.

Nashville. Tenns Mar 15th/1862

Dear parents,

Once I take the kindess again "to drop you a few lines" to inform you of the present condition of our health. It is good as usual at this time. I must tell you once more "that our health has never been better than since we left home." Our regiment has been reduced some since our last March (as it was rather a hard one) but it is now recruiting fast again. But little sickness in the Reg: now Last: Wednesday we went on pickit with the largest regiment that has been taken out yet: gone two days but found nothing: Our was the advance "some Eight miles from Camp. As we was returning back to camp" we met General Mitchel. With about 4,000 men going out on a Scouting expidition: takeing with him four pecies of Artillery" & about forty waggons. The idea of so many waggons was rather a strange thing to us seeing every one with hay & straw in. But this was a plan to catch; Capt. Morgan one of the rebels officers that has been scouting through the country with about forty or fifty men captureing every thing he can get hands on! Now & then takeing some of our men prisoners. A few days ago he ventured to our lines by takeing the clothes off our men & putting them on his the Capt Morgan dressed in citizens clothes. Some of our teams ventured a little to far & fell in his hands by him approaching them dressed in his citizen suit & walking between two af his own men dressed in our mens clothing. The teamsters made no pretentions to escape thinking our boys were bringing in a prisoner" came up to them presented a pistol & ordered them to surrender then cutting the horses from waggons & placeing our men on "them, made for the Woods"; but this was soon known & the cavalry sent after them! Dureing the night our men came on them getting back all our men but two & takeing five rebels prisioner" also getting all our horses & takeing a number of theirs. But Morgan weapes: for he is sharp. Now for General Mitchels to get him? As I stated before of the number of men & teams that was taken out went the distance of about 12 miles then sending the waggons in front placeing some five or six men in every waggon covered with straw. The infantry was kept back for reinforcement if wanted. After out teams had gone the distance of about two miles they were halted by a man comeing from ambush with one of our men that he had taken prisoner by his side. The teams were all halted: those men concealed in straw sprang out immediately & surrounded them as prisioners finding it to be  capt: Morgan. They was requested to bring a general.. A messenger was sent after one bringing General Mitchel him self: on the reception of Gen. Mitchel by Morgan he presented a flag of truce with the excuse that he was bringing back one of our men that was taken prisioner by them. He was to sharp to ask our own men to surrender for fear of being caught. By demanding a surrender they would had him fast. But all they could do was to send him through our lines & let him go. But we will get him before long. I read your letter dated Feb. 10th glad to hear you was all well; I must close for the present hopeing this will be received in good health & I will write you more the next time! farewell : yours forever. Write again

D.P.S. & D.R.S.

Extra. After finishing my letter & in the act of closing it "who steps in our tent but Lieu. Ashbrook of the 17st Ohio Reg. He is well & has been ever since his enlistment. He also requested me to send you his best respects. This is good health. He is within Eight Miles of us in Camp on the Memphis Pike.

David & Darius Stoker Letter[1]


        15, 1863 - Measures by Federal forces to protect public health in Murfreesboro, an excerpt from the diary of John C. Spence

At this time, the army were [sic] receiving large droves of beef cattle. Some of them were fine looking, other had to be killed soon, to keep them from dying. [sic] They were generally kept in lots in and about town. It took about fifty or sixty every day to supply the demand of the army and hospitals. They would drive out that number, [then] shoot them down. When butchered, it generally covered over a half acre ground, the entrails, heads and feet, left lying there-so in the course of time several acres was [sic] covered in this way, and it began to get warm weather. The smell became very offensive.

We began to be apprehensive that it would cause sickness, but as fortune would have it, the authorities took the matter in hand-dug pits, had the offensive [offal] collected up and thrown in and covered up. This caused the atmosphere to improve. Large numbers of horses were shot, such as were very poor, diseased and woarn [sic] out. Here was a fortune lost [sic] to some speculating, enterprising Yankee, in the way of sculls [sic], horns and shin bones.

A system of street cleaning now commenced. Hands were set to work scraping up all the litter that was lying in the streets, gutters and corners, [and] hauled it out of town. Things now begin to put on a more cheerful and healthy appearance....

Spence Diary.



        15, The fate of pro-Confederate Cherokees


A Treaty of Peace with the Cherokees of North Carolina-Thirty Prisoners, with Tuckaneeche, their Chief, take the Oath of the Great Father at Washington.

Correspondence of the New York Tribune.

Knoxville, March 15.-While riding, a day or two since out on the Marysville road, I came upon three Indians who were slowly wending their way toward Knoxville. One of the party was tall, muscular and swarthy, with the long, black and coarse hair and high cheekbones which everywhere mark the Indian. The other, a man of medium size, with only just enough of the hair and complexion of his comrade to suggest his origin, while his intelligible English grey eyes, and other features of the white race, declared him a half-breed. He wore a little grey Confederate cap, and other clothes commonly worn by the Rebel soldiers. The third and principal personage was an old man bending under the weight of eighty years, supporting himself by a long cane, which he held in both hands, while the other two respectfully waited the slower motion of their old friend.

He wore no covering on his head except a handkerchief wrapped about it like a turban. His features were intelligent, with a pleasing, thoughtful expression, but little furrowed by age. A healthy crop of grey hair covered his head. While I engaged the half-breed in conversation, the old man stood leaning on the top of his staff, and listened very inventively, though seeming to understand but imperfectly what was said. This old man, I learned, was Tuckaneeche, the chief of the North Carolina Cherokees, who had come all the way from his mountain home n North Carolina to see the great Indian-the head of the army of the Union, in Knoxville. The visit, it may well be supposed, was not wholly a voluntary one. A number of his tribe were prisoners of war, detained here, and their liberty depending upon such arrangements and pledges as he and they might be able jointly to make with the military authorities touching their future conduct.

The Indian prisoners captured by the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry some time since, on account of which has been sent to you, asserted that they were made to believe by the Rebel leaders that they were fighting for the old Government; and gave assurances that if their tribe and chief could be made acquainted with the true state of affairs, they would lay down their arms at once and forsake their old leader, Thomas[2], in a body. It was with the view of coming to some understanding with these people, and, if possible, of securing their friendship, or at least their immune neutrality, that two of the prisoners were permitted to return to their village of its vicinity in the Chilhowie Mountains, in order to explain matters and bring in their chief. Meantime, the prisoners were held as so many hostages for the faithful performance of the mission. The two messengers had to proceed with the greatest caution and address, so as not to be captured while upon their delicate and difficult errand.

Upon learning the situation of his people, the old chief rose up, and, taking his staff and a small supply of food, cheerful undertook the journey. They were over a week on the way.

Tuckaneeche was received by the big Indians in Knoxville with distinguished consideration, General Schofield, commanding the department, General Sam Carter, Provost Marshal-General, and Captain Thomas, his chief of staff, extended to him the kindness which is so well calculated to renew the memory of the ancient good will heretofore and always exercised toward their tribe by the Government at Washington.[3] Why should they fight against their best friends? They say it was altogether a mistake, and that they can prove they hurrahed for Jeff. Davis and the union!  If that be so, they might certainly be forgiven. Let the Indian have the benefit of his own story. Though unwilling to spoil so good a one, I must confess I do not believe more than half of it. The half-breed, with who I spoke freely, and who neither knew me, nor the motive I had for making the inquiry, stated that the Indians were "drug into the fight." He "heard old Thomas tell them, if they didn't fight for the South, there were South[ern] men enough to kill every last Injin of 'em, and they would do it too."

After a true and full explanation of affairs, and the arms, conditions and benefits of the oath of amnesty and pardon which the Great Father in Washington had offered them, they were permitted, jointly and generally to swear perpetual good will to Uncle Sam. The old chief, with a king of Hebraic signature, appended his name and title to the document. Solemnly, pledging that, for himself and his tribe, he would forever bear true faith and allegiance to the Government of the United States, and give no aid, encouragement or comfort to its enemies in any matter whatsoever. The ceremony released some thirty Cherokees from further detention as prisoners of war, but they will not return to their homes until our neighborhood is freed from the presence of Thomas and his pirate Crew. From the most trustworthy information I can obtain, Thomas' Indians have about all deserted him, and his agency for mischief is pretty much at an end. There is no doubt d that the Indians will kept their agreement if it is possible for them to do so, which is the difficult point in the case. As soon as they can be reached by Rebel agents of conscription they will either be shot, or forced into the ranks again. I learn that many of them have been thrown into prison, and that others are wandering in dens and caves of the mountains to escape the Rebel service.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1864.




[1] D.P.S. David & Darius Stoker Letter, Center for Archival Collections, David & Darius Stoker Letter, MMS 1244 ;

[2] Col. W. H. Thomas' who commanded "Thomas' Legion" comprised solely of Cherokee Indians who fought for the Confederacy.

[3] The Trail of Tears notwithstanding.

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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