Monday, March 31, 2014

3.31.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        31, Skirmish on the Purdy Road, near Adamsville

MARCH 31, 1862.-Skirmish on the Purdy Road, near Adamsville, Tenn.


No. 1.-Brig. Gen. Lewis Wallace, U. S. Army.

No. 2.-Lieut. Charles H. Murray, Fifth Ohio Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Lewis Wallace, U. S. Army.


Crump's Landing, Tenn., April 1, 1862.

SIR: I inclose a report of a skirmish between our picket at Adamsville and a small body of the rebels, which resulted unfortunately for us. As the general will see, the officer reporting attributes the misfortune to a deficiency of arms. My opinion is, however, it was partly from that cause and partly from his bad management, having, according to his own showing, but few arms; and the enemy being superior in number and armed with shot-guns, he ought either to have avoided a fight or charged pell-mell. What he says about the deficiency of arms and its effect upon his men I think worthy of attention, and with that opinion I beg to call the general's notice to it.

Very respectfully,

LEW. WALLACE, Gen., Third Division.

No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Charles H. Murray, Fifth Ohio Cavalry.

ADAMSVILLE, April 1, 1862.

SIR: I was yesterday evening intrusted with 28 men from Company I, Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, and instructed to proceed on the main road from this place to Purdy and relieve the temporary cavalry picket that had been thrown out, under command of Lieut. A. C. Rossman, on the approach of our forces to this place. On reaching the rendezvous of our picket Lieut. Rossman reported that the enemy's pickets had been seen during the afternoon but a quarter of a mile in advance of our own, and that there were suspicious indications that the enemy's cavalry contemplated making a charge upon our pickets. With this information I deemed it necessary to advance all the force under my command, to station the first night relief, and reconnoiter the ground of our outer pickets, with a view to place them in the safest position for the night. When I reached our out pickets I found the enemy were hovering around a neighboring woods in front. I drew in our pickets a short distance, and stationed 4 carbineers and 2 men with pistols below a small hill in the road, where they would be in some measure screened from the enemy, and yet able to discover their approach a long distance on the road. I had just completed this arrangement and wheeled my main force to return when the picket signaled the approach of the enemy's cavalry. I immediately commanded the main force about and ordered the carbineers to support the pickets. The carbineers in the force advanced with the pickets to the brow of the hill and checked the rebel charge. When they reached this position the rebels, who had advanced within a few paces, opened a rapid and severe fire from their double-barreled shot-guns. This our men returned with spirit, nor did a man flinch until they had emptied their carbines and pistols.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the bravery that this little band manifested, as they received the full fire of an overwhelming foe. During this engagement the main force to stand firm below the hill, where they were under cover-the enemy's fire passing 3 or 4 feet over their heads.

When the pickets gave way and fell back on our ranks many of the horses, which were unaccustomed to firing, became restive and produced confusion in our ranks. At the same time the enemy advanced, and our men, most of whom were armed with nothing but a saber, gave way, and a general retreat followed. The enemy pursued about half a mile.

We lost in this engagement 3 men, with their arms (armed with carbine, pistol, and saber), as follows: Sergt. E. T. Cook and Privates William Ledwell and John Pelley. When Sergeant Cook was seen he was riding amongst the rebels, fighting them hand to hand. It is not ascertained if he was wounded before being taken prisoner. Ledwell is supposed to be badly wounded or killed, as his saddle was covered with blood. Pelley is a prisoner, and supposed unharmed. The horses of the captured men by some means escaped and returned to camp with their saddle equipments. Four of our horses were hit; one disabled.

In concluding this report permit me to say that our men will not stand and cope with such a well-armed foe while they themselves are so inefficiently and poorly armed. We have now but 7 carbineers to our company and no cartridges for them. We are in possession of but 28 pistols, and they were long since condemned as wholly unfit for service. They are a spurious weapon, made out of cast iron, and one half of the time will neither cock nor revolve. These facts contribute to discourage our men and chill their ardor.

Every succeeding defeat similar to the present will render our men more timid and the rebels more confident. Every engagement of our cavalry with theirs, under our present poorly-armed condition, must prove disastrous. Our men are brave. They ask for good arms; they deserve them. They say, "Give us good weapons and we will fight to the death."

I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

C. H. MURRAY, Lieut. Company I, Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 78-79.



        31, Parson Brownlow's sick bed narrative

Persecution of Parson Brownlow.

His Own Story of His Trials.

The following narrative is from Dr. Brownlow's own lips, and lately dictated by him while lying sick at Nashville, Tenn.

Our reign of terror has been as violent and relentless as ever was experienced in the civilized world.

I will not pause to speak of the several elections held to carry the State out, but will content myself by saying that it was never fairly voted out, but forced out at the point of a bayonet, good men being unwilling to encounter the insults threats, and injuries of the Secesh mob.

The stream of Secession fire commenced pouring through the town of Knoxville upon the East Tennessee Railroad as far back as twelve months ago, thousands of armed troops going toward the Potomac before Lincoln's proclamation appeared and before the assault upon Fort Sumter.

My house and office were singled out as objects worthy of special assault and battery. The infuriated Southern soldiers, of the lowest morals imaginable, were encouraged by the Secession citizens to put down the flag over my residence and demolish my office. Upon the arrival of every new installment, while awaiting transportation, they surrounded my house, howling like wolves, swearing and cursing like troopers, and blackguarding its inmates without regard to age or sex.

I continued to fight them in every legitimate shape until October 25, 1861, when they seized upon my office, building, press, type and engine, and used the edifice for repairing and preparing guns for their soldiers. On the 6th of November the election for President and Vice President of the Rebel Government, and for members of the Rebel Congress took place.

The Union voters refused to go to the polls, the result of which was that Davis and Stephens obtained no votes of any consequence, and their Congressmen were elected by some 700 votes from the largest districts. Out of 175,000 votes in the whole State, Davis and Stephen received about 25,000, and mighty few of these in East Tennessee-the Sheriffs and their deputies utterly refusing to open polls.

This exasperated soldiers and citizens of the Secesh party, and they determined to hang the leading Unionists. At the same time the Legislature passed a law ordering all Union men to give up their fire-arms of every description, under penalty of fine and imprisonment. This was followed in East Tennessee by the burning of bridges by Union men. Then came the tug of war. On this condition of affairs, at the earnest solicitation of my family and friends, I retreated into the "Smoky Mountains" with a company of ten or twelve Unionists, among whom was a venerable minister of the Gospel, in his 77th year, who had served as an officer in two campaigns, under Gen. Jackson in the war of 1812, fighting not for the "Southern Confederacy," but for the United States of America. This venerable man of God had committed no other offence save that of declaring himself for the Federal Government, under whose flag he had fought and bled. In these mountains, far beyond the limits of civilization, we encamped for days, and nights together, subsisting upon bear meat, will turkeys, and such provisions as we were able to carry with us.

After a time we returned to the settlements, traveling by night and putting up by day at the houses of friends. Meantime the Rebel cavalry were out in pursuit of us with double-barreled shot-guns, with orders to shoot us down at sight and capture none of us as prisoners. We separated, and some of our number were captured. They were unable to find me, although I saw their cavalry pass my hiding place in rapid succession at different times. Finally, failing to capture me, the Secretary of War, Benjamin, the Jew, instructed Major-General Crittenden to give me passports and an escort out of the "Confederacy," into the United States lines, on the ground that I was a dangerous man to the South, and keeping up the Union sentient of East Tennessee. General Crittenden addressed me a note saying if I would report myself at his head-quarters within twenty-four hours, he would grant me passports and escorts. I did so promptly the next day, and it was agreed that I should start the next morning, escorted by Captain Gillespie's company of cavalry, into Zollicoffer's lines. But that evening about sunset, Confederate Attorney Ramsey had me arrested by the Marshal on a warrant for treason, founded on the editorials of my paper before the State seceded. I was refused a trial and security, though I offered to enter into a bond of $100,000 for my appearance. Consequently I was thrown into the Knoxville jail on the 6th of December, where I found one hundred and fifty Union men, many of them the best citizens of East Tennessee. We had neither table, bench, chair, nor stool and the provisions furnished were the offal of a miserable old hotel, kept by the Confederate Marshal. While there, they would take out as many as two at a time and set on their coffins, in a cart, and, surrounded by bayonets, carry them to the gallows and hang them. Secession ladies of Knoxville [were] going out to witness the frolic. In one instance, a man by the name of Haun was hung with only an hour's notice. He requested that a minister should come and pray for him. His request was denied with cursing and bitterness. The jails, in the other counties were many of them filled also, and as they became crowded the prisoners were sent off in gangs of thirty and forty at a time to Tuscaloosa for confinement during the war. Their money and fire-arms were taken from them and confiscated in favor of the jailers.

After a confinement of four weeks, I was taken down with typhoid fever. Upon the physician certifying to the commander that my condition was critical, I was removed to a room in my own residence and a double guard placed around me to prevent any intercourse between the Unionists and myself. There I lay eight weeks longer badly salivated, so low as to require assistance in getting in or out of bed. Finding myself at length able to travel, I requested Mr. Benjamin to carry out his promise. Accordingly on the 3d of March I started for Nashville by rail, with an armed guard of ten men, under the command of two Rebel officers of my selection. I will not pause to narrate all the incidents by the way, as I contemplate the publication of all the facts in a more permanent form.

Upon my arrival at Shelbyville, fifty-five miles south of Nashville, I found the Rebel army in large numbers rapidly retreating and greatly alarmed. General Hardee, in command of Shelbyville, refused to let me pass, and held me in confinement ten days, threatening to send me to Montgomery, Alabama, and imprison me there. The Unionists of the town and county were so numerous and enthusiastic in their demonstrations at my quarters that Hardee said this Brownlow demonstration must stop, or he would take him in hand. When shown the flag of truce and Benjamin's pass he excused himself by saying that he didn't wish me to inform General Buell of the amount of stores in Shelbyville. Finally, the army all leaving, excepting Morgan's 500 cavalry, 200 of whom were Texan Rangers, who swore violently that they intended to kill me before I reached the Federal lines. I employed several buggies, stole a march upon them, and went off at a rapid speed on the Knowlinsville [sic] turnpike instead of the usual road to Nashville.

On Saturday, the 15th, I arrived within the Federal lines, seven miles south of Nashville, where Brigadier-General Wood received my flag of truce, and both himself, officers and privates treated me with marked kindness and respect-so much so that I was overpowered and for a moment unable to talk. For the first time in twelve months I felt I was in "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

From the first to last I have put myself under no obligations whatever to the bogus Confederacy. While in jail they offered to release me and guarantee my safety if I would take the oath of allegiance, but I indignantly refused, telling them that they had no Government; that it was a big, brutal Southern nest; never had been recognized by any Government on earth and never would be, and that I would die of an old age in jail before I would disgrace myself by taking any such oath.

In conclusion, I have not had time to speak in detail of the destruction of Union property, the robbing of Union houses, the stealing of Union horses and negroes, and of the various and numerous other enormities perpetrated by these vandals. Suffice it to say that if the Federal Government does nothing more during this war, she owes it to the loyal citizens of East Tennessee to redress their wrongs and to emancipate them from the clutches of their oppressors.

I have never doubted that the Government would crush out this rebellion, but have felt mortified and scourged because the Federals have been so slow in reaching East Tennessee. Where they were wanted most they leave last. The Union sentient of East Tennessee has never yet yielded at hair's breadth, and the approach of a Federal army would be [greeted] with as much enthusiasm and joy as the people of Palestine hailed the announcement "this day is born to your in the city of Bethlehem a Savoir, who is Christ the Lord."

I have escaped from the Philistines and my son with me, to avoid his being forced into the Rebel army. My wide and five little children remain in bondage. When they are to be released and I permitted to return God only knows.

W. G. Brownlow.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 1862.



        31, Skirmish near Franklin

MARCH 31, 1863.-Skirmish near Franklin, Tenn.

Report of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, U. S. Army.

FRANKLIN, TENN., March 31, 1863.

GEN.: Our cavalry moved out on the Lewisburg and Columbia pike to-day, encountering the rebels some 7 miles out, and, skirmishing for several hours, [added emphasis] took 5 prisoners from them. I learn that Van Dorn is still in our front, and that a part of his force is somewhere on a scout. Can learn nothing of rebel movements in any quarter. Orders were given last night for cooking four days' rations for a scout. Jackson, Armstrong, and Cosby were in front to-day.

G. GRANGER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 199.



        31, Federal foraging along Cumberland River near Carthage

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from correspondence between Brigadier-General George Crook and Brigadier-General James A. Garfield

CARTHAGE, TENN., April 1, 1863.

Brig. Gen. JAMES A. GARFIELD, Chief of Staff, Army of the Cumberland, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:

* * * *

I sent boats some 14 miles up the river day before yesterday, foraging, and sent them down below Rome yesterday after wood. Saw nothing of the rebels. Please answer at once.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 199.



        31, SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 79 relative to punishment of Memphis attorneys-at-law John Hallum and John J. Sharp

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 79. HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., March 31, 1864.

* * * *

V. In the case of John Hallum, purporting to be an attorney-at-law, he is convicted of surreptitiously procuring passes and exemptions, and disposing of the same for large sums of money. The fact of his belonging to an honorable profession enhances his guilt.

The flimsy pretense that as an attorney-at-law he had a right to "charge his clients" for services is too transparent a subterfuge to avail him. A lawyer has the right to fees' for professional services. It is no part of the practice of the law to procure fraudulent passes and make merchandise of them.

It is a disgrace to the profession, and would only be indulged in by an unscrupulous pettifogger regardless of reputation and seeking to make money by any dishonorable trick. It is evident that this man knew that the passes in question were obtained by some underhand practice, probably by his confederate in swindling, Cady. No doubt, too, exists that by reason of these base practices suspicion has been thrown in the public mind upon the officers of the Government as participants in this nefarious traffic.

An example's required in this community, and Mr. Hallum supplies the subject.

It is ordered that John Hallum pay a fine to the United States of $1,000, that he be confined sixty days at Fort Pickering, and that he be forever prohibited from directly or indirectly appearing as attorney in any court organized by military authority, and that at the expiration of the sixty days of imprisonment, if the fine be not paid, he be imprisoned until the same is paid.

It is further ordered that a copy of this order be sent to the clerk of the United States court at Memphis, to be laid before the judge thereof at the next sitting, with the request that the name of said John Hallum be struck from the roll of attorneys.

* * * *

VII. J. W. Sharp, attorney-at-law, has been arraigned and tried for the offense of smuggling.

The proof shows conclusively that he bribed sentinels on duty to pass out contraband goods, among which were found eighteen pairs cavalry boots.

The evidence is irresistible, and to the ordinary, guilt of smuggling is added the crime of supplying the enemy with what they most need. The defense sets up the plea that the evidence of colored persons cannot be received. In this the counsel betrays great ignorance. The testimony of negroes [sic] has been always received in courts-martial, both in the Army and Navy. Military courts are governed by military law, and there is no distinction as to competency made in such courts by reason of color. The statutes of Tennessee are in abridgment of the common law, civil and military, and not binding upon military courts.

All persons who understand the sanctity of an oath are competent witnesses. The testimony was properly admitted and the guilt is proven.

It is therefore ordered that J. W. Sharp pay a fine of $1,000 to the United States, that he be imprisoned in the military prison at Alton for three years and until the fine is paid. It is further ordered that the wagon and team of the witness Dickerson be restored to him.

* * * *


By order of Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 206-207.



        31, Confederate destruction of railroad trackage and bridges in Lick Creek and Bull's Gap environs

KNOXVILLE, March 31, 1864.

Maj.-Gen. SHERMAN:

The rebels have all gone from Bull's Gap, and are now beyond Greeneville. They have destroyed the railroad bridge across Lick Creek and the trestle-work near the gap; they have also broken up the railroad to some extent and carried off the telegraph wire. This is all positive and I take it is conclusive as to Longstreet's designs.

J. M. SCHOFIELD, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 199.


MOSSY CREEK, March 31, 1864.


I have intelligence from scouts and citizens that rebels are certainly all gone, and now beyond Greeneville. They burnt the railroad bridge and the wagon bridge on Lick Creek; have torn up the railroad generally, telegraph wire taken off, trestle burned at the gap. This is all reliable.

I have men who have seen all I send you.

R. A. CRAWFORD, Chief of Scouts.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 200.



        31, Beginnings of restoration of civilian rule in West Tennessee

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF The CUMBERLAND, Nashville, March 31, 1865.

Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, Cmdg. District of West Tennessee:

GEN.: The major-general commanding the department desires that as far as is practicable and consistent with the best interests of the service you will endeavor to restore confidence to the people of West Tennessee, and encourage them in any desire they may express to enforce civil laws against the outlaws and guerrillas who infest their counties. To this end you are authorized to occupy and repair the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as far as LaGrange, if you think you have sufficient force to guard it that far. This would interpose a force between the people of West Tennessee and the enemy's territory in Mississippi. Encourage all the counties of West Tennessee to organize their county courts and administer the civil laws, assuring them that they will not be interfered with by the military authorities as long as they conduct themselves in a manner loyal to the Government of the United States; encouraging them also to cultivate their farms, with the assurance that no more arbitrary seizures of private property of any kind, particularly horses, mules, and oxen, will be permitted, and that they will be permitted to carry to market and dispose of at Memphis, Hickman, Columbus, and Paducah whatever products of their farms they may have to dispose of without molestation. If the people of West Tennessee desire to reopen and operate the Memphis and Ohio, Memphis and Louisville, or the Mobile and Ohio Road north of Corinth, they will be permitted to do so, subject to no restriction except that they transport over them toward the south nothing but contraband of war. Say to the people of West Tennessee that it is not designed to oppress them if it can be avoided, and they may pursue their peaceful occupations without fear of being molested, but that it is expected that they will at least make an effort to redeem themselves from their present miserable condition and exhibit to the world that they are worthy of the leniency which has been shown them. It is expected that they will keep themselves well informed of all offensive movements of the enemy in their quarter of the State and inform the nearest military authority promptly of the same; and to avoid sending troops into the interior as much as possible it is expected that the people of each country will take care to preserve peace and quiet within its limits, as it will be held responsible for the same.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. D. WHIPPLE, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 169.


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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