Friday, May 23, 2014

5.23.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        23, "Insane fury appears to posses their souls." The Louisville Journal Decries the Memphis Vigilance Committee and the Tennessee Ordinance of Secession.
In 1854 we for the first time visited Memphis. We were received with such honors as we were not vain enough to think we deserved. A public dinner was tendered to us and accepted. The best and most distinguished citizens of Memphis and of the surrounding country attended it. We were overwhelmed with complimentary speeches and toasts from men of all parties. In the little speech that was of course expected of us, we alluded to the great changes which had taken place in our relations with old political friends and old political opponents during the twenty-four or twenty-five we had been in editorial life, and we ventured to suggest, improbable as such a thing then seemed to us, that perhaps similar changes would occur to us in what then the future.
Since that time we have repeatedly visited Memphis, and always been received with a hearty cordiality most gratifying and most flattering to us. We have thought that there was no city in the United States, where in proportion to population, we had a greater number of ardent friends. One of the changes, however, which, seven years ago we allude to as possible, has at last taken place. We are a Union man [sic], but Memphis has become a secession city. We have held steadily on, following the guidance of the spirit that controlled us in 1854, but Memphis has surrendered herself up to the fierce and bitter spirit of disunion. Her men seem to have changed their whole natures. They have given way to madness. Insane fury appears to posses their souls. They tolerate a tyranny, a despotism in their midst, and they glory in upholding it. They are under the remorseless government of an irresponsible little mob, calling itself a Vigilance Committee. All their affairs are controlled by that Committee. It is for the Committee to say who may live in the city and who man not, what newspapers the people may be permitted to receive and what ones must be banned and barred from the city limits, what steamboat cargoes bust be confiscated and what ones may be allowed to pass, who must be imprisoned, who whipped, who have his head shaved, who be tarred and feathered, and who hung.
This Memphis Committee of Vigilance or Committee of Safety has issued an edict against the circulation of the Louisville Journal in that place, ordering that all copies of it, arriving their by mail, shall, instead of being delivered in obedience to the post office laws to the persons they are directed to, be returned to us. Now we call upon the Post office-Department, if the people of Memphis slavishly permit this thing to be done, to cut them off from all mail facilities utterly and at once. As a free citizen of the United States, we have a right to demand that an outraged perpetrated upon our rights shall be redressed so far as the punishment of its perpetrators and those who countenance or tolerate them can constitute redress. No person can be fool enough to charge that the Louisville Journal is in any just sense an incendiary sheet. The worst enemy it has on earth cannot allege that it ever contains anything tending to excite servile insurrections or to undermine the foundations of morality and civil society. No man in Memphis can deny that is speaks in as lofty a tone and is conducted upon as exalted principles as any paper in that city. No one will say that it has not deserved and won as large and extended a share of a nation's regard and admirations as any paper in our Western land. If it ever inflames man's minds, it inflames them legitimacy and properly-inflames them against those men, and those only, who, with sacrilegious hands, would demolish the sacred ark of American freedom.
Deeply as we scorn the miserable elicit directed against us by the little Memphis mob, we have the consolation of being able to regard it as the highest compliment ever paid to us in a city where we have been so often and so handsomely complimented. It shows that the power and influence of the Louisville Journal are so deeply felt that the advocates of disunion, when struggling for the popular vote in favor of their dark and destructive policy, feel the necessity of shutting our paper out from the eyes of their people by violence. The Memphis Appeal, a most bitter disunion organ, whilst announcing with exultation the exclusion of the Journal from Memphis, proclaims that "papers of more flagitious character are allowed to be exhibited for sale with perfect impunity;" and surely this is an unequivocal admission that the political power of the Journal, and, that alone, has caused the paper to be proscribed by the miserable little self-constituted committee of eighteen or twenty traitors. Grateful as we have ever been to the people of Memphis, deeply as we have appreciated all their kindness, we must say that, if they are poor spirited enough to submit to this thing, mean spirited enough to leave the control of their reading to the censorship of a committee, and especially such a committee, we shall blush to remember that we were ever the recipient of their hospitality.
Throughout the whole State of Tennessee, the mockery of submitting the ordinance of secession to the popular vote is perfectly atrocious. It is an insult to human nature. The Legislature, in secret session, without waiting for the people to vote upon the ordinance of secession or even to read it, proceeded at once, without even the pretense of popular or any other authority, to place the whole power and military resources of the State at the disposal of the Southern Confederacy and invited the armies of that Confederacy upon Tennessee soil, thus putting it out of the power of the Tennessee people to exercise, through the ballot-box or in any other way, the slightest secretion of liberty-box or in any other way, the slighted secretion of liberty of choice in deciding whether their State should or should not come under the Southern Government. And ever since the passage of the secession ordinance by the Legislature, the disunion leaders have been raising troops by thousands and tens of thousands, marshalling them under the Southern Confederacy's service, and levying for their support monstrous raises of taxation upon the people without the authority or even the form or pretext of law. Of course it is obvious that, under such circumstances the popular vote, so-called, upon the ordinance, can have no meaning or significance in the world; yet the leaders, for the poor sake of appearance, are determined to have a vote, or what they propose to call a vote, in their favor. Hence by the machinery of scores of hundreds of miniature mobs or vigilance committees, they are industriously expelling, night and day, thousands of true and bold Union men from all parts of the State. Hence they are muzzling the mouths of their editors, are compelling them to trample upon their own convictions and their own self-respect and to become the shameless advocates of disunion. Hence they are holding public meetings and giving notice to those noble champions of the country who have hitherto swayed and molded the public mind, that, if they dare to make a speech for the Union, their lives shall instantly pay the penalty. Hence they are suppressing the circulation of a faithful and fearless newspaper organ of Unionism, in their dread of the effect of its arguments and appeals upon the minds of their wronged and insulted fellow citizens. And hence they are everywhere proclaiming and publishing their resolution that every voter, on going to the polls, shall expose to the bystanders what is written upon the ballot, the plan being to beat or maim or kill all who shall have the audacity to vote for the Union. We have seen scores of the best men of Tennessee within the last few days, and they all bear witness, that, in their belief, the reign of terror now raging and maddening in that State has no parallel in modern history. There is less of personal freedom; there is more of atrocious and horrible tyranny, in Tennessee, at this time than could be found under the worst and most wretched Government of Asia or of the savage islands of the sea.
Unquestionably in the condition of things that now exists, such of the people of Tennessee as are loyal, enjoying no protections and experiencing only oppression from the hands of their State government, have just claims to be protected in their right by the Federal Government. Yielding a willing allegiance to that Government, they have a right to expect to be sustained by it, for they are not more citizens of Tennessee than they are citizens of the United States. How far the Government at Washington is prepared to accord the protection, which under the Constitution, it owes to them, we cannot say, for the circumstance of the whole country are at the present time extraordinary. Buy certainly no well-informed and just man can hesitate to say, the virtue and force of an ordinance of secession fairly and legitimately adopted by the majority of the free voters of a State, the vote about to be given upon the Tennessee ordinance should be treated as a nullity, a nothing, by the Federal Government and by all mankind-treated as not affecting in any way or in the slightest degree the right and the duties either of the Government at Washington or of the Tennessee people.
Fellow citizens of Kentucky! The disunion leaders in the midst of us are using all their guilty and desperate energies to make Kentucky what Tennessee is. Say to every fiend of them-"Get thee behind me, Satan!"
Louisville Journal, May 23, 1861.[1]

        23, Special Orders No. 357, Price Controls in Confederate Memphis
Special Orders No. 357
Headquarters, Memphis, May 23, 1862
Having been clothed will full authority to take all necessary measures for the radical suspension of ALL speculative operations in provisions and the necessities of life, the Commandant of this post much regrets that he is called on by many who to rebuke extortion among those who interests should be closely allied with the fate of the Government, or to those [illegible] disposition too clearly [illegible] in this city; to fatten on the misfortunes and necessities of all obedient citizens of such great MUTUAL public and private interest.
Notice is hereby given to all extortionists of any shape or kind, that they will be held in strict accountability, both in person and property, for creating as craven and cowardly an advantage over those, whose natural protectors are on the tented field, striking nobly for their liberties and the rights of their country, while such are living INGLORIOUSLY, on the hard earned pittance of the solders, wrung by extortion in the necessities of life from those dependent on that pittance.
All persons are herby notified that all remunerative prices will be allowed for all necessities, and when such injustice is refused, upon proper examination, if the refused result from an attempt to extortion, the property will be taken possession of at a fair price, and the individual, as before said, held to account.
Having called a Board of five citizens, whose acquaintance with provisions and the cost of necessities is very extensive, and whose patriotism is beyond doub, the following tariff of prices will govern the specified articles until further orders. And any persons exceeding the tariff will be fined not exceeding twice the value of the article confiscated to the benefit of the "Free Market." The prices allowed are fair, remunerative, and in the judgment of the Commander, even high; and those who are unwilling to sell at these prices should be held up the public gaze as vampires on the absolute [opinion?] of the many for public excoriation.
All persons who attempt to hide provisions are to keep them from the market, are warned as to the consequences of such actions.
The [attention?] of all dealers is called to Special Orders relating to Confederate money herewith [are?] to [be applied?].
All persons dealing in articles specified below will keep the Tariff of Prices posted conspicuously at their place of business. The Civil Governor and Provost Marshal will carry into effect this order:
Beef on Foot
First quality not to exceed 12 c. per pound
Second do                 do      10c      do
Third    do                 do       8c       do

Beef at Retail
First class, comprising [illegible] and ribs not to exceed 20[?] c
Second do round and rump 12 ½ c.
Third do neck shoulder and [illegible]

On foot, gross, not to exceed 10c
By retail 18c

Hog round, as per quality, 23 to 25c
Hams and sides, at retail, 39c
Shoulders, 28 to 31 c

In barrels and [illegible], 22 to
In kegs, 26 to 28 c

Double extra, wholesale, $15 per barrel
Single do         do            $14 d0
Super fine         do          $13 do
Double extra, at retail     $16 do
Single     do          do       $15 do
Super fine do        do      $14 do

At wholesale not to exceed $1.25 per bushel
At retail            do                $1.30    do

Corn Meal
At wholesale, not to exceed $1.25 per barrel
At retail              do              $1.30

As per quality, $1.75 to $2.l05 per bushel
Oats, $1.25.

Liverpool coarse, $15.00 per sack
      do         fine       $16.00    do
Packing                   $12.00
At retail, per pound 121/2c

Brown and [illegible] 10 to 121/2
At retail, 10 to 13 c

At wholesale, 30c
At retail, 33 to 40 c

At wholesale, 30c
At retail, 33 to 40 c
Small retailers to [illegible] are allowed as an advantage add to
[Illegible] 23 per cent, and small retailers in [illegible] 15 per
By command of Thos. H. Rosser, Colonel Commanding Post
 Official: Thomas M. Chomer [?]
Memphis Daily Appeal, May 29, 1862. [2]

        23, "Military Hospitals Chap XII
The Prison Hospital.
The Prison Hospital is not numbered; it is located in the Second Baptist (Dr. R. Ford's) Church, on Cherry street, beyond South Union, a few hundred yards South of the Howard High School. There are two wards in the building, both large rooms, and both above ground, well lighted and ventilated, and very clean and comfortable, the hospital being well stocked with everything needful for the comfort of the patients. Indeed, in this respect we think it excels man others, but we may be mistaken as in this hospital we find more seriously wounded men than in other, and the various modern contrivances for easing of pain and relieving the discomforts of the bedfast, may have come more prominently before our eye.
The interesting features in this hospital, to us, was the great care and attention bestowed upon the patients -- Confederates and Federals alike -- who are mixed up with each other most admirably. Side by side the Federal and Confederate soldier eat, and sleep, and chat, and play, and comfort each other, and nurse each other, with that care and attention, sad heart-felt sympathy, which are always to be found prominently in the brave heart of the soldier. This hospital is not as some suppose, exclusively for Confederate prisoners, but for all military prisoners. All the Federals, we believe, have been guilty of mere petty offences, such as being out with a pass, exceeding by a few hours the limit of their leave of absence, attempting to break from the guard, and such like. The kind and affectionate manner in which each patient is addressed by the Surgeon in Charge as well as other officers, and the confidence and great respect which the patients entertain for them, is very striking and truly gratifying to the sympathizer with human sufferings. And here, indeed, is room for sympathy. Ghastly wounds of all descriptions are visible in every direction. Here are several who lost an arm, amputated close to the shoulder; many others a leg; many whose bones have become again unified but leaving one limb much shorter than the other; some deformities; some having lost an eye. Our attention was called to one interesting case, where a Confederate was struck by a minie [sic] ball on the second finger of the right hand, which was broken, and the ball lodged in the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger, a portion of the ball being cut off by coming in contact with his musket, and entering his right eye, which he has lost, and a buckshot entering his neck, and lodged there, and where it remains, just under the skin, but causing him no pain or uneasiness.
Another interesting case is that of an intelligent little boy -- a mere child, -- pretty and delicate, not yet fifteen years old, named John Taylor, of Chattanooga. He was wounded and taken prisoner some time ago, and is now doing very well. He seems to be quite at home, but would much like to obtain permission to stroll about town a little every fine day until he is well enough to be exchanged [sic].
Capt. King, of Louisiana, is also here, badly wounded in the right thigh. The Surgeon informed us that he has suffered severely, but uncomplainingly, for a long time, and several times feared he would lose him; but is not doing well, and likely to recover.
All inmates of this hospital are received from Col. Martin, the Provost Marshal, and to him returned or accounted for.
Among the other inmates were two lunatics, one of whom was sent to the Lunatic Asylum while we were at the hospital; the other is the one who was formerly in the Penitentiary -- a quiet, inoffensive man, who sits in one position all day, eats well, never talks, sleeps well, and takes not the slightest notice of any person or thing. The one who was sent away urgently requested our company to town, and insisted on getting himself ready immediately.
There are many other interesting cases here, which we may allude to hereafter, in another chapter. For the present we must concern ourselves to a statement of a few general facts connected with the hospital.
The following are the names of the officers of the Prison Hospital:
Surgeon-in-Charge -- T. G. Hickman, Acting Ass't. Surg. U. S. A.
Chaplain -- Rev. Mr. Poucher.      
Steward-Jas. Yerkes.
Sergeant of the Guard-John McFarland, 19th Ill. Vols.
Ward Master-Alfred Hemmings.
Matron -- Mrs. Foster.
Druggist-John Foley.
There are thirty men detailed to guard this hospital under Sergeant McFarland. Six nurses, three cooks, six colored females, and six colored males are employed. There are in the building, for patients, 100 iron cots, 25 of which were occupied on the night of the 19th, but eleven of the Confederates were removed on the 20th, with a view to an early exchange.
There is no regular chaplain belonging to this hospital, but Mr. Poucher visits the patients occasionally, and administers religious consolations to such as desire it. There are not regular religious services. The Sanitary Commission has furnished books on several occasions for the use of the inmates, and the Surgeon informs us that the patients feel grateful to Mr. Crawford for his kindness in this respect.
The bath-room contains only one tub, but that proves sufficient under existing circumstances, there being few able to avail themselves of the luxury of sporting in a large and well filled bath tub. Dr. Hickman encourages a desire to bathe frequently.
For amusement and pastimes, chess, checkers, dominoes, and, we presume, a social game at euchre, are indulged, beside reading and writing.
The officers are on the first floor at the West end of the building; and in a small building in the rear, are the laundry and the room for cooking the delicacies for those unable to bear hospital fare with convalescents. The kitchen is on the north side of the building, and the dining room is a very comfortable one, in which meals are served to guards and convalescents at 7, 12, and 6 o'clock.
The Commissary is abundantly stocked and in addition to the ordinary supply furnished by government, Dr. Hickman informs us that he is indebted to Dr. Reed and Mr. Robinson, of the Sanitary Commission, for liberal grants from that organization. The Dispensary and Linen room are also abundantly stocked with everything needful, or likely to be needed.
Good order, cleanliness, and quiet, prevail throughout this establishment, and the intimacy and familiarity existing between doctors and patients, betokens a confidence and good understanding between all parties.
The friends of Sergeant McFarland will regret to learn that he is very sick, and has been for some time. He is recovering, however, and hopes soon to be able for active duty.
Nashville Dispatch, May 23 1863.

        23, Initiation of U. S. N. gunboat patrols of Tennessee River
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, May 23, 1864. (Received 12.30 p. m. 25th.)
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:
Forrest and Lee, with large force, are at Corinth and Tupelo. They have been organizing and recuperating at and near Tupelo for twenty days, and horses and men are in splendid condition. They have from 10,000 to 12,000 men, and have some big enterprise on hand. I have no force here to enable me to go out and attack them and break up their plans. My force at Memphis is hardly adequate to purposes of defense. I fear they will do great havoc if they are allowed to cross the Tennessee. I have requested Capt. Pennock to patrol the Tennessee with gun-boats, for I believe Middle Tennessee and Kentucky their destination. With 5,000 troops, in addition to what I have, I could organize a movable force and go out and disperse them.
C. C. WASHBURN, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. II, p. 44.

        23, U. S. S. Peosta carries out anti-guerrilla patrol at Hamburg Landing
"...the boat stopped at Hamburg Landing where Mr. Nelson of the crew went ashore with 15 armed sailors. The boat moved back into the river and drifted for about a mile and then again put to shore. There they met Mr. Nelson and sailors now in possession of two horses taken from Hayes Guerrillas. Throwing a few artillery rounds towards shore the boat continued its trip down stream."
U. S. S. Peosta Daily Deck Log.

        23, "Frame Buildings."
An appendix to our paragraph on "Improvements" we may here state that several of the frame buildings therein alluded to have been erected without even counseling the owner of the property on which they are built. Complaint having been made to Gen. R. S. Granger, he directed Capt. Nevin to say that "any authority given from these headquarters to erect frame buildings in this city simply rescinds in the case of the applicant the penalties presented in Special Order No. 69[3], dated March 16, 1864, against any the putting up such buildings. Read Gen. Granger's order in another column.
Nashville Dispatch, May 23, 1864.

        19, Account of Negro revenge for the Fort Pillow massacre in Memphis
Memphis, Tenn., Friday, May 19.
The influx of paroled rebel troops into Memphis has caused a great excitement among the negro troops.
They got up a plot to assassinate every rebel soldier in Memphis in revenge for the Fort Pillow massacre.
The plot was discovered last night, and the white troops were put on guard to watch the movements of the negroes.
At a given hour the negroes attempted to come out of the fort to carry out their purpose, when they were ordered back again by the white troops.
The negroes refused to obey the order and a fight fortheith ensued.
After a sharp conflict, twenty of the negroes were killed and wounded and driven back in confusion into the fort. A strong guard is not kept over them.
New York Times, May 23, 1865

[1] As cited in PQCW.
[2] As cited in PQCW. Documents relating to the activities of the offices of the Confederate Provost Marshal are rare in Tennessee's Civil War history. Price inflation was apparently a grave problem for civilians in Memphis, just days before the city would fall to the Federal Mississippi River fleet. Additionally, price fixing was not uncommon – in 1865 three Tennessee price control commissioners met in Aberdeen, Mississippi, to produce a price fixing schedule for the Volunteer State. It was a pathetic attempt to revive a flaccid system of such controls inasmuch as Confederate authority was virtually unknown in Tennessee by this time. See: February 1, 1865, "Confederate Board of Commissioners for Impressment for Tennessee issues price schedule no. 10" below.
[3] A copy of this order cannot be located, but mention of it does indicate the U. S. Army was concerned with architectural zoning.

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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