Sunday, May 4, 2014

5.4.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        4, "Letter from Memphis."
Memphis, Tenn., May 4th, 1861.
Editors Chronicle; - Since writing the hasty letter[1] touching the political aspect of the times which, more to oblige an old friend, and subscriber than because of any intrinsic merit therein, you are pleased to publish some weeks ago, stirring scenes have been enacted all over the land, and now the distinct not distant promise of the future is that our eyes will be constrained to behold, what the immortal Webster prayed that his might never behold "a land rent with civil feuds," and "drenched with paternal blood." The effect, long predicted is indeed upon us, of
"That lust of power
That oftimes assumes the fairer name of Liberty,
And flings the popular flag of Freedom [sic] out."
Since then Sumter has fallen - a most righteous fall – the result of a scheme conceived in iniquity, and attempted to be executed by misrepresentation and fraud, and the cannon which announced its attack, has succeeded in accomplishing that which political maneuvering and party diplomacy, though diligently prosecuted through a series of years, had failed to secure unity in the South to defend what an aggravated North is arming to destroy, the liberties and rights of a free people.
Inheritors of a like precious heritage, a heritage secured by years of toil, self-denial and bloodshed, you and I, with a large majority of Montgomery's noble sons, have long been battling upon like principles for the preservation of that heritage, pure as we received it, for transmission to those who are to succeed us and because of an abiding faith in the virtue and intelligence of the people, upon which alone is based the hope of the perpetuity of republican institutions, we have continued to hear what has stirred the blood and aroused to action the resentment of others, equally patriotic, but less patient and hopeful. I see from recent members of the chronicle that recent events have affected us in like manner, and that we are still of one mind, and that mind the "resisting unto blood" the usurpation, the tyranny, and the oppression of that worse than imbecile administration, which has so shamefully abused our confidence, and would not butcher before our eyes our beloved and helpless ones, or subject them and us to slavery, infinitely more degrading and helpless than African slavery ever was painted by that libel upon her sex,[2] whose foul fabrications have gone forth to the world endorsed by the hypocritical Puritanism of New England.
Disappointed, as I confess myself to have been, in the people of the North, and misled, by my faith in the intention of the masses there to do us ultimately even handed justice, to a longer toleration of their misdeeds, than many have though advisable. I yet do not look back with regret upon the course which I have felt myself constrained by convictions of duty to pursue. With a devotion, beyond the power of language to express to the Union as our fathers gave it to us, and a determination as firm as that devotion was deep seated, to exhaust every means first to restore to its original purity, and then preserve that Union, without turning to the right or left from considerations of personal advancement or interest, I have held myself to the principles, which my judgment indicated as most likely to accomplish that object. And now when called upon to nerve my arm for a blow which every freeman must prepare to strike for his fireside and his liberty the consciousness of entire irresponsibility for any of the evils that begirt us, and of that long suffering oppression which justifies so thoroughly the final rebellion, will add no shade of remorse or regret to the contemplation of the scenes through which we shall have passed, when peace shall have returned to bless the land over which a fratricidal war has been waged.
Union men once, what are we now? You have spoken for yourself through your columns, and with emphasis, and as you have spoken, so speaks Old Montgomery. God bless her! I imagine I can see coming from her every valley and descending her every hillside "the Tennessee Volunteer," whose coming, the "Confederate States," notwithstanding their denunciation and abuse, have awaited as anxiously as did England's warrior the coming of "Night or Blucher,"[3] and the announcement or anticipation of whose coming in hostile array, Northern myrmidons so much depreciate and dread. With like voice, though, with feebler, would your correspondent speak. A Tennesseean [sic] by birth, education, by continuous residence from birth till now, a Tenneseean [sic] whose foot has never been placed on freesoil [sic], the son of a slave-holder, and slave-holder myself. I could not be otherwise than a Southerner if I would, and would not if I could. And as my lot for life is cast in Tennessee, I rejoice to believe that as you speak and as speaks Montgomery, so will Tennessee speak. Nay, so has she spoken already through her high minded and chivalrous Governor's [illegible] response to a federal demand. This is high minded rebellion [sic] – such rebellion, as when rebellion must come, more pleases me than your lofty spoken "peaceable secession," a doctrine or idea, permit me without offence to say, I detest, and which I pray God, when Tennesseeans [sic] are called to vote as called they will [scratch union from (?)] their tickets and write instead in characters living and legible, that word consecrated by revolutionary memories –
More Anon.
P.S. – We are preparing actively for the reception of the "Chicken thieves," which the Express letter from Dyersburg to Washington is stationing at Cairo. Fort Wright, at Randolph, is now in "speaking order." Fort Harris, at Memphis, will be complete on Monday next, well constructed ands well manned. Mort Madison's battery of "a bowie knife and a couple of Derringers" will suffice to do the work of all who succeed in running the gauntlet of these two forts. Our city is all alive with citizen soldiers marching and counter-marching. It would [remainder illegible.]
Clarksville Chronicle, May 10, 1861.

        4, Juvenile daring-do on Main street, Memphis
Dangerous Practice.—Boys on Main street are indulging in the amusement of jumping on and jumping off the railway cars when in motion. This practice is full of danger, and will inevitably result in the death of some of these thoughtless ones if it is persevered in. Precisely the same proceeding was common on the Memphis and Ohio railway some years ago; it resulted in the death of one of the boys, who was run over by the locomotive at the foot of Main street. We yesterday saw a boy receive a very violent fall from jumping from a moving car. Another boy had a narrow escape of life; he was standing in the rear of the hind car, when the train unexpectedly to him began to back. The police should inflexibly take to the station house all who indulge in this dangerous practice.
Memphis Daily Appeal, May 4, 1862.

        4, "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword."
The above, we opine, must be fully realized by General Mitchell, who, by a few strokes of the pen, caused the disloyal elements of Nashville and Davidson county to cease motion. Hence one week this city must necessarily be a loyal place. All must be come loyal, and acknowledge allegiance to the existing authority of the United States, or take their departure South. We conjure all to remain with us. Be freemen. Unloose yourselves from bondage, and defy the "authority" of the bogus Confederacy. But be careful, those of you have complied with the order of General Mitchell. Remember than the penalty for seditious utterances is death. Those who accepted the parole of honor, we say, be guarded – you are sure to be watched. Those who subscribed to the oath of allegiance are above supposition.
When the order was first introduced to the people of Nashville, many believed that it was still-born, like others of the same nature. The contrary, however, has been realized; and General Mitchell may well feel proud of his success. It is the greatest triumph of the war, and will sadly derange matters at relief headquarters.
Friday is the last day of grace. At the expiration of the extension of time, all must have become citizens of the United States or subjects of a disordered, stared-out, dis-united "Government." Those foolish people who choose the later course, must register their names with Col. Martin, before Wednesday night. Be thoughtful before it is too late. Less than sixty people have registered their names for a starved-out land. Twenty-one, however, have changed their minds, and the would-be martyrs in a lost cause are now citizens of the United States. All honor to General Mitchell.
Nashville Daily Press, May 4, 1863

        4, "I do not see why a nigger going about with a revolver threatening to shoot his former master should not be taken in charge." Provost Marshal General, Brigadier General S. P. Carter's Public Relations Dilemma
Mr. David R. Coningham's Despatch.
Knoxville, Tenn., April 23, 1864
General F. P. Carter and the Negroes
There was some little excitement here a few weeks since about the capture of two slave boys. This affair was so twisted as to bring in the name of our worthy Provost Marshal General, Brigadier General Carter, as taking an active part in the proceedings. Two letters have appeared in the New York Tribune, from their correspondent here, on the subject. These have been copied into other journals, and General Carter's official character roughly handled. In self-defence General Carter sent his official correspondence with General Schofield-in which the part he has take in the transaction has been fully explained-to the Tribune for insertion. So far As I am aware they have not published it. I now enclose a copy to your, and repeat that, in the strictest spirit of fair play and justice, you will give it insertion; and I will do the same. I have fully inquired into the case and I find that the General has acted in the affair just as if two white citizens were concerned. I do not see why a nigger going about with a revolver threatening too shoot his former master should not be taken in charge. We have had sufficient evidence here a few days since of how hey carry their threats into execution, wherein a colored soldier deliberately shot a white one.-
Office Provost Marshal General, East Tennessee,
Knoxville, Tenn., March 26, 1864.
Major J. A. Campbell, Assistant Adjutant General:-
Major-In compliance with instructions from department headquarters, in an endorsement on a letter signed "Elias Smith, Volunteer Aid De Camp, Brigadier General Hascall's staff," on the subject of ordering the arrest of a mulatto boy, named Bob, for aiding his brother Jim to escape from the house of Mr. William Heiskill, I have the honor to submit the following:
A few mornings since Mr. Heiskill came to my office and stated that the last of his servants had left him, that he was without any help and some of them were about town living in idleness. I told him I had no jurisdiction in the matter, and could give him no assistance, but would give him a note to General Tillison stating the case, &c.
I heard nothing more of the matter until yesterday afternoon (after four o'clock), when Mr. Heiskill came to the office with two persons, who were introduced as Mr. White and Mr. Pierce. Mr. Heiskill reported that his life was threatened by a mulatto boy, who had been his body servant named "Bob Heiskill," that he received his information from Mr. White. The latter stated that this boy, in company with other negroes, while standing near the corner of the street, and said he intended to shoot Mr. Heiskill while on his way from his office to his home, and if he failed to do so at that time, he would kill him after he got home. I wrote a note to the city Provost Marshal directing him to arrest the negro boy named Bob for threatening to take the life of his former master and to hold him in the guardhouse until the matter could be investigated. I also sent a verbal order to the sergeant of the escort to send two or three men to Mr. Heiskill's house to guard it, so as to prevent any assault on the owner by the boy Bob. The city Provost Marshal reported to me today that he arrested  "Bob Heiskill," last night and found him armed with a revolver. The above is a statement of my entire connection with and knowledge of the affair. I never sent men of my escort to arrest slaves or those claimed as slaves. I knew nothing of the existence of such a boy as "Jim," nor of his confinement in the house of Mr. Heiskill, nor off his ill treatment, nor that the boy "Bob" was the servant of an officer, until I learned the facts through Mr. Smith's letter and partly from another party to day. The arrest of "Bob" was ordered simply on account of his reported threat to take the life of Mr. Heiskill, and for no other reason. He was not arrested as a slave nor is he held as one. A white man would have dealt with in exactly the same way. I will state that I have never yet a military or any other force to apprehend slaves and turn them over to their claimants. If men of my escort were engaged last night or at any other time, searching for the boy "Bob" or any other negro, they did so without any orders from me.
I am respectfully,
S. P. Carter, B. G. & P. M. G of East Tenn.
New York Herald, May 4, 1864. [4]

        4, Unsuccessfully Counseling a Freedman to Return to His Former Situation. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain
~ ~ ~
My heart has had another trial today in regards to Africa's poor child. About noon I was down about the stable giving some directions about a hog diseased when a Negro man came up, I did not know at first who he was but soon found out it was the last man belonging to Mr. David Lyons left on the place (Dave). I had some dinner prepared for him, as he was eating I talked to him and found out he had turned his back upon his home to seek for himself another place. My heart was troubled. I advised him to go back to his mistress and see if she would be willing to feed and clothe him and his family as she had done, for him to agree to it that he had never known what trouble ;was until his little children would begin to cry for bread and he would have none to give them. I thought O the misery and wretchedness which this war has entailed upon these sable sons and daughters of the once fair, beautiful and sunny South. I just felt God will visit the destroyers of their peace with sorer judgments that they have ever felt. I could not prevail on him to go back. He said he would go to town and look around and see what he could do.
~ ~ ~
Fain Dairy

[1] Not found.
[2] Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin.
[3] At the Battle of Waterloo, British Commander Lord Wellington, whose fortunes had been reversed by Napoleon's forces, anticipated a the possibility of defeat unless his Prussian allies, led by Field Marshal Gebhard von Blucher, or nightfall, would arrive. Wellington was said to have looked at his watch and exclaim, "Blucher or night." Shortly thereafter Blucher appeared to save the day for the allies.
[4] As cited in PQCW.

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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