Saturday, June 14, 2014

6.14.14 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        14, Survival tips for soldiers in military camps from the "Old Camper"
Camp Life—A Few Suggestions From an Old Camper.
Editors Appeal: The effectiveness of a body of men organized for any purpose, military or otherwise, is in a great measure dependent upon the preservation of their health, and therefore too much precaution cannot be taken while encamped in exposed positions, to guard against causes which tend to produce disease and debility. It is presumable that the officers in command are fully informed as to the usual precautions, but there are some rules to be observed which cannot be too fully impressed.
There should always be some sort of flooring to keep the body from the cold and damp of the ground, and to prevent the evaporation of noxious gases from the ground within the tents, from the increased temperature of a small tent crowded with men. Thick canvas cloth, with straw and leaves under it, is the best, most convenient, and portable for this purpose. If this cannot be had, straw or leaves alone will answer for a substitute. A dry floor, with tents well ventilated, are the main points to be kept in view.
Persons commencing to camp out are more liable to bilious diseases than any other, but which rarely become severe if treated properly; an emetic or purgative being generally sufficient to break them up. A camp life is very apt to produce an unhealthy appetite at first, generally accompanying a bilious tendency, which should not be indulged. Fat meats, and sour fruits, whether ripe or not, will be found to have a bad effect in a bilious habit or tendency, more especially in warm weather.
To those unaccustomed to it, moderate smoking will have a beneficial effect. Stimulants, particularly such as can only be had in camp, are very objectionable, unless to persons in the habit of using them regularly. At times of great and unusual exposure, they may be used in moderate quantity to advantage.
Whenever practicable camp fires should be kept burning all night, even if but small, and as near the tent as will be safe. A person should not sleep with a current of cold air upon the head alone, for if it does not affect the health, the sleep will be worthless and unsatisfactory.
A change of clean dry clothes is of the highest importance, so as to be ready for any emergency or accident of getting wet.
Cheerfulness and good spirits, with a disposition to make the best of everything, is worth more than all the doctors in Christendom. A grumbler in camp—or anywhere else—is worse than an infectious disease, for he not only makes himself miserable, but everybody about him, and is generally the most worthless character and the first to get on the sick list, or to become disaffected and mutinous. Music tends very much to keep up the spirits and cheerfulness, and all musicians, who can, should take their instruments along.
The observance of a few simple rules will keep a camp as healthy as a town. But after all it depends very much upon each particular individual whether he will retain his health or not. In nine cases out of ten sickness and inefficiency is more owing to the want of proper personal precaution than to the necessary exposure and accidents of camp life.
An Old Camper.
Memphis Daily Appeal, June 14, 1861.

        14, "It is a matter of skill and science between the mules and the men, the former to dodge and the latter to catch." On Army Mules at Shiloh
Special Correspondence of the Chicago Times.
Field of Shiloh, June 6.
About Mules.
No small ingredient of warlike efficiency is the component which is made up of that most thoroughly condemned and well-abused species, the mule. Indeed I sometimes convince myself that an army could not exist without them. No animal can be found so well adapted to the purpose, so patient, so enduring, so willing, so hardy and strong under circumstances which would tire out any other muscles and destroy any other animal constitution. They transport the entire sustenance of this great army, from the steamboats to the lines, over roads which no persons ever dreamed of except those who have followed an army. They live upon short rations many a time when a full stomach would not sustain a horse or an ox, and day in and day out, and often through the live-long night, they toil on, dragging through the mud, and over logs and stumps, the heavy loads which are necessary to supply the army. In doing this, they are sometimes exposed to hardships which break them down, but in the main their iron frames endure anything the indifference of men can inflict upon them, and live to begin their labors again the next day. As a general thing they are well fed. Government furnishes an abundance of corn and, when it can be got at, they have all the corn and hay they can eat; but hard work uses up the sustenance thus acquired, and, eat however much they may, they are at best but racks of bones.
Mulish Obstinacy.
Coupled with their patient and enduring qualities are the better known, but little understood, attributes of obstinacy and viciousness. "Stubborn as a mule" is a proverb of world-wide celebrity. And yet the term is not to be applied in so sweeping a sense. Mules, like all animal nature, not excepting the human, are endowed with a due degree of willfulness. To overcome this, and render them tractable, nothing is necessary but patience and gentleness—qualities which not one man in a thousand possesses. As a natural consequence, perversity begets perversity. The mule loses his temper over trials that would have driven Job to distraction, and the drier pelts him over the head with a club, and seeks by violence to subdue a disposition which rebels more and more with every blow. So they fight it out; the driver beating and cursing, and the mule kicking and plunging, and never doing right while there is the slightest chance of doing wrong. They are driven in teams of six, with but a single rein, attached to the bit of one of the leaders. With so indefinite a guide, they are apt to get entangled in the labyrinth of mire and forest through which their road generally lies, and to flounder about, until they either sink down exhausted, or stop in sullen obstinacy and refuse to pull the load any farther. Then a congregation of drivers ensues, each with whips and oaths ready to order, and with one at each mule, they are beaten and mauled into acquiescence, and after mountains of effort, started on their course once more.
Wagon Trains.
They go in trains of from ten to a hundred wagons. When the army moves, of course they are all on the road. Imagine six or seen thousand teams on the road at once, all laboring through a wilderness of mud, tumbling over logs and stumps, and threading their way through heavy woods, and you have an idea of the scene. From their immense numbers they cannot follow any common roads, the bad spots in which soon become blocked by broken and disabled wagons, and the trains diverge and strike across the country. Everything goes down before them. Fences, underbrush, and cornfields are alike served. Small rivers and creeks are filled up with timber, or fence-rails, and onward they go, like an army of locusts, sparing nothing, and stopping for nothing. Thus a space of country ten miles in width will become a vast roadway for the passage of this animal host; in the track of which crushed forests, obstructed rivers, and leveled fences show the energy of its captains,
while an enormous debris of wagons, dead mules, broken chains, harness, and other paraphernalia remain as the handiwork of reckless and violent drivers. Over all, like a cloud, rises an uproar of struggling men and beasts, of crashing wood and iron, of dire profanity and execration; as though this panorama of wild disorder were incomplete without the soul of anathema to animate its movements.
The Model Mule-Driver.
Men who are possessed of the spirit of patience and gentleness will drive these same obstinate animals with perfect ease, and at the same time save them great labor. As a general thing, the ordinary drivers kill a mule with hard work every time a season of extra labor comes on. They are tumbled aside to rot, and another is put in, to go through the same course. But drivers who are men of judgment, and who exercise careful treatment drive their teams through everything, and not
only keep them alive but in good condition. When they go wrong, instead of cursing and beating, they get down and lead them aright, and, by the least bit of soothing and kindness, coax away their ill temper, and make them as willing as they are strong and hardy. I always like a man who can exercise this forbearance. If he is nothing but a mule-driver, he is a man superior to the petty malice of sudden passion; a man of cool judgment and counsel; a man, for all the world, to make a good husband and a kind father; for, as there are no greater trials to the human patience than mule-driving, so there are no more admirable minds than those who calmly surmount its troubles. Philosophy, you see, may be extracted from all things.
The Corral.
One of the curiosities of the mule business is the method of catching, harnessing and breaking them. They are brought up the river by steamers, hundreds at a time, and turned into the corral on the river bank, where they await their turn. Several thousand will thus become collected in a single troop. They are sleek, wild creatures, with timid, deer-like eyes, and small legs and feet, more like those of an antelope than any other animal. Agility is no name for their movements when they are in this free state. They spring, or turn, or roll over like a cat. Throw one down, and he will be on his feet before you realize that he has been off them. Surprise them by coming close unawares, and a cloud of dust thrown in your face will be the only evidence left to your astonished vision. In the art of kicking they are most perfect. They generally use one hind leg for this purpose, and a most effective weapon it becomes. They use it so handily, and in so pliable a manner, as to excite the wonder of the beholder. Launching out with it, they deliver a blow that often breaks a man's legs. Then they let fly a quick motion which reaches the point with nicety, and inflicts more alarm than damage, and when in a playfully cross mood, they put it out, as an elephant does his trunk, and administer little taps and pushes in a quick succession, to warn the intruder against too much familiarity. All this occurs when they are among their own kind. When they have become worn down in body and temper by hard work, their playfulness vanishes, and they kick at each other, and at their drivers, with a savage ferocity which is death to all the human kind. They are consequently never cleaned, for a man's brains are in danger of being knocked out every time he touches their legs with a curry comb. For the same reason their tails are shorn of hair, in order that they may not carry about with them a huge mass of mud in that appendage.
Catching and Breaking.
When a requisition is sent down from division headquarters for teams, preparation is made by selecting the wagons and harness, all new, and putting men into the corral with lariats or lassos to catch the mules. Immediately a commotion exists. The vigilant animals are on the qui vive, and commence running and plunging to avoid the well-thrown noose. It is a matter of skill and science between the mules and the men, the former to dodge and the latter to catch. Amid such a multitude, the lasso must occasionally fall over a mule's head, and then ensues a contest of strength. The men run with the end of a long rope to a stake or tree or a wagon-wheel, and pass it around so as to draw upon the mule. Three or four pull here, and another dries him up. If he be a refractory one, nothing can exceed the fierceness of his struggles. Plunging to the end of the rope, he bounds hither and thither, rushes back and forth, throws himself upon the ground like a mad creature, rolls over and over, kicking and biting, and screaming with rage, until by degrees he is brought up to the hitching place, where he is secured by a chain, and left to struggle and fight until he is tired out. This sometimes requires hours before he can be approached, much less harnessed. Imagine twenty or thirty of these miniature devils raging in concert, with hundreds more racing and plunging about the corral, and add to it the dust of many feet, the shouts and curses of the lariat men, and you have a picture of the mule corral in catching time.
[illegible] tamed animals have to be harnessed and driven. By dint of half a day's work, with their heads tied up close to a tree which they cannot pull up by the roots, the harness is put on. They are then hitched to the wagon with [illegible] precautions to avoid their dangerous [illegible] with all the wheels locked and [illegible] rope at each bit, they [illegible] Such another [illegible] never was witnessed. Six unbroken mules [illegible] in harness which they never [illegible] before, and allowed to have their own way. They plunge forward, rush in opposite directions, kick, bite, and scream, lie down and roll over, and, in every other imaginable way, give vent to their ugliness of temper. This lasts an hour or two, and then they get up and go off calmly and peaceably, a little awry at first, but gradually sobering down into the traces, until every vestige of waywardness is gone, and, from that time on, they are fully broken. One cannot but be astonished at the ease with which they are conquered, and subdued into drudges. Thenceforward they lose their sleek coats, their keen bright eyes, and their agile and graceful movements. The harness wears broad marks on their skins, hard work reduces them to poverty of flesh, and mud plasters over their bodies; in everything they become the poor and degraded servants of mankind, born to drudge for a few months, and then to die and be cast aside. They are but the merest cattle in harness, leaving to the horse, whose spirit cannot be broken, the nobler duties of the species.
My Experience in Horse Ownership.
Speaking of horses reminds me of some experience I have had in that line during my pilgrimage with the army as a journalist. It is a matter of some importance that every correspondent should have some kind of a riding animal at his command, otherwise he will find himself deficient on emergencies when haste is essential. My first idea of the proper thing was a gallant charger, gaily caparisoned, prancing high and low when crowds were about, and always holding himself in readiness for a public exhibition. That is the officer style of doing the thing. I found that the article
was difficult to procure, and expensive to keep, having no soldiers at my command to guard a fine horse night and day to prevent his being "cramped" and carried off. Before I had done with experiences in this line, I was contented with more modest pretensions.
During a period of four months I have been owner and sole proprietor of five horses. The first of these was a relic of the Donelson fight. He came from somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee, and, from a habit of climbing rocks and holding on by his nose, he was much addicted to standing on his hind legs, without regard to who might be in the saddle. This was a favorite feeding position, and grass being scarce at that time, and hay and oats scarcer, he was accustomed to take his meals in the tops of small trees, where his cultivated taste taught him to find tender twigs and juicy buds. This nutritious food gave him a frame like a clothes-horse, and his legs, to use an apt phrase, were as fat as a rye straw. His back-bone split a new saddle in two, and cut a hair-cloth blanket into shreds. I could have got along with this, but he constantly brought me to shame and disgrace by going on his hind legs for browse on state occasions, to say nothing of a propensity for climbing every steep cliff he came to, and sliding me over his tail in the operation. He was a good horse to go bird nesting with, or, in case of emergency, to run up the side of a house and get out of danger, but he was so far from my idea of a perfect horse that I sold him for thirty dollars, as Floyd's veritable war charger, to a trophy seeker who wore blue spectacles and carried a portfolio. As I saw him afterwards, in company with five others as poor as himself, dragging an army wagon, I conclude that the purchaser was not sufficiently vigilant to elude Uncle Sam's watchfulness and get him home. My last glimpse of him was as he stood upon his hind legs, with his fore feet on a rail fence, apparently reaching for browse in the moon.
My next attempt was in the mule line. A friend in the Quartermaster's Department insisted upon presenting me with a superb riding animal which had come into his possession, he didn't say how, but suppositively [sic] cramp process. The beast had a prepossessing exterior. Ears as long as my arm, a head like a butter-firkin, pipe-stem neck, body as comely as a sugar hogshead, and legs not to exceed eighteen inches in length. With this inviting exterior, he had a disposition still more outre [sic] and perverse, if possible. The first time I mounted him, he kicked up his heels, and landed me over his head, some twenty feet in advance. The next time, he sat down on his haunches, and slid saddle and all over his tail. Then he laid down, and rolled over and over, faster than a Bengal monkey could have followed him; and, finally, he resorted to every trick an animal could be guilty of, to show his perverse temper. He had a way of making a great fuss when the saddle-firth was buckled—putting on a deplorable countenance, and groaning dismally, as though his life was being squeezed out. You might pull and tug for ten minutes, straining the girth up to the last notch, and fairly tiring yourself out with exertion, when, upon stepping back with a malicious consciousness of having brought the ugly brute to terms, you would see his body collapse, and the girth hang suddenly limp and loose, while he looked askance with a cunning leer, as much as to say: "How do you like that now?" He never failed to inflate himself like a balloon when the saddle was to be put on, and then collapse for the satisfaction of having it turn around and unseat his rider at the first mud hole he came to. I rode him for the spite of the thing for two long weeks. I got a pair of spurs with rowels an inch and a half long, and flayed his sides with them whenever he ventured to flap his ugly ears at me, and I finally had the satisfaction of seeing him tumble down a bluff a hundred feet high, and break his neck.
Having had enough of vicious horses, I determined to try a quiet one next time. I accordingly invested in a demure specimen of the pony breed. He proved all I could ask, for, from that time onward during my term of ownership, I did no hard work except to urge him to a due sense of his duty as a horse, and more especially a journalistic horse. The arguments used in this controversy were clubs of the largest possible size, sharp-pointed sticks, spurs at the rate of several a day, building fires under his tail, and, on occasions of emergency, felling good-sized trees upon him
as a starting impetus. He was patient under these afflictions, and never suffered anything to disturb his equanimity except the last two alternatives, which were always reserved for an impending battle, or a sudden movement to the rear. He was the best horse in the world to lead an army with, for he was sure to be behind and out of danger, but the very worse for a retreat, for obvious reasons. I was finally obliged to succumb to his pertinacity from a scarcity of timber and spurs, the soldiers having used the former for fuel, and his ride having demolished all the latter that were available in ten regiments. I sold him to an army chaplain who was too much reduced by bad whisky and the Tennessee quickstep to exert much physical force, and he was taken prisoner while going at a mad gallop of fourteen miles in fifteen hours, with several thousand howling Texan rangers in the rear.
I then determined to live upon my wits, so far as horseflesh was concerned. So I found myself sometimes in possession of a borrowed animal, sometimes riding a mule, sometimes bestriding a picked up [illegible] from the woods, and not unfrequently disgracing myself and my profession by resorting to the corral of rejected and broken down government horses. Sometimes I had a saddle and no horse; other times I had a horse and no saddle; again I had both and no bridle; and, as a consequence, during the majority of the time I wandered about disconsolately, carrying a saddle and bridle, and looking for a horse, or leading a horse and searching wrathfully for a saddle and bridle.
Of my next attempt at ownership I can say but little. I had reason to believe him all my fancy pictured him. He had unlimited style and action, enlarged capacity for getting over the ground, and a generally prepossessing demeanor, but the next morning after I became his owner the picket rope was found out, and the horse gone, while to the stake was attached a paper containing an original drawing of a school-boy horse on the high prance, mounted by a man composed of two rotundities for head and body, and four straight lines for legs and arms. Underneath was the pithy announcement, "Off for Dixy [sic]." [sic] The picture was remarkable for the expression of the countenance, where the artist had forgotten to insert the usual organs of vision and taste, and for the three erect hairs which composed the tail of the horse. It was also remarkable for the effect produced on my mind on finding it in place of my valuable horse. By a singular coincidence, a secesh deserter who had been pressed into the rebel service, hung several times, and periodically starved to death, and who brought information that the rebels were greatly disaffected, and had nothing but corn bread and molasses to eat, disappeared and never was heard of afterwards. It was insinuated that he was a spy, but I believe Gen. Halleck does not allow spies within his lines—at least that was why he turned the newspaper correspondents out. I lost forty dollars by that operation.
I now rejoice in the possession of a chef d'oeuvre of horse flesh. I paid ten dollars for him, saddle, bridle, and all, and I feel safe in saying that Uncle Sam hasn't money enough to buy him. He left the Texan Ranger Association on the occasion of the late battle, in consequence of his rider having met a cannon ball and stopped to cultivate its acquaintance while he went on in pursuance of previous orders and never passed until he had gone clean through our ranks, and found a mule in the rear, which he proceeded to masticate with all possible speed. He brought along several specimens of his master, in the saddle bags and holsters, which he seemed to regard with sanguinary affection and, having [illegible section] He never loses the opportunity to go the wrong road, to [illegible] and unexpectedly in the direction of the enemy's pickets, to run over general officers and their staffs, to kick up his heels despitefully at military persons of great airs and dignity, and, above all, to indulge in the delight of his heart—thrashing a mule. With these and numerous other amiable qualifications he has endeared himself to my heart, and money cannot buy him.
With a change of scenes it is fit to bring about a change of names. In memory of that historic spot where for months I have burned the midnight oil, and eaten hard bread and bacon, I subscribe myself
Chicago Times, June 14, 1862.[1]

        14, "I want to tell you about our milk scare….;" letter of W. C. Tripp, Co. B, 44th Tennessee (C. S. A.), to his wife
Bedford Co Tenn June the 14 1863
Camp near Fairfield
Dear Wife I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at this time hopin [sic] that these few lines will find you all well and doing well I have nothing of importance to rite [sic] to you every thing is still in ferment there is no talk as yet a [sic] leaving here as I no [sic] of I dont [sic] know what to rite [sic] for I hant [sic] heard from you Since you got home from up here I request to here [sic] from you all one time more is you please this is the porest [sic] letter I have rote [sic] to you I looked for some of you up hear last night but I missed seeing any one of you I request you to come up as soon as you get your wheat cut.
I want to tell you about our milk scare when we was on picket they was seventeen of us drink 96 canteens full of milk in too [sic] days and sum [sic] of the boys wish they had some more milk but I gest [sic] hit [sic] done mee [sic] more harm than good at the present time they was six of our mess our expense was twelve dollars in too days but I tell you we didnt [sic] have much meat with us to eat but we have seen little meat to eat since we came back Martha com [sic] up next Saturday we are going to have a big meeting hear I would bee [sic] glad to go with you to meeting one time more in this life tell Harris and Francis they come up and see me.
Martha you must have my shoes made as soon as you can will need them in a short time have them made number 8 and don't [sic] have them made too heavy. The boys is all well as common the helth [sic] of the regiment is as good as common Thar [sic] was a order red [sic] out at dress parade last night to discharge any wounded men from the heavy artillery I was glad of that Ask Jones to send me my knife by the first that come up if Carnes has got hit yet I must bring my few lines to a close excuse my bad riting [sic] and spelling I want you to rite [sic] every chance you have so I must quit for a while I remain your husband until death.
W.C. Tripp to Martha A. Tripp

14, Bringing in the Sheaves; Tennessee Presbyterians Return to the Fold
TENNESSEE PRESBYTERIANS RETURNING TO LOYALTY.-The Nashville correspondent of the New York Times says that the Unionism of Tennessee is beginning to pronounce itself ecclesiastically. An initiatory movement has taken place on the part of one religious body at least, toward a resumption of former tine-honored associations. The Presbytery of Nashville, in August, 1861, [2] in an evil hour and hot haste, broke asunder the bonds which till then had bound its churches to the Old School General Assembly. They piously resolved to join the General Assembly of the Confederate States, provided such body should have not only a "name," but a "local habitation." The stress and constant crisis of Southern affairs have made such General Assembly as yet little better than "airy nothing;" nor has the most piercing eye, in the finest "frenzy rolling," been able to body it forth in any substantial form and proportions. No meeting of the Presbytery has been held since Donelson fell.
The churches of the body were drooping, woebegone, without coherence, without vitality, formless and void. It was found that its only hope of resuscitation was to undo the evil it had done, and renew fealty to man and to God, by renewing its former connection. A meeting of Presbytery was called accordingly, in roper form. The churches, some twelve or fifteen, were notified, with scrupulous care. The majority refused to appear by there representatives, but a constitutional quorum was present. The meeting was duly organized according to Presbyterial forms; and the former action, swinging the Presbytery off into the deadly embrace of rebeldom, was solemnly and decisively rescinded. The Presbytery now stands where it always stood, until the poisonouis breath of secession blowing upon it, withered its beauty and sapped its vital strength. It will be sure to revive now. Returning loyalty and good faith is a potent remedy for a "mind diseased" as well as a body; the cause of the malady in either case being-rebellion.
New Haven Daily Palladium,[3] June 14, 1864. [4]

[1] As cited in:
[2]  See also: Ibid., August 8, 1861, "Nashville Presbyterians Rationalize Support for Secession."
[3] New Haven, CT.
[4] TSL&A, 19th CN.

James B. Jones, Jr.
Public Historian
Tennessee Historical Commission
2941 Lebanon Road
Nashville, TN  37214
(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456
(615)-532-1549  FAX

No comments: